November 1, 2010

Money Is Like Friends, Easy to Make, Hard To Keep!

Money is the root of all problems today? Try visiting a fellow audiophile.

I was having a cuppa today, when I saw the proverb as per the title of this posting, flashing over the cafe message board. It got me thinking how true this saying is, especially when it comes to audiophile friends!

Over the years, I've met many audiophiles, some of whom I've become close to, others maintaining contact(just barely) and some, I no longer wish to meet(I know, the feeling is probably mutual). The problem with audiophiles, as per observed by another equally wacky, just as neurotic audiophile(who else but Big E, He! He!) can lead to self amusement on a slow, lazy day.

Audiophiles are a funny breed of people indeed. I've seen many times where you can condemn their mother, tell them that their girlfriend/wife is ugly as sin and any other rude, hurtful remarks that one can think of, yet they can take it all in their stride, they know you probably don't mean it, or it was just a cruel joke! Life goes on, and when you next meet, all is sunny smiles again. Go ahead and tell them that their hifi system doesn't sound good, and you're on the way to losing another friend(in fact you've already lost that friendship, not realising it just yet!)

I recalled I was once taken by a hifi sifu to meet his buddy who has a very high end set up. I sat down on the throne and listened to the hifi system for more than an hour. In all honesty, it was a pretty good sounding system. It had balanced tonality, seamless coherence across the frequency range, great mid range presence with excellent sound staging properties. If there was an anomaly I thought, perhaps, just perhaps, some of the lower mid bass to bass notes did seem a tad phasey. It's probably a sub woofer to main speaker integration or a setting issue. No big deal, and certainly won't cost any $$$ to fix at all.

The host then asked me what I thought about his system, being the ever polite visitor, I replied that his system sounded very nice indeed. However, he wasn't satisfied with my answer and went on to press further for more details. I discreetly asked my sifu if his buddy can handle the truth? My sifu laughed and the host said "sure I would appreciate your honest opinion, let me have it, I can take it no matter how bad it is!"

I hesitated a little while, but he insisted "come on, I can't improve if you don't tell me what's wrong". So I told him in the most tactful manner I could, that I found some phasey sounding bass notes, and I thought that it was likely an integration or setting issue between the sub woofers and the main speakers. I also told him that his system sounded absolutely fine in all other aspects of audiophile technical parameters.

I saw his face changed and glowed a flaming red hue, his voice took on defensive tone, "I think you should leave!" he said. My sifu quickly took me away. Over the years, I bumped in to the host a couple of times, but no words were further exchanged nor said. It was then I heard from another friend who visited the same host sometime after me, and being subjected to the same aggressive post listening interrogation. This poker faced friend kept his cool under pressure and insisted only to keep to the positive side of his observation, repeatedly. The host was satisfied after the long grilling session, happy that the visitor truly liked the sound of his hifi system. I also learned that my poker faced friend was treated to a very hearty meal and he is more than welcome to return visit. It surely pays to speak no evil, doesn't it?

Moral of the story, always tell an audiophile that he's got a great sounding system(irregardless what you really think) if you value his friendship(even if he's re-assured you that he could hack it! Trust me, I've not met one who could really take it yet!). Now, surely you must know what to say the next time you've heard my hifi system, don't you?

Don't say I didn't warn you! He!He!


saat omar said...

Nice post.

che said...

"Irregardless" is what English?

HS said...

""Irregardless is an informal term commonly used in place of regardless or irrespective, which has caused controversy since it first appeared in the early twentieth century. Most dictionaries list it as "nonstandard" or "incorrect".""

This is a Audio blog not an English Literature blog ;-)

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

che said....

"Irregardless" is what English?

Hahahahahahaha.....sounds like English that needs some tweaking!

Sounds like you have some real issues with the topic.

Big E said...


Thanks for bringing that up. If it bothers you that much, I'll try not to use it too often, irregardless.

HS, Felix,

Thanks guys, if it troubles our dear readers, we'd try to accomodate to their sensitivities.

I think an audio blog should be fun and ease our tensions of the day a little, not add to it.