January 18th, 2007


Tower of Power

When I was a young man, I spent a lot of time (and money) carefully selecting individual components to create the premier stereo system. The Editor-In-Chief of CD Review magazine wrote back in 1991, "An audiophile uses music to show off his system, but a true music lover uses his system to show off the music." I bought components from all over the world - my amp & cassette deck in Germany, my laserdisc player in Korea, my speakers & CD carousel in England. The only thing I wanted to do after work was listen to music, and listen to music I did.

The above scenario is a close representation of the proof-of-concept photogoot used when he pieced together his rather expansive set as well. I only mention this because there was a time when we integrated the two, creating the Tower of Power. Men wept and women got wet upon hearing it. It was truly a magnificent work of art and the whole was much greater than the sum of its parts. Our movie watching matched our music listening (why not, the Tower of Power was better than any theater) - of course we never watched video cassettes, only laserdiscs. I could never stomach movies on VCR - the magnetic tape hiss was unbearable and the colors bled something fierce.

It was during this time that I became aware of married servicemen with children bitching about their systems, their small televisions and cheap paper speakers. I thought to myself, "I'll be smarter than that - I'll build my system up so that I have absolutely everything I'll need prior to getting married and having kids!" I was so smart. Everyone who knew me was envious of my realized dream.

We split the system 18-months later but I've never forgotten it. I purchased some replacement speakers in Korea and continued to build on my system. I enjoyed listening to music and watching laserdiscs after work. I moved again and finalized my system. It was, in a word, perfect. Money can't buy happiness, but every dollar I had spent on the system and my music had given me joy.

I got married and had a child. A two-fold problem developed. I discovered I wasn't as smart as I had first anticipated. First of all, I had no time to sit and listen to music. My creation was being used for the news, and for chick-flicks. Secondly, when I did have time to sit and listen, I noticed my aging components starting to break. I hadn't expected this - and now I certainly couldn't afford to replace them! My perfect plan ended up in disaster. I was becoming what I despised most.

Fine. As I spent most of my time in front of a computer, I picked up a fine pair of Bose MediaMate speakers for something like $250. They were my new release - if I couldn't have my stereo, I could at least have these. Time passes and I was commuting 3-hours a day and wasn't able to listen to music at volume at work, so those were mostly sitting idle. I relied heavily on my car's stereo system for the two years I made that daily 3-hour commute. My Sebring LXi had a fantastic Infinity system installed - which was great until my second child was born, forcing me out of it. Eleven years after I purchased them, my Bose computer speakers died.

Hi. My name is Eric. I'm 37 years old and listen to music from a set of $50 Logitech's.