Snow and Ayre

The City was yesterday touched by twenty-seven inches of snow. In the Lower East Side, red, black, and green fire escapes were given pure, white highlights. On Orchard Street, a single figure could possibly be seen trudging through the heavy downfall, an umbrella in one hand, a burning cigarette in the other.

Inside old row houses and above new boutiques, couples are making love, keeping warm, and paying no attention to the time. What else is there to do? This is the Blizzard of 2006.

Today is February 13 — one day before Cupid strikes. I don't know what to do about it. I'm thinking, though, the gift of music might be appropriate.

Aside from this weekend's twenty-seven inches, we hadn't really seen much winter. Perhaps this will be the last of it. And then:


And the birdies will be happy.

Late last week, I received an e-mail from Ayre's enthusiastic and compelling Steve Silberman, who, if you were to run into him on a snowy mountain or in a dark listening room, would probably tell you something about how the iPod is going to help save the hi-end. And you'd probably believe it because, after all, he is enthusiastic and compelling. He wrote:

How would you like to live with an Ayre system for a while? I was thinking the AX-7e and the CX-7e. There's a good chance that I will be in the city around the middle of April and I would deliver the kit and help you set it up.

For many reasons, now, I'm looking forward to the middle of April. Perhaps all of the snow will be gone by then. Or, at least, most of it.

David Nighorn's picture

Stephen, I am beginning to worry about you and this blog. At first, it seemed that the point of the blog was to discover the joys, slowly, of the high-end experience. Part of the appeal is that there are not limitless finanancial resources to back this journey. The fact that high-end manufacturers keep offering to drop off equipment to your apartment waters down the approach. I read this column to gain insights into the experience of someone that is at my same level economically and auditorially. Certainly, if someone walked into my home and gave/loaned me a $7,000+ system, I'd have some nice things to say. The problem is that you are trying to appeal to younger folks who have no similar point of reference. Stereophile already has perception problems when it comes to reviewed products. Please do not go down the same path.David

Jim Tavegia's picture

And then the Proof Reading GOD cleared the heavens and spoke," ""Stephen", I feel your pain and will send an Ayre system to make everything all better. You will better understand the A, B, and C ratings of Recommended Components. Well," that's part of the justification. Really!"" And they call this work?????

Ward's picture

Lucky bastard. Seriously, though. I disagree with David. I trust your ability to remain objective (well, to the extent required) despite all the free stuff coming your way. Enjoy it, tell us everything you've learned, and pretend you dropped a whole bunch of cash on it.

Monty's picture

Man, there is just so much benefit to what Stephen is doing that any potential downside is negligible. Stephen just has the luxury of lengthy auditions at home as opposed to hanging out at the local hi-fi dealer. You gotta start somewhere and he's getting several years worth of experience and helping himself to develop his own personal tastes in reproduction. I always say people just don't know what it is that they don't know...and there is only one way to find out. Once you learn what flavor of sound you prefer, it makes selecting your gear a whole lot easier...not to mention writing about sound reproduction. Having good connections is a great thing. I joke about all the great gear he is going through, but I'm really doing it with a smile on my face. At some point, a piece of gear is going to scream," ""Honey"," I'm home!""

David Nighorn's picture

I think that my intent was a bit lost here. If the point of the blog is to appeal to younger folk, then you have to keep in mind the economic situation of that audience. Having manufacturers shower you with increasingly expensive gear makes it harder to relate. When Stephen gets a 300lb,$90 ,000 turntable in his Jersey City apartment, I think that he will lose this audience. That's just my two cents worth. I absolutely love the writing on this blog and make it a daily stop. My comment was simply a bit of constructive criticism.

WonkotheSane's picture

Stephen, are you guys looking for a large dude to serve as a summer intern shipping clerk? Cause damn, the benefit package you guys get is remarkable!

Stephen Mejias's picture

Thank you, everyone, for your very thoughtful comments. As always, I really appreciate it; it's a pleasure to come into work and find all of these thoughts here. David brings up a great point - something that has actually been bothering me also, something that I mean to address in a future entry - in that I have to keep my audience in mind. All of my friends, for instance, would be shocked to hear that I've got a $5000 amp in my apartment. Suddenly, I'm auditioning Class-A gear. What's up with that? So, David, I totally understand where you're coming from, and please trust: I have it in mind. As I go along, I'll always try very hard to keep things in perspective, to keep things human, to maintain a sense of wonder. And I'm sure this journey won't be going straight ahead into the obscenely expensive; there'll be some backtracking.Wonko: While I would love to work with you, that position is already filled. Also by me.

Stephen Mejias's picture

On the train this morning, sitting in the orange seat, my back up against the wall so that I could face the entire car-full of sleepy eyes and soft scarves, I realized that, though I asked you to trust me, I should also ask you to continue to remind me to stay focused. Sometimes I do need to be reminded of the things that matter most. So: thank you.

Jeremy's picture

Just wanted to let you know that in the past few weeks it seems to me that you found your voice for this blog, congratulations, it is an entertaining and informative one. Also, one of your replies to this entry had me laughing out loud, your goal to maintain a sense of wonder. Not that it isn't an admirable goal, but the idea that maintaining a sense of wonder could go somewhere on a to do list between say going to the grocery store and cleaning the bathroom struck me as pretty damned amusing. Good luck with this whole journey.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>Not that it isn't an admirable goal, but the idea that maintaining a sense of wonder could go somewhere on a to do list between say going to the grocery store and cleaning the bathroom struck me as pretty damned amusing.Yeah, now that you mention it, that is pretty hilarious. Thanks Jeremy.