Last week one of my Facebook friends asked about USB turntables. Along with his question he posted a link to one he was considering buying. It was one of those inexpensive “retro” designed numbers made to look like an old radio. It even had a 3″ “full-range” speaker and an additional stereo mini-jack for MP3 players. He was buying it for his teenager, who had expressed some interest in LPs.
I waited a couple of hours before posting my suggestion, which was that he should look at the Music Hall USB turntable before making his final decision. I also wrote, “The technical term for a XX TT is POS (piece of shit)… Get something, anything, else…” I had one person “like” my response.
Recently The Daily Mash had an article entitled “Audiophiles luring youngsters into boring conversations” that came to mind as I pondered how forcefully I should be in explaining why the XX was a POS. Eventually another Audiophile chimed in with, “Just remember XXs are basically toys. We call them “pretendtables” at YY’s. They’re fine for a casual listen or for kids to get started but if you ever want the true experience of what vinyl can do, you’ll need to upgrade to something with a proper tonearm and cartridge.”
But I’m still wondering how vigorous we audiophiles should be when asked about gear that we know is sub-par? Unfortunately, there’s a fine line between helpful evangelism and overbearing fanaticism, and it’s often difficult for an evangelist to know when they have stepped over that line.
Yes, I know that “friends don’t let friends listen to XX” but short of giving away decent gear to deserving or needy possible future audiophiles (I’ve done that and it works), it’s hard to figure out when enough proselytizing has gone over into too much.
I’m open to suggestions…how do you handle those “awkward conversations” about audio?