Friday, November 25, 2011

Tinker Toys

There are many things I do not understand about audiophilia nervosa. One is the idea of taking something apart, applying fire, and expecting it to be better than it was before. I suppose you could make a case for this theory if the subject were a chicken or a goat, but it seems a little shaky when it comes to stereo equipment.

Nevertheless, The Audiophile likes to take his rectangular toys apart, remove their innards, shake them, smell them, and then put them back with the aid of a soldering iron aka fire. He says he has changed out the parts for better parts, but I've looked into the open chest cavity of the rectangles, and the "before" looks exactly the same as the "after" as far as I can tell.

Sometimes, when he is desperate, he solicits my assistance with these projects. I am generally tasked with holding something PERFECTLY STILL while he wields the soldering iron like a drunken samurai warrior. Once, my hand was accidentally nipped by the iron during one of these adventures which provided me with an opportunity to howl like Janet Leigh and then lord the incident over him for a yet-to-be-determined period of time.

Still, it is enjoyable to have him set up shop in the kitchen on a Saturday afternoon. He can spread the entrails of some mysterious item across the island while I putter with a culinary masterpiece. The only challenge in sharing kitchen space is my overwhelming desire to hide one of his parts for my personal amusement. It would, of course, be returned with a smile when I handed him fresh-baked cookies and milk, but my rational brain tells me only one of us would be amused with these high jinks.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Conspiracy Theories

My distrust of subwoofers has been well documented in previous posts, but I may have to add "enormous speaker crates" to the list of the maligned.

Currently The Audiophile has two sets of speakers doing the Cotton-Eyed Joe in The Listening Room. So far; so good. However, the set that is generally referred to as the "body scanners" arrived in crates that could easily hold a dead body or I suppose a live body, but I prefer not to think on that so, redact.

The crates had been living peaceably in our garage, minding their own business, or so I thought, until the day The Audiophile determined they should be moved inside to the storage room. This seemed like a fine idea to me since one of our able-bodied sons had been recruited to assist with the transportation detail.

The problem arose when the lid, JUST the lid, from one of the crates launched itself at The Audiophile's biggest of toes. I don't know if the lid was in telepathic cahoots with the subwoofer or if this was the work of a lone gunman, but the near-death experience certainly gives one pause. The good news is, The Audiophile did not need surgery, stitches, or an amputation. And thank goodness for that because a prosthetic toe would have totally horsed up the acoustics in The Listening Room.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, November 11, 2011

His and His

A couple of weeks ago I had the audacity to gloat about MY new speakers that were being set up in MY living space to provide ME with my own source of auditory pleasure. Yes, well, as with all of my gloating, the time has come to acknowledge I was misguided.

The new system, briefly known as "mine," has become very attractive to The Audiophile because it is hooked up to a thing that siphons music from heaven or wherever it is music lives when it is not vacationing on a compact disc. Consequently, the Audiophile has quickly become addicted to the manna and has been inhaling deeply from the personalized stations he has created to play his favorite music both past and present. Mostly past. Mostly by artists with whom I have been happily unfamiliar.

I concede I have horrible taste in music, which I blame on Nancy Sinatra and a pair of fabulous white fashion boots that I was given shortly after birth. Still, it is probably damaging my fragile self esteem to allow someone else to select all of the music all of the time on a system that I now suspect was never going to be mine from the onset.

To remedy this situation, I took the liberty of creating my own personalized station this week. The thing is, the station was so bad no amount of clicking "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" could make it palatable - even for me. So although I may not enjoy all of the music selected by The Audiophile, at least he can boast that no genomes were harmed in the making of his stations.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Windy City

Periodically The Audiophile and I take a trip to Chicago, which really needs to consider adopting a tag line that doesn't blatently announce my every waking moment will be spent dragging my hair from my mouth.

On a recent trip, The Audiophile called ahead to area stereo shops to see if there was any gear he needed to visit at a remote location that likely doubled as a cover for other questionable activities. Sure enough, there was just such an item in just such a location for our homicidal pleasure, so we hailed a taxi and took off in a northerly direction from the heart of the city. We departed the taxi in an area of town that easily-frightened tourists commonly describe as "why didn't we tell the cabbie to wait" ville.

The owner of the establishment eagerly invited The Audiophile inside while I stood in the entry and ran the calculations on whether three people could simultaneously fit inside the store without personal violation. Ultimately the visit only lasted a couple of minutes because the proprietor had, it seems, exaggerated the quality, condition, and sheer existence of his inventory.

Fortunately it was a beautiful day for a purposeful walk with The Audiophile. I complimented him on his prophetic suggestion to start the day with sensible footwear as we quietly discussed whether we were still capable of sprinting should the need the arise. Thankfully, the need did not arise, and we eventually found the Brown Line and returned to familiar territory just in time for an architectural boat tour narrated over a pair of all-weather speakers, which, if I'm not mistaken, could have benefited from better cables and a tweak to the mid-range.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.