There are those in hifi that like to collect boxes and I’m not ashamed to say that I count myself in this category. I like the fact that my hifi takes up a whole wall in one room of the house and I don’t think I would get the same satisfaction from a one box hi-fi system. I can see the benefits of having all the component parts of a hifi in one convenient unit, but I’m afraid it just doesn’t appeal to me. That said I do quite like my hifi to be functional…ok I quite like ugly hifi…or hi-fi that most would consider to be ugly…I prefer the word “different”.
Currently there are 7 different boxes on my hifi shelf – a CD player, an amplifier (it’s integrated so there’s one less box I suppose), a turntable and all it’s little tools, a phono-stage, a headphone amp, a squeezebox and of course a pair of speakers. Of course there is more than one pair of speakers in the house as I seem to be a little magpie-like when it comes to loudspeakers. As I type this I just looked around the open plan living space and counted 3 pairs…all in use mind…and these all have associated amplifiers too. I think there is no hope for me! There’s more dotted round the house too…and another pair on the way.
Then there are the records: Around 17 years ago I had 3000 or so records before foolishly selling them, certain I’d replace them all with CDs, but nowadays my collection is down to a more manageable 7 or 8 hundred…and growing very nicely than you very much. Oh and CDs, there’s perhaps 800 or so of them too. Now with the CDs I was considerate and put them all into the Caselogic cases (other brands are available) but I hated it. I like to look along the shelves of my music and pick out what I’d like to listen to. True, some music stays on the shelf a lot longer than it should between airings, but that’s a different matter altogether. The good news is I no longer have any tapes…but then a good real to real player does appeal to me!
I like it when folk come to visit and ask me about the hifi or poke about the vinyl record collection in an “I didn’t know people still used these things” kind of way. I have a great deal of pride in my hi-fi – it’s taken me a long time to put together and a not inconsiderable sum of money. I enjoy it when someone points at the valve amplifier and asks what it is and I love to sit them down between the speakers and play them a piece of music they know and then watch their reaction.
Did I mention cables? I have loads of cables for the hi-fi; speaker cables, interconnect cables, mains cables. We have a spare room that contains my cable box…I say box…it’s more of a box in the middle of a room with hifi cables spewing out of it all over the room. Oh and the record cleaning machine…does it never end?
So whist I see the benefit in a one box system I don’t think it would be right for me…it will be for others though! And that’s what I enjoy about hifi and the people that call themselves audiophiles – they are all different. Look at the debates that happen in some of the hifi forums and you’ll see that audiophiles rarely agree on anything and their kit lists are as varied as their musical tastes…and long may it continue.