The best tonearm I ever heard was a second-generation Mission Mechanic, ca 1986. It was mounted on a Roksan Xerxes turntable, and I spent several happy hours listening to records on that combination (with a low-compliance EMT cartridge) in two very different systems: one with solid-state amplification from DNM and Roksan's own dynamic Darius loudspeakers, and the other—my home system of the time—using tube amplification from Conrad-Johnson and a borrowed pair of Stax electrostatic speakers.
I was trading e-mails with Roger Sanders, manufacturer of the Eros Mk.III electrostatic (ESL) loudspeakers, when it occurred to me to ask him about his name. I was struck that he had the same last name as Gayle Sanders, president of another American electrostatic speaker company, MartinLogan. Were they related? "No," replied Roger Sanders, "it's simply a coincidence that we have similar names. I've never even met him.
The music industry is facing its toughest business climate in recent memory, and slow sales are hurting not only the record labels, but music retailers as well. In the face of continuing sales declines, store closings, mergers and consolidations, layoffs, and seemingly intractable digital distribution issues, the industry came together last month for its annual National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) convention and trade show in Orlando, FL.
Stereophile was saddened to learn of the death of Herb Papier earlier this month. He was 86. A musician—he was an amateur trumpeter—music lover, and inventor, Papier was best known in the audiophile community as the designer and original manufacturer of the Wheaton Tri-Planar tonearm.
On April 8, Recoton Corporation voluntarily revealed that it and all of its US-based subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
A month after news of Apple Computer's start-up subscription music service, reports began circulating that the company was negotiating to buy Universal Music Group, the dominant player in the global music market. The rumored buyout, first reported April 10, was variously quoted at $5–6 billion. The discussions between Apple and UMG may have been blown out of proportion; by April 12 the New York Times was suggesting that Apple might invest in UMG, but was in no position to make an outright acquisition.
How did Michael Jordan, talented as he was at the peak of his powers, always manage to impose his will on his teammates to push them to victory when it counted most? What made Sandy Koufax able to elevate his pitching to a superhuman level when the stakes were highest? A knowledgeable, hardcore sports fan can watch the performance of two players with nearly identical statistics and, after not too long, tell you which one is merely very good and which one is great. What makes a star are intangibles—those qualities you can't quantify or analyze, but can't help but recognize when you're in their presence.