Since 1995, I have used the handle (not Handel, eh?) biberfan to identify myself online as a music enthusiast, especially for music written between 1600-1780, roughly considered the baroque period.
A Fan of Biber? Bach? Beethoven? Since 1998, I have been publishing content online through weblogs to share my passion for music, technology, and cuisine. This website is dedicated towards the review of baroque and classical music, and musings on the performance of music and whatever else suits my interests. I am curator of the site, having discovered the music of Bach and "classical" composers in the late 1980s. And with that pedigree, I am not trying to boast, but rather to clearly establish my fandom is for old music, not Justin Bieber.
I grew up in the midwest of the U.S. I began to study the piano at age 5, and later picked up the trombone into college and graduate school. While I still play the piano today, my favorite instrument is the baroque violin. One of the reasons I have chosen to write for this long about music is that I find little opportunity to converse where I live about music with fans. The "instrument" I play the most now, however, is the stereo. Writing about music helps me cope with not actively using two of my degrees in music.
I pay attention to sound quality. Not all reviews I read regularly mention the quality of the recording. But making a recording is not just the musicians, there are artists behind the scenes that can make or break our aesthetic experience. To that end, I listen to music typically in four situations. For reviews, I use one or two of my more critical setups to try and get as close as possible to the details within the music. I'm not an audio snob (I hope), just an aspiring audiophile with a modest budget.
Oh, you’re still reading? (Thanks.) In case you’re interested in the details of my listening setup, I’ll include them here.
1. Car. I’ve been told a car is a horrible space for good sound, but my commutes allow me up to 30 minutes each day for listening. With a new model car, I use Apple Car Play and wireless Bluetooth with my iPhone and also an SD card with digital copies made from my iTunes library.
2. Computer. I use iTunes to manage my collection. The computer reports, as of December, 2016, 1372 albums and 381 GB of digital music. The collection is a mixture of ripped CDs in Apple Lossless format, and purchased digital music from Amazon, Apple, and some hi-res retailers. Music is stored on a Synology NAS. My Macintosh is then connected via TOSlink to an outboard DAC by Channel Islands Audio. I currently am using my college graduation gift, a Rotel integrated amp, to drive one of two pairs of Sennheiser headphones (HD 600 and HD 650s).
3. Sonos. We have several Sonos systems delivering music through either bookshelf speakers (B&W) or built-in ceiling speakers and a stand-alone Sonos speaker in the bathroom. I like the convenience that Sonos provides and its integration with my iTunes library.
4. Stereo. I have a room dedicated to listening with a more conventional loudspeaker system. I most recently purchased a Auralic Aries streaming appliance which connects to the Synology NAS.. Amplifier is by Classé and the digital preamp/DAC is by Bel Canto. Wires are by Acoustic Zen. Speakers are by Avalon Acoustics.
In my spare time, I peruse Audiogon and research the next wave of stereo gear. Money that would otherwise go to audio equipment or music typically goes to travel. And finally, I have not yet succumbed to a streaming audio service, but I'm tempted.