Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

To Hans Wetzel,

I just read your latest editorial. I was once the crazed, obsessed "audiophile" (I do have the addictive gene, I believe.) I would lust and spend above my means for the next, best flavor of the month.

Eventually, doing that lead to having very little money left to spend on new music. Listening became more like work, less like pleasure. Well, times and priorities have changed. The "audiophile" system is gone. It’s been replaced with a PC, some powered speakers, a headphone amplifier-DAC, and headphones. This is located in the family room, and the family uses it. Decisions on equipment purchases are not based solely on how something sounds. Sure, I want good sound, but will the wife, daughter, and son be able enjoy the system as well? The major considerations are ease of use, features, price, and sound, in no particular order. Now having said all that, I can still get a little crazy over this piece or that thingamabob because of something the audio press has written. When I feel that craziness coming back, I remember back a few years ago when I served the equipment. Those weren't really fun times. The pleasure truly comes when the music serves me!

Great read and keep up the good work,

Jay W.

Jay, glad to hear that I'm not alone. I was really looking forward to reviewing the Cabasses that are mentioned and pictured in the article (you’ll be able to find my review in Ultra Audio, our sister site, on the 15th of this month). But after seeing those (beautiful) 124-pound beasts leave my listening room, I never want to review something that big again. They're huge! If I had that dedicated listening room, perhaps, but not for a normal city apartment.

I'm finding that I derive the most pleasure from products that sound good and are thoughtfully designed. For that reason, Audioengine's little A5+ remains a favorite of mine, despite the fact that a pair only costs $399. My bamboo review samples looked great, had everything one needed right in the box, and sounded pretty good, to boot. They weren't the best in any individual respect, but as a package, it was so livable, as I wrote in my review. It's no surprise to me that you've replaced your traditional hi-fi setup for a computer-based setup with powered speakers. We have at least one powered desktop speaker review in the pipeline, and possibly another, so stay tuned. It's pretty crazy just how good some of these small desktop solutions can sound. . . . Hans Wetzel