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Get Audio Advice from OPRA

by July 19, 2005

(Official Provider of Related Advice)

At times, here at Audioholics.com, questions only tangentially related to the study of paying as little money for as good sound as possible come up. Usually, we allow these questions to be fielded by our loyal readers in the forums. However, due to a disturbing trend of questionable advice being distributed, Audioholics.com felt moved to step in and give the REAL scoop. I have been appointed as the Official Provider of Related Advice (OPRA).

Let's take an example:

Audiophyte1: Thank you, thank you Audioholics.com for teaching the error of my audio ways. Now I need to get rid of this cube system my wife just bought me, how do I do this without hurting her feelings?

CrustyAngryAudioDude452 : Cubes suck, you suck for having them, your wife sucks, GO AWAY POSEUR!

Audiophyte1: Ummm… what?

NeverHadaDate15 : Hey, don't worry dude! Tell her the truth, she'll totally understand because she, like, LOVES you bro!

Audiophyte1: Really, you think so?

BeenMarriedSinceCaveDays54 : Ug, me say switch'em when she no look, she no notice, she dum.

Audiophyte1: OK… anyone else?

SpeakerPimp666 : What speakers are you going with? You should totally get mine because they ROCK! All other speakers blow. Especially any in your price range. You've absolutely got to get my speakers with my amp 'cause they sound so chocolaty sweet together.

At which point the thread is hopelessly derailed into debate #8,265,876 of rabid Amps-Have-A-Sound vs. frothing Amps-Don't-Have-A-Sound proponents, neither of which have probably heard more than one amp in their lives anyways. The poor Audiophyte is left without an answer. Well, NO MORE! OPRA will answer all such questions with all the authority of one that has never actually listened to any gear other than his own, has worked in a big box store for the past 3 weeks (seniority, dude!), and am going for my third eyebrow piercing tomorrow (if I can sneak out past my parents - I'm like, totally grounded).

Now, let's re-address our poor Audiophyte';s initial question, shall we?

Question from Audiophyte1:

Thank you, thank you Audioholics.com for teaching the error of my audio ways. Now I need to get rid of this cube system my wife just bought me, how do I do this without hurting her feelings? (or, if we reword it: "How to break it to your significant other that the paperweight of a component that they bought you absolutely M UST be replaced by something which, to all accounts, looks EXACTLY the same.")

This advice is also applicable for simply wanting to bring another A/V component into the household which your significant other will likely find to be "unsightly", "too big", or "not as cute as those tiny little cube thingies".

First of all, if you absolutely M UST go with the whole truth thing (highly overrated), I'd suggest tempering it with:

  1. A gift (ankle bracelets are ok but consider pairing it with earrings, a necklace, a tongue piercing, some lingerie, etc.). Oh yeah, get something for her too.
  2. A healthy dose of lies.

What, you exclaim?! Lies mixed with truth? How could this possibly work? Well, let's examine:

" Bob " (names changed to protect the…innocent?) is in a "relationship" (emotional indentured servitude) with "Jane". Bob desperately wants Object A. Bob wants Object A so much that he purchases it on a lark (ok, researched it for months, made hundreds of bids on Ebay that were fairly low thinking he would never win, then lightning strikes and he does) and now is forced to deal with the fact that it is only a matter of time until Jane finds out and the "relationship" becomes "strained" (he's in the doghouse with a footprint on his behind and a nagging suspicion that she is in the house RIGHT NOW pouring his favorite single-malt into Object A). What to do, what to do.

After consulting many various experts in the field of "relationships" (i.e. total strangers online that have absolutely no vested interest in his happiness), he decides that the best course of action is to "tell the truth". He explains to Jane the fantastic deal he got on this exceptional object and how much better BOTH of their lives will be because of it...…..and three weeks later, as she cracks the door to the doghouse and says, "There, there, you can come out now. Oh, and by the way, there's a funny smell coming from Object A and you're out of scotch," he realizes that perhaps, just PERHAPS, he was misled.

Far better for Bob had he first dressed up Object A to make it more "attractive" to Jane (a big red bow, sparkles, gold flake, alcohol (applied liberally to Jane, not Bob ), a little blush, bellybutton piercing, hip-huggers, etc.), and then paired it with Object Z.

