My experience as an audio enthusiast - MBA newsletter contribution

ADGold

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
38
107
940
Toronto, Canada
I am currently completing my Executive MBA in Toronto, Canada (at the young age of 48). I have been asked by one of my classmates to share a personal story for our monthly newsletter. I decided to share the following about my experience as an audiophile and decided to post here as I believe many here can relate:

There have been several encounters throughout my adult life where I have attempted to describe one of my lifelong passions. We as social beings inherently derive joy by sharing topics that generate the greatest amount of personal or mutual interest be it sports, business, entertainment, health or politics where there is widespread awareness in our social groups. For me personally, there has been variable levels of success in conveying my unrelenting zest of this hobby to others. Specifically, my descriptions are met with confusion, speculation, dismissiveness, occasionally condescension, but sometimes interest, and very rarely a shared enthusiasm. For this piece, I will be attempting to describe my idiosyncratic world and experiences as an enthusiast of high-end audio.

Since the age of 5, I gravitated towards recorded music and could spend hours listening to the radio or cassettes in the same way most people watch TV. For clarity, I do not possess the ability play any musical instruments (the ukulele in primary school does not qualify), however, listening to music, talking about music, and reading about music have remained in my core of leisure activities.

At the age of 21, I encountered a particular moment that would send me on an unanticipated trajectory. Throughout my youth, I had always been listening to music on a (then) typical system comprised of a CD player, receiver, and a pair bookshelf speakers. For no particular reason, I decided that I wanted better sound, and travelled with my father to our local hi-fi shop with the intention of upgrading my system. After obtaining some surprising advice, I trusted the expertise of the sales consultant and proceeded as recommended.

From the time that I played the first disc, I was instantly converted from a music enthusiast to a high-end audio enthusiast (also known as ‘audiophile’). Albums that I had heard hundreds, if not thousands of times, had an entirely new depth of meaning. There were layers of harmonies, background details, sound staging, hidden rhythms, and wide dynamic contrasts that had remain unexposed with my prior system. From that day forward, I started a journey that deepened my connection to music while concurrently straining my finances.

Over the intervening years, I have been regularly reading audio publications, online reviews and audio forums resulting in countless upgrades to components, speakers, cables, and acoustic treatments. As the complexity and sophistication of the audio system increased, there was a direct improvement in transparency, holographic imaging, frequency extension and overall euphonic impact resulting in greater levels of connectiveness and engagement with the music. Even small changes had a demonstrable and palpable influence on my listening experience.

Yet it also needs mentioning that this industry is viewed with extreme skepticism within some realms of popular culture. It is characterized as having a reputation of snobbery, absence of scientific evidence, and even elements of snake oil. It is recognized as hobby of extravagant spending on items that only create imagined differences in sonics. In my experience, the audiophile community is comprised of individuals that are collectively driven by a passion for recreating musical events within the home to generate a greater and more involved listening experience.

My passion has finally culminated in the completion of a dedicated room in my house for the express purpose of deriving maximum benefit of my system (with endless gratitude to my very understanding wife).

How does this all relate to our journey in the Ivey EMBA program? My career path has naturally been a function of my training and experience. I had never contemplated exploring high-end audio as a potential industry where I would have a meaningful role. As we were completing the readings and lectures for Strategic, Analysis and Action, my perspective started to shift, and new ideas began to emerge. At this juncture, there have been no formalized or concrete plans, but this evolution in my thinking truly exemplifies the transformative impact of this program. Dare I say stay tuned?
 

Opabin

Member
Feb 25, 2023
67
58
18
Canada
I am currently completing my Executive MBA in Toronto, Canada (at the young age of 48). I have been asked by one of my classmates to share a personal story for our monthly newsletter. I decided to share the following about my experience as an audiophile and decided to post here as I believe many here can relate:

There have been several encounters throughout my adult life where I have attempted to describe one of my lifelong passions. We as social beings inherently derive joy by sharing topics that generate the greatest amount of personal or mutual interest be it sports, business, entertainment, health or politics where there is widespread awareness in our social groups. For me personally, there has been variable levels of success in conveying my unrelenting zest of this hobby to others. Specifically, my descriptions are met with confusion, speculation, dismissiveness, occasionally condescension, but sometimes interest, and very rarely a shared enthusiasm. For this piece, I will be attempting to describe my idiosyncratic world and experiences as an enthusiast of high-end audio.

