Passion of the Hi-Fi: Part III - Balance and Control
The promise of happiness is elusive. Is it found in the 10-hour workday? Maybe it’s spotted sunbathing on the Portuguese shoreline. Or is it found in a wider soundstage? Sartre teaches, "In life, a man commits himself and draws his own portrait, outside of which there is nothing." So if your actions define who you are, and if you love what you do, then will you find content?
Thus, I tried being a professional musician. For, I love music and playing it. I tried really hard, hair and everything. After spending each waking hour post Stereophile rehearsing in New Jersey or gigging in the city, drooping eyes and a constant unreturned investments to the band made me unhappy with the music. The band came to a jagged end, and I found solace focusing on my work at Stereophile dedicating newly available hours to greater output and more listening. As a result of more time with the hi-fi, I discovered issues with my own system, sonically speaking. Soundstage imbalance and room boom dragged me down. When JA suggested that a new listening room within my home could solve these problems, my hopes reawakened.
It was Friday night. I had not smoked weed in two weeks. As a result of a recent epiphany, I decided accomplishment (aka getting stuff done) was the new key to chasing down my happiness. The seductive and smelly Mary Jane had been luring me in and holding me back for too long. I’d quit the herb many times before but always cold turkey. With each “never-again”, I would relapse shortly after deeper and deeper into the haze. Similar to how I could burn-out from too many days at the gym and not return for months, a trend not-so-coincidentally in-sync with my pot abuse, it became clear to me that balance in everything essential.
I rolled a massive doobie and smoked half of it in silence. Why no music? Because I disdained system’s current sound. Swirling lines of smoke drifted aimlessly into the air as I stared at my blank TV set. The Nintendo 64 sat cartridge-less. No roommates home to play Mario Kart. Nothingness surrounded me. A heart-pounding motivation accompanied by mind-racing euphoria shocked me into action. The clock struck 11pm. Time was closing in.
I could not wait for the lease renewal to move my hi-fi into the living room. It had to happen now. How the roommates treated the system would be a variable to test. What music would be my hi-fi moving soundtrack? I needed some funk. Wait. How could I even listen to music without my system hooked up? My laptop was not loud enough to imbue me with rhythm as I moved gear from one room to the next. Headphones would get tangled in a mess of arms and speaker stands. Then it hit me.