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Simone Ragionieri's bio

I must have been exposed to music since I was in the womb. I imagine my mother working from home with the radio on, always whistling and singing aloud while I was slowly growing inside her. This must be the reason why I feel such a pristine voracious need for having music with me since I can remember.

I have always been curious about music of all types and genres even as a kid – and not only music. Even sounds have a special fascination for me. Sounds of nature, mechanical sounds, artificial sounds, noise, even the spoken or written word for me is often more about sound than meaning.

Music gives meanings to sounds, sometimes rational, mostly emotional and physical. That for me translates into a most essential nourishment that's fed me throughout my life in so many different ways.

My relationship with music has always been very personal even private. Even when attending live concerts which I still do on a regular basis, I seek a form of isolation whereby I am directly connected with the music and only partially with the performer if it's a very charismatic artist.

When I first visited a high-end audio store in my teens, it was a revelation. I could not imagine that I would experience in a private setting the immanence and realism of music being created around me—I dare say for me—in the room by ghosts I could almost see and touch. That marked a point of no return to start my audio journey. I kept visiting the shop almost daily on a 40-min. ride with my moped and the fascination of music began to blend with a certain visual and sensual engagement I felt with the equipment.

I could not even remotely afford most of that gear but started immediately setting aside all my modest student part-time pay for audio purchases. Almost 10 years later so by the end of university, I managed to put together a cozy system of Teac VRDS-10, Audio Note Oto and Spendor LS3/5a that played in my small room all of the time.

After graduating I started working far from home, moving from a small apartment to the next to have to put the idea of cultivating my hifi passion on hold. Fast forward to the 2010s. I was finally more stable but still struggled with small living spaces so revisited this hobby through the side door of headfi. It was a second revelation. I simply did not suspect that headphones could provide such a satisfying experience given my preference for the spatial aspects of playback. Yet the Sennheiser HD800 with a Pathos Aurium hybrid amp did a surprisingly good job at that even with classical orchestral music which by this time had become my genre of preference.

This discovery together with my tendency to establish an intimate connection with music and/or use that connection to isolate myself from the rest of the world kicked off my journey into headfi. I see it as a worthwhile experience in itself so not a surrogate for speakers. In the last ten years I have owned or extensively trialled most of the top-tier headfi available including über exotica. I learnt that the type sound I respond to positively is primarily the natural lively comforting sound of acoustic instruments played live. Therefor timbre realism and an organic presentation with a physical visceral presence are at the core of what I look for when auditioning and purchasing gear.

To pursue my elusive sonic ideal takes a lot of trial 'n' error. I always try to stick to the rule of personally evaluating high-end equipment before purchasing. It's a bumpy road and takes a lot of effort including occasional trips to foreign countries but does pay dividends in the end. I hope that sharing some of my findings on 6moons may be helpful to others not necessarily as advice—ultimately there's no substitute for our own ears—but as incentive to experiment first hand; or at the very least provide some light entertainment around this crazy hobby of ours.