As a Doctor, artist, and music lover, I have always been drawn to creating and consuming various forms of art. I run an art studio and listening sessions in Chennai along with my friend Prabhu Ramakrishnan, called "The Ink Studio|Gallery", where I believe that good singing starts with good listening. My deep love for music started with a natural process of listening to cinema and parallel non-filmi Hindi albums. But by the age of 16, I started taking a deep dive into nuances of regional film music and started exploring different genres of music through MP3s and DVDs available at that time, before the YouTube era. My serious listening journey began with a generic amplifier, stereo speakers, and a ₹50 tweeters pair.
Stumbled upon a few first or second-copy iPods and MP3 players and had great love with a Transcend 2 GB MP3 player with a sound recorder which I used as a microphone too for my first short film sound. I was a frequent visitor of Ritchie street in Chennai an electronic hub even now and love gazing at evolving techs. Chifi especially...
My love for the nuances and details of a song inspired me to explore the hobby more and more. Especially AR Rahman's mixing fascinated me later with many other genres like Bob Marley, Wagner, Bach, and Louis Armstrong who all gave me goosebumps with their lyrics or compositions. I am a DAPophile and colourphile and listening to Dx160 always gave me some emotions all my eargasm moments were with that DAP which I still retain.
A specific moment was when I listened with T5V stereo speakers at a friend's place where the Sound image was floating in the air ., Unforgettable and...& with another moment with Meze Audio Elite, in an audiophile meet listening to Amber Rubarth's Strive ...I was fooled twice because of stage and timbre I thought who the hell playing a stereo speakers in a meet without sense...such a wide audio Stage by the can. That time I realised either get this gear and die or never get this and cherish this memory.
I am a little knit picker and rare I feel... have love and OCD for album arts, managing and switching album arts is a separate sub-hobby for me. Having great album arts collection drove me into the hobby too. My taste in music has evolved from generic unnamed speakers, tweeters, Amps, and MP3s to HiRes music files, streamers and great quality imported audio gears, especially DAPs, iems & Cans. Genre love has not widened majorly, except in EDM, ambient music evolved much especially love for Yosi Harikawa inspired me to record ambient sounds. But when I have begun the Journey it was boring ...like why people loved this sound etc. because I was spoiled with Bass bloated (? SONY) gears in past may be.
I have a fondness for DAPs like IBasso Dx160 DAP, and Fiio M11 DAP both for the immense storage and emotion they convey especially Dx160. Penon Orb for its speciality tone and refined mids especially for Raja Songs. Sennheiser HD 600 cans for their natural holistic sound. Sundara by a Hifiman for its piercing bright details. Sennheiser HD650 for its electrifying energy. I always carry a small piece of gear bag even be it a short time out of home, a DAP, an IEM a TWS. My wife scolds me and an empty account or wallet is a bad effect on daily life, but stopped impulse buying after a while. I am proud the great music made my day in the end and I feel lucky I can appreciate great musical sound without tinnitus for now., and I listen to less quantity of songs, but in great quality.
Based on the design, colours, and unique sound signature (in that order), especially a little bright signature I choose equipment. Durability & service is important too. My best advice for someone starting in the world of music and audio gear is to start with something relatable and familiar and trust your ears. Engage more with different genres of music rather than focusing on gear. Consider starting with a decent Dongle DAC like Abigail by VE, a TRN MT1 iem, and a lossless music subscription. And also always be aware of the volume and don't ignore any symptoms of tinnitus, it's better to be safe than sorry.
As I reflect on my journey in the world of music and audio gear, I am grateful for the experiences and memories that it has given me. From listening to my first music on a generic amplifier and speakers, to discovering new genres and artists, to upgrading my gear and experimenting with different sound signatures, it has been a thrilling and rewarding experience.
I am grateful for the moments of pure joy and emotion that music has given me and for the friendships and connections that it has brought into my life. And, I am excited to see where my journey in this hobby will take me next. I will continue to trust my ears, engage with different genres of music, and enjoy the beauty and artistry of sound.