“Good news!” Stephen exclaimed, the second I walked into his office. I saw my Usher S-520s plopped lovingly in my cubicle. “Check your email,” he instructed.
An email from JA read:
I couldn't find anything wrong, Ariel. I measured both speakers and also listened to them…they match very closelyas well as the individual responses of the tweeter and woofer of the sample that didn't have the biwiring jumpers connected.*
Inside were three sets of fat-ass cables. Thick like slabs of bacon, protective like coronary arteries, chunky like the cholesterol in those arteries after the bacon.
Holding them felt safe. Maybe they lacked that luxurious lifestyle appeal of the fancier cables with their shiny colors and intricate woven designs, but that's not what I was looking for. I wanted quality, I wanted sturdiness, I wanted comfort. Only to encourage these feelings of security were the locking banana plugs.
But before heading over, Kimmy and I just wanted to sit down and watch a couple episodes of our favorite show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. We got distracted though, as is always the case with my blog entries, where plans change due to interest in more exciting forms of clarity, a better understanding of the world. By this, I'm talking about the new Vizio television my roommate Jason bought. (Hold your horses now! Don't get so riled up. I know this isn't a Home Theater blog, but I'm getting somewhere, kinda.)
There are some people in the industry who now know my name or at least know of me. Urs Wagner from Ensemble always chats me up. I should give him a ring. Hart Huschens from Audio Advancements is another sweet soul who treats me with respect. And I have spent a good amount of time talking to Creston Funk from Concert Sound.
Alas, there is some humanity behind the Buyer's Guide.
I plugged in the little guy, and his little tube started to smile a low, warm orange. While he heated up, I walked over to my record collection. I needed a reference: Where Have I Known You Before by Return to Forever, one of my favorite albums of all time. I plugged my Grado SR60s into the VP129's headphone jack.
The Sony Radio Cassette-Corder CFM-10 is an unassuming little piece of electronics. I remember back in 1995, while the devastating Hurricane Opal tore across the state of Alabama, my family crouched on the laundry room floor with a cheap green lantern giving us light. My little sister and I were wrapped up in oversized, itchy wool blankets, laughing and joking, while Opal wreaked havoc and destroyed lives. We listened to the wind howling against the house, huge tree branches cracking and crashing to the ground, as we awaited word from weather-god James Spann who spoke from a little black cassette-corder like the one I had just found.
Similarly, hi-end audio is a selfless act. We are workers for the world of music and its performers. The thousands of dollars that audiophiles spend on monstrous loudspeakers and thick, slick cables are not shameless self-indulgences, but expressions of grand devotion to the recreation of an expression, an emotion, a feeling! To truly take someone's words to heart. To find yourself in someone else's soundstage. To give yourself away and believe in somebody else's dreams instead of your own.
My congregation! Ladies and Gentlemen! I tell you, there is a Pod! Some heathens choose to ignore him and burn for all eternity in the depths of hell, while Air Supply plays a continual concert of doom. Others have seen the light, and they opt instead for superior listening experiences.
I say, for the hi-fi community, there is hope. When I came to Stereophile, the first assignment Mr. Mejias gave me was to assess how I, as a young person, felt about the world of hi-fi. When my official term of Summer Intern was over, I had nothing. Well, I had a lot of stuff in my head, but nothing that I was ready to post on the blog. There was so much pressure. What had I learned here at Stereophile?!?!