Thought YOU Had It Tough
by James Leahy
The road to Audio Utopia is never a smooth one but
how far would you go to follow your heart? One of the hardest of hard luck
stories I have ever in counted was from a good customer from rural, N.S.W. in their search for the ultimate Hi-Fi experience that will
astound even the most battle hardened of Audiophiles everywhere.
It all started when I was called on my mobile one
day by Mr. X about an Audio Research VT200 Mk.I amplifier I had
advertised on my website for a cheap price.
Mr. X had a Classé amplifier to trade-in, even so
I did not hold that against him as he has seen the error of his ways and
was committed to change his system for the better.
Not being in the immediate position to purchase
the said equipment Mr. X decided to place the amplifier of his dreams on
Lay-By to ensure the success of all his savings had not been in vain.
Having now 3 months to sell his amplifier and pay the balance was just a
formality and one that he was most keenly looking forward to as I am
After the torturously long time as it always seems
when buying something new Mr. X and I finally met face to face and true
to his word he paid for the VT200 Mk.I in full and told me his story of
woe and of the unfortunate situation he had now found himself in.
As with the majority of my customers that buy my
more expensive products their partners do not too often welcome them
home with open arms afterwards and that is putting it mildly.
Nevertheless, Mr. X had made up his mind and showed the commitment to
his Hi-Fi system to love and cherish it till death do them part. So we
can't really hold this against him as a man's Hi-Fi system is often his
When I asked how much he must have be looking
forward to waking up his system with one of the best stereo amplifiers
in the world he told me that it would be going straight into long term
high security storage with the rest of his gear for an undetermined
period of time. You see Mr. X's marriage had been on the rocks for a
while and now due to irreconcilable differences and going without any
for quite sometime the only thing that got him off now was great sound
and imaging. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt I hear you say. But
why the need for high security storage? Unfortunately his estranged wife
knew only too well of his unbridled passion for all things Hi-Fi and
apparently when she gets cranky and in a bad mood she doesn't want him
to have any fun either! Sound familiar? Well, enough is enough right?
That's exactly what he thought but for his Hi-Fi to make it out from
behind enemy lines without suffering massive casualties everything had
to be locked down and hidden away from rebel forces less the unthinkable
should happen. Yes you guessed it folks. This woman had threatened to
destroy this gentleman's Hi-Fi system piece by piece without the
slightest ounce of remorse or guilt purely as an act of spite and
"After considering all the evidence laid before
you how does the jury find the accused?" Guilty; Guilty; Guilty; your
honor. Beyond all reasonable doubt on all counts!
Yes, unfortunately sometimes in this cruel world
it is the innocent that are made to suffer the most and the thought of
water being poured into a mint Audio Research VT200 Mk.I sets my blood
on fire. Justifiable homicide would most certainly apply in cases like
this and rightly so.
Sadly, Mr X. is now in the position of having to
sell the family home from the infinite wisdom of our legal system, but
to his credit he had already organized plans to be drafted up to build a
new bachelor pad of his own with special attention given to the best
listening room you have ever seen in your life. So eventually Mr. X will
get his system up and running again and it will no doubt sound better
than ever! Conventional wisdom says the path to true love never
runs smoothly and I guess that must be right. In this case even the
darkest of dark clouds has a sliver lining and if nothing else let this
be a lesson to all of you young guys out there.
After paying legal costs, court costs and dividing
up his assets like a cold slab of beer on a hot day to an angry mob that
just gate-crashed his party, Mr. X estimated that the whole legal
experience set him back a cool $250,000.00 and this he tells me is a
conservative estimate! The more assets one has the more complicated it
all suddenly becomes when lawyers get involved. This seems to be the
norm from other accounts also. One quarter of a m-i-l-l-i-o-n dollars
obliterated into shear nothingness by lawyers and an inefficient
Australian legal system is quite an achievement in generating quite
possibly the worst experience in anybody's lifetime that this situation
should never be allowed to be repeated on another citizen in this
country. How many reading this would willingly spend this much on their
Hi-Fi system? Imagine what system you could potentially build! Not many
I bet would let their cheque book run wild to this extent but countless
would have spent the same and even more on a messy property settlement.
Value for money? I will let you answer that question for yourselves.
While this tale of hardship is terribly sad and
unfortunate it is far form isolated in it's coincidence within
Australia. The core of the matter is that Mr. X will never see that
money back again along with his ex-wife, which is the only positive
point but what an extraordinarily high price to pay. However, because it
is hard to measure in pure financial terms people pay it everyday of the
week, rather than put up with the alternative.
Upon reflection at my office, Mr. X confessed to
me that looking back on the last 25 years of his life the amount that he
had spent on his Hi-Fi equipment was but a small fraction of what he had
just lost at the thieving hands of lawyers and the court system but his
Hi-Fi system had given him far greater happiness then any similar priced
investment he ever made. The point that Mr. X was making is that the
value of good quality Hi-Fi equipment is not always obvious at the time
of it's purchase. Like any investment it is in the years to come when
life is becoming more and more uncertain each and everyday that his
Hi-Fi system never let him down or made his life a living hell.
With Mr.X's permission he wished me tell his story
in the hope that others may benefit.