Busts & Booms Letter

Steven R. Rochlin's letter from May 1996

Sharing our love...enjoy the music!!!

Editor: My love of music began at the ripe ol' age of five. That's when my dad, an avid music lover himself, took me to hear the 1812 Overture performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra live (including blasting caps to substitute for the cannon blasts!). Since then, my love for music has continued to this very day. So what can we do to improve the visibility of higher quality music reproduction?

In a roundabout way, I posed that question to others on CompuServe's CEAUDIO forum. Here are a few suggestions we discussed:

"Bring in kids!" This suggestion came from Bob Olhsson (72340.17@Compuserve.com). Good call, Bob! After all, who else would be as open-minded as the young 'uns? Their lives haven't been subjected to all those nasty ol' complications some of us experience as we get older. In fact, one of my good friends has two children, and the simplicity in the way they view life is very refreshing.

Jeff G. Walker (73521.2453@Compuserve.com) enthusiastically replied to my inquiry, "My love of music and audio gear started when I was about seven." When I was young, the local school system would take us to see live orchestral music. For me, my love for music started very early on, and I just couldn't get enough of it. I wanted more, more, MORE!!! Sheeesh, I even became a musician in 1974. Maybe if we get the kids to enjoy live music, they will realize that it's worth discovering a way to better reproduce it, too :-{)+.

"Music Appreciation classes!" sez Sam Lord, who works for Essence (73437.1706@Compuserve.com). He continued by saying, "I made a big difference in the number of people enjoying their first real look at classical music by setting up a decent sound system at UC Santa Barbara's Music School. Before, they'd had an execrable PA setup that just wasted the music. Imagine, 500 students (with various majors) every quarter...interestingly, Essence (before my arrival) had done the same thing at Union College here in Lincoln, NE."

Sounds cool to me, dude. If I had just one dollar for every barf-o-rama-soundin' PA system at a public school, I'd be retired on some laid-back island resort!!! Maybe we need teamwork here dudettes/dudes. After all, there's no "I" in "team." I'm not suggesting we need Wilson X-1s in every school, though it'd be nice if you did do that, Dave Wilson. What we may want to do is have a few manufacturers donate some of their goodies to our public school systems (and it's probably a tax write-off, too). Maybe at the same time we could have extracurricular activities like music-appreciation classes in our schools. After all, who among us doesn't love music? (Cheap attempt for applause here.)

"The magazines should do a better job of what Corey Greenberg did. Seek out the brightest of affordable gear." John R. Potis, Jr. (76233.3725@Compuserve.com) says. "No magic in finding good-sounding equipment that costs a mint." Well, there are quite a few good reviews of affordable gear. Just as some of us may be lookin' for the ultimate? yummies, we surely want to keep in mind that we also want to get the new gals/guys involved. John continues, "It is quite satisfying to bring someone into a store and show them that for the same money that they were gonna spend at Circuit City (or a little more), they can bring home really good sound. The pride of ownership of these systems shows on their faces as well."

So, retailers at Sam's Stupendous Stereo Shoppe, where the Euphoria Enlightenment 1000 system is selling (at $100,000), should treat that new guy with a few dollars with just as much respect as they do the guy who can afford the Euphoria system! Heck, even I had a Sanyo boombox for my main rig at one time. If you knew what I had now you'd probably consider me nuts! OK, I am nuts! When it comes to music, there's no denying my feelings of love towards it. Guilty as charged, Judge Ito. %-{)+ :-{)+

"Do a better job of treating hi-fi as a means, not an end." I feel Stuart Yaniger (75402.1517@Compuserve.com) hits the nail on the head in what he said here. He continues by sayin;', "Concentrate on the big issues in sound reproduction and its achievement in the real world. Drop the cultlike aspects of the high-end segment, including (and especially) those novella-length reviews that say in 10 pages what can be summed up in a paragraph or two. Concision, gentlemen!"

I'll be the first to admit that through quite a few ;'zines I have gained a lot of knowledge. Can't we kinda drop the literary Ph.D. I feel I need at times? Yes, we can learn through very precise descriptions of what a reviewer is hearing. Though what would an "outsider" feel after reading some reviews? How do these reviews make a newcomer feel about our love for music?

There are quite a few other good suggestions, like the forming of more "audiophile" groups, and maybe even a "high-end" system with a music lover touring at local malls. Cool dude Ken Bauernfreund (74453.2034@Compuserve.com) states, "It's my impression that the way to improve the visibility of the High End is to increase the exposure of individuals to it. There are a lot of music lovers that have no idea that this level of music reproduction is even possible." And ya know what? He's quite right. There should be more information out there. Again, there is no "I" in "team" here, folks. Together we can bring the joys of music to someone who has yet to discover the joy we all share. All suggestions are always appreciated. After all, without the joy we experience in live music, what would the point of our hobby be? And that joy should hopefully stay focused on our desire to...

Enjoy the music (Billie Holiday for me right now).—Steven R. Rochlin