ULTRA AUDIO -- Archived Article

October 1, 2006

Verbal Economy: The Four-Word Component Review

When I started reviewing audio components back in 1997, I was given some advice that has stuck with me to this day. Marc Mickelson, our editor-in-chief then and now, stated that I should tap into my sense of verbal economy. I loved the term, although he could just as easily have said Get to the point or Just say it. The point was to make a point, and not go on and on. It takes more thought to make it short. Recall French philosopher Blaise Pascal’s proclamation: "I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter."

I was listening to ESPN Radio the other day and Colin Cowherd of The Herd (10 a.m. EST weekdays) was talking about The Four Word Film Review, an online publication dedicated to, well, four-word film reviews. Cowherd proceeded to give various NFL teams their four words in the sun, encapsulating the 2006 season team by team. It struck me as the ultimate example of verbal economy. Looking at some of the reviews on The Four Word Film Review, I was impressed at just how complete and accurate some of these were, not to mention funny. Some examples: Snakes on a Plane could be summed up as "Hiss Hiss, Bang Bang." Jaws might be "Gone with the Fin," while The Blair Witch Project might be described as "Tense. Intense. In Tents." And how about Vin Diesel’s XXX: "Why? Why? Why? Why?"

So in the interest of verbal economy, I’ve decided to take a look at some of the components I’ve reviewed over the past couple of years and give them their own four-word reviews. Take them for what they’re worth.

Halcro dm68: Lean, clean music machine.

Gryphon Audio Designs Antileon Signature: Bold and the beautiful.

Blue Circle Audio BC206: Gilbert’s glory, in pink.

Wilson Audio Specialties Alexandria X-2: Best speaker so far.

Audio Acoustics Sapphire Ti-C SE: Good things, small packages.

Sound Fusion Luna SF-70: The Jetsons’ speaker system.

And why confine my four-word reviews to components alone? Some other high-end issues:

SACD and DVD-Audio: Bits from the crypt.

Multichannel music: No, but too bad.

Famous audio companies that are in and out of business each year: Like Rocky: Part 24.

And, from my esteemed colleague Jim Saxon:

Clever Little Clock: Does not tell time.

Hi-Fi Tuning Fuses: $0.50 fuse worked better.

I’d love to hear your own four-word component reviews. Send ’em along and we may just publish ’em. The only criteria: creative, clean, not copyrighted.

...Jeff Fritz

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