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SoundStage! Update

Fit to Review

October 10, 2006

Have you ever seen an Ayre V-1xe amp? It's large, but not overly so. Have you ever lifted one? It's an awkward mass that feels like it's bolted to the floor.

Tales of audio reviewers whose midrange is more plump than any tube amp's are common. If you frequent audio shows, you'll see the evidence; for some in attendance, walking up and down hotel stairs is the most physical activity they've gotten since the last audio show.

I've been a runner and workout hound since my late teens -- good habits that have served me well for over two decades. However, I never thought that staying fit would a prerequisite for reviewing audio equipment, but it is for the gear I receive. Being an audio reviewer isn't just about listening and writing. Uncrating and positioning a pair of large floorstanding speakers can be a workout itself, especially if getting the speakers into your listening room involves going up or down stairs. Lugging mono amps into the house is like a challenge from The World's Strongest Man. It'll raise anyone's heart rate.

So next time you think that reviewing audio equipment is a cushy job, think about those of us who are running on cold winter mornings or heaving Ayre V-1xe amps late at night....Marc Mickelson, editor@soundstage.com

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