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February 2006 editorial

Build your A.M.P.: HiFi...over the phone :-)

[Any audiophile would scream!]

Yeah I know it's March...please don't tease me and read on because - perhaps - I've found a smart way to save time and review dozens of HiFi components in a snap :-)

Large electronics stores are - in some sense - entertaining. If you are in for a good (and cheap) laugh look no further than the so-called HiFi department of a big consumer electronics store. Normally 15 minutes are sufficient to make you enjoy some amusing chat between a customer and a sales rep. Just pretend to be interested in something else and watch the show.
What happened to me last week, though, surpassed every previous experience I had. So much that I tought I was in the middle of some kind of candid camera playing hidden somewhere. Unfortunately it was REAL LIFE play and I got another undeniable proof that reality surpasses ANY imagination.
Just imagine the crime scene: a wall of all-in-one so-called "compact" stereo systems, a potential customer and a smart sales rep wearing his obnoxious "medical" white jacket.

Oh My, oh My... I can bear eveything, even the fake 600 watts claims....but HOW can one judge the sound quality of ANY system (be it HiFi or not) by using a mobile phone??? Was it a joke or what? No, my friends, the guy was serious, tremendously and undoubtedly serious. I couldn't help but run away, far away from there and roll on the floor laughing (and scaring the cat).
Unbelievable. I assume the guy actually BOUGHT the 600 watts trap, with a big grin on his face. A few minutes later I still had a big grin on my face, too. Here's why...

Let's build the A.M.P.!

Excited and inspired by this experience, I started planning to perform all my future reviews/evaluation tests by means of next-generation audiophile-tweaked C37 lacquer-damped mobile phones, just from anywhere! No need to stay at home spending countless hours in front of the components under test! Just turn on the system, put any test tracks sequence in repeat mode, an A.M.P. © (acronym for Audiophile Mobile Phone) on the listening seat (with the microphone in axis with the tweeters, de rigueur) then go out and make everything you want: play soccer, drive your car, enjoy the Sun and cute girls on some white Sardinian beach...and review any component in the meanwhile! A dream for any reviewer! Manufacturers waiting to have their products reviewed by us would finally be happy of our work. Countless reviews every week!!! :-)

More seriously: who's the culprit for situations like this? Man_of_the_street ignorance, sales reps greediness or...is it our fault? We, die-hard audiophiles, ...what have we done to avoid this? Have we tried to make our friends aware of the existence of good stereo systems? Not necessarily the hyper-fi gear...just plain, simple, affordable 2-channel 3-pieces sets. A digital source, an amplifier, two speakers. We know such an entry-level system can be bought for, say, less than 500 euro/$. What I ask is: are "common customers" aware of this fact? Perhaps not! Perhaps they believe a good stereo system is something BIG, utterly expensive and extremely hard to choose (and find).
We should try to explain that good "entry-level" HiFi can be bought for less, quite easily if one takes the time to browse the Internet or visit some HiFi store with a good second-hand gear department.
Spread the word, guys! We all need this! Why? Not because we are saints who should try to make others "see the light". No. More customers - especially in the entry-level range - mean more affordable products for all of us. Did you notice that the so-called mid-class has almost disappeared? Either you have few, extremely entry-level component or the high-end stuff....with almost nothing in between! If we wish to save the middle class of HiFi components we need more customers for entry-level gear. These customers, sooner or later, will ask for upgrades et voilą, there will be enough demand for mid priced components.
Avoid telling your friends how insanely expensive is your latest interconnect. This would make them run away from real HiFi. Just make them listen to a good, reasonably priced HiFi system, they will fall in love with it automatically. Yes, because Music deserves only the best reproduction, that's the main point!
The better it sounds, the most emotionally involving it gets. Music talks directly to our souls. Let it express herself! And build yourself an A.M.P in the meanwhile.

© Copyright 2006 Lucio Cadeddu - www.tnt-audio.com

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