December 15, 2005

High wire

Thoroughly enjoyed reading today's "luxury magazine" from the Hindustan Times, Splurge (December 15). Why, you ask? Here are a few reasons, quoted verbatim:


This definition of a popular dance:
    Jive: lively and uninhibited peppered with a lot of swining movements.

There you go, that explains why my partners keep whacking me when I do the jive! I've been doing it with a lot of cattling and wolfing movements, not to mention the corresponding sounds. OK, I'm off to perfect my swining movements now. Particularly that sort of snuffling motion with my nose ...


This tip from a particular Bombay hostess about inviting guests to a party:
    She plans her guest list based on the purpose of the party. If it is a business [meal], the guests will generally be corporate, business associations. If it is a social do, the guests are usually friends or people they know at a personal level.

Ah. Now I would never have figured that distinction out. Also, for my parties I've been inviting people I know at an impersonal level. Must explain why nobody shows up.


These excerpts from an article about audio systems for your car:
    "The car has become an average Mumbaiite's second home ..." says Jacob Koshy, proprietor, J&B Sound.

    "The craving for high-end car audio systems is even more prevalent among the younger generation ..." explains Taher Plumber, proprietor, Radio House.

    [Koshy also suggests what cables you should use for your system:]

    RC cable: Rs 1,000 per metre (You will require 40-50 metres).
    Speaker cable: AudioPlus SEC 8502 -- Rs 1,000 per metre (you will need 20 metres).

Very enlightening. As always, I have some questions.

First, if it is "expensive" you mean to say, why not say "expensive"? Why use "high-end"?

Aside: This reminds me of a time I went with a friend to an audio store. For no reason I could discern, he had set his heart on the brand name "Vector Research", whose virtues I cannot vouch for. After listening to the salesdrone for several stultifying minutes, my friend piped up and asked brightly: "Do you have anything by Vector Research?"

The salesdrone nose lifted perceptibly, and his plastic smile turned into a sneer. "Vector Research," he sniffed, "is not high-end."

Well and truly put in our place, we tucked our tails between our legs and sidled out. End of Aside.

Second, wire at Rs 1000/m? What is this, gold-plated stuff? But more important, why would a car stereo need 70 metres of wire? Will the wire be wound around the steering column and the gearshift and the headrests, perhaps?

Third, I really want to know, who is this "average" Mumbaiite who treats the car as a "second home"?

Oh, but I get it. A second home, and in homes you need clotheslines. So that's what you need all that wire for, to hang clothes from in your car. You average Mumbaiite, you!


Rahul Siddharthan said...

"She plans her guest list based on the purpose of the party. If it is a business [meal], the guests will generally be corporate, business associations."

Does that mean something like CII or NASSCOM? She must have a large house.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

BTW, audiophiles are pretty funny. (I speak as the owner of a low-end audiophile system. It does sound better than Bose, but I tried to hold out against the snake oil.) Rs 1000/m wire is hardly the start... For a long time they held out against CDs because 16 bit samples don't offer enough dynamic range (never mind it's way more than what LPs offer.) Of course, many early CDs were poorly mastered so vinyl did sound better. Then they said painting one side of the CD green, using gold instead of aluminium for the CD medium, etc, cause fewer errors in reading (of course CD players do error correction but they claim they can hear that too). So an entire market sprung up in gold audiophile CDs, green pens, and so on. Also, high-end CD players have ultra-stable platters and transport mechanisms to reduce jitter, when all you need to reduce it is a stable clock. They encourage double-wiring the speakers (connecting the woofers and tweeters separately to the amp, which has separate outlets), so that you will spend twice as much on that Rs 1000/m wire. But of course if you're using the same amp to drive both (even if the amp has separate outputs) it's the internal impedance of the amp which will matter. So they ask you to buy two separate amps for the woofers and tweeters. And so on... An audiophile and his money are soon parted.

Unknown said...

umm..i'd rather just sing to myself, aloud!

Dilip D'Souza said...

Rahul, your mention of Bose reminds me of the other time I went to an audio store, and we inquired about Bose speakers. The salescrook immediately wrinkled his nose, put his hands over his face, turned to the wall and began speaking to us like that. Meaning, that's how Bose speakers sound (he said). At least he was funny.

Atul, you say: i'd rather just sing to myself, aloud!

For that, we audiophiles recommend cables, available at Rs 4000/foot, which you can use to tie down the other occupants of your car so they won't run screaming for the hills.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Dilip, about your salesman who immediately wrinkled his nose, put his hands over his face, turned to the wall and began speaking to us like that.

He was demonstrating the "direct/reflecting" system. The high-end Bose systems (series 901 for example) have two speakers pointing forward and a whole bunch pointing backwards facing the wall. Their theory is that this better simulates a concert environment where sound reflects off walls. Many people think it just makes the sound "muddy" apparently. I haven't heard those systems; the Bose systems I've heard didn't sound bad exactly, until you looked at the price. If you want to spend Rs 25000 you can do much better...

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Here's a good rebuttal of expensive-cabling, biwiring, CD-treatment and sundry other audiophile myths: (PDF file). Since you seem to visit high-end audio shops often, take a printout along next time...

Dilip D'Souza said...

Rahul, yes, the man was trying to make fun of the Bose direct/reflecting system, and if I recall correctly he used the word "muddy". He was also sneering at us actually presuming to think that Bose was "high-end" -- not high-end enough, obviously.

Thanks for that link! But I don't visit high-end audio stores often -- the last time (of 2) was actually 20 years ago! Nevertheless, I might actually make such a visit just for the pleasure of plonking down this printout and reading it ostentatiously.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

(small voice)
But I LIKE Bose.
They sound real GOOD.
Not high-end ...?

(Well, F*** high-end! ... goes back to Smoke on the water at high volume)