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Why does music sound so much better when you’re listening in the evening?

bluedroog

Prominent Member
Is it about background noise, something to do with the air pressure or simply our mood?

I’m not playing Devil’s advocate here, genuinely interested to hear people’s views on this, or are there accepted theories? For me listening during the day or evening is (excuse the pun) night and day.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Sometimes I get home from work early (say 3pm) and have the house to myself, so I'll put on a CD and enjoy. I don't know that I find it any less enjoyable than listening later on in the evening, plus I can please myself what I listen to. ;) I've also had demos of AV gear in the mornings, but I'm more of a night owl, so I'm not keen on too much noise early in the morning, maybe that's what you mean?
 

formbypc

Established Member
I find music sounds better when listening in the dark. Maybe something to do with one of the senses being suppressed, and the brain giving more attention to the others.

If someone were to creep up silently and make believe a spider was crawling behind my ear, my sense of touch would probably make me jump 2 feet higher than normal.....

I haven't tried eating at the same time to see if sense of taste is enhanced, though - that would be an easy one to test the hypothesis.
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
I find music sounds better in the dark. Maybe some senses being suppressed, and the brain giving more attention to others.

I'm sure that's it. I see the brain as being rather like a computer in that it is only able to process a certain amount of information at a time, which is why using a mobile whilst driving can have unhelpful results. Remove the need to process visual information and it does a better job with sound.

I think there might be a variety of reasons why a Hi-Fi can sound better in the evening. Mood, a glass of wine or other physical changes may contribute. For example if you close the curtains in the evening you might loose reflections off the window, I know that's true in my house.

The sound produced by the system itself may actually alter though, I believe it does. I believe Hi-Fi systems tend to sound better as they warm up, not physically but get moving I mean. It's certainly true of turntables and if I know someone is coming specifically to hear my system I'll play music through it for hours beforehand. The difference is significant.

The other thing that I believe can change is the quality of the mains. many people assume that it's a constant but it can vary and there may be less noise and fluctuation in the mains at night when shops, offices and industry are all asleep.

After a day's use and hours of sunlight the room might be physically warmer too, there are so many possibilities but whatever the reasons it does seem true to say that Hi-fi systems do sound better at some times than they do at others.
 

SirDoss

Established Member
You know, the OP is absolutley correct, music does sound better in the evening. I personally think it's down to two things, ambience and background noise (or lack of).

I find listening in a darkened room with a nice lamp on gives the room a warm feeling and I'm sure this rubs off on the music. Also, when I haven't got CBeebies playing away in the next room or the washing machine running in the kitchen, it again helps with the vibe. Everything seems sharper and I can hear more. A nice glass of red also helps :)
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
As well as environmental factors, I think it's closely related to the placebo effect too, which strongly believe is massively underestimated by the audiophile community and massively exploited by the hifi industry.

The human mind and senses are extremely suggestible, especially our hearing. Our enjoyment and opinions are effected by things such as mood, tiredness, concentration levels, expectations, social factors, personal preferences, etc etc.

I find music sounds better in the evening, but i put it down to being more relaxed and comfortable. I once demoed some gear one Saturday morning with a friend. The next day we revisited the store and asked for another demo. We both agreed that this gear sounded much much better than what we heard the previous day, only to find out that it was the exact same gear and CD with heard the day before. The difference was astounding, yet nothing had changed. That was quite a few years back and since then i have read up a lot of the subject and have spoken a great deal to a relative who works as a sound engineer for the BBC and also worked at Abby Road for a short time, they spend thousands eliminating bias. He, and other engineers, are also extremely cynical about the high end audio industry.




*other opinions are available.
 

Andy8421

Established Member
The other thing that I believe can change is the quality of the mains. many people assume that it's a constant but it can vary and there may be less noise and fluctuation in the mains at night when shops, offices and industry are all asleep.

Mains noise will not get past your local substation. Unless you live on an industrial estate, mains noise will increase in the evening as the population returns from work and gets the vacuum cleaner out and switches on the washing machine.

Any decent amp will have sufficient input filtering to make mains noise a non-issue.
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
Any decent amp will have sufficient input filtering to make mains noise a non-issue.

If that was the case then separate mains filters would make no audible difference. But they do.

He, and other engineers, are also extremely cynical about the high end audio industry.

I might be inclined to disagree if I had heard a single piece of Hi-End kit that I thought sounded any good. The game mostly seems to be building fluff and spangles into the products to add perceived value. I recently saw a phono stage that was as big and complicated as most amplifiers and came with a remote control that was made of wood! Really, I'm not making it up. The remote allowed the user to switch input sensitivity and impedance although how the wood improved functionality was unclear.
 

mandarin

Standard Member
There are a lot of people that seem inept at discerning quality for themselves, and therefore have to spend a certain amount for it to feel good / trustworthy / quality. The same people that need their woven-in-Lesotho cotton fabric to carry a premium brand name.

I am still a bit skeptical about the mains filters, especially since the guy that was talking about them in the shop recently also recommended 4 pads to put underneath each component, and per set of 4 they were 650 euros. These were apparently little miracles.

Perception is a flexible thing. Eye witness accounts vary considerably based on individual mindsets, prejudices, expectations, etc.... and perception is reality (to that person).

I remain open minded though. I would like to hear for myself if there is a difference or not. I think there's nothing better than listening to jazz until 4am, but I feel it's mostly to do with being nocturnal and having zero background noises and no expectation of household chores. Complete relaxation time.
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
there's nothing better than jazz until 4am, but I feel it's mostly to do with having zero background noises and no expectation of household chores.

I think you're probably right.

I am still a bit skeptical about the mains filters

They do make a difference. Ok, I haven't liked the ones I've heard but you can hear a difference! ;0) Putting stuff under your equipment can make an audible difference too. It obviously depends on a lot of factors but it costs nothing to try, you don't need to spend money. I remember years ago talking to Robert Ritchie, of Robert Ritchie Hi-Fi in Montrose, about the effect that Hi-Fi supports had. He had messed about with his LP12 sitting it on anything that came to hand and had found that they did effect the sound. As I say, costs nothing to try.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
.... being nocturnal and having zero background noises and no expectation of household chores. Complete relaxation time.

Yep, Your mind is free to wander.

It can be that quiet that you can hear a pin drop. Obviously, without the music on:)

For me, its not only jazz, but usually 'chill out' music, no matter the genre, until i drop asleep
 
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