Friday, December 30, 2011

The Big Oh

The Audiophile celebrated what is commonly called a "significant birthday" this past week. In keeping with custom, I sang him the birthday song Marilyn Monroe style. That is if Marilyn were a little off-key, a little less provocative, and among the living. I like to think this ritual of mine keeps the bar low for Alison Krauss to consistently sound better in an A/B comparison with myself.

Since significant birthdays are made slightly more palatable with significant gifts, I was going to take The Audiophile on a trip to the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. However, it seems the show is not open to the general grazing public, probably because of our tendency to be more interested in cud chewing than purchasing in bulk.

Instead, I went to the mall to browse the brightly lit exhibits on display at the Steve Jobs Memorial Hall of Fame. It was a confusing and intimidating experience, and although there was not a single black turtleneck sweater available for purchase, there were plenty of outlandishly-priced alternatives that fought for my attention.

Now The Audiophile can blow out virtual birthday candles and read "The Sound Pile" digitally - that is once I'm finished cataloging my recipes and updating my social network status. At first blush, this gift may ring of selfish motivation, yet, if you will recall, my most recent gift from him was a sound system.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Boxing Day

There is a holiday coming up on the 26th of December in which some people in some countries graciously present service workers, like the kindly delivery truck driver, with a gift for their death-defying service. I think this is a spectacular idea given the conditions these fine folks work under when tasked with carting unwieldy speaker crates and surly subwoofers around the globe and back again.

The Audiophile, however, observes Boxing Day a little differently. Sometime after Christmas, when he thinks I'll be looking to pole vault the tree back into the storage room, he will retreat to said room to privately celebrate his collection of original boxes. These boxes "which MAY be needed to ship a component and are NOT to be used by other members of the household" will be rearranged and organized like a nested community of belligerent Russian dolls.

When he is finished I will hear a muffled, sweaty shout from the basement beckoning me to come from afar and admire the man skills that were required to slay the corrugated dragon. Although it will be difficult to contain my excitement, I will calmly approach the victory ring while rehearsing my carefully crafted response which is always, "Wow, honey, that is incredible." This, according Dan Webster himself, is the precise word to use in a situation which is so extraordinary it seems impossible. Roger that, Mr. Webster, Roger that.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Speaking in Tongues

Here's something that may not apply to all audiophile's but certainly applies to The Audiophile with whom I am most familiar. It is the nature of how his brain functions when it comes to recalling basic information.

If you ask The Audiophile to name the speakers he had during the Reagan administration, he will instantly fire back with, "That would be the Hydrobobonic PR67's." Further quizzing about any of his ever-rotating inventory of components will reveal a freakish capacity for total recall. This is clearly a handy skill for those times when he is on the phone with another audiophile who speaks his language because it makes for scintillating conversation.

Yet if you ask The Audiophile to bear witness to our children's dates of birth, things get a little dicey even though we only have two or three kids. So, being the unconditionally loving wife that I play in my own mind, I have devised a plan to refer to the fruit of our loins with a helpful nomenclature.

It will go something like, "Honey, SM328 called and he and SP404 will be here for Christmas. Oh, and before I forget, a 'bedroom system' may seem like a great gift idea for MegaWife 2.0, but she would really prefer bubble bath and a lifetime supply of never moving a subwoofer again."

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tis the Season

Seeing as how this is the time of the year where we celebrate the birth of our Savior by stimulating the economy, I thought I would give The Audiophile something related to his hobby. I mean, not his hobby, because I've been told it is not a hobby, but rather his... his... I don't know. If it is not his career, and it is not his hobby, I guess that makes it his passion, which sounds somewhat better than calling it the "love of his life."

The mailbox cooperated with my plan by offering six catalogs peddling everything from tiny underpants to chocolate-covered prunes, which should probably not be partaken of simultaneously. My attention, however, was on the audio catalog whom I selected as my traveling companion for the business at hand.

It took about six seconds with my nose in the glossy pages for me to realize this was not going to be easy or comfortable. I had no idea a power amp needed mega isolation nor did I realize metal connectors were susceptible to oxidation and corrosion. If this wasn't horrifying enough there was a photograph of a $13,000 subwoofer (reduced to $7,999) with a mature gentleman crouched next to it TOUCHING THE DRIVER.

For the record, I would like to say my intentions were good, but the non-audiophile has no business saddling up the hi-fi pony on the Christmas catalog merry-go-round. Fortunately, The Audiophile also likes wool socks and chocolate-covered fruit so I've got that going for me.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gender Confusion

It seems there are a couple of readers out there who believe I am a man. Perhaps this is because I have not devoted sufficient airtime to the discussion of birthing children or divulged a weakness for designer shoes. To authenticate my gender, I conducted an unscientific survey in which two out of two people unanimously agreed I have the necessary anatomical coordinates to be classified as a woman.

That being settled, there needs to be some consensus on whether stereo components are male or female. In my opinion, the following are all male: subwoofers, components housed in austere rectangular cases, and speakers that flirt unabashedly with the ceiling. That leaves speakers that do not flirt with the ceiling for closer examination.

The smaller more demure speakers, which do not rupture one's spleen when moving them from Point A to Point B to Point A, could be mistaken as female, but I propose most are actually male. The defining characteristic that separates the he's from the she's, if I'm not mistaken, is the slight taper in the midsection, which creates the womanly silhouette. These rare and exotic creatures, as mentioned previously, can be found in the workshop of the Denmarkian elves who handcraft these lovely ladies while maintaining a high degree of sensitivity to their cyclical highs and lows.

As for the gender of the elves, my feminine intuition tells me they are probably men because women would question the necessity of green tights and pointy wooden shoes to obtain an accurate frequency response.

And that, my friends, is audio winning.