With the bad economy lurking over audiophiles for more than two years - the pressure has never been higher to get more audio performance from one's beloved AV system with less money. Because of this pressure, a growing movement of people have come up with a new level of system tweaks that range from the truly stupid to things you may never have dreamed of before. These desperate times call for desperate action: they are angry as hell and they are taking the performance of their audio system into their own hands. They claim they aren't part of any kind of large party and that the tweaks are more of a "small audio movement," but others say they are outright dangerous. Nevertheless, we at HomeTheaterReview.com feel we must highlight the planks of this platform for you, upgrade by upgrade.
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For similar topics, please see our other articles, 5 Ways to Save Audiophila from the Snobs that Want the Hobby Dead, An Open Letter to Audiophile Record Labels About Blu-ray for Music, and Why Audiophile Music Doen't Sell to the Masses. You can also find more stories in our Feature News section.
Nitrogen Filled Bicycle Tires
Perhaps you have heard of extremist audiophiles putting actual bicycle tires under their CD transports and turntables, but that's not extreme enough for the Tweak Party these days. The Tweakos are using racing-caliber bicycle tires, much like the ones used by Lance Armstrong, and filling them with Nitrogen as F1 racecars do, for an even more stable platform for their audio source components. The Tweaks say that the reduced "jitter" from this mod can be heard by anyone and should be embraced by everyone with a CD player, DVD player or Blu-ray machine. Critics suggest that this is the easiest way to find your $10,000 turntable laying on the floor, broken into pieces and that nobody could possibly hear the difference that a bike tire could make on a disc player, even with dog-keen hearing.
24 Karat Gold Amp Bricks
Amp bricks were an audiophile movement in the 1970s, when people looking for the Nth degree of audio performance from their power amps and preamps laid heavy pieces of metal on top of their audio electronics. They raved about improved "space," "air," and "depth" in the sound, mainly because these same people had been hit in the head with a brick first and had lost all perspective on sound. But today's Tweak Partiers have taken the idea of amp bricks to a whole new level. As the Tweakers say, everyone should be buying more guns and converting their cash to gold. Clearly, the Tweak Party is way ahead of us with their 24 Karat gold amp bricks. You too can park about $10,000 of Fort Knox's best on top of your Krell, Mark Levinson or Audio Research amps. Expect to feel more secure not only with your audio but also with your overall finances. Critics suggest that there is a better chance that someone (perhaps an undocumented housekeeper) would steal the amp bricks before they would help anyone's audio system sound 1/10,000 better than it did before using an amp brick made of any material.
Maglev Audio-Video Cable Lifts
Audiophiles have been trying all sorts of tricks to get their cables physically "decoupled" from the floor so that they can keep the audio signal more pure going from component to component. In the past, some have used fishing filament strung from the ceiling. Others have made (and sold to the public) mini-sawhorse devices to lift speaker cables from the ground - but the Tweak Party has taken things to a whole new level with their "grassroots" movement by using the same technology that monorails and trains use. Yes, they are actually installing intricate maglev cable lifts to literally allow their audio cables to hover above the floor when the system is on. Critics say this is a waste of power and money. The Tweak Party says it's as valuable as spending more government money on actual high-speed railways.
Actual Angel Tears and Bald Eagle Semen
In California, one of the hottest new businesses is selling medical marijuana to people with a prescription. Lately, the Tweak Party has been promoting their own new business that they swear will create meaningful numbers of jobs. They are selling pre-packaged bottles of both Bald Eagle Semen and actual Angel Tears. What could be more American than bald eagle semen? Answer: nothing. What would you do with nail polish-sized bottles of this audio gold? You'd use them between your connections on your gear and your cables. The Tweak Party believes that the certified Angel Tears not only prevents adult material from flowing via HDMI cables (common on Blu-ray players and HDTVs) but it also can reduce your Netflix budget for more family-oriented content. Bottles are selling on the black market for $2,995 each. Critics wonder how many Tweak Party members have Medical Marijuana cards. Some suggest - all of them.
Music enthusiasts who claim to love audio say that the Tweak Party is a disparate group of extremists with extreme views. They have no meaningful ideas and have beliefs that are rife with confusion and hate. They say that people wanting better audio can visit an audiologist and have their ears cleaned (and tested for range), often resulting in better hearing. They say that people can make modest upgrades to their system, like buying an AppleTV ($99) to rip their CDs at full resolution so they can be streamed around the house. They say consumers can buy music albums in very high-resolution audio and in 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound on Blu-ray (from the likes of AIX and 2L Records). They point out that consumers can download high-resolution music from the likes of The Beatles, Peter Gabriel and the London Symphony Orchestra in way-above-CD resolutions from the likes of B&W's Society of Sound. Lastly, they suggest that consumers who have their debt under control and who are looking for better audio can improve the acoustics of their rooms and/or buy new audio gear at a local audio salon. This pumps money into the local economy and supports the specialty audio business - a part of the economy where most companies are from the United States and hire Americans to hand make the world's best audio equipment.
There is no actual Tweak Party, but there are real audiophiles who do believe that extreme modifications to their audio systems warrant extreme measures, which are nowhere near how normal people (who love music and audio) would care for their equipment. For more news, reviews, insights and satire about the world of audiophilia and home theater - check out HomeTheaterReview.com.