Since the age of 5, I gravitated towards recorded music and could spend hours listening to the radio or cassettes in the same way most people watch TV. For clarity, I do not possess the ability play any musical instruments (the ukulele in primary school does not qualify), however, listening to music, talking about music, and reading about music have remained in my core of leisure activities.

At the age of 21, I encountered a particular moment that would send me on an unanticipated trajectory. Throughout my youth, I had always been listening to music on a (then) typical system comprised of a CD player, receiver, and a pair bookshelf speakers. For no particular reason, I decided that I wanted better sound, and travelled with my father to our local hi-fi shop with the intention of upgrading my system. After obtaining some surprising advice, I trusted the expertise of the sales consultant and proceeded as recommended.

From the time that I played the first disc, I was instantly converted from a music enthusiast to a high-end audio enthusiast (also known as ‘audiophile’). Albums that I had heard hundreds, if not thousands of times, had an entirely new depth of meaning. There were layers of harmonies, background details, sound staging, hidden rhythms, and wide dynamic contrasts that had remain unexposed with my prior system. From that day forward, I started a journey that deepened my connection to music while concurrently straining my finances.

Over the intervening years, I have been regularly reading audio publications, online reviews and audio forums resulting in countless upgrades to components, speakers, cables, and acoustic treatments. As the complexity and sophistication of the audio system increased, there was a direct improvement in transparency, holographic imaging, frequency extension and overall euphonic impact resulting in greater levels of connectiveness and engagement with the music. Even small changes had a demonstrable and palpable influence on my listening experience.

Yet it also needs mentioning that this industry is viewed with extreme skepticism within some realms of popular culture. It is characterized as having a reputation of snobbery, absence of scientific evidence, and even elements of snake oil. It is recognized as hobby of extravagant spending on items that only create imagined differences in sonics. In my experience, the audiophile community is comprised of individuals that are collectively driven by a passion for recreating musical events within the home to generate a greater and more involved listening experience.

My passion has finally culminated in the completion of a dedicated room in my house for the express purpose of deriving maximum benefit of my system (with endless gratitude to my very understanding wife).

How does this all relate to our journey in the Ivey EMBA program? My career path has naturally been a function of my training and experience. I had never contemplated exploring high-end audio as a potential industry where I would have a meaningful role. As we were completing the readings and lectures for Strategic, Analysis and Action, my perspective started to shift, and new ideas began to emerge. At this juncture, there have been no formalized or concrete plans, but this evolution in my thinking truly exemplifies the transformative impact of this program. Dare I say stay tuned?

Well written to help ordinary folks understand your audiophile journey. Good luck on your audio enterprise endeavours! Hope you will keep us informed of exciting new developments.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ADGold

jbr7

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2020
20
19
68
I am currently completing my Executive MBA in Toronto, Canada (at the young age of 48). I have been asked by one of my classmates to share a personal story for our monthly newsletter. I decided to share the following about my experience as an audiophile and decided to post here as I believe many here can relate:

There have been several encounters throughout my adult life where I have attempted to describe one of my lifelong passions. We as social beings inherently derive joy by sharing topics that generate the greatest amount of personal or mutual interest be it sports, business, entertainment, health or politics where there is widespread awareness in our social groups. For me personally, there has been variable levels of success in conveying my unrelenting zest of this hobby to others. Specifically, my descriptions are met with confusion, speculation, dismissiveness, occasionally condescension, but sometimes interest, and very rarely a shared enthusiasm. For this piece, I will be attempting to describe my idiosyncratic world and experiences as an enthusiast of high-end audio.

Since the age of 5, I gravitated towards recorded music and could spend hours listening to the radio or cassettes in the same way most people watch TV. For clarity, I do not possess the ability play any musical instruments (the ukulele in primary school does not qualify), however, listening to music, talking about music, and reading about music have remained in my core of leisure activities.

