|Monthly Editorial by Marc Mickelson|
Where it Began, Where it's Going
I remember my first stereo system -- bought from K-Mart with money earned doing farm work, an 8-track tape player and recorder as its source. I recorded favorite songs off the radio with it, and I still remember that time by some of those songs: The Polices "Roxanne," Elvis Costellos "Accidents will Happen," Dire Straits "Sultans of Swing." All I have to do is hear one of those tunes and Im instantly transported to days of too much time spent in my parents basement -- which was my room then -- playing with my all-in-one stereo.
Fast-forward to today, and I sit in front of an audio system that cost considerably more than my parents house listening to "Accidents Will Happen" from a remastered CD with "previously unreleased tracks." The road from K-Mart to the high end as been a circuitous one, and I count at least seven pairs of speakers between the two -- along with preamps from Hafler, NAD, Conrad-Johnson (two different models) and CAT; any number of power amps; and enough interconnect cable to circle my own house, which has its own listening room, dedicated that is.
A similar path is evident for just about any job or hobby about which we have passion -- cooking, sailing, creating a website. I have a friend who loves carpentry and has now, after many years of buying and selling, amassed a collection of yellow-and-black DeWALT saws and drills that professionals would envy. He graduated from Black & Decker. SoundStage! is in the same situation -- somewhere on the road to its constant betterment. And heres a list of recent tweaks and planned upgrades.
Now to answer the question you may be asking: Where is SoundStage! in the continuum of improvement? I suspect were around the area of my second stereo system -- Scott receiver, BSR turntable, Stanton cartridge, and Altec speakers. I hadnt discovered specialty audio cables yet, mostly because they didnt exist in any great numbers. And I suspect Ill remember this time like I do the days of "Accidents Will Happen": It took a lot of work to get here, and theres a lot of work yet to be done.
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