Ever since high fidelity audio became a domesticated hobby, an overwhelming number of women had been taught to hate it with extreme prejudice. Can there be a middle ground?
By: Vanessa Uy
As a woman – the last time I checked – I won’t be stomping over political correctness when I talk about the hot-button topic of why an overwhelming number of women are conditioned to grow up to abhor high fidelity audio in all forms. Before you accuse me of turning into another female misogynist – like former Alaska governor Sarah Palin managed to do during the 2008 US Presidential Campaign, I’m just initiating a frank discussion about where the facts and myths lie when it comes to why an overwhelming number of women – conditioned or not – tend to hate hi-fi with extreme prejudice despite being one time in their lives an avid music fan.
Fortunately, women who are accomplished musicians seldom – if ever – complain about the size of their musical instruments. I’ve yet to hear an accomplished woman pianist or cellist mouthing off why can’t piano and cello makers create a great sounding Steinway or a Pietro Pallotta – even a Bösendorfer - the size of a late-model Nokia mobile phone. Never mind a full-sized heavy metal concert compliant Marshall stack.
Unfortunately, an overwhelming number of women non-audiophiles tend to listen with their eyes – instead of their ears – judging that smallness and cuteness as a really plus point in hi-fi instead of ultimate sound quality. They are never impressed by a lab-gear looking audio gear that sounds as if Yungchen Lhamo and the rest of the Tibetan Freedom Concert performers sound as if they’re as if right in your listening room. Just give them something small and unobtrusive and they’ll be happy – even if it sounds like crap to us audiophiles.
Pain-in-the-ass interior decorators are partly to blame too. Amusingly, a typical modern floorstanding hi-fi loudspeaker occupies the same amount of space as a pair of tiny monitor on a 24-inch tall stands. The difference is that a cabinet measuring 950-mm tall with a 200-mm x 200-mm footprint simply “looks” more intrusive from a pain-in-the-ass interior decorator’s perspective than a 350-mm x 200-mm x 200-mm speaker on a 600-mm pillar. Maybe pain-in-the-ass interior decorators should be subjected to high-altitude induced hypoxia while in your living room to make it appear bigger in their heads before they eventually succumb to altitude-induced cerebral edema.
So where does this leave the AN214 enthusiasts? Well, despite almost 40-years of the women’s liberation movement, an overwhelming number of women are still conditioned to hate with extreme prejudice big sized hi-fi gear that sounds like live music. The “older” members of this bigoted sorority would rather “sleep” with an original Rolling Stones member that have their living rooms look like a Rolling Stones concert stage. Given that the AN214 amp – despite its great sound – always look like a piece of authentic lab gear, wicked bitch wives from hell will probably always hate it till the end of time – or when hell freezes over whichever comes first.