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June 2002 Editorial

Centripetal and centrifugal forces (HiFi vs Vespa)

Author: Lucio Cadeddu

[Vespa - courtesy by Piaggio.com]

Sometimes I find myself thinking at how all this craziness started. I mean, how did I get involved in HiFi and how could I have spent the money...otherwise.

My memory goes back to my early years when I was a young high school student. I can sharply remember all the discussions with friends about Music and the necessity (call it urge) to listen to it the best way we could.
Being passionate Music lovers we felt the need for better gear than our mono compact cassette recorders.
One thing was sure: minisystems and Japanese racks were out of question...we definitely needed a separate, real HiFi system.
Unfortunately, the real problem was...guess what?...money! Better, the substantial lack of it :-)
Being students, our only possibility to earn some money was part-time work during the Summer break. You can easily guess by yourself these "jobs" weren't going to bring us any esoteric HiFi gear of sort. Moreover, the hard-earned cash was right enough for a decent audiophile-oriented system and nothing else. In other words, we had to choose between a decent HiFi system, a nice Vespa (the popular Italian scooter) or a one way ticket to Sweden :-)

After neverending discussions and sleepless nights some of us came to a conclusion. One of us decided for a Vespa, confessing he preferred something that could take him "far from home" instead of keeping him "at home".
The motivation made me wonder and ponder for a while. Why? Well, if one decides to spend all his tight budget on a HiFi system he should be a TRUE Music lover. Yes! It is a choice that forces him to stay at home, preferably (and eventually) all alone, in front of his HiFi system.
Now, you can buy an extremely good sounding system but, at the end of it all, you still stay all alone in front of it...at home. In the meanwhile, your friends who decided otherwise, may be meeting and dating beautiful girls out there thanks to their shining new Vespas :-)
You can't help but admit this scenario, seen with the eyes of a sixteen years old student, isn't exactly attractive, to say the least.

In other words, Music (hence HiFi) was a force that tried to attract us towards the center of gravity of our lives (i.e. home) while the rest (freedom, travelling, nice girls etc.) forced us away from our center of gravity.
We, poor material points, lived in a continuous fight between this centripetal force and that centrifugal force, under a permanent condition of unstable equilibrium. Unstable? Yes! A minor perturbation of the initial data could make us move outside or inside. In the first case the "perturbation" could have been the new blonde girl on the block, in the second case the newly released album of our fav rock band.

Are you wondering how the whole story ended? Well, two of us decided for those blonde girls (and hence the Vespa's...) while two decided for a good stereo system. No wonder I belonged to this second group :-)

I do not know whether that was a clever choice or not but I clearly remember how excited I was while listening, for the first time, to my favourite bands in a way I couldn't even imagine before! And this kind of satisfaction made me forget (well, almost) the rest.
One thing is for sure: had I opted for the Vespa...now TNT-Audio would be just a dream and not a striking reality. I'll let you decide whether my choice was for good or not :-PPP

Of course, it hasn't always been a bed of roses: when the HiFi system sounded bad (and, oh My, with certain records it sounded horrible!) I wondered why didn't I buy a Vespa :-) But! These moments of unsatisfaction forced me to upgrade my system!
Since extra cash was out of question, I started to "tweak" HiFi components, way before knowning I was into "tweaking".
DIY cables, accessories etc gave me the feeling I was vastly improving my system with negligible amounts of money. Of course, the improvements weren't as "dramatic" as they appeared to me...but they were good enough to start again to enjoy my favourite Music. Moreover, considering the money spent on tweaks was almost zero, the quality/price ratio of the improvements was stellar :-)

Nowadays, when I read letters from young readers - mainly high school students - who spend all their hardly saved money on their first HiFi system I feel we can be optimistic about this hobby. There's still hope.
I'd love to give these young audiophiles all my support and encouragement, since they are passionate enough to sacrify something to give Music a decent reproduction.
Guys, perhaps your friends will enjoy better holidays and journeys but please don't forget Music is the best way to "travel". To me, Music is a neverending and exciting journey through different cultures and Countries. Our Music collections are treasures we will still be enjoying and discovering for the years to come.
Hence, that centripetal force - surprisingly - will be able to bring us "outside", even if only mentally, and let us enjoy Life in a fuller and definitely richer way.

© Copyright 2002 Lucio Cadeddu - https://www.tnt-audio.com

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