A Stereo Upgrade
Rick Landau 2000/06/08
So I find myself looking for new stereo speakers. The old AR-3a's were wonderful in their time, a beautiful, full sound, full range from bass to screaming tweeter and smooth in between. These were "acoustic suspension" speakers, famous for their flat response, famous for their smooth but heavy bass. I bought these back at the end of the Sixties, used them all through the seventies and eighties. Through rock's heaviest guitars, disco's basses, acid, metal, not to mention bone-crushing symphony orchestras with a hundred and fifty people sitting right there in the living room dragging a horse's tail over the entrails of a cat while Stravinsky, Casals, and von Karajan whip them into a frenzy.
And famous for their inefficiency, too, which is why one set of speakers outlived four amplifiers. But that's really another story.
Time marches on. Three decades of it. Technology changes. Hearing changes. Money changes. What used to be expensive is now middle of the road. To replace these with something that sounds as good as they did will be expensive by the new standards. (But I'm allowed to buy a new toy every thirty years.) So one must do some research.
Being a boy from the land of Tech Hi-Fi and Tweeter Etc., I know who is the audience for the class of speakers that I'm looking for: The Young Technoids. Young guys, single guys or only recently married, guys with good techno jobs and too much disposable income and the will to indulge themselves.
So I approach one of the target audience. "I need some advice, and I know that you have the information I need. You are a young guy, single or only recently married, with a techno job and too much disposable income. From all this data, I conclude that you must have an elaborate stereo system."
The first guy is a bust. He had had a big stereo in college, but too much Metallica ruined the amp, the speakers, and his ears. His current ones he built himself, and he thinks they're crummy. The second guy claims to have a tin ear and cheap speakers. But his dad has good ones. The third guy, nah, he just doesn't believe in spending a lot on such things. Criminy! What is the world coming to? Have I moved to Texas or to some other planet? This line of investigation is a bust.
Okay, check the stores. This is a college town; there must be some high-end stereo shops here. We listen around. As we pull up to like the third one, Ms. T. observes that we are, um, the odd couple in this expedition. All the other shoppers are young guys, as predicted by my earlier logic, in ones or twos. And my car, a new Bonneville, is almost an old family sedan compared with the testosteronemobiles parked alongside.
We're still looking. Ms. T. suggests that, since the techies seem to be too tight with a buck, I should ask the guys in marketing. They will spend much more freely, and they're much more concerned with having the best, or at least the most expensive. Always the clever girl.