One more word for unhappy consumers, in any marketplace, who confuse praise for the new with rebuke for the old: 20 years on, I continue to admire the best qualities of my Linn Sondek LP12 turntable (itself not the first LP12 I've owned). I smile to think of all the records I enjoyed during those two decades.
The subject comes up every now and then: Audio reviewers don't write nearly enough negative reviews. One old attention-seeker on Audio Asylum went so far as to characterize Stereophile and our would-be competitors as "happy face" magazines—a joke in which he seemed to take tremendous pride—simply because we hand out a lot of As and Bs. By that logic, assuming that a certain percentage of underachievers is inevitable in any population, our schools aren't handing out nearly enough Fs. (I have a suggestion for where they can begin.)
About once a week, I hear about some new audio accessory heralded by breathless claims of stunning performance gains that "you've got to hear for yourself." Most of these I ignore, and of those I do consider, nearly all wither when subjected to logical engineering analysis. Every so often, however, one of these wonder widgets finds its way into my system.
There seems to be a fairly common evolution among audiophiles: First, they notice that there is better sound available than they have ever experienced before, so they buy (we hope!) better-sounding equipment—but sooner or later, upgrading becomes terrifically expensive, while the urge to improve the system remains constant. What to do then?
When American architect Louis Henri Sullivan said "form ever follows function" (footnote 1), he was referring to the transition from the 19th-century view of architecture, driven by aesthetic concerns, to the bold new 20th-century approach of beginning with a building's functions, and letting the design flow from there.
The lease said about my and my fathers trip from the Bureau of Manhattan to our new home the soonest mended. In some way ether I or he got balled up on the grand concorpse and next thing you know we was thretning to swoop down on Pittsfield.
It's no longer news that uncontrolled spurious vibration is one of the greatest threats to high-quality sound and video reproduction. Source components are, by themselves, a nightmare to isolate from the omnipresent vibrations in the environment. The intrusion of uncontrolled spuriae into the playback of LPs, CDs, SACDs, and DVDs has a deleterious and occasionally disastrous effect on the ability of the stylus or laser to precisely do its almost-molecular-scale job. Electronics are nearly as susceptible to such vibration-induced headaches as microphonics.
At the 1994 Summer CES, I was sitting in ProAc's room listening to Vangelis's Blade Runner score, when a couple of guys walked in carrying a shiny black board. "This is pretty interesting stuff," one of them said. "Want to hear it?"