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#98876 - 06/15/05 05:52 PM My visit with bigwill
tomtuttle Offline

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8438
Loc: Tacoma
Dear Friends,

I opportunely accepted a gracious invitation to visit bigwill during a recent trip to Southern California, and was treated to a truly delightful evening of delicious food, great beverages and joyful conversation.

Unfortunately, my late flight (due to non-union Alaska Airlines baggage handlers) combined with the necessity of procuring provisions on the way made me somewhat tardy. Mark suffered by initial faux pas with good grace, and while his contention differs, I cannot see how the grilled carne asada could have possibly been any better. It was absolutely fantastic – tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned. Combined with only-hours-old tortillas, fresh cilantro, onions, avocado salsa and tomato salsa, it was a feast that nailed my culinary sweet-spot. His previous messages had me a little concerned that the salsas might exceed even my healthy appreciation for capsicum, but they were simply fresh, delicious and flavorful. My head remains attached. The accompanying Hoegaarden was a rich and delightful choice for the only sunny afternoon I experienced in five California days.

Mark’s wife, Stacey, could not have been nicer. She made me feel very welcome while graciously suffering my intrusion into the very tastefully adorned casa de bigwill, and even convincingly feigned interest in the audio and beverages. I would be remiss if I did not share my observation that they have a truly lovely home in all respects. Littlewill is an exceptionally cute and smart 2-year-old; I was delighted to find that he and his Dad are reading many of the same books I shared with my kids during a time that I had thought was not that long ago. I was again reminded of the adage that nice, smart people should have kids so that we continue to have nice, smart people in the world. Great family.

We continued to share some great beverages – beer, whiskey and whisky. As I was neither taking notes, nor tasting critically, nor do I possess bigjohn’s descriptive powers, I will simply report that the drinks and company were of the highest quality. I will divulge that the Johnnie Walker Green Label was a special treat.

Since the audio hobby is what brings all of us together, I suppose I am obliged to make some report about systems and perceptions and such. I want you all to understand something very important – I am an absolute believer in the notion of Room Acoustics being the forgotten component. My experience at bigwill’s should not be construed as anything except MY experience in an enjoyably lubricated, non-native environment. Bigwill’s listening room and my listening room are extremely different, as are many of our components.

That being said, for what it’s worth, I’ll throw out some subjective observations for those of you that have bothered to read this far. Bigwill’s Monitor Audio Silver 8’s were similarly good compared to my M60’s; a point I don’t think he would dispute based on his previous experience. We did not compare them side-by-side; my observations are based on how I remember hearing familiar music in both houses. The MA finish is considerably nicer. In that room, they seemed to play somewhat deeper and have a somewhat more expansive soundstage. To my ears, they were clearly not as forward as the M60’s. Horns sounded somewhat more vibrant on the MA’s, but I did not feel they produced the female voice with quite the effortless airiness that I am used to. The VP150 was a seamless match with the MA’s. The QS8’s don’t need replacing, either.

Thanks to the Axiom community, Mark and I have been correspondents for several years now, but I still marvel at the personal faith he exhibited that led to our first meeting. I am grateful for his buoyant hospitality, I treasure his friendship, and I eagerly anticipate the next gathering of our families.

Thanks, bigwill!

- Tom

bibere usque ad hilaritatem

#98877 - 06/15/05 06:16 PM Re: My visit with bigwill
St_PatGuy Offline

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7456
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Okay Tom, this is getting out of hand. You can't keep visiting people and listening to different set-ups. It's just not fair for the rest of us!

Kidding aside, it sounds like you had a very enjoyable time due in large part to some very accomodating and gracious hosts. Man, that carne asada sure sounds good. . .
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

#98878 - 06/15/05 08:21 PM Re: My visit with bigwill
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10499
Tom, it was great to read of the hospitality that Mark and Craig extended to you during your beer-tasting expedition to southern California. Good that you also had time to listen to those speakers!

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.

#98879 - 06/15/05 08:32 PM Re: My visit with bigwill
pmbuko Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16378
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Once again, Tom, a well-written and envy-inducing post. I delight in your good fortune.
I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you.

#98880 - 06/15/05 10:04 PM Re: My visit with bigwill
tomtuttle Offline

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8438
Loc: Tacoma
I also delight in my good fortune, Peter

Here's a pic of me and bigwill.

bibere usque ad hilaritatem

#98881 - 06/16/05 12:32 AM Re: My visit with bigwill
chesseroo Offline

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5057
Loc: western canada
Why doesn't anyone come to Winnipeg?'s Winnipeg.
Well at least i have Bren.


BigW, you look a little red in the pic. Is that from the beer, the capsaicin ingestion or the general modesty of having one's picture taken?

Sounds like you have a great trip Tom. I hope to be in SoCal in the next year or two for a wine region tour. SanFran is a city stop on our list and possibly San Diego as well.
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

#98882 - 06/16/05 09:12 AM Re: My visit with bigwill
bigjohn Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 3016
Loc: San Angelo, TX
hey, in that picture, which is tom, which is bigwill..?

OK, it wasnt that funny.. glad y'all had a great time. good food, good drinks, and good friends. sounds just about perfect. i always enjoy hearing about us here on the board getting together.


#98883 - 06/16/05 09:14 AM Re: My visit with bigwill
Ajax Offline

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6292
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Nice to see you two guys together. That's a "tan," Chess, not a "red."

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

#98884 - 06/16/05 01:20 PM Re: My visit with bigwill
bigwill2 Offline

Registered: 03/25/05
Posts: 586
Ha,ha,ha chess.
A combination of high blood pressure, alcohol intake and the California sun.
Judging by recent photos, it seems that my head is shrinking.

#98885 - 06/16/05 01:30 PM Re: My visit with bigwill
bigwill2 Offline

Registered: 03/25/05
Posts: 586
Thank you, Tom, for the visit and the kind words. It was a pleasure to have such a kind and sincere gentleman grace my humble abode. On the down side, Staci has been reminded that not all men are primitive belching beasts that eat with their fingers.
I smiled at your last paragraph. Yes, folks, I am "suspicious and protective", aka, "paranoid".
I believe it must be a genetic trait that nature has selected for success.

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