Friday, June 17, 2022

When You Say Nothing At All

So, I was sitting with my laptop attending to all the major and minor details of our lives when I heard The Audiophile say to someone on the phone “… your ears are being subjected to too much information…”

There were a lot of other words in his many sentences to the oozingly likeminded audiophile to whom he was speaking, but the point that I took away from the conversation was it is possible, nay highly probable, that one’s ears can be subjected to too much information.

Here I would like to digress and report that The Audiophile hails from the fast-talking northeastern part of the occasionally United States, while I harken from the peaceful prairie lands graced with many rivers and the hills of sand.

The bottom line is my ears are subjected to too much information on a regular basis, but I fear there is no attenuator to easily remedy this acoustic situation.


Friday, May 6, 2022

Hymns To The Silence

This was a stellar week in the land of listening. We saw not one, but two top-tier artists who could decide to retire anytime. With this in mind, we ponied up a fair sum to see Sir George Ivan Morrison at the Mother Church.

We arrived early. We arrived sober. We stopped talking as soon as Van took the stage because that’s what polite society does.

The four people with seats in front of us arrived late. They were drunk. They talked loudly without ceasing.

Members of the surrounding audience tried various strategies to politely stop the insanity including shushing, staring incredulously, raising eyebrows, and other universal gestures that are widely understood to mean, "Please, oh please, for the love of God, be quiet."

Twenty songs later, after I had spent considerable time fantasizing about impolite strategies including hair pulling, shin kicking and throat punching, I lost it. I leaned forward and said, “Seriously, I can’t believe you guys talked through the entire show.”

What happened after that is up for debate, but I think an intoxicated woman in her forties wanted to fight me. Fortunately, The Audiophile had the good sense to intervene and calm things down before I found myself learning how to fight like a girl in a dark parking lot. While I’m grateful for his level headedness, I would simply like to say, "I TOTALLY could have taken her."


Friday, April 22, 2022

Revelation Song

If The Audiophile ever questions why I continue to throw him under the imaginary bus it is because he continues to provide me with material, and I’m publicly passive aggressive when properly provoked.

Case in point:

Last Sunday was Easter, and while I almost never request a song of The Audiophile, I asked him to play a specific piece in the spirit of the occasion. Just one song, mind you. Not a gaggle of songs or a flock or a quintillion—just one.  

The Audiophile was feet-up lounging on the entirety of The Listening Sofa, but he kindly queued up the song.

I stood in front of The Listening Sofa to occupy the general area of the sweet spot so I could fully immerse myself in this single, one to the power of one, song.

The Audiophile, still lounging directly behind me, picked up his iPad and began to play a narrated tutorial on how to soundproof a wall.

I did not have a measuring device to calculate the distance between my right ear hearing his iPad tutorial and my left ear hearing the requested song, but he can tell you the hypotenuse of that equation is equal to one arm's-length bap on the head.


Saturday, April 16, 2022

The Quiet One

The Audiophile has not been listening to anything lately because it has been too loud to listen. Why too loud? Depending on who you are, “planned communities” will be perceived as one of two things: A) a cacophonous warzone of never-ending noise, or B) a delightful opportunity to mingle with friendly neighbors who live six feet away in every direction.

You be the judge of the who is perceiving which of the above in this fairytale gingerbread house in which we live. Instead of competing with circular saws, pneumatic hammers, and the sound of boulders being crushed into smaller boulders, we are spending every day of our lives looking for a house in the quiet where there are no neighbors or dogs or birds or overhead flight patterns or tectonic plates that might need to shift in anyway whatsoever amen.

Fortunately, we will soon be headed to AXPONA for a little R&R. That is IF we define R&R as having a room sandwiched between two other rooms occupied by all manner of rectangular objects that can project sound at very high volumes into the wee hours of the night.


P.S. If you are at the show, and you are a spouse, I hope to see you at the meet-up for the victims of sound. It will be on Saturday evening at 5:00 in the hotel lobby. If we're lucky, the audiophiles will pick up the tab. 


