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September 2002
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Women Listen With Their Ears, Men Listen With Their...
Article by Gigi Krop


  "Michael, what do you think of Andy's sound system?

"To tell you the truth, I wasn't that impressed. He doesn't know how to set up his system. The speakers are too close to the couch. He doesn't have enough power feeding the subwoofers. 
I want him to listen to my system, and then he'll really hear something special."

I respond, "Well invite him over."
"No, I don't want to upset him or make him feel bad."
"I don't understand, please explain."

Michael answers, "If he hears my system, he will get upset that my stereo sounds better than his. I know more about sound systems and equipment and invest time and energy into choosing the components, setting up the wiring and designing the system."

"Maybe you can help him improve his set-up so it sounds better."
"I don't want to embarrass him." 
"Michael, why will he be embarrassed."
"Because I know more…"

Of course Andy might disagree with Michael, he might be happy with the way his system sounds. He might prefer the subtle tones of his system to the extreme dynamics of Michael's stereo. But either way, I'm sure he would enjoy some input from another music lover. 

Then again, most men would rather drive around lost forever in an unfamiliar neighborhood then turn on their expensive, state-of-the-art navigation system. After all how could a computer possibly have a better sense of direction then they do. A woman simply asks someone for directions. She thinks the money is more wisely spent on a beauty treatment: a new hairdo and a facial or some exercise sessions with a personal trainer. 

The issue of who knows more isn't really relevant. The most important thing is the music. Or is it? In California everyone likes to share the experience. But this is South Florida and we are talking about men and their stereo systems… 

In some ways I agree with Michael. Andy has incredible equipment but he's a newcomer to the hi-end scene and his equipment setup can probably be modified to improve the sound.

Michael continues, "I love Andy's designated sound room. It gave me the idea to build an addition onto my house, and design it just for the sound quality. I am so pleased; I called an architect, an engineer, and a decorator.

"What about an acoustic designer and an electrician?" I ask. 
"I don't need them, I know more than they do about sound and electricity. My system is going to sound so good, you won't believe it."

"Oh" I reply, "What a wonderful idea, your wife will get her living room back, and you will be able to play your music as loud as you want". 

The male ego is a sensitive thing. My friend Mark is always complaining that he works too hard. So, I told him to take fewer clients. He responded, "I can't do that. I have an expensive house, a home theater and a new Porsche to pay for. Maria, his wife, said, "Honey, I don't need this big house or a fancy car. I want you to be happy." 
Mark replied, "You don't understand. I need these things. The big house and the fancy car are a reflection of me, an extension of who I am. I need them to feel good about myself, to feel successful." 
Maria replied, "I want you to be happy."
Mark answered, "I need these things to be happy."

I respond, "You have a beautiful wife and family and a luxurious lifestyle. When you appreciate the things you have you will be happy with your life. Happiness is success and happiness comes from inside you. Fancy cars and home theaters are only toys, but a good stereo is an absolute necessity."

Mark puts his face in his hands and cries out in pain, "No one understands me." 
I reply, "I understand more then you think."

The difference between Mark and his wife is that she enjoys her beautiful home and fancy car but doesn't depend on them for her happiness. The difference between Michael and me is when a friend needs help setting up her system to improve the sound; it is my pleasure to help. I don't worry that my woman-friend is embarrassed that she needs help. I don't care whose system sounds better; it's a matter of personal taste. I just want my friend to be happy. 

Michael likes to play his system loud and Andy likes to listen at low levels. So their systems are designed accordingly. Personally I enjoy the subtle nuances of the sound; the transparent highs, the detail of each instrument. For me, the music creates a mood or ambiance that transports me to another place. Michael and Andy need a designated room full of equipment to feel good… the equipment creates the atmosphere. The music is like a software program on a computer; it provides the information. 

Some men need four sets of 1000-watt amplifiers to drive their speakers and four subwoofers that sound like a bomb exploded in the listening room to be happy. They think that a throbbing headache from piercing highs is a positive factor when determining a system's quality. 

