My latest audio travels have taken me to Colorado, dear readers, where the high altitude has resulted in decreased speaker sensitivity and impossibly low sound pressure levels despite the panoramic views of what appears to be heaven on earth. Nevertheless I have met many fellow audiophiles in the small mountain towns that are sprinkled among the Rocky Mountains and their attitude is quite different from other audiophiles I have met in the United States. That is when I learned about the effects of cannabis on audiophiles and how it magically turns them into somewhat decent company during social gatherings.
Words by Modest I. Predlozheniye
You are probably aware that legalized cannabis in the United States began in Colorado in January of 2014. That means the cannabis industry in this beautiful state is very sophisticated and well-funded and that has led to an extraordinary amount of scientific research to improve the quality and variety of the products. Much of this research has benefited the other states where recreational cannabis has become legal. Colorado has since become a mecca for botanists and horticulturalists and chemists. Some of these individuals have even come from my part of the world as you will soon see.
Before I continue I must tell you, dear readers, that I have not used cannabis products before in my life. In the oblast where I live there are serious repercussions for using cannabis products. My friend Puddy has determined that the workers cannot enjoy the fruits of their own labors if they are constantly ordering ham and pineapple pizza from Papa Dzhon. The punishment for a single marijuana cigarette is ten years of hard labor in a gulag. Fortunately the sentence for a single cannabis gummy bear was reduced to five years of hard labor because Puddy wanted the workers to know that deep down he is a cool guy.
I have already told you that many citizens from my old oblast have migrated to Colorado in order to apply their knowledge to this burgeoning industry. While I was in Colorado I visited an old school chum of mine named Sergei. Sergei has advanced degrees in plant physiology and epigenetics but he was immediately assigned a job right after graduation from Moscow State Pedagogical University as a wheat inspector in Kyrgyzstan. He used to tell me his professional life was very dull and boring and he dreamed of heading to Telluride where he could ski and hang out with the “snow bunnies” and develop new strains of cannabis while having a more fulfilling life. I thought he was making another crazy American joke but he was not.
The dreams of Sergei came true, my dear readers. He now runs his own horticultural laboratory in Telluride where he devotes all of his time to developing and testing new strains of “audiophile-grade” cannabis. That is why I had to visit Colorado. It was at Sergei’s behest. He even paid for my flight!
Inside the Telluride Horticultural Center
“I brought you to Telluride for a very important reason, Modest.”
Sergei looks very different today than he did when we were students which should not be a surprise since that was many decades ago. He was once a small man with glasses and a slight paunch even when he was still in his twenties. At almost sixty Sergei is tan and fit and appears as if he spends every single minute on the ski slopes.
The actual cannabis laboratory inside the Telluride Horticultural Center is rather small with just a main room with several tables adorned with beakers and microscopes and expensive-looking machines with functions that are still a mystery to me. But most of the action at the complex happens just outside of the laboratory where there all several greenhouses filled with many cannabis plants. Sergei and I caught up with each other while walking between the rows and rows and rows of majestic and colorful plants within the greenhouses.
“What is the reason, my dear Sergei?”
Sergei explained that he had been developing a series of audiophile-grade cannabis strains that seemed to enhance one’s hearing abilities. Over time he had been able to cultivate a number of hybrids that could be applied to specific aspects of the auditory spectrum. The first cannabis strain he developed was able to increase the hearing tests scores for patients across the board by an average of 13%. That strain was called Can You Hear Me Now and is still a very popular sativa that recently won third place overall at the 2022 Cannabis Cup. Further cross-breeding led to more specialized strains such as All About That Bass and How Deep Is Your Love and Soundstage of Silence. “I would like you to be our beta tester, Modest, because you have well-trained ears and you can tell us exactly what you are hearing.”
“Oh no, Sergei,” I protested. “I do not imbibe in anything stronger than vodka. Did you hear what happened to me at the 2017 Gilbraltar Audio Show?”
“I did! I wish I had been there to talk you down, my old friend. But we need the services of an expert listener to grow the company.”
We discussed my participation in the audiophile-grade cannabis research for a few more minutes. Sergei told me I would be under close supervision so nothing bad would happen to me. He said I would have plenty of snacks and unlimited access to Netflix as well as a “world class” hi-fi system. He even suggested that I might receive financial compensation for my time. Each time I restated that I was nervous about consuming anything that would alter my consciousness and it was highly likely that my answer would remain no. Finally he stood up and shrugged and walked over to the door of Greenhouse #11. He stuck his head out the door and yelled, “Slater!”
I had no idea what a “Slater” was at first. Within seconds, my dear readers, I found out when a young woman walked into the greenhouse. She was blond and close to six feet tall and had the powerful and athletic figure of an Olympic champion. She reminded me of Silje Norendal and Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Schiffrin if they all had a baby together. I found myself suddenly yet predictably tongue-tied.
Slater sidled up next to me and she put her hand on my shoulder and she said, “Oh, you must be Modest. I’ve heard so much about you!” I might have blushed. (That is me employing classic understatement, my dear readers.) In my mind I replied that it was a pleasure to meet her but I think I could only manage a few apoplectic consonants that had nothing to do with each other. I did manage a feeble nod.
“Wanna get high, Modest?” Slater asked.