Now Object Z is an extremely expensive, outrageously useless, and (hopefully) hideously ugly item that may or may not have any real world function that (now this is important) is absolutely anathema to anything remotely interesting to Jane and bonus points if it is against her religion, ethics, and/or moral code.

Bob must then vehemently argue that both of these objects are vitally important to him, Jane, Fido (the dog), the community, and the world. "Discussions" (in frequencies only Fido can hear) on the objects may be as short as an hour or last for years. The key is that Bob insists that Object Z is the most important item to him. This allows Jane to "put her foot down" and force Bob to return Object Z to the "store" (place of purchase, country of origin, internment camp, home planet, etc.) and keep Object A guilt-free.

See, everyone is happy. Bob gets Object A. Jane gets to flex her relationship muscles, get that horrid, blasphemous Object Z out of her sight, and perhaps garner a trinket (see suggestion 1). Fido gets his house back; and, for a short while, Object Z gets to see what life is like outside of the "box" (store, cage, packaging, universe, plane of existence, etc.).

This, of course, leads me, OPRA, to one inescapable conclusion: Audio stores must be paired with stores selling… um… imports. For example, if I opened OPRA's House of Audio , I would open right next door OPRA's House of Art of Questionable Quality . Then, much like a sommelier pairs the right wine with each entree, I would pair every component, every speaker, with the correct item to ensure that it stays in the home. Want a Pioneer VSX-815 - here take this celluloid from "About Schmitt" when Kathy Bates gets into the hot tub. Need new RBH T-2's - oohh, that's gonna be tough - here, take this vintage 1960's VW bus complete with flowers painted all over it, questionable smell, and resident hippies. Don't think that will work? She's an ex-hippie and might get all nostalgic on you? Here, take this 7 foot tall Aztec Fertility god statue complete with 3 foot protruding… um… "fertility wand". See ya in a week, bud. Looking into some Jeff Rowland monoblocs? Here's a mail-order bride of questionable hygiene with no grasp of the English language and in dire need of penicillin. See, I've got my bases COVERED!

Yes, I know that this means that OPRA's House of Art of Questionable Quality is likely never to turn a profit, but with the markup of cables, I'm totally going to get rich! Plus, I can charge a re-stocking fee!

Question from Audiophyte2:

How can I help my child to have the proper Star Wars experience?

It has often been said that "things were never as good as you remembered them…or as bad." (Well, it has been said by me, anyway). The thing is, Star Wars was a phenomenon that will never be reproduced for your child the way it was for you. If you were anything like me, you remember standing in line for HOURS (or minutes, I was young and had a short attention span) and you could FEEL the excitement in the air (or static electricity from kicking your shoes against the carpet). Regardless, you KNEW you were a part of something special. It was the first movie I ever saw more than once in the theater, and my parents had to take me. You would have to go through extraordinary lengths to reproduce that experience for your child…… sooooooooooooooooooooooo say your boy is 6 and you want them to have an "authentic" Star Wars experience. Hmmm…. Here are three options for you to choose from:

  1. You could lock them in a room for a few years with little to no human contact, then release them and give them a long hug while watching the movies. M ost certainly this will be emblazoned on their minds as a positive and life-changing experience - but the wife might not approve.

  1. You could sit down and explain to them, in excruciating detail, all the economic, political, and societal factors in play during the time of the movie's original release, and ask them to view the movie in light of all of the contextual cues at work in your life at the time - but who wants to do all that homework?

  1. You could have them watch every sci-fi movie ever made before Star Wars in chronological order of release so to help them understand exactly how groundbreaking it really was - but that would totally tie up your Netflix list for like… a year or something. Totally not worth it.

No, I think the way to go is to send the little one to live with an Aunt and Uncle, have them tell your little one that you've been killed, adopt a Cambodian daughter (long hair a must if you are going to tie them up in those buns), then give her away to some politician somewhere, don a black suit, cape, and helmet and take over the Universe… errr… World! The last, and most important, step is to wait 15 years or so and ask your son to join you in "Ruling the Galaxy"… err… "World" together as father and son. If he says "No", you're golden. Stop right there and let him know that this, THIS is what made Star Wars so great." If he says "Yes", slam the helmet down and say, "No, No, NO, you are supposed to say NO! You messed everything up! Go to your room." Either way, he'll have an unforgettable Star Wars experience.

We'll address more of your questions soon...


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About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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