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Monthly Editorial by Marc Mickelson
July 2003

Making Your Move

What is the most disruptive thing that can occur in an audiophile's life? Fried speaker driver? Blown tube? Blown tube that fries a speaker driver? Certainly, these are unfortunate events, but I know of one thing that's much worse: moving. Here in the US, July and August are prime moving months, and things have been especially active this year because of very low interest rates. At SoundStage!, both Jeff Fritz and I have moved in the past few weeks, and when things are said and done, both of us will end up moving twice -- from temporary digs into new houses. Yes, it's great to have a new place to call your own, but when you're an audiophile, the toil of moving increases exponentially.

What makes moving such an audio bummer? Of course, there is all of the careful packing of our precious audio equipment (you do save the boxes, don't you?) and lugging the stuff from one listening room to another. I pity owners of Wilson Audio speakers, particularly the Sophia, which weighs in one piece what the WATT/Puppy 7s do in two. At least with the 7s, you can split up the weight; the Puppy is still a two-man lift, but not a back-breaking one. This is not the case with the Sophia, which is like lugging around a pair of loaded coffins. Amplifiers can be nearly as bad on the back -- a single Lamm ML1.1 weighs over 100 pounds in its wooden crate and is just large enough for the weight to be incredibly awkward. Stairs? Don't get me started.

One accessory I absolutely hate moving is the Bright Star Big Rock base. First, you have to decide if you will remove the sand or leave it in. It seems like a waste of time, not to mention sand, to empty out the Big Rock only to refill it, but if you don't, you have to worry about holding the base, which isn't light, as perfectly level as possible so that the sand doesn't spill out. An even more difficult maneuver is one I know all too well -- picking up a fully loaded Big Rock from a carpeted floor. The Big Rock compresses into the carpet, so you have to dig your fingers underneath to lift it. If you have Berber carpet with pad, for instance, this chore is likely to chew up your fingers, after which you have to balance the bulky Big Rock with throbbing digits. That Big Rocks are extremely effective at improving the sound of the components they support is their only saving grace.

Perhaps the greatest pitfall of moving, however, is leaving a listening room whose sound you are familiar with for the great sonic unknown of another room. Yes, some people create their listening rooms from the ground up, but I know of a few audiophiles who have done this with less than stellar results -- like standing waves that turn the sound into a gelatinous mess. And don't forget that everything you lugged out of your previous room now has to be moved into this new one. A ton of audio equipment out (maybe more if you own Big Rocks for everything) and a ton of audio equipment back in.

Jeff Fritz is lucky. He has completed both legs of his audio odyssey and is settled into his new home. I still have most of the work in front of me -- in the shape of a cross-country move, which adds greatly to the difficulty scale. They say that moving helps you find out who your real friends are. "Hey Jeff, what are you doing on the weekend of the…."

...Marc Mickelson

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