Are you more impressed by the quantity of the equipment then the quality of the sound? Do you think that this is a good thing? Do you need a massive array of electronics, subwoofers, cables and equipment stands to feel good about your system? Do you think that the size of your sound system is comparable to the size of your shoes? This is definitely a guy thing.

Men impress each other with the cost and size of their sound systems; Women impress each other by what they wear. If a woman is spending money on a stereo instead of designer clothing it's because she really loves the music, she thinks she's too fat or she wants to impress some guys.


When I have a better stereo then a guy I am dating, the guy feels inferior to me, gets embarrassed and won't ask me out any more. 

About fifteen years ago I met a guy named Jason in Easthampton Beach, that famous Long Island summer play land where the rich go to escape the city and the poor go to meet the rich. On our first date we started out at the Plaza Hotel where we had cocktails at the lobby bar. Then we took a limo ride to a Broadway Show and a buggy ride to Elaine's for dinner. After dinner we went to his penthouse apartment. He showed me his art collection and played his Bose stereo equipment.

"Gigi, what do you think of my apartment?"
"The view is beautiful."
"How about my art collection?"
"I love the water colors."
"How about my stereo system?"
"It's OK"
An hour later I get up and say, "Jason, I had a lot of fun tonight, but it's time for me to go home. Can you drive me back to Queens, New York?"
"Nah, the Mercedes is in the garage and I'm too lazy. I'll get you a cab."
"It's thirty dollars."
"I'll pay for it."
"OK, but next time you come to visit me in Queens. Don't worry, there's a garage in my building, so your car will be safe.
"Sounds good, I look forward to seeing your place."

A week later the doorbell rings,
"Hi Jason, come on in. Did you find my apartment OK; is your car safely ensconced in the building's garage?" 
"Yeah, everything is fine. So, give me a tour of your apartment."
I show him around my first floor, one-bedroom apartment.
"This isn't bad, how's the view?"
"Well, it's no Penthouse."
I open the back door and show him my backyard, a black-tarred platform overlooking the tracks of the Long Island Rail Road. 
Jason responds, "How can you live here? Doesn't the noise from the train bother you?"
"I respond, "You get used to it. Take a seat; let me play you some music."
I slip a CD into my brand new Phillips transport, adjust the NAD receiver and the JSE Infinite Slope speakers (which I still own) fill the room with music.
"Wow this sounds great!"
Do you want to hear a record?
I slip an LP onto my Rega Planar turntable.
"The record sounds better then the CD."
Do you want to make a comparison? I'll play a record, CD and cassette tape for you.
I put a cassette tape into my Nakamichi deck,
"Which sounds the best?"
He responds, "I like the clarity of the CD, and the warmth of the record album."
"Yeah, that's what most people say. So what do you think?
"Your stereo system is really good. It's even better then mine."
"Imagine that." I respond.

"Jason, are you ready to go out for dinner? I have a nice Mexican restaurant in mind."
"Gigi, I'm not feeling so good. I have a stomach ache."
"Do you want some water or an antacid?"
"No, I'm feeling depressed."
Jason got up and walked over to the door.
"Goodbye, Gigi".

He was out the door and down the hall before I could say another word. I guess it was just too much for him; a young woman with an old apartment in Queens, a view of the Long Island Railroad and a Pontiac Grand Prix with a much better stereo then him. His stomach hurt, he was depressed and his ego was crushed. I never saw Jason again; but I still remember the look on his face, when he realized that his stereo was not the latest and greatest state-of-the-art system that he thought it was. 

Now that I live in Florida and have a view of the inter-coastal waterway, I prefer to impress my men friends with my music collection. I'm happy if their system sounds better then mine because I know that the relationship will last longer. I congratulate them on their good taste and am happy for them. I don't get insulted or embarrassed because my system isn't as good. 

I would rather spend my money on beautiful clothes and vacations so that I can look good and find my prince charming. Then after we meet and fall in love I will bring him over to my place and cook him a romantic dinner. If that does not work, I will impress him with my record collection. When I play my stereo for him, he will either ask me to marry him or walk out the door never to be seen again because... women listen with their ears, but men listen with their...














































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