Making Friends With Symbol

I saw her first in the Clue room. She exited at the same time as random bald man #72. Were they together? I’m not sure, but the dangerously punchy sound was not helping my listening fatigue. I left. She walked into the Audio Doctor’s KEF Blade display. Should I follow her? That would be weird.

A gentleman from Music First Audio started talking to me and pointing at my camera: “We have a colorful preamp for you to take pictures of.”

“No thanks.”

There she was in the darkened room, wide-eyed and listening. Sitting alone. This didn’t make any sense.

Are you seriously not going to talk to her?

I tapped her shoulder: “Hi, could I ask you a question for”

She shook her head no.

Totally weak dude.

After pause and recollection, I tapped her shoulder again: “What brings you to the audio show?”

She lit up: “I came to see this awesome turntable! Do you want to come check it out?”

She took me downstairs to the Symbol room: home of the lifestyle-oriented Modern Record Console furniture piece. It is a 6.5' wide gorgeously crafted hunk of cabinetry that includes: a 15 watt tubed integrated amp, two 6.5" full range drivers plus an 8" down-firing 250 watt powered subwoofer, a turntable, a phono preamplifier, and built-in wireless streaming. The audiophile in me screamed, “RUN!”. A built-in record console?? Yuck! You need separates! You need isolation! Don’t you understand? Do I understand? I stopped myself.

“Wow! That’s interesting.” I stood from afar.

“I love it,” she pined, “but it’s $26,500.”

“Say what?”

I paused. It was nice to see her in the light. Her coarse black hair sprawled down her back. It was the beginning of spring, and sun-freckles already dotted her gently pointed nose. But that wasn’t what did it for me: it was the loose fitted jeans, the black fleece, and torn up sneakers. She just looked so comfortable.

I tried to avoid conversation about the record console, which included a rather fine turntable (a Pro-Ject 5.1 with a Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 cartridge), and instead, we veered to music. I showed her my records, and she told me about her love of Van Morrison. We drew to a silence. I didn’t know enough about Van Morrison.

“I know you’re only in town for two more weeks, but could I get your number?”

“I’m not coming back into the city,” she said. She lived in Long Island. She was moving to Seattle.

“What are you doing right now?”

“Right now?”

“Yeah. Do you want to get out of here?”

“Don’t you have to work?”

“No. I've been here forever."

SET Man's picture


    I was in that room. It was pretty neat and sounded OK. I even said to the guy that he should try get it in "Mad Men" 

     I did asked him about the price, with the music playing I was assuming he said $6K. I said not bad if you want to host a martini party in a bathrobe. I took some pictures before I left the room.

    Wow! $26K? You don't say! Oh! Well, it is pretty I must say...  but I'll stick with my system, thanks. 

christopher3393's picture


Also nominated for best story.

yaka24's picture


Im enjoying reading these posts, your musings continue to get better. Thanks!



The record consoles were really nice up close.. It can't help that they're built in Nyack, NY!

Funny how 50 years ago those El84s would've of been hidden inside the cabinet. 

bonhamcopeland's picture

Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.... I can't believe I'm writing you...

Ariel Bitran's picture

thank you very much!

it really means a lot to hear that.

welcome to my world of 'experiential audio'

drums4money's picture

This was a fun display that sounded great to boot.  Cool and retro and practical..

Sonny64's picture

I read most of the articles I get in my e-mail about these big audio shows.  The more I read the more confused I get about whats put on display at these shows. 

The thing that gets me going is the prices on the gear.  How many people can acctually afford to spend the money on this stuff.  God! You could easily sink a half million bucks on a very basic 5.1 theater setup.  A stereo "record player"  could equal the annual city budget for a lot of the towns where I grew up.  I have a 7.1 home theater setup of mostly Denon gear (A/V receiver, DVD player, diy speakers, Polk sub) and I enjoy it.  A total investment of around 6 grand and I couldn't have assembled this system if my home insurance company hadn't replaced my lightning-zapped Pioneer Receiver


Good Luck you rich guys!!

A. Fletcher

Tidewater Area, VA.