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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Has A/V lost extravagant enjoyment?

Posted on March 2, 2010 at 6:55 PM

My friend, Dan, called me last night. (For the record, Dan and I have shared *many* movies together without the "we're just Bros" empty seat between us.) Turns out that he's in the market for a new coffee machine.


In an e-mail Dan wrote, "Shamefully, I am spending way too much time on researching Espresso machines. I would spend less time researching a new car. 'I want the Maserati, I want the Maserati. Research over!'"

 

And we're not just talking about any coffee machine, but something high-end that would make a Starbucks' barrista simultaneously weep and look away out of respect.


What's a high-end coffee machine cost? you ask. (If you said $100, please stop reading my blog now. We're clearly not meant for each other. Let's still be friends though, 'kay?) If you said $500 you're also sorely mistaken. (Though, apparently that would be enough to purchase Dan's new ceramic bean grinder. Yes. $500 for a bean grinder. This is one of many reasons why I love Dan. Another is that he is the type of friend that will drop everything at the last minute to fly to New York to drive an Aston Martin with you, but that's another topic.) Even $1000 wouldn't cut it. We're talking a $2000+ machine. For making coffee. (You can see a video of one of the machines Dan is considering here.) So why would someone spend $2000 on something that can be had at the local Wal-Mart for like $20? (And that piece of crap expects to be called "Mr.")


Passion. The desire to know that every cappuccino that he enjoys will be among the best in the world. And if you can afford it, why not? Why not have the pride of ownership of an exclusive experience that will literally make you happy every time you use it?


The A/V industry used to be a perfect match for this kind of passion spending, but lately I've begun to wonder if it is losing its passion. It seems that lately "good enough" is all that people seem to be looking for. A TV chunked into their cart at Costco along with a 180-ounce tube of toothpaste and a 64 gallon tub of liquid cheese. If they feel like splurging, they might throw in in a soundbar, audio add-on with their looks-good-to-me LCD TV. Of course, it has to have a port for their iPod and can't cost more than $199.


With MP3s and crappy headphones and computer speakers and basically the throw-away that audio has become, people are missing out on what was once a great passion. Listening, actually listening to music. Enjoying the delicate strike of a piano's hammer, the visceral sense of the violin bow straining across the strings, the pent-up anger that can only be expressed in a blistering trumpet blast. In other words, to have an audio experience so profound, that the only way to begin to express it is to run out in the middle of the night and grafitti a giant mural under a freeway overpass.


Enjoy your coffee, Dan. Enjoy your passion!

Categories: Music, Mar 2010, Coffee

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8 Comments

Reply paul b
9:07 PM on March 3, 2010 
John, I couldnt agree with you more! Any good engineer will slave for hours to get the perfect snare sound, will try multiple mics and amps to get a guitar to sound like the angels, or travel the four corners of the earth for the right condenser mic to record a sax. And for what??? To be compressed, downloaded, and blasted through a crappy set of earbuds, or even worse, a $20 boombox.

BTW, watch what you say about Costco!!!
Reply Ad
9:43 PM on March 3, 2010 
You had me at Maserati...of course, my coffee maker would have disqualified me to continue reading your blog, but I am invoking the "friends of John" clause...
Reply John Sciacca
10:50 AM on March 4, 2010 
[[email protected]]
BTW, watch what you say about Costco!!!

Oh, Paul. You know I have nothing but love for Costco......even though they're not-so-slowly trying to put me out of business. Plus, I *love* educating people so they can go there and then make an "informed" decision.
Reply Craig
9:10 PM on March 4, 2010 
I'd like to share some of Dan's passion....wait a minute, that didn't come out sounding like I meant it to sound (Dan, you know me better than that). Today I found I've been neglecting some of my passion. I was driving to work and "Under Pressure" comes on the radio...one of my all-time favs. As I turn on to the on ramp, I give the volume dial on my factory installed POS car radio a big crank and I'm ready to merge into traffic UNDER PRESSURE! But, to my huge disappointment, I realize that somehow through the years, my passion for audio has somewhere fallen off, and my POS car radio is producing pure S. It was so sad that I turned down the volume and merged into traffic almost in a pure whimper. Maybe the car seat that I saw in the back of my car in my rear view mirror is where my passion took a turn...
Reply Pamela
8:55 AM on March 11, 2010 
Even my favorite coffee Eight O'clock Coffee which by the way is on sale at Publix this week for buy one get one free at $5.19 each and I have a $2.00 off coupon which makes it $1.60 for each tastes great in your amazing coffee machine.
Reply Rob Medich
5:47 PM on March 18, 2010 
A story on this high-end coffee-maker would have been great for the Sound & Vision web site. Why did you hold out on me, John? Why? Why?!?
Reply Malia76
8:44 AM on April 10, 2010 
Forget the call to go to NY and ride around, I want the call to go to CA for some sweet coffee. Why can't Dan live closer??
Reply John Sciacca
9:55 AM on April 11, 2010 
Malia76 says...
Why can't Dan live closer??

I ask myself this question all the time. Sad face...