Sunday, April 19, 2009

Champagne tastes...

...on a beer budget...sigh...that's me. Of course I'm not actually that fond of champagne, and I really love microbrew beer, point being, I like nice stuff. Not in all areas; there are many many things I just don't care about, but functional things, I'm a sucker for good design, and have I mentioned my strange bag fixation?

And audio-visual equipment. I've just had to stay away from this kind of thing because I know how I am. No plasma TVs for me, and I've had basically the same sound system for...well, parts of it are 30 years old (but lemme tell you, I really did my research on that 40 watts per channel Kenwood amp!).

Not surprisingly, the audio has been slowly dying for years. Rather than replace it, I just largely stopped listening to music in my house. Which is strange, given how much I love music, my many years of playing in bands, etc. I did buy an iPod but rarely used it. I don't like walking around with earbuds, screening out the rest of the world. Besides, it never sounded good to me.

But as I contemplated packing up and moving around (at least for a while), I kept staring at all the CDs racked around Shack by the Sea (we're not even going to discuss the vinyl), thinking, well, it would be nice to have music with me, wherever I am. Plus, loading all the CDs into my computer is something I can do that doesn't finally, irrevocably say, "Yes, I am moving." I'm leaving that decision till May 1st. May Day, you, if I do move, I'll need something to help other than baseball games and America's Next Top Model marathons.

So, I went down to the Apple Store to check out iPod speakers. "So are you pretty familiar with these systems?" I asked the closest clerk.

"Not really," he said, a little sheepishly. "I bought the Bose and didn't really listen to anything else."

The Bose, of course, was the most expensive dock they offered.

The two of us had a listen to the various systems. You know, not bad. The new version of the JBL donut (the Onstage III) sounded decent; the Logitec Portable okay, if a little tinny, and the Altec Lansing was pretty nice too. Then I listened to the Bose Sound Deck II.

"Oh," I said to the clerk. "Okay. I get it. Thanks a lot." He smiled.

After a few days of contemplation, I went back and bought the Bose. I'm listening to it now, and what can I say? It's great having music in the house again.

I'm just glad they didn't have the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin at the store. Not only does this get rave reviews for sound quality, it's called "the Zeppelin"! I'm not sure I could have resisted...

(the Apple Online store has a good selection of speakers, including all those mentioned above. Another nice-sounding speaker I might recommend is a JBL not included on the Apple site, the Radial Micro. I'm not sure which model I heard, and I haven't listened to it side-by-side with anything else, but it seemed to handle tricky classical stuff pretty well).

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