Audioholism - Is There an End?
I knew there was something awry the moment I entered the house.
Joe had called me over to have a couple of beers and listen to his latest " Mantovani Goes Techno" DVD. He's always been a bit of a snob, so I splurged on a case of Boddingtons and headed over there. For some reason I always end up buying the beer on these occasions. Joe explains that he spent the money on his equipment, so that makes it fair. Susan let me in with a dazed look on her face and propelled me down to their den. There was Joe. Listening to the DVD! I finished my first can before I could sit down or even speak. "Er, Joe," I mumbled, "Shouldn't you be fiddling with a wire or something?" He held up a hand and I absently passed him a beer as the track ended. Then he turned toward me with a beatific smile. "It's perfect!" he announced. "What is? Techno M antovani?" "No, no no. The system . It's perfect! " I looked around in shock. Sure enough there were no screwdrivers in sight. No strange boxes with arcane wires and indecipherable readouts, no loose coils of speaker wire, no freshly opened Fedex box of new components, no… nothing. Just Joe sitting there with a beer and actually listening to a DVD.
It's almost scary to find an Audioholic with the perfect system An Audioholic who is so satisfied with what they have that they walk around with grins and proudly proclaim "I'm done! Finally, I'm done! I've beaten the Beast and I have no need to spend any more time or money. It's perfect!"
Susan was wandering in a wonderful haze, imagining years of actually using the family room that was no longer under construction, while the kids were almost dazed by the prospect of not using left over M onster cords for suspenders. They were so happy I had to take the tyke off the subwoofer (where she'd been placed to rock her to sleep, no washing machines for this girl) and break the bubble.
I was befuddled, bewildered and confused. What had happened to Joe? Isn't it Axiomatic that an Audioholic that is satisfied is no longer suffering from Audioholism? This person I thought I knew had obviously forgotten everything he had learned about being involved with home audio! Something had to be done!
I was now a man with a M ission . Elegantly of course. An intervention was called for. I had to bring him back into the fold (and failing that I at least had to give him a strong Buttkicking.) But how?
Susan was no help, so I needed a different enabler. I quickly enlisted the son. Whispering into his ear like the subtle sound of an RBH speaker on a 5 watt tube amplifier, I explained his dad had a problem and it was now his turn to become the boss of the house. If he didn't, I pointed out, he would never get that iRock that Joe had promised to build for him. The boy shot up faster than feedback from a Wal-mart PA system."Dad, it doesn't move!"
Gesturing to the TV, Joe said "of course it doesn't, Velo, I fixed it that way so it doesn't fall off the wall." (Did I forget to mention Joe named his kids after his favorite manufacturers? His daughter is named Dyne.)
"No, Dad, the couch doesn't move."
"Why should it?"
"Well you said we had the best home theater, but nothing moves . When we watch movies, all we can do is hear . At my friend Sandy's house you can feel the movies."
This kid was tuned in; he really knew how to work his dad's remote. I stood back with another beer and watched him manipulate.
I might have started more than I intended, but I got my Audioholic back. Little did I know I was going to lose Susan as a friend. Back in our college days when we were both still listening to clock radios, we shared many a glass of wine together while watching Joe, pouring over Radio Shack catalogues. But now I had given him another reason to reconstruct the house. And now my Audioholic friend was back to his original mission and was not to be distracted. Joe was back!
He had to find a moving couch. Not just any cheap construct, a fully moving couch. Totally connected and hot-wired to rumble and pitch you out of your seat. If it was going to kick his butt, it was going to go all the way! None of these small shivers and shakes. No! When someone says "Fire the aft torpedoes!" he wanted to hear and feel them.
I enlisted the opinion of my brother-in-law, a Marine Corps pilot, as to what the realistic feel should be. "Sure," said Michael, "He'll want at least 6DOF for full realism."
"Degrees of Freedom." I put Joe on the phone (these sounded like terms he could understand). He wanted pitch, roll, yaw, sway, surge and heave. An Audioholic back in his element, he spent months installing simulator beds underneath the couches, although he was nice to Susan and only put 3DOF under her rocker. All of this of course entailed more power, bigger amps, new speakers and a horde of other projects and components.
Now he has a new system with updated components. He's back with the program. Even the baby's crib has independent speakers and a 2DOF - apparently, Mr. Roger's trolley is much more fun now.
Independence Day was the debut movie. Susan, once a reasonable woman, refused to clean up and swore never to speak to me again since we had no motion sickness pills on hand.
Aw shucks. I really did mean well by my suggestion.