This is the best, and in many cases, the only advice that’s worth taking. A reviewer can only do so much! To really pull serious knowledge out of what a reviewer has to say, you have to have done quite a lot of work. You have to know what the reviewer likes, what their references are and why they like them so much, and what they mean when the say a thing or say a thing in a certain way. And then, you have to hope that the reviewer is actually getting it right this particular time, that they haven’t somehow screwed something up, or chosen this review to phone it in. It’s a crapshoot, like it or not. Which is why it’s so important to not just rely on reviews.
I mean, except mine. Of course. Mine are all awesome, paragons of Eternal Truth, and universal in their appeal. Of course. Which is why it’s so important to … yeah, you get the picture.
Sadly, it’s all very well and good to say a thing when doing that thing is another matter entirely.
Which is why The Cable Company is so interesting.
As their name suggests, these guys sell audio cables (and a whole lot of other stuff, but “cables” are what they’re famous for). Lots and lots of audio cables. You call them up, tell them what gear you have, and they’ll ask you about your preferences and your budget. Then, they’ll make recommendations. For a nominal fee (that happens to be refundable, if you buy), they’ll then send out some cables for you to try out at home. You know, so you can actually try it out yourself, where it matters — in real life! It’s the Pepsi Challenge for your audio system! Their “Lending Library” is pretty deep — call, see if they have what you’re interested in. Chances are they do and they’ll let you try them. It’s an effing brilliant ida, if you ask me.
Which is probably why they’re now lending headphones.
Headphones aren’t cheap, and there’s absolutely no reason to believe they’re getting cheaper. But is that latest and greatest really worth the extra dough? Do I really need the latest revision of my old workhorse?
Well, now you don’t have to guess. Call the Lending Library at The Cable Company.
I mention all this because they’ve been at RMAF pretty much every year I’ve gone, staking out pretty much the same corner in the lobby. Of late, they’ve been spinning LPs through their Audiodesk cleaner on one side and letting folks mix-and-match top-shelf headphones with top-shelf headphone amplifiers in the equivalent of a one-table Head-Fi meet. You want to see what headphones can really stack up to a pair of Abyss? Here’s your chance. Want to know what the difference really is between an LCD-3 and an HE-1000? Ta da!
Anyway, I think these guys are a true service to the industry. Got questions? Answer them yourself!