Three years ago this month, I launched 6moons. I figured on it being like a small, crossover-less single-driver loudspeaker - a single-writer 'zine with a few reviews and some commentary a month. I was armed with a bit of writing experience from three prior reviewing gigs. I had a healthy bit of ignorance, solid Germanic work ethics and, in general, a follow-your-bliss-and-the-rest-will-show-up attitude. Within 7 months, what had started out as a hobby and a somewhat amorphous calling (well, whispering perhaps) had crossed over into a modest full-time occupation. Like an artist in his woodshack, I've since holed up in a small house in a small town in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. I've cranked away at the keyboard with nearly religious zeal. In this relative isolation, I've remained connected to the world at large via the miracle of the electronic global nervous system and digital telepathy that is the Internet. And a few times a year, I crawl out of my cave and attend some audio show and get to mix and mingle in the flesh.

Of course writing about audio and music, in the bigger scheme of things, seems like nothing more than a rich boy's fascination with expensive toys and the kind of banter you expect in the dressing room of a fancy golf club. It has meaning and relevance only to those few members who share the same fascination and the means to indulge it. Meanwhile other folks save lives by performing open-heart surgeries, running orphanages in Cambodia, teaching inner-city kids. There's any manner of work that renders a far more concrete service to mankind and makes the world a better place than circling endlessly around audio components. And how about struggling with the precarious balancing act this entails: doing right by the readers and manufacturers while simultaneously paying just enough attention to the business end of things to - well, remain in business?

If that's all 6moons was about, I'd probably have long since burned out. As it turns out, all that mundane and technical crap is carried afloat on something else entirely. That something else is expressed nicely in a recent e-mail I received from David, about my installment review of the Zu Cable Druids.

"It's funny but you know what? Today I was driving in our silly little minivan, listening to jazz from the Philly station 90.1FM. The music was solely emanating from two in-dash 4.25" speakers, running full range from an FM signal
which, by definition, was already truncated in its frequency response. Yet, it was simply delightful. Maybe another way to say it is to call it musical. I decided to let down my audiophile snootiness and simply acknowledge to myself that it sounded wonderful. Then I began to ask myself why.

Recognizing that, by current audiophile standards, it was impossible for such a setup to be considered "high fidelity", I continued driving trying to discern why I actually felt it was exceptionally musical. What I determined mattered musically was not perfectly extended frequency response or many other audiophile concerns. Rather, what mattered was that what was presented remain musically faithful. The bass, obviously extremely cut short, was phase and time coherent. In this regard, it followed the beat and flow of the music. It allowed me to sing and move along to the dynamic flow of the music's spirit. In fact, it even gave a greater perceived extension of bass than was actually there. In short, it seemed more of a coherent and cogent whole rather than a collection of parts and dissected pieces. Music sang instead of being interpreted. This experience is what prompted my email. I kept thinking "There must be something to this simple driver approach, why else would Srajan bother changing things?"
So thanks for sharing with the rest of us your experiences,

PS: The possibility that one might be able to get "real music" and a genuine slice of "true Hi-Fidelity" for under $3 grand, now that is news!"

That's the spirit I'm talking about. I've never met David. But I have and do each time I receive e-mails like this one. It's about trust, curiosity and sharing. It's a realm free of judgment, cultural boundaries and all the other stuff that keeps people apart. I get e-mail like this a lot. So do our other writers. This strange little site has grown into a portal that affords like-minded spirits a place to link up and exchange ideas and experiences. That's a living virtue well above and beyond hardware and material things. And guess what? Without you, our readers who take the time to write in, who care enough to turn on somebody else to the moons, who suggest cool new music and gear to us... well, without you, this whole weave of give'n'take would collapse upon itself. Then it'd be merely work. Then I might as well turn scuba instructor in the Seychelles and get an actual suntan.

While I will never personally meet most of you who log on, just knowing that you're out there participating makes me feel part of a tribal community that spreads around this blue planet. And that's a pretty heady feeling. So thanks to y'all -- in Istanbul and Nova Scotia, Bergen and Cape Town, Kerala and Budapest, Buenos Aires and Kyoto -- who have somehow joined our lives in this virtual world. As you can imagine, it's quite challenging to talk about what things sound like. Ditto for describing what being on the receiving end of this network feels like. I always give it my best shot to deliver on the "what's it sound like" issues. But on this score, I'll simply chicken out and let you imagine it.

P.S. Before things get too mushy, I also got another e-mail today, from Yoshi Segoshi of Sakura Systems who certainly has more important things to do than e-mail me. Here's what he said:

"Dear Srajan:
I'm enjoying your realsization article. Attached is my $17.99 portable player and $7.99 earphone I've been listening to quite often. I picked it up to listen to music while traveling, but it turned out to be a really enjoyable system and I often use it at home too now. Of course the overall sound is not so sophisticated, but it has pretty good dynamics and you can enjoy orchestral music much better than on much highend stuff. Besides, how many of us can sit in front of the stereo for an entire Bruckner or Mahler symphony these days? Since I travel a lot, being on an airplane is the best time for me concentrate listening to those serious pieces. This $26 system connects me to those music more than any other system I have at home."

So there's no need to feel like a kid, nose pressed against the window, glass fogging up from the exhale, the lusted-after membership card way out of reach. If you're reading this, you have a computer and Internet access. That means you have $26. So come on in and join the fun. Even though it might at times seem like it because we also review expensive dream components, ours isn't an exclusive club of snobbery and secret handshakes by any stretch. If anything, our fourth year of operations has all the earmarkings of deliberately focusing on a lot of affordable gear, with John Potis' upcoming review of Anthony Gallo's D'iva Ti/TR-2 micro system merely the first of many more to come.