Now, I know many of you are like me. That is, you too were horribly cheated by the Lotto, Mega Millions and Power Ball. If only, if only. Anyway, here in real life, trying new things in your audio system is dependent upon carefully saving before purchasing, and only doing so after wasting countless stolen hours of your life relentlessly poring over any available words that a host of unknown reviewers may care to toss out there for you to worry over. And you, like me, sit and weigh, calculate and analyze every word of every review, looking for inconsistencies or corroboration — anything that will reassure you that your targeted purchase will in fact be one of those gem-like additions to your system instead of yet another audio dud that is “unsynergistic” or, more probably, simply provide an inaudible impact to your overall sound. Wouldn’t it be great, you ask (as I did and do on altogether too frequent occasions), if you could just “try it out” in your own system prior to purchase?
Sometimes, it’s tough to not be a reviewer. Or to not have one as a significant other, friend, family member, neighbor or some-time acquaintance.
While not a panacea, I have found one interesting option for those suffering from audiophilia nervosa (a rarefied disease, to be sure, but crippling nonetheless — you know who you are, you poor afflicted masses), at least for your concerns about cabling.
Enter: The Cable Company!
I’ve heard about their Cable Lending Library for years, but for whatever the reason, it just never stuck with me. Anyway, here’s the deal. Considering a change to your cabling infrastructure but unwilling to shell out megabucks for wire that may or may not “work” with your system? Call. Tell them what you have, and they’ll look it up in their database of customers — and make specific recommendations based on what feedback those others over the years have indicated was a good or bad match for your system. Got Plinius? Have you tried Siltech? Or PAD? Or Harmonic Technologies?
It’s not free, sadly, but the deposit of 5% of the cost of the cable is pretty tame when compared to shelling out full price and relying on the vendor’s interpretation of the terms “good will” and “customer satisfaction”, or any 30-60-90 day policy they may have, and whether or not that’s subject to any egregious “restocking fees”.
Anyway, your deposit will get you a try out for 2 weekends. Then, back the cables go and your deposit becomes store credit. Yes, that’s the catch, it’s not a refund — but aside from availability, it’s the only catch. You ever wanted to try out some $2500 cables to see what the dealio really is (and whether they’re actually worth saving up for), but don’t have the cash right now to plunk down on a risky try and buy? Call the Cable Company.
Ok, at the risk of this being an unpaid advertisement, let me add my personal bit here. I have Totem speakers and Plinius gear — a classic match, but the classic cable pairing is hideously expensive (Siltech). My cables came from another system, so nothing “fits” this rig — there’s some AZ cabling, which I like, and two pairs of Nordost Valhalla interconnects I inherited, which I don’t; they don’t “work” in my system for whatever reason. I could sell them all, but what would I get instead?
I called my new best friends (LOL) and got a pair of PAD Aqueous Anniversary cables to try out in their stead. Just plugged ‘em in … and … well … they’re right. They fit. Very nifty. I’ll leave ‘em in for a few days, then swap back in the old cables, and start taking some notes.
Anyway, I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. Try before I buy … novel. I only wish more companies offered services like these for those of us carefully plotting our path to world domination … err … audio nirvana.
Anyway, I think it’s quite a resource. Just thought I’d share.