When we came to the Ormsby Hill in July 2012, there was an audio system which consisted of a Sherwood stereo amplifier and Yamaha six-disc carousel CD player. The previous owners had several six-pack cassettes of CDs, that were used as a storage device for various collections of discs. They would manually change the CDs in the carousel CD player every five hours so that the same music would not be heard that day. The next morning, they’d repeat the same routine.
|On Day One at Ormsby Hill, I connected my iPod stand to the amplifier and played Pandora so that I did not have to change any CDs. I carefully scheduled Pandora stations to change every hour to reflect the cadence of the day at the inn. Music automatically comes on at 7:00 am with the lazy sound of Jazz guitar and the tempo picks up a bit to Jazz Bosa Nova around breakfast time to gently wake you up to anticipate what is to come today. Then the tempo increases and so does the sophistication, though we are still in the Jazz mode. Just when you are starting to wonder what kind of music is coming up next, it phases into the lounge BGM (Back Ground Music) in the afternoon, which brings contemporary synthetic mixture and laid back melody into this 18th century house. In the early evening, straight ahead jazz and piano trio will lightly fill the common area as you pass through to go to your room.|
In Tokyo, I would go to HMV in Shibuya and spend two to three hours sampling CDs that looked good. This particular HMV store had Japanese Pop on the first floor, Rock and Soul on the second floor with a large alternative section for Acid, House, Techno, Ambiance, and Drum and Base. The third floor was all classic music and the fourth floor was the Jazz floor. I bought 5 to 10 CDs at a time as I found music that matched my mood among discs that I sampled. With Pandora, hunting for new music and sampling is so easy to the point that it became a passive activity. I miss the days when you flipped through the albums with your fingers and selected albums based on the album cover, which worked sometimes and other times it didn’t. But that’s how you discovered new music to expanded your album collection. Now, not only do you get to sample, but some algorithm picks up a song that is similar to what you’ve chosen previously without specifying what elements attracted you to that song to begin with. I still don’t know how it does it, but it seems to know my taste.
|I put my old analog tube stereo system in FRANCES, so next time you have a chance, please check it out. I’ve already gone through the first set of tubes (they physically burn out after so many year’s use) and the current ones are Russian KT88s. I came to the conclusion that the inefficiency of the analog tube amplifier actually enhances the main sound element being played while dropping other noises to inaudible levels, though still present in the background. The result is a mild and comfortable rounded sound that you can listen to for hours. The digital music sometimes has too much sound data that you do not need to enjoy the recording and the unadulterated clarity gets to be tiring after a while.|
|In TAFT, I put a Nu Force Icon Amp connected to a pair of piano black lacquer finish Monitor Audio speakers. Weighing only one pound and measuring 6 x 4 1/2 x 1 inch, this amp was conceived to operate as an audiophile-grade desktop power amplifier. TAFT’s unique tent like ceiling architecture seems to further enhance the acoustic expansion, filling the room with breathy balanced waves… perfect BGM for a side-by-side massage or soak in the whirlpool tub.|
|The newest addition is NHT speakers in LIBRARY. I bought something called a digital amplifier which digitally amplifies the sound data, thus eliminating any noise. It is connected to a small tablet with WIFI connection. So far, it is not at the level of FRANCES or TAFT, but the NHT speakers are a good starting point to build another audio set. I have an analogue tube CD player kit that I bought in Tokyo 15 years ago, which is still in the box. Perhaps I should finally build this CD player to match up with the NHTs.|
In pursuit of the “best” sound…
The Inn at Ormsby Hill, Manchester VT