Audiophilia Nervosa

Do you suffer from Audiophilia nervosa, that dreaded disease afflicting long-time readers of Stereophile, The Abso!ute Sound, Hi-Fi News & Record Review, and various other sordid high-end rags? Well, take heart, my friends---relief is on the way. But before treatment can begin, as with all illnesses, proper diagnosis is of paramount importance. To help facilitate this, I have compiled a set of multiple-choice questions. Please take the time to read through these carefully, and jot down your best-guess response from the choices below. You really should use a #2 pencil, as the lead in a #2 is bound to give you the smoothest response, with the least amount of writer's fatigue, allowing the letters to flow effortlessly from the first movement of your hand to the last.

1) You have just returned from the music store with five new discs, all gleaned from last month's Stereophile equipment reviews. In your mailbox is a newly arrived, freshly wrapped copy of a brand new, up-to-date issue of Stereophile. What do you do?

a) Head straight for the kitchen 'cause you've spent the entire day at the music store browsing through CDs and the latest hi-fi mags and you haven't eaten a thing all day.
b) Head for your stereo to listen carefully to all your new CD purchases.
c) Rip open the new issue of Stereophile, quickly check out the conclusions to all equipment reviews, then head for your stereo to play two-minute snippets from all your new CD purchases, and finally go to the kitchen for some food, all in that order.

2) You've just received the latest issue of Stereophile's "Recommended Components." In it you find that the speaker system you own, which has been recommended for the last five years, has just been dropped, due to the company going with a different walnut finish for the cabinet, and no one at Stereophile has heard what effect this change may have had on the speaker. As a result of this news, you:

a) Write an irate letter to Stereophile, accusing them of every nasty trick in the book, and threaten to cancel your subscription unless they reinstate your speaker in "Recommended Components."
b) Immediately put your speakers up for sale, but not through Stereophile, 'cause you're pissed at them, and the speakers having just been dropped from their listings will not look good to other readers.
c) Put on some music, reread old glowing reviews, and generally convince yourself that your decision five years ago to purchase these speakers was indeed a wise move (actually, it wasn't your decision in the first place, but the decision of the writers at Stereophile---if you know what I mean).
d) Sit down and relax with a cup of herbal tea, and contemplate the impermanence of all things.

3) You have just dropped a wad of money on the latest D/A processor, the one which has received the ultimate accolades in the high-end press. Now your dealer informs you of a pending update which finally makes this processor sound "just like analog" (which he's been saying about each D/A to come down the pike for the last two years). How do you respond to this news?

a) You rush home to call the manufacturer to make arrangements to send your unit in for an update, only to find out it's been updated two times since you bought it, and the cost to keep up means you'll have to put off that new-car purchase another year.
b) You rush home to call the manufacturer to tell them how pissed you are that they should crank out these expensive updates, practically at the drop of a hat, and that no one in their right mind could attempt to keep up with this nonsense. Then you make arrangements to send in your unit to have it upgraded.
c) You listen to a friend's $500 turntable front-end and realize just how badly you've been had with all this state-of-the-art digital technology, and out of frustration with the whole high-end endeavor, you sell off all of your equipment. The money you get, although about one third what you paid for it all, is still enough to subsidize you and your spouse's early retirement to a remote island in Hawaii, where the only sounds of any consequence are the waves crashing upon the shore (but what liquidity!).

4) The average amount of time spent listening to one piece of music without moving to fidget with the equipment is:

a) 20 minutes
b) 5 minutes
c) 15 seconds
d) Who has the time to listen to music, with all of these equipment reports to read?

5) If you had to describe your feelings about the sound of your music system in as few words as possible, it would be:

a) Sounds real good to me, couldn't ask for anything better.
b) Sounds okay to me, but there is some room for improvement.
c) Sounds okay to my friends. They're only interested in listening to music anyway!
d) It sounded real good yesterday; it seems to lack something today. Oh, what the heck! My friends are coming over tonight and...

Well, there it is. How did you do? Do you suffer from Audiophilia nervosa? If you read through all the questions and answers and did not laugh even once, then there's no hope! If you laughed a little, well, at least you have a sense of humor about it. If you busted a gut from laughing so hard, please write to Stereophile and let them know; I could use the extra income. You see, there's this cable I've been thinking of trying out....