I sheepishly replied okay. I hoped it was not a mistake I would regret for the rest of my life and that I could further advance the science of horticulture by smoking cannabis and recording its effects on listening to high-end audio while sitting next to Slater who smelled like chocolate and lavender and peer pressure.
Cannabis Listening Tests
The high-end audio system that Sergei boasted about was not quite “world-class.” It consisted of some mainstream Japanese gear from twenty or thirty years ago and I was immediately disappointed. Sergei noticed the deflated look on my face, dear readers, and he laughed gently. Slater stood behind me and rubbed my tense shoulders and laughed as well.
“It will not matter,” Sergei told me. “We found that if you assemble a system of state-of-the-art components the improvements will be very subtle.” Sergei explained how the marketing strategy for audiophile-grade cannabis should focus on the audiophiles who have rather ordinary systems and want the illusion of ultra hi-fi. “Ordinary” is where the biggest differences are heard. “It’s the old trope,” Sergei added. “Why does cannabis make music sound so much better? With our audiophile-grade cannabis products you no longer have to worry about saving up for that new pair of speakers with more bass. You just have to purchase the right strain for your hi-fi.”
Slater then stepped in closer and whispered, “These are the same audiophiles who concentrate on small inexpensive tweaks rather than paying attention to their listening rooms, sweetie. They’re ready for audiophile-grade marijuana. They just have to be reminded that it’s perfectly legal as long as they live in a totally cool state.”
Sergei nodded in agreement and then laughed again. “These are the same people who will pay extra for ‘audiophile-grade’ anything. So there is a big opportunity here.”
“Opportunity?” I asked my old friend.
“Modest, I’d like to cut you in, old man. There’s nobody left in Telluride I can even trust.”
That is when Slater put her thin yet muscular arms around my shoulders and gave me a squeeze. “Time to party!” she exclaimed and we headed to the main listening room which was adjacent to Greenhouse #1 as well as the main laboratory. My heart was pounding and I did not know if it was because Slater was holding my hand as she led me toward the hi-fi or if it was the risk of becoming what they used to call a pot fiend who succumbs to a life of drug-crazed abandon. I know, dear readers, it was a little of both.
Audiophile-Grade Cannabis Findings
I took copious notes during the testing period that started at a little after four in the afternoon on Friday and lasted until late Sunday night. I do not remember how late but I do remember Slater laughing and saying she had to go to work on Monday and that she was only going to get three hours of sleep but that was okay because she was with me.
There were several specific audiophile-grade cannabis strains we tried during the testing period. All cannabis came in “flower” form. That is a very lyrical way to describe it, dear readers! We smoked the audiophile-grade cannabis in an old-fashioned water pipe. I remember that they call these “bongs” in the United States. Slater referred to the water pipe as Big Blue due to the color of the glass. She kept telling me that Big Blue and I were going to be best friends.
Here are some of my notes:
Audiophile OG: “A cannabis strain designed for old school audiophiles who still listen to vintage gear from the ’60s and ’70s. Jimi and Dylan sound amazing.”
Munich Mintz: “Strong odor of schweinshaxe but a very sociable feeling that you want to be where everyone else is even if there is no air conditioning. Rammstein sounded more visceral than ever thanks to a noticeable boost around 40-45 Hz.”
Dank D’Agostino: “Strong body high with this indica which makes you feel heavier than a pair of Relentless monoblocks. Imaging remained stable even when I curled up and snuggled with Slater on the floor in front of the speakers.”
Koetsu Kush: “Outstanding cannabis strain, comes in a wide variety of colors that all possess the same exact effects.”
Digital Durban: “Wild psychotropic effects that can lead you to believe hi-rez digital sounds just as good as analog. Maybe I need to purchase a network streamer and an ethernet switch to experience the full impact.”
Raspberry Pie: “Comes in the tiniest little buds yet powerful. Gives you the feeling you can accomplish anything despite your limitations when it comes to understanding tech.”
Headphone High: “Perfect cannabis strain for listening with a tubed head amp and electrostatic cans. Do not try with solid-state! I was told it can lead to hearing damage with this strain.”
Class D Diesel: “Similar to Digital Durban because this hybrid strain makes class D amplification sound like it uses an NOS pair of Western Electric 300Bs in the output stage.”
What can I say, dear readers? I took the job with Sergei at the Telluride Horticultural Center as Chief Tester. I have also started to ski once again. I have not enjoyed this incredible winter sport since the Sarajevo Winter Olympics. I even came up with an idea for a new line of cannabis strains that can help you improve your downhill skiing skills. My first strain is called Robert Redford and it is already a big hit on the slopes.
We also found a way. Uh. Wait a second. Robert Redford. Sarajevo. Umm. Something about a conclusion.
Sorry, dear readers, but I can’t remember what I was talking about! It will come to me. I will text you all when I remember. Gotta bail now because Slater is picking me up for a Taylor Swift concert at Red Rocks. I will let you know how that goes!
This was a rather inventive April Fools. Well done. Just remember to practice ‘puff-puff give’ in both consumption and music selection.
Bizarre article, blurs the lines between imagination and reality. I am an audiophile and a lover of pot who lives less than an hour from Telluride! If a strain of weed could really help improve my hearing, I’d smoke it in an instant.