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Beatnik says fool me once….

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Jack Roberts Beatnik's JourneyFool me once shame on you, fool me twice – oh heck, I’m an audiophile you can fool me over and over again. What is it about our pursuit of good sound that makes us audiophiles so willing to always try something different. Heck, we don’t just pursue good sound but better sound than the good sound we already have. The reason for this little rant is as follows.

I recently read a review, yeah I read other reviewers, of the new anniversary reissue of Paul Simon’s Graceland album. The review convinced me to purchase the reissue even though I had a near mint copy of the original release of this LP. Now here’s what amazes me, I don’t know how many times I have written that if you have a good copy of the original it will be a rare thing for any reissue to beat it. The exception is well done 45RPMs; they often are better than the originals. Still, I didn’t even heed my own advice.

Now, I don’t want you to think the anniversary reissue of Graceland isn’t good; in fact, it is superb. It may be slightly better or it might not be as quiet, depending on your system’s tonal balance. What I can say for certain is that it is better than a noisy original and it costs $10 less than I paid for my original pressing. Still, my point is what ever made me buy it, did I really think this wonderful reissue was going to make this recording sound more like Paul Simon? No, I guess I was just being an audiophile, but I could be a smarter buyer.

This got me to thinking about other ridiculous things I have done as an audiophile over the years. The first one that comes to mind goes back about thirty-two or thirty-three years ago. We had moved from town to the country and I was a little dissatisfied with my FM reception, FM was a major way of hearing music then. Instead of going out and buying a outdoor FM antenna, I had read in Popular Science about building this huge one in your garage or carport. Well, at that time I had a carport, and proceeded to put up the wire standoffs all the way around the top and ran what seemed like miles of wire around the top of the carport. When I was finally through, I hooked it up to the tuner, turned it on and waited for the miracle. Well, there was no miracle, yes some stations came in better than they did with the indoor antenna, but others didn’t come in at all. The worse problem though, was that the birds thought I had put it up just so they could build nest in my carport and man, what a mess. In the end, I had to just buy an outdoor antenna anyway.

Another thing that came to mind was all the tweaks I have not only tried, but bought and no longer used. It would be so much easier to just name the ones I still use, but I’ll give it a go. Let’s just start with tweaks I no longer use with CDs: tape degausser, CD Stoplight, green felt pens, rings that you put around the edge of CDs, copying the CD to a black CD, and I’m sure others I can’t remember.

Then there are speaker tweaks I don’t use any more: the plates you mounted on the back of your speakers to dissipate cabinet vibrations, painting the inside of the cabinets with ceramic paint (no longer available by the way), Marigo dots, D-Flex damping material, foam rings around the tweeter, and on and on we could go. I could go on with all the other tweaks also, but let’s just say not many are still around.

Which brings me to where I will end this silly ramble. There are a few tweaks I still have, such as room dampening (but be sure to use in moderation), Synergistic Research Acoustic ART Real-Time Analogue Room Treatment, power conditioning, good cables, and a record cleaning machine. Now that I think about it, the last three may no longer be considered tweaks. Pretty short list, isn’t it? Especially when I think about all the tweaks I spent money on. So, I’ll end where I started. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice – oh heck, I’m an audiophile you can fool me over and over again.

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