People don't just cry in pain.

Although we have had fully matured baby boomers in tears in the shop after hearing how good vinyl sounds ten years after they gave away their record collection in the nineties with the full advent of compact disc.

The best tears are very special. they happen when you just get that combination of kit, mood, and music right in a demo and the potential client becomes lachrymose.

I remember my first time I made someone cry. We played her Gershwin though a pair of Mordaunt Short MS300 loudspeakers and a Rega turntable. I was actually incredibly worried that I had done something terribly wrong and had incurred a minor psychotic episode or that she was having something awful happen in her life outside of my small interaction.

It transpired that she was simply moved sufficiently by the music that it led to an immediate and direct emotional response. They weren't tears of joy exactly but they certainly weren't conventional sadness.

We became good friends after that. There is a special sensitivity of a person who can shed tears appropriately.

Good music has a fundamental relationship with our humanity. It seems likely that before there was complex language there was rhythm and soul. Music combined with narrative and emotional events always spells a significant piece of our lives. For a healthy human a piece of music is an effective form of time travel more accessible than a Tardis.

I have a problem with streaming ... all the sound appears to be there, there is frequency and bandwidth and tonality and timbre and octave separation etc etc. But it doesn't seem to be able to make our clients cry ...

I continually harangue my millennial colleagues not to put the tablet with Tidal or Deezer in the prospective clients hand but to please play them an appropriate CD or LP. not because I can measure the difference in sound but because I can measure the difference in sales. To make a sale we have to be able to find that emotional G Spot that makes the client fall in love with the kit.

When the first iPods appeared and people were bringing them in to audition prospective kit we found it was terrible for sales. The iPods tended to bring all the good kit down to the lowest common demoninator and simply werent able to engage the clients emotionally to bring them across the line for buying good Hi Fi to play them through. The iPod made everything feel the same, and boring. They lacked the soul.

There was a later period during the ascendancy of online music when we were selling several D to A Converters a day. These were being purchased by explorers of the new streaming and download formats as part of their process of embedding the new access to music in their listening habitue.

For a brief while the NAD M51 was king claiming 392 Khz decoding for $999.  Cambridge Audio and Bryston all made hay in the marketplace of our small shop at the same time. PS Audio introduced the Directstream in its first version which to this day remains one of the accomplished DACs .

The trouble is that most of these clients kept coming back for more devices related to the new music. Streamers, digital transports, software upgrades, cables, circuit boards, subscriptions to new servers, USB transports and LAN devices. A whole new product category was being created, unfortunately some of it was suffering a very short lifespan.

It became apparent that the promise of sunlit uplands of musical satisfaction at home for this most critical of consumers who were making these choices was not being fullfilled by the new post CD digital realms. Not only was there this intrinsic dissatisfaction but there was also the continual imposition of new formats and hardware required to access it beyond the basic level of such as Sonos.

At this time people stated returning to the store and being played records ... we had our perrenial Rega Planar 3 on display and were discovering the pleasure and pain of dealing with the awesome Michell Gyrodec. This was the time when many a grown man would cry ... alas not just from the inspiration of the music but often from the realisation that the old records he had given away were actually an important part of his life story.

Now we have a situation where nearly every system we sell includes a turntable as the primary source. Without any apparent marketing intervention by the hungry tier one crocodile brands vinyl has selfsumed it's way to the primary source for a new High Fidelity system in a home. 

No doubt there is a fashion driven association with this rebirth but in essence we have always found the most compelling arguement for vinyl has simply been how much people like the music when we play it to them in that format.

A couple of people whose thoughts I respect most in the world have written and lectured eloquently on the connection of music with our humanity. One is Ivor Tiefenbraun the founder of Linn and the man responsible for the iconic LP12. Ivor connects the very first pre-cambrian organisms as found in the remarquable Burgess shale deposits with the evolution of the notochord, and the contemporary ability of birds to sing and humans to express complex concept,s together with the omnipresent sense of rhythm and mathematics of which our universe is made.

Then there is our dearly and sadly departed Terry Pratchett and his book from the Discworld series "Soul Music". Even if you have never read any other Pratchett ... and your life is a slightly grimmer and more miserable event if you haven't ... then please read Soul Music for it's insight into how there is a tune that all life dances to. 

So if you come in to Carlton Audio Visual for a demonstration and we try and make you cry ... don't worry ... it's not the intrinsic sadism of a Harvey's style commission salesperson, it's the empathy of the musician audiophile finding common ground in humanity.