I am a classically trained musician who loves rock and roll. Of course, I do enjoy the classics, particularly the choral repertoire, large-scale orchestras, and baroque chamber music. However, when I have time to listen, I gravitate toward indie rock artists like Richard Thompson, Elvis Costello, and Wilco.
Realism Triggers: I like "fast" electronics and "fast" speakers, primarily because when I listen to live music I never hear a trace of slurred notes, blunted attacks, lagging transients, or overhanging decays. I also value wide bandwidth, unencumbered dynamics, and timbral color intensity. Components must also be "musical", in that they preserve and reveal the flow of both the piece and the performance.
Unrealism Triggers: Rolled highs, sloppy bass, uneven or rushed tempo, dynamic restraint, pinpoint imaging (which I do not find natural).
Large Room -- A capacious, purpose-built media room. Though integrated with home theater components, the priority is squarely on sound. No wall-mounted speakers here! And the audio chain completely bypasses video-oriented components (e.g. - the surround sound processor) when playing music. Bookcases filled mostly with albums line one of the side walls. The other side wall is covered with a commissioned work of art that also serves as a sonic diffuser.
Small Room -- A typical family room, with much nearer-field listening than in the large room. The entire front end has, until very recently, been all Goldmund: turntable (with Graham arm and Clearaudio Insider Gold cartridge), CD transport, preamp, DAC, and amp. I used to use Goldmund cables and power cords as well, but long ago switched to the superior and far more affordable Empirical Design products.
:Large Room -- Primarily Goldmund source components and electronics. I recently replaced the Goldmund DAC with the Bryston BDA-1. The speakers are one-of-a-kind Metaphor Model 1's. This speaker was to have been the late, lamented company's flagship model, but Metaphor went under before they could be put into production. I own the only pair and I cherish them. The Raven ribbon tweeter ensures smooth top-end extension, but the entire tower is tuned for coherence and speed. Sadly, a blown and apparently irreplaceable woofer may retire these great speakers forever. The main speakers are complemented by a 15" B&W subwoofer that I spent literally years integrating seamlessly into the blend. Empirical Design cables and cords, ASC Tube traps, Goldmund stands.
Small Room -- A Bryston BCD-1 CD player is the primary source, and it feeds a Goldmund preamp and either a Conrad-Johnson or Goldmund power amp. Speakers are the Metaphor Model 2 full-range speaker.
Music Background: Classically trained in piano, composition, and voice. I have sung with professional caliber choruses for most of my life, and can be heard (among many others!) in the Grammy "Best Choral" recording of the Britten "War Requiem" on Naxos. I have also been a songwriter since I was 5, and continue to ply that trade.
Instruments: A Steinway Model L and a Kurzweil K2600S.