As the regular reader is aware, I accomplished downsizing my life the easy way, a house fire. All of my stuff now fits in Walden or my 10’x10′ storage unit in Knoxville. (Truth be known, I have a few things stashed in a few other places, either so that someone else can enjoy them or because I have more guitars than I want in Walden and my storage unit is not temperature controlled.)
After the fire, I sometimes used retail therapy when I got depressed, allowing myself to buy a number of things that I might not otherwise have. I did not buy a boat or a car (well, at least not right away), and if it was something that seemed “big” I would check in with a friend who seemed like she would tell me if I were being foolish. As a result, I may not have, for example, a bed, but I do have some things that continue to bring me considerable joy. As a rule, I think it makes more sense to spend money on experiences rather than things, but sometimes things can provide or enable experiences. This series will list some things that I have that bring me happiness.
According to my American Express bill, I bought these QSC K8s in October of 2010, just six weeks after the fire. (They cost about $700 each. I also bought a matching powered sub-woofer, which I have not used since moving out of The Rental. It’s awesome too, but not that practical for long-term storage in Walden, and really, these things pump out a lot of bass. When I again have a house, though, it is a good bet that the bass will again be bompin’.) Each of these speakers has a 1000 watt amplifier built in. This means that all you have to do is plug the thing into the wall and connect some kind of audio source to it. It has connections for two line- or mic- inputs plus RCA inputs that you can connect something like an MP3 player to. Each of these speakers weighs a scant 27 pounds, making them easy to carry. Both of them fit end-to-end in the back of Walden, taking up under a foot of my sleeping space.
I love these things. Not only do they provide enough sound to play a gig in a venue bigger than I can imagine booking without someone else providing the sound, but also they let me set up an incredibly awesome sound system in anywhere I might temporarily descend. Setup is simple and takes less than 5 minutes. Back when I was in The Rental, I tried to see just how loud they would get in the 25’x40′ room in which I set up a stage. It was spectacular. Really, these things are louder than I can ever imagine needing music to be.
The experience they afford is to be able to sit in a chair and crank up music so loud that it feels like that Maxell ad from the 1980s.
To be able to arrive at someone’s house and in short order be able to be sitting down and listening to, say, Thelonious Monk, at the same loudness that one might have heard it in the club in which he was playing is a true joy. I recently sat down with my cousin and did just that, cranking up an album he knew well to what I imagined club volume would have been, just loud enough that we had to lean over and speak really loudly in order to hear each other. He was confused because he heard someone talking, as if they were at the next table. In spite of having listened to the album dozens or hundreds of times, he had never noticed that aspect of the recording. That was a good night.
Playing The Who loud enough that I can see Peter Townshend doing a windmill in my mind’s eye can also bring a smile to my face, and I am not a huge fan of The Who.
If you are someone for whom music is so important that dropping $1400 on a pair of speakers does not seem entirely crazy, I think you would be pretty happy if you bought a pair of these. You might also consider the K10s or K12s, but the small size and huge volume from the K8s is pretty fantastic, and even without the sub, they are pretty fantastic. Did I mention that they are fantastic?
If you think that having access to 2000 Watts of amplification or that paying what I paid for my first car on a pair of speakers is sheer lunacy, you might instead enjoy the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Speakers.
These bad boys have two 35 Watt amps plus a 130 Watt subwoofer. They are sold as computer speakers, but they are pretty darned impressive for just about any purpose. Back in The Rental I had them set up in the living room. Now they are at a friend’s house. Every time I visit, they say that if I want those speakers back, they will have buy me a new pair. They love them so much that they do not want to part with them. One might wonder why I carry the K8s rather than the much smaller computer speakers. Sure, those Klipsch speakers are much smaller, but they are not designed to be road worthy, and besides, what if I book a gig in a huge hall? If you live in a house without wheels, though, these little things are a good way to go. And, really, they get louder than most people ever want music to be.