Background vs foreground listening on LP or streaming + music review



  • Video Views: 4667
  • Published On: 2018-09-09 16:25:36
  • Video Published/Author: Steve Guttenberg Audiophiliac
  • Video Duration: 00:04:49
  • Source: Watch on YouTube


Does format play a role in foreground versus background listening? That is, are you more likely to actively listen to LP, and less likely when streaming? And then if you’re mostly background listening why buy a really decent audio system?

Today’s music review is Michael Powers brilliant Onyx Root album, https://www.discogs.com/Michael-Powers-Onyx-Root/release/6746411


0 Shares:
40 comments
  1. Background music is tiring and distracting, I leave that to neurotics. I love and prefer records, but records cost so much more than CDs, alas.

  2. The act of putting on a record usually facilitates an active listening experience. Its a ritual process and tradition, and due to the fact that your consumption options are much more limited on a per song basis when the record goes on, it leads to more focused, attentive listening for me.

  3. Technically, there is no such thing as "background listening", LP, CD, File has no baring. You are either listening or not listening. In other words, to listen requires paying attention, so if you are not paying attention, you are not listening. If you are one who doesn't really "listen" to music for whatever reason, but likes to have it in the background as say a grounding noise or some other reason, then I would figure there is no need to worry about having even a decent system. (I'm almost jealous of that because as a music enthusiast who is always compelled to active listening, I have to worry about my system. Mind you, I don't get crazy about it like an audiophile because I don't listen to gear, I listen to music. I just need it to have a very pleasing sound to my ears, so I do what I can).

  4. I have zero interest in listening to music in the background, while doing another activity. All my listening is foreground, active listening.

    But then, NONE of the music I listen to (avant-garde prog rock, jazz and fusion, contemporary classical) is conducive to background listening, They require active listening to understand what is going on.

    But you are correct, if I was a background listener, I would not at all be interested in high end audio.

  5. The only way this is not true is listening via headphone or iems. Regardless of where your attentions placed they don't do background listening.

  6. We have a Sonos system, I listen to The Audiophiliac frying eggs 😂
    Great recommendation Steve, I don’t listen to enough blues, this recording sounds great 👌🏼

  7. I've been thinking that maybe I don't need to get super high-end gear. Sometimes I do focus on music but I also have background music on fairly often. I have $100 headphones. I don't have speakers. I'm not sure if it's worth going higher. Thoughts?

  8. I listen to rips of CD's 90% of the time. I buy a CD and immediately rip it. I have a really nice system in my vehicle that is were I listen to 5% on the radio. The final bit I listen to on internet streaming on You Tube. But only after I've bought it on CD. Only time I listen to music as background is when I'm in my vehicle other wise it's all foreground even from You Tube.

  9. How about midground ???
    I put on an album while I am reading on the net. I can't do videos and have music on, it's just gets too confoooooosing.
    Great shirt today Steve !!!

  10. Who are the two douchebags that consistently gives you two thumbs down every day ? What is the point of that. They obviously listen ever day. Oh well, I give you a thumbs up every day.

  11. Steve two things number one seeing the title of your video I thought you were going to talk about listening to the obvious things in a song or music versus trying to listen deeply into the recording and background instruments and harmonies and Ambience and stuff like that so I thought that was kind of funny that you didn't talk about that LOL.

    #2 Question for you is the upcoming Rocky Mountain audio Fest are you going to make a video talking about what you're looking forward to see or wondering what a person should not miss at the show? I was going to try and focus on speakers. thanks

  12. Listening to music should not matter if it is in foreground or background, but it does due to quality of playback. You notice how bad music can be when piped in at food court in a mall. So inherently by listening to music that is played through cheap public announcement speakers everywhere on a constant basis, one can foment an opinion that music in the background is crap. Enjoy music the way you want to because in the end it is essentially your choice.

