I haven’t been home in a while, dear readers, and for obvious reasons. I have also been keeping a very low profile during my travels because it is not a good time to have a name like Modest I. Predlozheniye and then try to get through airport security in one piece. I do have to explain once again that I am not Russian but I grew up in a place that has been Russia once or twice. My tale of the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale might be an important clue to my latest whereabouts in these troubling times.
Words and Photos by Modest I. Predlozheniye
Yes, dear reader, I am hiding out in the western part of New York State in a very small town. I cannot tell you the name of the town because it is so small that you can go there and look around and point your finger at a house and say that’s where Modest lives and you will probably be right. Then we will be forced to have a terse exchange on my doorstep and you will complain that I am not as nice as I seem here.
I do love western New York State. It reminds me of home for so many reasons. Look at all the snow! Also I must tell you that I live nowhere near New York City and I cannot answer your questions about that city.
Even before I rented this luxury three bedroom and two bath townhouse on The Great Lake I was aware of the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale. I have an old and now sadly departed friend who grew up outside of the Buffalo metropolitan area and told me the many spooky stories of Lily Dale. It is a spiritualist community tucked away in the forest and it has been around for hundreds of years and the people there have been doing the same things generation after generation. If you believe in psychics and mediums and palm reading and tea leaves then you have probably heard of this Lily Dale. It is quite famous.
Most of these stories from my friend in Buffalo involved the usual ghost stories that you may have already heard numerous times. I remember one tale about the Angry Foul-Mouthed Infant and the Inexperienced Babysitter and another about the Phantom Ball Bearing That Wouldn’t Stop Rolling Across the Wooden Floors at the Lilydale Hotel. But many years later he told me an intriguing story about a psychic in Lily Dale who was once a high-end audio dealer and when he retired he returned back home in Lily Dale and became an independent audio consultant.
My Buffalo friend told me he did things a little differently than most audio consultants. He did not visit your house. He did not meet you at a store. You simply came to his office and sat in a chair and he would immediately tell you what you were missing from your audio system.
The most amazing part of this story is that according to my sources the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale is still in business. My Buffalo friend told me this story almost thirty years ago! I immediately thought that it cannot be the same person. Maybe it is a large chain with individual store managers who happen to be psychic and the new logo features a caricature of the original guy waving a magic wand over a turntable. So, dear readers, I decided to call the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale on the telephone.
“Hello, Audio Psychic of Lily Dale. This is Bob.” This voice was gruff and wavering and it obviously belonged to a very old man.
“Hello Bob. My name is Modest and I have a couple of quick questions for you.”
“No, I’m not affiliated with Audio Physic.”
“That was not my question.”
I heard some papers rustle over the telephone line. “Sorry, that must be the client I have on the other line.” Bob then said. “You must be the one who wants to know if I’m the original Audio Psychic of Lily Dale. I am. I’m closing in on 50 years in audio, and 35 years in being a spiritual guide for audiophiles.”
“Wow! That is amazing! May I make an appointment?”
Bob laughed and once again I could hear the sound of turning pagers over the receiver. “And to answer your next question you have to come in and talk to me in person here at my office. If someone tells you they can provide this service over the phone or on the internet they are lying. They are charlatans!”
That, dear readers, was indeed my second question for the Bob the Audio Psychic. So I made an appointment and a few days later I drove my Chevrolet Equinox with the all-new RS trim through the rolling green hills and valleys of the western part of New York State during the last days of summer. (It was only 35 miles away from my house so I might be making this too dramatic.) When I arrived at Lily Dale I was surprised to find a lovely town situated on a lake and not a spooky old town like Pripyat that looked like no one lived there anymore. On that day it was pleasant and warm and sunny and I saw no indication that anything dark or mysterious was afoot.
My Appointment with the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale
I checked the address for the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale on the Global Positioning System in the Chevrolet Equinox with the all-new RS trim and then I looked at the house in front of me and I hoped it was the right place and Bob would be on the other side of the door. It did not look like the house of a psychic or medium. I expected a neon sign in the window at the very least.
It was a lovely old Victorian house with a fresh coat of paint and flowerbeds full of white petunias and marigolds. The front porch led to what is known as a mud room and it was clean and the floorboards were swept and my nervousness about Bob the Audio Psychic vanished in this paucity of creepiness.
I knocked on the front door and after a few moments it opened and revealed a short albeit trim man who was somewhat hunched over and might have been in his nineties. I knew this was Bob when he looked me at said “Hello, you must be Modest.” He welcomed me inside where I was lead to the living room. I saw nothing strange about the living room other than the fact it was completely furnished in mid-century decor and there was no television set in sight. That was a curious detail in a place like this with long winters and nothing to do but shiver in the dark. At the center of the room were two chairs facing each other and about five feet apart.
Once I sat down in one of the two chairs at the center of Bob’s living room he reached into the side pocket of his olive cardigan and brought out his cell phone and held it just a few inches from my slightly surprised face and I thought he wanted me to check out some of the photos he had taken. He pointed at the edge of his phone where there was a slot and evidently you can stick a credit card in that slot and all these new technologies certainly have me amazed and perplexed! You can now stick your credit card into a phone, dear readers, and pay for essential services!
The moment the credit card was approved Bob turned to me and said, “Stick with tubes.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Bob leaned forward in his chair and looked deeply in my eyes. It was the first time I could see his face and amid the wrinkles and the wild bushy eyebrows and the bright red splotchy nose I could see piercing blue eyes that seemed to look right through me. “You are tempted by these new class D amplifiers but that is only because they weigh so little and you are getting old and tired and you no longer want big amps that weigh a lot,” he elaborated. “But you should stick with tube amplifiers because that is your sound. The answer is to hire a young strapping assistant to help you carry the heavy things.”
Bob the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale was absolutely right. I had been thinking about class D amplification for some time and for that exact reason! I settled into my chair with the warm feeling that I had indeed found a true audio soothsayer. As the psychic reading progressed I received many answers to my most nagging audio questions. My Denon 103 cartridge was long overdue for a re-tip. Power cords make a big difference. More than one high-end audio reviewer has no discernable hearing above 9kHz. Bob answered all my questions quickly and without hesitation and in many cases without me actually asking the question. An idea would pop into my head and Bob would immediately address it before I could even start a sentence, dear readers!
Don’t Forget to Like the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale Facebook Page!
It was not long before my time was officially up with Bob the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale. Unfortunately he had another appointment with someone he called a “bigwig” reviewer who went in and out through the back door so no one would see him. I understood completely and bid him farewell and made a promise to come back for another visit as soon as possible.
On the way home I started thinking about other questions I could have asked Bob the Audio Psychic. Is Qobuz better than Tidal? Should I get an ultrasonic record cleaner even though the Discwasher D3 system still seems to be working fine? Wilson or Magico? Diana Krall or Patricia Barber?
By the time I was almost home I had already started to doubt what I had just experienced in Lily Dale. I told myself that psychics are not real. Everything that Bob the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale said was merely good audio advice and there was nothing mystical about this so-called psychic reading. I pulled the Chevrolet Equinox with the all-new RS trim into the driveway of my new little home overlooking The Great Lake but I was not home for more than ten minutes before I walked over to the phone on the wall in the kitchen and dialed a number. Before I could even say hello the voice on the other end told me what I wanted to hear.
“Yes, the source is far more important than the speakers,” Bob said. “Garbage in, garbage out.”
I quickly went to my computer and signed into Yelp and I can tell you, dear readers, I gave Bob the Audio Psychic of Lily Dale a five-star review! If you are an audiophile who has lots of questions I highly recommend BOB for all your high-end audio needs.