Stop Digital Madness! LA Appends
While I had some fears about publishing the Reilly material, and JGH's attack on it, my fears have been laid to rest. Stereophile Vol.8 No.8 was distributed at the 1986 Winter CES, and it turns out that many industry people had already heard of Judith Reilly's research. We received no lukewarm responses to JGH's article: a large number of people were actively offended by Prof. Reilly's findings, and a small number adamantly defended her.
A phone call was received just before deadline from a perturbed Tony Gregory of Audiophile Systems, the U.S. Linn distributor. I had reported in a footnote to JGH's original article the following: "Professor Reilly averred to me that Linn had talked to her about the problem, and was taking steps to address it, but didn't want their name associated with her findings." Two parts of this statement are at least partially correct, according to Gregory: Audiophile Systems (not Linn) has heard of Prof. Reilly's findings, at exhaustive length, and they do not want to be associated with her findings.
Linn has not, however, taken any steps to address the problem. Instead they attempted to duplicate her findings, using a speed measuring setup with a resolution of a few-hundredths of a percent, rather than the three-tenths of a percent resolution of the Reilly optical tachometer. Audiophile Systems was able to find no correlation between speed variation and the playing, or having played, of digitally-mastered LPs. They also listened carefully to the products they sell to see if a problem was audible. Same result. There being no problem, they have obviously not taken steps to correct it.
For the reader's interest, the Audiophile Systems test setup works as follows: a very finely graduated strobe disc (hundreds of evenly spaced radii) is placed on the turntable. A very rapidly flashing (approx. 360Hz) strobe light is shone on the record as it turns. A Lucite jig containing "viewing slots" is centered over the turntable. Looking through the viewing slots makes it very easy to discern even the slightest movement of the strobe lines as they are illuminated by the strobe light. Very light tapping on the edge of the turntable, for instance, has a dramatic effect. No effects whatsoever were observed in testing the Reilly hypothesis.—Larry Archibald