The City was yesterday touched by twenty-seven inches of snow. In the Lower East Side, red, black, and green fire escapes were given pure, white highlights. On Orchard Street, a single figure could possibly be seen trudging through the heavy downfall, an umbrella in one hand, a burning cigarette in the other.
You should see Elizabeth right now, in blue sweater and black jeans, hair obscuring her sharp eyes as she preys over hundreds of black & white photocopied pages of equipment reports, columns, and, of course, "Recommended Components."
A contributor to our forum has made a fine argument for the case that "the future of high-end audio, if it has one at all, is inexorably linked to video." And he cites my recent discussion of the Burwen Bobcat as proof.
You know, because, at first, all I had was the Arcam Solo, and the Arcam Solo does everything. It's a good-looking, easy-to-use, single-box multi-purpose solution; a CD playing, AM/FM receiving, integrated amplifying dreamboat of a component. It does everything I want it to do, does it all very well, and takes up almost no space and draws very little attention to itself while doing it. I love it. If you're interested in a fun and easy, one-stop ride into the high-end, then I think you should definitely get to know the Solo. But, like Reading Rainbow, you don't have to take my word for it. I can't go assuming authority around here. I may not know audio all that well yet, but I know cool. And the Arcam Solo is cool. Art Dudley, who is way smarter than me about this, and most other stuff, also liked it. He said:
Me: We're gonna go see Brokeback Mountain tonight. Elizabeth: [Gasp of horror!] Me: What? What's with the gasp of horror? Elizabeth: Steel yourself. Me: Why? Am I gonna cry? I'm not afraid of crying. I cry all the time, anyway. Elizabeth: No, I don't think you're going to cry. But you might wince. A lot. Me: Oh.
I thought I'd really begin where I always begin: with my band's first album. As I've said before, I know this thing better than I know most anything else. From the creation of a song like "50 Bullets" sitting on my bed and turning a simple four-note riff into a complicated and violent four-minute explosion to the recording process, marred by uncomfortable, late-night drives from Clifton to New Brunswick where Jeff Baker fooled around with tape reels and watched lazily as we somehow came up with fourteen tracks that we could only almost perform drunk on Budweiser and stuffed on fried chicken and tired, so damn tired I know this thing. I know this amazing and ambitious and awful album better than I know most anything.
I spent perhaps a total of ten hours in my apartment this weekend, and for about eight of those, I was asleep. So, unfortunately, I didn't have the time to make any real comparisons. I faced no problems, however, in disconnecting the Arcam Solo and bringing the A3.5 units into my little system. It was an easy-breezy piece of Key Lime pie. I didn't even feel bad about it; the Musical Fidelity pieces are so attractive, I couldn't wait to get them going. Though the setup required merely sticking the AC cords into the appropriate sockets, making the simple connection between the integrated and CD player, and hooking up the speakers black to black, red to red I felt some small amount of pride for getting it all done without a hitch. Anyone could do it, really.
Funny thing about carting a $1600 amplifier down these New York City streets during the evening rush: People just don't give a crap; they'll run you over. No problem. In fact, I was almost shown to that great, big listening room in the sky by an SUV (with Jersey plates, of course) just outside Herald Square. And try getting a $1600 CD player through the PATH station turnstiles; there's no special "Hi-Fi Entrance" down there. You're left to your own devices. I employed the lift and twirl method, but only after realizing that the push and shove method wasn't going to work.