Friday, April 8, 2022

Bicycle Built For Two

The Audiophile has a second system in his workshop so he can listen to music while inhaling soldering fumes. I’m not sure if that’s legal or not, but until someone from the DEA shows up in a hazmat suit with a warrant for his arrest, I’ll assume it’s permissible even if it is not beneficial.

I pay no attention to this second system, and it pays no attention to me even though my Peloton is basically in the sweet spot. It’s worth noting that I call it MY Peloton, and I’ll know precisely when The Audiophile reads this post because he will shout something like, “IT’S NOT JUST YOUR PELOTON.” To which I will respond, “I guess that explains why it is in the sweet spot.”

Anyway, I am pretty sure this second system suffers with insecurity issues. It is much smaller than the main system. It has far fewer rectangles hooked up to it. And there isn’t a single thing hanging on the walls to absorb, diffuse or otherwise make it feel like the center of the workshop universe.

To add insult to injury, I use my Airpods when I saddle up the bike for a ride. As I write this, I feel kind of bad about this situation. Maybe I should apologize to the system or at least give the speakers a clever name. I am also wondering if I should wheel the Peloton out of that room so it isn’t dominating the sweet spot for no good reason. If nothing else, I’ll be able to ride without breathing the secondhand soldering fumes, which apparently leads to anthropomorphizing audio systems and blogging about it.


P.S. If you Peloton, add #audiophiles to your profile and send out the high fives!

Friday, April 1, 2022

What A Fool Believes

Today is April 1st, and audiophiles located in the United States get to celebrate by saying crazy things like, “Preamp A is more resolving than Preamp B,” even if it’s not true. Sadly, there are other countries that are limited to pranks involving fish. This makes it difficult to rib an audiophile in France without turning their preamp into a rank smelling toaster oven.

I mention all this to clarify the following statement is not a joke or a prank. It also has nothing to do with cooking fish in a preamp even though I think that could be a nice selling point.

Here’s the statement (also known as a confession): The Audiophile is no longer the only person in this house who can hear the difference between the A and the B. In fact, during this week’s A/B of two DACs, I easily detected which one cost as much as a nice vacation and which one cost as much as two nice vacations.

This presents a conundrum: A) I continue to play the fool, or B) I grow a nicely trimmed beard and stroke it while pontificating such things as harmonic distortion and room reverberation.

I chose A. There’s not nearly enough tomfoolery in the world, and while I might be able to grow a beard if I really let myself go, I do not know how to describe sound like The Audiophile. With that said, the DACs we tested this week do have me wondering whether we even need a vacation this year let alone two of them.


Friday, March 25, 2022

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Here’s some interesting news that you’ll want to shimmy up to the edge of your seat for:

The Audiophile allowed me to make an important decision as it related to room treatment.

I call the treated room my living room and The Audiophile calls it his Listening Room, but let’s not split hairs over semantics. Let’s just say the wall above the fireplace in my living room was empty and begging for an original piece of art. The Audiophile, on the other hand, viewed that space as the primary reason the “room was getting in the way of the music.” He wanted a panel—make that a whole bunch of them, like 16 of those things that look sort of like pizza boxes if someone had spray painted the boxes and carefully cut slits into them so the pizzas could breathe while performing their acoustic duties.

Let me say there is nothing wrong with the pizza-box solution if you are a grown-up man living alone with a lot of macaroni and cheese in your pantry to tide you over between pizzas. In fact, I am confident The Audiophile is coveting your lifestyle and would gladly auction me off on Audiothong if he could get the buyer to pay for shipping.

Long story short, I went to Etsy and pecked in the phrase “diffusing panel” NOT “absorbing panel” because the difference between the two is akin to the difference between women’s panties and men’s boxer shorts or something equally uncomfortable. Anyway, as you can see, I found and ordered a lovely solution that did not require pizzas, paint, or further discussion about undergarments, and we lived happily ever after.


