Creek 4240 Special Edition integrated amplifier Who is Robert J. Reina?
I'm consumed by a passion for music that began at the age of three, when I became tall enough to reach the coin slot in the jukebox of my cousin's bar to play Lloyd Price's "Personality." My record-purchasing career began in 1958 when my godfather, touched by my performance as a crow in the kindergarten Christmas play, offered to buy me any gift I desired. My response: "Santo and Johnny's first album...the one with 'Sleep Walk' on it."
As for musical background, I'd describe myself as a "classically trained amateur new music composer and jazz pianist." What that means is that, during the '60s, I became totally immersed in the greatest decade rock has ever seen, while woodshedding the baroque and classical keyboard repertoire. After a few years of teaching I abandoned formal training and turned to composition, which coincided with my discovery of progressive jazz and 20th-century classical music, courtesy of Frank Zappa. Although most of my writing has been for genre-crossing electro-acoustic chamber music, I've dabbled in strict forms, including punk rock and classical (which I performed at CBGBs and Carnegie Recital Hall, respectively, in 1978 and 1987.) My primary instrumental passion is the piano; this culminated in a homegrown jazz improvisational recording in the early '80s (a bassist/composer friend has compared my style to that of a "constipated Bill Evans"). I still try to write when extra time presents itself (it rarely does).
Although my musical interests are broad (my 8000-LP, 100-CD collection spans all forms of music except country), I get turned on most by creative new music which pushes back the frontiers of music while remaining accessible. (I'm fortunate, as a New York City resident, to have multiple venues of live performance available to me, which I explore frequently.)
On the audio front, my equipment-reviewing experience spans 12 years, most of those with The Abso!ute Sound. My primary reference system's current estimated retail value is around $40,000, excluding accessories, spares, and home recording equipment). In my future reviews I may use up to three complete audio systems which together will cover a broad range of price categories. (No, I won't be testing 30W receivers using my Infinity RS-1Bs.) For reviews of smaller speakers, I may also use a Home Theater system.
I will review each component in what I feel is the most revealing system possible, with no regard to component price, to obtain the best measure of the unit's performance. Then I'll place the component within the context of a system with similarly priced components so the reader can get a better idea of what to expect in a real-world purchase situation. (For this Creek review, one basic system was used, but with three different speaker configurations.)
I won't place price floors or ceilings on the products I choose to review; what's important is the product's context in the marketplace. This is consistent with Stereophile's philosophy that components of all price ranges are treated with equal respect. Democracyain't it grand?
Anything else? Oh yesin my spare time I am a Director, Corporate Finance, at Citicorp Securities.Robert J. Reina