The Horror

After getting  back home from “The Show” in Costa Mesa, California this past weekend, I walked over to my stereo system and turned it on. And silently wept. I had held out a feint hope that my cross-over modified 1.7i Maggies and mighty Parasound A21+, fed from a Prima Luna 300 tube preamplifier could somehow manage a slight shimmer of resemblance to the robust setups I witnessed at the SHOW. Not—- on— your —-life. Not even close. I slumped into my over-stuffed couch and stared long and hard at the thing I created: an anemic concoction of false hopes and wishful thinking. The horror, the truth: entry into serious audiophile listening begins with purchase of speakers that cost the price of the car I had to finance for 4 years, closely followed with the added expense of beefy sophisticated electronics and wiring, not a gaggle of cheap wanna-be plastic and tweeks. I so wanted to belong, but that’s turned out to be just a fever dream I’ve got to wake up from. Maybe one day, if ever I have the nerve to rob a bank, find Jimmy Hoffa, or survive a head-on collision from a sleepy Amazon driver, I might make it. Maybe. Feel free to play the violin with two fingers.


It’s just relativity. Next time you get home from T.H.E. Show, don’t listen to any music for a week.

And consider what those super systems cost to insure. That part is not a gift that keeps on giving.

Honestly it’s hard to tell how much of a troll this is. The number of great systems I’ve heard is about 1 system per show, on average. Usually the rooms are so bad that I can’t tell anything good about what I’m hearing (with Vandersteen and Fritz being consistently above average in terms of show performance).

On the other hand, I’ve seen / heard audiophile systems which go off on their own unique directions and sometimes these unique directions set a trend/fad of sound quality all it’s own. The 1980’s pairing of Audio Research with B&W speakers was one such fad I could never get on board with, but those sound characteristics became what audiophiles wanted MORE of. 🤮

So, is the OP trolling, or has their direction taken them off to a unique set of sound characteristics that they lost track of what a full bodied system sounds like I can’t really tell.

I can say, with little doubt, that hotel rooms and audio shows are usually terrible places to listen to systems, and that aspiring to speakers that are too big for the room in every way is also bad. There’s a great sounding system for every size room.

@tvad Jim Smith’s book is a good recommendation.

Magnepans were the only speakers I bought on the spot when I heard them, which in hindsight was a big mistake. I never had the room needed to set them up right like I heard them when I bought them.

The shop was Audition in Birmingham AL in the late 80s. The owner of that shop which had the reference setup for Magnepans was, drum roll…… Jim Smith himself! The Maggie’s were set up about two thirds of the way into the room well away from side walls and closer to center. Who can do that at home?

Also they are very power hungry so not just any amp will do.