Living with an addict is never easy whether it is drink, drugs or like my husband HiFi. We have now moved house three times in search of the perfect rectangle lounge. We now have the complete upstairs for the beloved stereo but he is already complaining that the room is too small (biggest room in the house). When looking for houses he has a small list of requirements. Lounge must be rectangle, with no fire place (sound can do strange things in chimneys) and good sound proofing as the neighbors have been know to complain at the audible levels at various hours of the day.
Like most addicts he hides the tell tell signs like receipts from Seven Oaks HiFi stores and the odd mini disc player. I am forever getting new boxes delivered to my office when on my return home there is Matt eager to play with his new toy. Of course he has learnt that the "Audio Ambush" works best as the money is spent and he got it from a "private seller" so "no refunds"...
A habit he has developed is his intolerance to static or incorrect settings for the surround sound. He must check the way I have set up the television, to make sure I get the best listening pleasure. Even though I really didn't care I just wanted a little escapism. But just like an addict he wants to encourage others to enjoy the same pleasures as he does. But I think if we both enjoyed music as much as my husband we would have two listening rooms and no bedroom.
I must admit I do not help curing his addiction and recently whilst working in Peterborough I introduced him to his current dealer, the HiFi Company, who I think now sends him birthday and Christmas cards. Matt would very often pick me up from work with another box under his arm, stating that it is only a home test and it will be returned. Unfortunately we both know that once it is set up and working it is very unlikely to be returned despite my pleads.
Let me explain how we got to this sorry state of affairs. When we met just a short 5 years ago, he had a Bose system, which he loved and never thought he would change. But of course he was a poor American sailor stationed in London whose spare money was spent on enjoying the nightlife and CDs. Then after getting married and settling down in Virginia Beach the obsession began. It started slowly with trips to the outlet malls visiting the Bose store and leaving somehow unsatisfied. That was after I got fed up waiting and the assistant got every system out to show Matt. The same stereo so recently was "the be all and end all of stereos". Then came the magazines by the truckload that littered the bathroom (the best place to do some serious research). After that then came his first real stereo, I think he went out for a Subway and came back 3 hours later with a Denon and NHT speakers. The rush he got was amazing to watch, you could even catch him lovingly stroking his speakers as he walked into the lounge. This of course did not last long and he found that the Denon could not give the range he needed so he started to experiment with cables. Then came the biggest change, we moved to England, based near Huntingdon and Cambridge, the home of Monitor Audio, Mission and Arcam to name just a few. Plus there are many like-minded people in the UK where their hifi's are not just a matter of life and death, they are much more important. So we have done many system changes some cheap and some not so, all in search of the perfect sound. The felt covered brick was a cheap way to stop the "Naim's slight imaging problem" (one I couldn't hear at all), to the cables, which I think were gold plated.
Now after two years in England and 10 new stereo bits Matt has admitted his problem. On the last move he decided to get the Linn Classik, in a vain attempt to make it very difficult to upgrade without costing a fortune and an argument. I hear him moving the speakers around, then muttering or trying new formats of music like "surround and quadraphonic sound". But I know he has itchy feet to upgrade and modify. I will continue to persuade him that the stereo is great but I understand this is his hobby and the enjoyment of music to him is priceless and he is always striving to improve the sound quality. It is sad that I cannot enjoy his addiction as much as he does. So in conclusion living with an addict is never easy but there are worse thing to be addicted to. He is now talking about tubes!!!!!!!!!