At the age of 21, I encountered a particular moment that would send me on an unanticipated trajectory. Throughout my youth, I had always been listening to music on a (then) typical system comprised of a CD player, receiver, and a pair bookshelf speakers. For no particular reason, I decided that I wanted better sound, and travelled with my father to our local hi-fi shop with the intention of upgrading my system. After obtaining some surprising advice, I trusted the expertise of the sales consultant and proceeded as recommended.

From the time that I played the first disc, I was instantly converted from a music enthusiast to a high-end audio enthusiast (also known as ‘audiophile’). Albums that I had heard hundreds, if not thousands of times, had an entirely new depth of meaning. There were layers of harmonies, background details, sound staging, hidden rhythms, and wide dynamic contrasts that had remain unexposed with my prior system. From that day forward, I started a journey that deepened my connection to music while concurrently straining my finances.

Over the intervening years, I have been regularly reading audio publications, online reviews and audio forums resulting in countless upgrades to components, speakers, cables, and acoustic treatments. As the complexity and sophistication of the audio system increased, there was a direct improvement in transparency, holographic imaging, frequency extension and overall euphonic impact resulting in greater levels of connectiveness and engagement with the music. Even small changes had a demonstrable and palpable influence on my listening experience.

Yet it also needs mentioning that this industry is viewed with extreme skepticism within some realms of popular culture. It is characterized as having a reputation of snobbery, absence of scientific evidence, and even elements of snake oil. It is recognized as hobby of extravagant spending on items that only create imagined differences in sonics. In my experience, the audiophile community is comprised of individuals that are collectively driven by a passion for recreating musical events within the home to generate a greater and more involved listening experience.

My passion has finally culminated in the completion of a dedicated room in my house for the express purpose of deriving maximum benefit of my system (with endless gratitude to my very understanding wife).

How does this all relate to our journey in the Ivey EMBA program? My career path has naturally been a function of my training and experience. I had never contemplated exploring high-end audio as a potential industry where I would have a meaningful role. As we were completing the readings and lectures for Strategic, Analysis and Action, my perspective started to shift, and new ideas began to emerge. At this juncture, there have been no formalized or concrete plans, but this evolution in my thinking truly exemplifies the transformative impact of this program. Dare I say stay tuned?
This piece is nicely done, in my opinion.
 

gleeds

Industry Expert
May 29, 2018
773
1,257
235
AD, I too have enjoyed a life long journey as an audiophile. Within a span of 4.5 decades I have founded or acquired several audio business, but spent the bulk of my years growing a plastics injection molding business, creating a digital media company, as a turnaround specialist and business advisor, and an investment banker to owner founded firms.

For the past three years I have been happily immersed in launching a distribution company representing younger designers with new ideas and extraordinary talent which has been one of the most rewarding endeavors of my life. Most recently I have been advising a domestic high-end audio firm on marketing and building a global distribution network worthy of their extraordinary products. All to say it's a wonderful, and yet at times challenging business so an endless well of positivity, passion and perseverance are IMO the order of the day. Thank you for sharing your experiences in audio, business and life. Please feel free to reach out to me via PM should you want to chat. Most of all best of luck with your future audio adventures!
 

ADGold

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
38
107
940
Toronto, Canada
AD, I too have enjoyed a life long journey as an audiophile. Within a span of 4.5 decades I have founded or acquired several audio business, but spent the bulk of my years growing a plastics injection molding business, creating a digital media company, as a turnaround specialist and business advisor, and an investment banker to owner founded firms.

For the past three years I have been happily immersed in launching a distribution company representing younger designers with new ideas and extraordinary talent which has been one of the most rewarding endeavors of my life. Most recently I have been advising a domestic high-end audio firm on marketing and building a global distribution network worthy of their extraordinary products. All to say it's a wonderful, and yet at times challenging business so an endless well of positivity, passion and perseverance are IMO the order of the day. Thank you for sharing your experiences in audio, business and life. Please feel free to reach out to me via PM should you want to chat. Most of all best of luck with your future audio adventures!
Gleeds, very much appreciated - PM sent!
 

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