P.S. Thank you, Rebel Sky Acoustics, for the beautiful piece of original art.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Por Una Cabeza

Against my better judgement, I went away for a few days. Approximately six seconds after my departure, a second audiophile arrived at my house. I did not check the perimeter cameras to find out for sure, but I assume there was at least one fist bump regarding the complete absence of this Wife and her Acceptance Factor.

Now, as it is written, where two or more audiophiles are gathered together, there is God or at least something hallowed. Maybe an amplifier will be shot out. Maybe a cable will be twisted into a hammock. Or maybe the speakers will be moved by an eighth of an inch to achieve a level of fidelity on par with the acoustics in the uppermost echelons of the heavenly realms.

The day following this divinely inspired playdate, I phoned home, and The Audiophile answered with, “I’ve got a surprise for you, and you are going to like it.”

Let’s fast forward to the day of my return, shall we?

I suspected fine chocolates were not going to be part of the equation but imagine my surprise when I walked in and learned each of the speakers had been moved apart by three feet. For those of you outside of the United States, your base ten equivalent to achieve the same dramatic effect would be ten feet.

Our soundstage now spans the entire width of our living area, which means I get to do a saucy little tango with one of the speakers every time I pass through. Fabulous, I say, because those ballroom dance lessons I forced upon The Audiophile a few years ago are finally being put to use. By one of us, anyway. 


P.S. Wine pairs perfectly with high fidelity. Click here to join me in this truth. (You and I will both enjoy $50 off.)

Friday, March 11, 2022

Paradise By The Dashboard Light

Not long ago, The Audiophile wanted to take a drive. Sure, I thought, we’re at the stage of life where a Sunday afternoon drive is just what the gerontologist ordered. Thirty minutes later, we pulled up in front of The Candy Man’s house, which meant our nonchalant drive in the country was actually premeditated entrapment.

In case you have not been following along, The Candy Man deals in chocolate-covered audio rainbows with sprinkles. And nougat, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Front and center, in his audio emporium, on conspicuous display, was a Ferrari-red integrated amplifier that was four wheels short of becoming its own mode of transportation. Now, when I say this thing was Ferrari-red, I mean its naked chassis had tootled over to Maranello, Italy where it shimmied onto the conveyor line between a pair of equally naked supercars. On the count of three, everyone held their breath and waited for it to rain Rosso Corsa.

Apparently, there is a market for this sort of crazy, and I was beginning to wonder if The Audiophile had finally crossed over to being certifiably insane when he signaled for me to write a check to… purchase a set of cables sheathed in a completely normal shade of normal.

Obviously, this was a classic psychological half-nelson transaction because I would have bought just about anything to steer clear of owning an amplifier that shouted, “Hey there, hot mama,” every time I made an omelet or steamed some broccoli.


Friday, March 4, 2022

Let Me Entertain You

What you have here is a PSA—not the screening test for gentlemen—but the one that has to do with an announcement, to the public, about a thing. In this case the thing is AXPONA. It is called AXPONA because the founder was under the influence of something when he named this event and thought that was a melodic-sounding palindrome. Turns out it’s not very melodic and… nope… it’s not a palindrome.

I’m all for walking the XPO, which is usually spelled EXPO, but at this event the E is silent and invisible. The point, however, is I’m only able to generate authentic audio adrenaline for limited periods of time before my face starts to convey the fact that my mind is purchasing a ticket to the Get Me Out of Here resort and spa.

Here's the problem, if you visit the AXPONA website, you will notice there is not a banner or a tab or a button with a listing of the spouse outings because there aren’t any. Sure, there’s the customary mall nearby and a do-not-miss exhibit on the History of Anesthesia at the Wood Library, but you’re basically on your own to figure this stuff out.

I’m half-heartedly working to see if I can remedy this situation with the AXPONA organizers, but if nothing else you’ll find me in a corner somewhere with my Mah Jongg tiles wistfully looking for three other players. We’ll start by dumpster diving for a three-legged card table since all the four-legged tables will be smugly displaying audio merch in the XPO hall. After that, who knows what will happen, maybe we’ll get tattoos or put together a list of palindromes to describe audiophiles—anything is possible, really.