It all started in a parking lot in Kalamazoo, Michigan where half the street lights were out.
I was there to meet someone named Mango, who helped deliver two Kharma speakers, at least 100 pounds apiece, into the trunk (and backseat) of my gray Saab 9000. Mango generously donated his bungee cords. When I arrived home in Chicago, I paid someone on the street $50 to help me cart them into our condo. My wife said they looked like baby coffins, and even though they were lacquered aborigine, she wasn't wrong. Nor was I. They rocked.
But really, that wasn't the beginning.
The beginning was an early Panasonic cassette player croaking out the sibilant notes of Magical Mystery Tour. I hooked it up to a short-wave radio hoping its giant speaker would make things right. Even then, the sound wasn't good enough. That was the beginning.
So here I am, through many cycles, usually once every eight years or so.
I'll spare you all the details, the many generations of speakers and components, some of which, against all odds, provided the true gift of music.
Right now I'm listening to Jose James pay tribute to Bill Withers on a snappy pair of Guru speakers, the small ones designed by Ingvar Ohman that had the unenviable job of replacing the baby coffins. imagine that. They've done right by me. But it's time for something new.
I'm leaning heavily toward open-baffle for the feeling of being in the middle of panoramic action. The memory that beguiles me is from a listening room outside Chicago facing a pair of Avalon speakers that somehow projected sound 360 degrees -- up, around and behind. I'll never forget it. I think you'd call it 'holographic.' If someone has a better idea than open-baffle, I'm all ears. But the goal is clear: Sound out of the box. Crystalline. Enveloping True.
Look forward to the surprises.