Sep 10, 201886 views

Introducing Someone to Music/HiFi

Hey, so I'm already a pretty seasoned HiFi'er myself, but my girlfriend who doesn't (or hasn't) listened to a lot of music wants me to show her my hobby. She doesn't have a pair of earbuds/IEMs or headphones but she want to at least taste the differences between LoFi and HiFi. I'm just not sure where to start, I have a wide selection of equipment to choose from, from dollar store IEMs and Apple Earpods to Sennheiser HD 600's and Grado SR-325e's (my favourites) that can be driven off my test rig (Tidal HiFi>MacBook Pro>Schiit Jotunheim). So my questions is what do I give her to start with?
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I suspect she has ulterior motives--best keep your wits about you!
Keep things simple, your attention on her and you should be fine! :)
I would start with the equipment/music combination you think is best. Then let her listen with the other phones and find which she likes best. Once you introduce someone to the clarity of HiFi, it's very hard to go back.
I started off my wife with the Nuforce EDC and then the EDC3 so she could get an idea of a dynamic driver vs multi balanced armatures. From there, she went to the Campfire Atlas and Focal Elex. The latter two she noticed a massive increase in sound quality and enjoyment. She constantly noted she could hear singers breathing or hand placement/striking from cellists and how much more real, punchy, and vivid everything sounded compared to the Nuforce offerings. I then moved her up to using my iFi amp/DAC and that gave her another level of resolution and soundstage she wasn't expecting (she mentioned everything sounded more '3D'). So far out of everything I own, she is absolutely in love with the Atlas. So, she at least has very good taste.
The biggest hurdle I think was finding well produced music that shows these differences. I always start off with playing tracks that are familiar and see if they notice anything different or better. If they listen to shit music, play something that's recorded well (I usually go with soul & funk oldies or EDM). This way, they have a baseline for what's considered well-recorded so they can at least identify a poorly recorded song.
In short, start off slow and weave better offerings in over time. That way they can establish a baseline to move up from. For her, the biggest "a ha" moment was detail retrieval during a Yo-Yo Ma album playing pieces by Bach. What stood out to her was the separation of notes from left to right and placement/movement of the bow. To her, that was enlightening.
Either way, good luck and have fun.