They Come in Threes…
e whine and complain about all manner of periphery details, as they relate to the hobby we all profess to love. Things like Digital versus Analog, Tubes versus Solid-State, Double-Blind Testing versus Subjective Listening, blah, blah, blah! In this hysteria-fueled world that we live in today we can get ourselves wound into pretzels or foamed into a lather over these frankly trivial matters that, at the end of the day, mean bupkis! No dear readers, you are being led down the audio primrose path
I first noticed this well-shrouded conspiracy completely by chance. As I was perusing the list of exhibitors for an audio show, I couldn’t help but notice an inordinate number of companies had names that were only three letters in length. At first, I thought it was simply coincidence. An easy shorthand naming convention comprised of a triumvirate of letters. But the more I looked into it, however, the more it became clear that I stumbled onto something deeply disturbing. These weren’t just domestic audio companies either. Companies from all over the globe are doing this, using this coded three-letter shorthand. This couldn’t be by chance, not with so many global players involved. No, no, when one looks at the actual names that each company’s three-letter acronym expands to, the insidious plot that all these audio purveyors have conspired to foist upon us becomes crystal clear. And that is to spread mediocrity into audio nomenclature through the English language! Yes. A good 60-70 global audio companies are trying to bore you to death with their names. The three-letter monikers these companies use to hide their identities are made to appear chic, cool, exotic even. But we are being lied to.
When you read the actual names that these letters all stand for, you come to the realization of how dreadfully dull and ordinary these audio company names actually are. The sad thing is that many of these companies make truly outstanding products, reference class stuff that I would love to have in my home. So why lie to us? I’ll tell you why. It’s because who wants a pair of speakers or a tube amp made by a company whose name sounds like it reads from the pages of an industrial supply catalog or the footnote of an annual report? I lust for a pair of ATC loudspeakers, that is until I read the name as it should be: Acoustic Transducer Company. A total wet blanket of a title. PMC Loudspeaker is the same thing: Professional Monitor Company. Ooh, that just gives me the shivers! How about something like Aural Tone Creators or Passionate Musical Chuggers? Now those are names! And not just to pick on our British friends, but JBL?! Come on. I’m sure James B. Lansing was a bright and fine fellow with a good ear, but I am not plunking my hard-earned money down for a piece of James B. Lansing. I want a pair of Just Bitchin’ Loudspeakers! I mean who wouldn’t want that? What about SVS? They are so secretive that they don’t even tell you what the letters stand for. How about Simply Vicious Subwoofers? Boom, done! I don’t want an SVS, I want a Simply Vicious Subwoofer to blow my ass into next week!
And then there’s NAD. Now NAD is an abbreviation for New Acoustic Dimension, and that’s not a half-bad name. It’s sort of smacks of the Disco era, but I can deal with that. But how about Nuclear Acoustic Disgronifier? I don’t know what the hell that even means but it sounds cool! I also have to mention EAT. Beyond the fact that the name makes me hungry every time I think about it, European Audio Team just sounds dreadfully ho-hum when you really consider it. Besides, I’ve had my own European Audio Team for as long as I’ve been alive. My family is from Sicily and they all talk at ungodly volumes when even whispering to each other. Do I really want to be reminded of that when I cue up one of EAT’s beautiful turntables? Let’s try Euphoric Audiophile Transcendence; now that’s a heck of a name! It makes me tingle just thinking about it. And just to show that I am not alphabetically bigoted in this regard, I hold special consideration for audio companies with four-letter names as well. MOON is a name that I can never be sure if they are conjuring up images of a heavenly body or a body part one flashes when they have had too much to drink. And in recent years ELAC should just be made to stand for Every Loudspeaker Andrew Creates. Honestly, have you seen how many speakers that Jones guy has designed?! It’s like the man doesn’t sleep!
It pains me to go on Audiophile forums and social media sites to see all this gnashing of teeth over these other pointless audio subjects when real and covert treachery is going on right before our eyes. Good friends, we need to stop fighting amongst ourselves and remember that this hobby is a big tent and there is truly room for everyone in it. I don’t care whether you think that your fire-hose-sized audio cables made of unicorn horn and fairy sprinkles make your system sound like its the second coming. I don’t care if you think bits-are-bits or bits-are-only bits on every second Tuesday with a few twice removed. I also don’t care if MQA is musical mana from heaven (although this is another three-lettered Hydra of a boondoggle that deserves an expansive missive in its own right). Why should I care about that stuff when we are faced with the real and present tragedy of audio companies whose truthful names are just total snooze-fests? This is life or death stuff right here. We obviously need a spiritual awakening in audio to refocus our energies on what’s important. I mean if we can’t get audio companies to be creative enough to come up with really cool names for themselves, why should we care if their equipment sounds any good? And why should we care to just live and let live? Especially if so many hide their true milk-toast-identities behind those shady three-letter acronyms. You start to wonder about what else they may be hiding from you. As for this reviewer, I’m going to go listen to some music from AIX records on those XTZ speakers that just showed up.