A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Renovation

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Renovation

Written by Jay Jay French

My current audio system consists of the following— and there is a reason that I’m telling you this:

Turntable: VPI Avenger Reference W/12” 3D printed VPI tonearm

Cartridges: Dynavector XV1-S/EAT No. 5

Phono preamp(s): Moon 810LP/EAT Glo S

Amp: Pass 250.8 stereo amp

Preamp: PS Audio BHK Signature

SACD Player: Marantz SA10

Power Regenerator: PS Audio P20 PowerPlant

Speakers: Wilson Sabrina

Record Cleaning Machine: Audio Desk System

Cables, interconnects and power cords: Nordost, PS Audio, Straightwire

The point of me telling you this is that I haven’t had this system to listen to since last November. I had to move while my apartment was being renovated, and put everything in storage.

Except for being away for long stretches on tour, I haven’t gone without some kind of reference system since I started out in this insane hobby in 1966.

I always had something to come home to.

In the early days I had AR 3a’s, KLH 6’s, JBL L100’s, Bose 901’s, OhmF’s…the list goes on and on and on…

The point is, I always could depend on great sound (at least at the times I’m referring to) in my living space.

When the architect told me that we needed to move out for 6 months I realized that everything had to go into storage. Not only that, but I was changing listening rooms in the newly renovated apartment, and quite possibly would have to downsize everything once I moved back in.

I packed it all up and had to figure out what I could bring with me.

The answer?

When I/we set up our temporary digs in an apartment building in Brighton Beach Brooklyn (28 train stops-1 hour and 20 minute subway ride from the Upper West Side of Manhattan), kindly loaned to me and my wife through a relative, there was no room to bring anything but our clothes…and our MoccaMaster coffee machine (sorry, but I had to draw a line in the sand!).

This apartment didn’t even have cable or a TV!

We brought in internet and cable to get through the experience…

Oh…and did I tell you that we moved into a Trump co-op building (Fred Trump built it in 1964) and it looked like a communist relocation center on the outside and a NYC high school on the inside…and it was located exactly between 2 elevated train lines with 4 train lines-the Q,F,D and N running by our window all day all night.

Sharon and the Trump building.

Oh yeah…did I mention that everyone is Russian in the building? The neighborhood is known as “Little Odessa”.

I should be happy about this right? Why? Because my family is from Odessa, but I have nothing in common with anyone in this building. The stores are Russian, the restaurants are Russian, the Chase Bank speaks Russian as a first language, and did I also tell you that we moved in in November. The building is 1 block from Coney Island which would be fine, I guess, if it was the summer but no, it was during this very cold winter and the wind blowing off the Atlantic Ocean made the boardwalk uninhabitable.

I really wasn’t surprised that on one particular February morning when the temperature was 4 degrees in Manhattan, it was -14 on the boardwalk but none of these older Russian tenants seemed to mind…why? Because it must have reminded them of Siberia!

And my audio system consisted of:

My Audioengine 2+2 self powered desktop computer speakers and a Bose mini sound bar.

That was it.

For 6 months. In other words, I learned how to “live without”.

Let’s get something straight:

I’m not crying about my lot in life: I’ve been pretty lucky.

I’m not whining either, except just to be funny…

But when I over-dramatically tell my friends who have known me for years and have always known me as the “guy in the neighborhood with the big stereo” that my audio system is a Bose Mini Sound Bar, they all gasp in horror and ask if I’m doing all right and can I survive this ordeal.

Kind of funny actually…

We moved back in and by the way, for those who have been renovated or are about to be let me tell you that our apartment was done on time and in budget.

None of those NYC horror stories and I just couldn’t wait to get back into the new apartment and get my system up and running…

Now I’m back but the room is smaller and so far I only can fit a pair of bookshelf speakers in it.

I think I will be able move things around to bring back the Sabrina’s but until then, luckily, I had a 35-year-old pair of Spendor LS3/5a’s lying around and hooked them up and I’ll tell you what…they never sounded so damn good!

Back to Copper home page