Not Even a Vague Idea

I was 22 years old, and had no idea that high-end audio existed. No idea at all.

As a child, I knew—or I should say: I had the vague idea—that, as you got older, your speakers got bigger. A stereo was something you paid a good amount of money for and showed off to your house guests.

I remember my father’s brother bragging about the new Aiwa stereo system he had recently purchased. It was bigger than my father’s.

Soon, my father went out and bought a Kenwood. It was bigger than the Emerson we had before, and even a little bit bigger than my uncle’s Aiwa. But it lacked a turntable. Our old one had a turntable. I missed it.

My father ended up giving away all of our LPs, including the Beatles Love Songs album my mother so adored.

It made no sense to me:
Why buy a new stereo and then give away all of your music?
Why give away something that your wife adores?

Stupid two times.

That was many, many years ago. My parents got a divorce. My mom still has the Kenwood, though I don’t think she listens to it very often. It sits in the basement, holding candles, collecting dust. The grilles never come off the speakers. There was a brief period when she tried to locate that Beatles Love Songs album on CD, but couldn’t. She primarily listens to music while in the car. She drives a Honda. I have no idea what kind of stereo my father has. Or what kind of car he’s crashing these days. My uncle has done well for himself and has replaced his Aiwa with some sort of tiny Bose thing. It’s shiny and white and blends into the walls and hides behind a plant.

I make fun of it every time I visit.

Neither my uncle nor my father has any idea of what it means to listen. Not even a vague idea. That I know for sure. You can’t tell me otherwise.

I have learned a thing or two over the past five years here.

Alan Marcy's picture

Many people have no idea what anything I do means. Me, too, possibly ;)

peter's picture

Um, what's the RSS for this thing? How do you expect busy people to keep up with your topics otherwise? Little help?

John Atkinson's picture

Good to see you on this site, Todd. Note to readers: Todd Steponick is one of the most creative remixers I have encountered, producing extraordinary new creations from other's efforts. (Stephen, could you give a URL where people can download some of Todd's work.) Following my own efforts with the bass guitarless MPS mixes, I sent Todd the multitrack stems for my recordings to see what he could do. He produced an amzing sound, much more punchy than my efforts.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Wow, DBailey, I upset you so much, you had to say it twice? I heard you the first time. This blog is set to go on forever, as far as I can see right now. It has to start somewhere, and it has to have room to grow. I don't plan on sizzling and burning out. I'm telling a story here, and I think it's appropriate that I give some background on my last five years at Stereophile before we dive into the present and go on to meet the future. If I'm going to do this, I'm going to make sure that I have fun and that I'm happy with it. At the same time, of course, I am taking the reader into consideration. I want to be liked, and I want people to enjoy this. I normally don't spend this much time explaining myself.Aside from your comments here, DBailey, you don't have anything to do with my life - and I guess you never will - but if you can't relate to things as common as love, happiness, longing, fear, and the passing of time, then I am sorry.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Hi Peter.Our web producer, Jon Iverson, is considering providing an RSS for this. I haven't asked him too much about it, though. While I've heard about RSS feeds, I'm not clear on what they provide. Can you help me understand better? There are several websites I check daily - websites that have become a part of my everyday life - and I have no RSS for them. I just check them when I feel like checking them.

Beto's picture

Hi there Stephen and Stereophile Staff.First off, congrats on your new blog ventures. It's good to see Stereophile trying to reach new audiences using their own channels. As an audiophile Gen-X'er," I definitely appreciate it. I'll try to explain you briefly why some of us do care for a RSS feed.There are some software and web services that are ""feed aggregators""", that is, that allow us to receive and read the newest blog publications the moment they get published in a totally automatic manner. If I add a blog's RSS feed (an URL pointing to a RSS file) to my aggregator, I will always receive the published contents of that blog without having to go and check the site manually. Sure you miss the design part of a blog, but when you have dozens of favorite blogs updated daily or almost daily, this feature becomes a true godsend. Examples of aggregators are FeedDemon (Windows), NetNewsWire (Mac), or a web service such as You can Google them to find out more. Hope this helps.

Jrobb's picture

Stephen, I'm a first time visitor to your blog and this is the first entry I read. If they are all as entertaining as this I'll be back. I like to listen to high fidelity music but I can also relate to love, happiness, longing, fear, and the passing of time ;-)Cheers,JR

Ward's picture

RSS, in its most simple form, allows readers to subscribe to a web site and find out when it's been updated. I used to have several websites I checked daily. Now it's about 50, and I wouldn't read them all if my RSS reader didn't let me know what was new.