More Tomorrow

I guess I lied when I said "More tomorrow." That should teach me something about making promises during "Recommended Components" time. I'm sorry.

Well, eighteen pages and 8000 words later, I'm all done blurbing. I've sent the file off to copy editor Richard Lehnert, and now it's his turn to have a little fun. He replied with a scream: "AAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

Unusual for Richard. But I can't blame him.

So, let me see; This feels like old news already, but, here it is: I went home that other night — whatever night it was, I can't remember — thinking that I'd like to just hear one or two songs before calling it quits and saying hello to Peach. Peach is my bed.

So, yes, I was going to listen to one or two songs, say hello to Peach, and slip off into deep, sweet beddie-by. One or two songs would be just enough, I figured, since I'm pretty much sick of our first album, as I know it so well.

Funny thing happened, though: stuff sounded so damn good, I ended up listening to the entire thing.

I really want to explain this, especially for people who have little or no experience with real hi-fi. I have so many music-loving friends who, I hope, would be moved by an experience such as this. The trick, then, is putting it into words. Listening to good hi-fi is kinda like watching television. It's captivating. But in a good way. There are actual, palpable images placed in the space between the speakers. If you use your imagination, you can see them. It's crazy. It's like magic. I'm not kidding when I say you can almost feel the energy created by the performers as they bend strings or stamp their feet or clap their hands or say "Yeah." It's bananas.

Audio critics talk about the ability of certain components to bring the venue or the recording studio right into the listening room. As if the gear were a time-machine, you know, or a transmogrifier, or something. As silly as this sounds, I've found it to be true. Check this out: When I used to listen to our first album through my Magnavox boombox, sure, I remembered what it was like to record the damn thing. Listening conjured memories and feelings and whatever, of course. But when I listened to it again using the Musical Fidelity pieces, it was almost as though a drunken Jim Teacher landed right in my room. I could've been like, "Yo, what's up, brother?" And he would have responded: "What the F, yo? How'd I get here?" Just like that.

I could hear him there. I could hear him there, in my room. He was totally there. Life-size, too. That makes a big difference. A lot of times, things can sound natural, but they'll be smaller-than-life. Or even larger-than-life. With the MF pieces in place, things were closer to real. And things being closer to real makes for drama. And drama can be cool, when you're talking about music. There's a point in the album, between tracks, where Dave and Jim Teacher have a brief conversation. It was just something that happened while we were recording, and we decided to leave it in there. Why? Because, I suppose, we wanted to provide the listener with a sense of the recording process. If you were to listen to it in your car or on your computer or your boombox, you'd hear it. But it wouldn't come through the way we intended. To be fair, I didn't even know what we really intended until I heard it that other night through the MF gear. Dave and Jim Teacher are talking about the song, and Dave is standing over there and JT is standing over here, and Dave is a little bit taller than JT and you can actually see all of this happening right before you. Crazy. So, little incidental stuff like that is all more pronounced. What's the big deal about that? Well, first of all, it's fun, man. Second, it's what we — the artists — wanted when we decided to leave it in there. That's important.

Alright, I gotta go again. More tomorrow.

Or maybe not. Who knows?

Buddha's picture

I think that is a terrific way of describing what Hi Fi can do. I differ slightly in that my rig takes me somewhere between my place and the recording venue. I don't want it to actually seem like the artist is in my room. An old flame summed it up best," ""You (I) have intimacy issues."" Also", if it sounded like they were actually in my room, I think my wife would make me tidy up. Anyway, you truly did convey a nice image of the power of hi fidelity. Thanks.

TEvo's picture

The old TDK So Real"" slogan and commercial comes to mind. You know", the dude in the lounge chair in front of his stereo. Wine glass (or, insert favorite beverage) in one hand, remote in the other. Literally being blown away. Perhaps not by sheer decibels, but by the sonic experience as a whole.Sometimes," I feel hi-fi is about (re)discovering music that is already familiar to us in one way or another. In a totally different... and hopefully ""better""", light.You know it's good when you listen, enraptured, long into the night.

Jeff Wong's picture

I see Stephen is getting a taste of why we have audio monkeys on our backs (or in his case, has Gibbons in his room) and why we crave what we do, like the junkies we are. Monty: Are you describing what we would hear," or were you clapping... because he did use palpable: ""There are actual"," palpable images placed in the space between the speakers."" TEvo: I'm pretty sure the ads you referred to with the guy in the chair and sliding drink were for Maxell cassette tapes", not TDK.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>I see Stephen is getting a taste of why we have audio monkeys on our backs You're right, Jeff. I think I'll mention a little something about that in today's entry.

Buddha's picture

Of course, I should let you in an an old audiophile secret: We are only sunny and supportive until we are sure that you are hopelessly hooked, then we will start sniping about what your system still needs in order to really start sounding good."" Yup", one night of nirvana, then an endless death spiral trying to recreate that feeling......welcome, welcome.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>Yup, one night of nirvana, then an endless death spiral trying to recreate that feeling......welcome, welcome.Hmm, that sounds fun. Thanks. Scarily similar to drug addiction! Not that I would know. Though, I've heard that heroin addicts spend their lives trying to recreate that first high, never reaching it again. Sad.High-end audio is not like this at all, as it seems you can reach that first high over and over, and even surpass it.I guess you get a little bit of that nirvana every time you bring a new component into your setup. With me, for instance, I felt that awesomeness when I first listened with the Arcam Solo. Then, with the Musical Fidelity pieces, it was re-newed with an even deeper pleasure. And I guess the change doesn't always have to be for the better. I remember George Kaye of Moscode telling me that part of the nature of the audiophile is simply the desire to hear differences, good or bad.

Buddha's picture

Oh! That was meant to be a drug dealer joke. I even had a line about how I think it was crack dealers who took that idea from audiophiles, but then I got all PC scared and pulled it.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>I even had a line about how I think it was crack dealers who took that idea from audiophiles, but then I got all PC scared and pulled it.Buddha, it pains me to hear that you felt fear and pulled your initial remark. I mean to encourage total disregard of all PC-ness around here. I'll work harder to get that point across.PS
Crack kills, dude.

Al Marcy's picture

If your youth is never an embarassment, you will never have learned anything ... or, forgot, whatever ;)

Monty's picture

I guess I have become immune to the word 'palpable' and just skim right across the sucker. Buddha is right about often finding difference rather than better. Still, at some point I think most everyone finds the sound that is most agreeable and then tries to build upon that base of priorities while still appreciating what some components can do better, but often times at the expense of something else. I don't know about you guys, but my tastes in music have changed several times, and I know that changes what I want my components to be able to do as well. I think this just goes to show that we are still just as far away from reproduction nirvana as we have ever been. Ain't it fun, though?!

Wes Phillips's picture

Al, I once asked my bluegrass playing, retired moonshiner grandpappy if had had any regrets and he said," ""Hail yes"," I regret that I got too smart and too old to do the stupid stuff I used to enjoy!""

Stephen Mejias's picture


Wonko The Sane's picture

Amen.P.S. If good drugs were as affordable as good hi-fi, I'd probably still be bumping into pink elephants.