  13. I do both, but I have 4 zones that I can stream from, into 3 different systems. One system is in my bedroom, with an old Squeezebox and AudioEngine 2+ speakers. Another zone is my kitchen and back yard, which run off a Raspberry Pi and powered by a couple pair of non descript micro speakers. In my living room I have a home theater system driven by various old speakers I've discarded over the years. It actually streams from an Amazon Fire Stick and some software (Kodi). Finally my main system also has access to the same network hard drive. It uses an Allo USBridge streamer (a Raspberry Pi-like device with better USB) and currently drives my vintage Dynaco/Altec system. I can stream from the same hard drive (or Tidal/Spotify) to any of these systems. My main system also has vinyl playback. I no longer own a CD player, other than what I rip my CDs with. About 25,000 files. The vinyl playback on the main system consists of about 1,200 records in 33/45/78 format. If I'm in the listening room (main system), it's almost always critical listening. Anywhere else is background/casual. In the main room it's always 16/44.1 flac and above. The rest can be anything including MP3. Anyway that's how I do it. I don't worry about sound quality at all anywhere else – which is why I'm happy with a vintage pair of Radio Shack Minimus 7's in the kitchen and even worse in the back yard. The player for all areas except the home theater is Logitech Media Server. All controlled from a single phone controller. The main room is the only room with a dedicated DAC.

  14. I use background listening while driving, reading or working. It actually makes me more productive when I work to listen to music in the background. It’s not so common anymore to see people just sitting down doing nothing else than listening. I feel unproductive when my brain is not interacting with something. Perhaps we’ve evolved away from couch potato listening or watching. Yes, same thing has happened with just watching TV. Young people can’t sit in front of a TV without using their smart phone or computer nowadays. It’s sad in a way because it means we are less aware of the depth of qualities in music or movie. I used to sit hours just intensively listening getting excited of the details and ambience in music using my Stax electrostatics headphones.

  15. Hi steve, i listening to back ground music and then it wont matter what the music format is. But when i listening to a record or stream or it is a dvd or cd then the system and speakers are realy inportant to me. i love good sound. i like your channel and see you next time

  16. Background listening when reading or working on project or while driving is almost always FM radio. Foreground on my budget audiophile system is always digital files.

  17. Foreground on my hi-end rig, both Vinyl and digital, but especially when I'm paying a record….I just get sucked in and can't multitask.
    Background I use Alexa 😨

  18. I never listen to background music. I have a custom sound system in my bedroom and my dedicated listening room. I have an older car I won't sell because it has a superb 8 channel audio system but I always get sucked into the music and sing (I am very good) or tap away. I was a musician until I was crippled and music is everything. Keep in mind that Stephen is a Celebrity and when my club bumps into him I never bother him, He must get swamped for autographs.

  19. When I listen to LP's, I sit down and focus on the music. When I am cleaning the house, I play burned cd's that I have designated as "house cleaning" discs.

  20. When I listen to music in the background I usually use my high end system in the living room to stream uncompressed music from my NAS while sitting in the kitchen having dinner or some wine with my wife.
    Sitting down and really getting into the music is great, but there is nothing wrong with having music in the background to create a vibe.
    I actually don't mind how the entire living room loads my 15inch velodyne servo sub either.

  21. I stream Tidal with my iPhone and iSine 20’s when I commute. It’s sort of a background situation, but the high quality sound brings it more forward compared to my Car’s sound system. I appreciate the difference when I commute, shop, or any other “background” situation.

  22. Interesting question, as I hadn't given it much thought. But digging through recent memory, it would seem that I don't play music for it to be in the background; not even when I drive. Maybe that wasn't always true, but it is these days. When I play music, I play in order to listen to it and I play either vinyl or digital files (I buy CDs and rip them to lossless format). Actually, this may go back, waayyyy back, to high school when we had a substitute teacher for one of my classes and she postulated that it was a bad idea to listen to music while studying because the brain was then trying to do two things at once and you can't do either very well, and it tires the brain more quickly than just focusing on studying. Interesting that one of the few useful things that I can remember learning in high school (or college, for that matter!) came from a substitute teacher!

  23. I’m right there with one of your other listeners . I don’t listen to any background music anymore. I listen with my eyes closed and headphones perched on my head. I moved cross country last month and hired some people to help me pack and clean up my place. They ended up stealing most of my tools and all of my cd’s and lp’s. Fortunately I had most of them converted to digital and many replaced with higher resolution files. Long answer I only listen to digital and some streaming music.

  24. Hi Steve, usually play CD's for focused listening at home.
    Music in background when listening to internet Radio at home.
    And Streaming on phone when out and about, bit of both.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like