It bothers me every year -- the politeness and the banality of the music at these shows. We all like solo cello and Diana Krall -- don't we? We all understand that exhibitors want to draw in as many people as possible by avoiding abrasive music that'll drive away showgoers. Fair enough. But still, when I walk by a room and hear Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd playing at higher-than-usual levels, I invariably stop in my tracks and march right in. So do lots of other folks, by my observations.
I don't often sit in one room for any extended period of time unless a speaker specifically grabs hold of me and doesn't let go. When that happens, it's usually the result of either a massive overload of tubes, or some kind of exotic electrostat. I'm rarely captivated by a small speaker powered by solid-state electronics.
It was a slow, steady descent. I've always loved tubes, but man, oh man, you've got to have deep pockets if you want nice tube stuff, which is why I still campaign my 20-year-old Sonic Frontiers SFL-2 preamp. In order to replace it with something current that performs on the same level, I'd have to sink in five figures. New motorcycle or new tube preamp? Which do you think I'd choose?
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