What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

It has only been a week, and I'm already having nightmares.

My dream begins with me sitting comfortably in my dirty but loved listening chair. Behind me is an empty fireplace. In front of me, two 10 foot tall loudspeakers materialize. I pace towards them slowly and cautiously. My hand sweeps against their rich dark mahogany finish.

I face my record collection. My hand pulls out Return to Forever's "Where Have I Known You Before." While not in a state of Rapid Eye Movement, I am often befuddled and amused by Corea's praise of L. Ron Hubbard on the record's backside. This is not an issue for me this time, and I return to my listening chair. Despite my brand new gargantuan speakers, I still have my same old record player. No Tri-Planar tonearms. No Koetsu cartridges. No acrylic turntables. Just an old-ass needle.

The stylus grazes the grooves, and the initial snap and crackle follow. Plopped down on my listening chair, I await bliss. Right when I think the funk is going to rain down on me, a piercing squeal emanates from my monstrous speakers:


Then comes a terrifying roar:


Covering my ears only makes the noise louder. Blood gushes out of my ears and spills onto the beige carpet. The screech blows me hard against my chair like a 50-mph gust of wind... and now I'm stuck in my blood-stained listening chair. I can't get out! Where are the doors? Why isn't Stephen coming to my rescue? Why do my speakers sound like murderous donkeys?


I believe this dream was a message.

The message was not to get rid of my (notorious) Bose 201s. I'm actually quite content with these for the time being. My knowledge base of sonic comparison is far too limited right now to really discern the quality of my 201s, and the fact that they even survived a year in my college dorm is both fascinating and convincing of their worth.

But after careful deliberation, I realized that my dream was actually telling me to get some new speakers. For all of you audiophiles looking for a bargain, here's your chance. You can buy these, my current laptop speakers, from Amazon for only $6.94! Now that's a deal.

There's a catch though. Every time a phone call is made, a plane takes off, a toilet is flushed or you decide to eat some macaroni, the speakers squeal like your old 56K modem. They do not make ears bleed, fortunately, but when I am sleeping at 4:00 AM, prepping for my day here at Stereophile, it is certainly not a pleasant noise to wake up to. It reminds me of a chainsaw, but more annoying.

My girlfriend gave them to me because she couldn't listen to them. I gladly accepted the set of free speakers. It might have been a mistake. Acoustically speaking, it sounds like you are listening inside a wind tunnel. The highs are piercing. There are no lows. But really, I can't complain. I got them for free.

Mark Fleischmann's picture

The fact that Ariel has a listening chair is reason for hope.

Alberto Bitran's picture

Stereophile is already working at Ariel's subconscious level, I am scared. The fact that he uses terms like "sonic comparison" shows me that he is leaving the "sonically challenged" for the "sonically enabled". We'll miss you.

Ariel Bitran's picture

I haven't left yet. But I do have a cool Stereophile hat.