“Can you help me move some boxes on Monday?” asked a chum. Of course I could. Somehow, however, I mustn’t have heard when the dear chap described the contents of said boxes. Which turned out to be outrageously valuable hifi speakers (B&W Signature 805s, if you really want to know). Outrageously valuable, flamboyantly beautiful, elegantly constructed… and, it turned out, stupendously magnificent-sounding.
The boxes, you see, were being moved from one shop, around the the corner, to another shop. Wherein they were attached to a succession of similarly-stratospheric amplifiers, and equally celestial boxes which schlupped in little silver discs and span them around and around.
We sat. We listened.
After three hours, we went away and had a spot of lunch. We then returned.
We sat some more. We listened some more. We even – and this is remarkable – Decided.
We then packed everything up and went away again, bearing our boxes of speakers. We did not, however, walk out with a Quad CD-P and matching 909 power amp, which in my book was a crying shame since the combination was unbelievably clear and yet delivered deeply pleasant listening. Tragically, chum’s ears are a tad more discerning (which is mildly reassuring, seeing as how he’s a BBC radio sound engineer and all) and he was bothered by a slight harshness in the not-quite-top-end. Which, frankly, I didn’t hear at all, but I was with him most of the way until then and actually I’m rather proud of that.
So poor chum is having to make do with his ancient CD player and a skanky Rotel 1062 integrated amp we’d purloined from the first shop. A mere £600-worth, and barely fit to be in the same room as the gorgeous speakers.
And, at length, I returned home. Whereupon I made the mistake of putting one of the discs we’d been listening to into my own system. My beloved bought-for-a-song Marantz amp, the almost-matching CD player I lovingly nickname ‘Skippy,’ and the twelve year-old baby Mission speakers which were a bit rough even before Lucy trod on one. The disc span up, and I listened.
Shit. I need a new stereo system. Anyone got six grand to spare?