Friday, September 30, 2011

Cable Guy

One of the most difficult situations to navigate as The Audiophile's Wife is what I call the one-two audio punch. It is where the "How does it sound?" is directed at a new set of cables. It is hard enough to hear the difference in new speakers, or amps, or pre-pre-pre-amps, but cables? Dude, I may look a little canine first thing in the morning, but the similarities stop there.

So, here's what I'm going to do some time when I have nothing better going on, like tomorrow or any of the days after tomorrow. I am going to take six spools of thread from my sewing basket and three pointy paper cups, which I intend to heist from the dispenser at the YMCA. I will smuggle these accessories into the master bathroom. Stay with me here, this is an all-ages show.

The plan is to strategically place the spools to support the cord of my curling iron so the cord never ever touches the countertop. After I successfully do that, I'm going to balance the curling iron itself on the paper cups (pointy end down). As you might imagine, this will require patient endurance and may cause a house fire, but that's why we have replacement-value life insurance. Then I'm going to call for The Audiophile, and when he arrives, I'm going to say, "Well, Mr. A/B, do I look prettier?"

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Big Boys

The Audiophile was out of town on business again this week. Or should I say "business." Call me old fashioned, but I like to make sure he has what he needs before leaving on these trips. You know, clean socks, hardtack, and a pile of American currency which leads me to why this was a parenthetical business trip.

There will be, and I quote, "A stop on the way home to pick up a pair of speakers." Now, understand, I don't care about the stop or the speakers or the departure of the currency, but I am concerned about the "on the way home" part of that statement because Kansas was definitely not on the way home, Toto.

When he pulled in the garage he was very excited to see me. And by "me" I mean me on the receiving end of the 100-pound twins that needed to be birthed from the back of the SUV.

After some fretting over cables and compatibility, his new-used speakers were up and running or at least slow jogging in their place of submission behind the body scanners. In my opinion, the new additions to the family look normal enough from the front, but when you glance at their backsides it is like seeing a pair of half-naked skeletons. Not that skeletons regularly wear clothes, but they should.

All I know for sure is the arrival of new gear is like a holiday because it turns The Audiophile into a kid on Christmas morning who has come downstairs in his footie pajamas to find a poopless pony tethered to the tree.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hello Dolly

Once upon a time there were a pair of beautiful speakers in The Listening Room. Saying I loved them would probably make The Audiophile feel bad for having cold-heartedly boxed them up and sold them to some incredibly lucky human being in a far-away land. Instead I'll just say I thought very highly of these beautiful speakers. And I miss them. And I think they miss me.

It doesn't seem prudent to mention brand names so let's just say they were probably made in Denmark where fastidious Denmarkian elves rubbed their cabinets by hand until the cherrywood itself sang just as eloquently as Carol Channing or Babs Streisand. I don't know why The Audiophile decided to get rid of these beauties, but that is not my business. My business is to nod in agreement as things move in and move out of The Listening Room in order to maintain my status as The Perfect Wife, I mean, The Audiophile's Wife.

Sadly, the speakers that currently live in The Listening Room have been called "body scanners" by an astute visitor who could not help but notice their unaesthetic qualities. Maybe, to be fair, they are simply more akin to modern art than, say, impressionism.

According to The Audiophile these body scanners produce fantastic sound. He says they are more transparent with a sound stage that... that... that... I don't know what he said after this because I drifted off a little during the explanation. Anyway, sometimes if I close my eyes and remain awake while listening to the body scanners, I can almost imagine they have the impressionistic beauty of the speakers of yesteryear.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Listening Sofa

Furniture, in my experience, has rarely held a designated purpose. As discussed previously, rooms have designated purposes, but furniture? Not so much. Which is how we come to the exceptions to this rule: the piano bench, the sewing chair, and The Listening Sofa. As revealed by the title of this episode, today's focus will be on the latter of these three oddities.

Be not confused, the sofa itself is not listening or if it is, it is not telling. The Listening Sofa is generally found in the hinterland of The Listening Room, but it is not haphazardly placed as if The Cat in the Hat were in charge of the affair. Oh no, it is positioned a specific number of inches from The System into a magical zone which is purported to be the epicenter of The Listening Experience.

Is there anything to know about sitting on the sofa you may ask? Good golly, yes. Apparently if you are slightly off center, the chances of achieving total audio consciousness evaporate like spit on a griddle, so here is an important tip:

If you are ever invited to sit on a Listening Sofa, wait for your host to sit down first. If The Audiophile sits toward one end of the sofa, position yourself in exactly the same place on the other end for optimal aerodynamic balance. Use a ruler or a foot-long submarine sandwich as a measuring device if necessary. If, however, The Audiophile sits precisely in the middle of the sofa, assume you are supposed to sit on his lap. This will not improve The Audiophile's listening experience, but it will measure his sense of humor and/or his capacity for profanity.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, September 2, 2011

How does it sound?

Accepting an invitation to join The Audiophile in The Listening Room is mildly intimidating. I know at some point, The Audiophile will turn to me and ask, "How does it sound?" And no matter how many adjectives I have at my disposal, I simply do not have the expertise to apply any of them to this question without sounding like a dope.

That being said, I accepted such an invitation a few nights ago to listen to "an album" which was really "a compact disc." As usual there was some fuss about how I was sitting on The Listening Sofa and whether I was positioned to maximize the experience, but eventually we settled in so I could commence the listening process. Interestingly, after a very short time, I was convinced The System sounded like - pardon my use of a pedestrian adjective - crap.

After a few songs, The Audiophile turned to me and said, "How does it sound?" I squirmed uncomfortably and grimaced a little to hopefully soften the blow before I replied, "Well, I hate to say this, but I think it sounds like crap." Then I waited.

The Audiophile threw his hands into the air and responded with, "I KNOW, IT SOUNDS TERRIBLE. I put these new blah har whos, in the quirp da flanger, and it killed the bass."

Bass. I know that word, and he was right, the bass had gone hasta la bye bye and the sound was not good, but we had turned a corner. Although I had no idea what he was talking about as it related to the unfortunate circumstances of The System, I had, for the first time, recognized bad sound.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.