There are some people in the industry who now know my name or at least know of me. Urs Wagner from Ensemble always chats me up. I should give him a ring. Hart Huschens from Audio Advancements is another sweet soul who treats me with respect. And I have spent a good amount of time talking to Creston Funk from Concert Sound.
Alas, there is some humanity behind the Buyer's Guide.
I plugged in the little guy, and his little tube started to smile a low, warm orange. While he heated up, I walked over to my record collection. I needed a reference: Where Have I Known You Before by Return to Forever, one of my favorite albums of all time. I plugged my Grado SR60s into the VP129's headphone jack.
The Sony Radio Cassette-Corder CFM-10 is an unassuming little piece of electronics. I remember back in 1995, while the devastating Hurricane Opal tore across the state of Alabama, my family crouched on the laundry room floor with a cheap green lantern giving us light. My little sister and I were wrapped up in oversized, itchy wool blankets, laughing and joking, while Opal wreaked havoc and destroyed lives. We listened to the wind howling against the house, huge tree branches cracking and crashing to the ground, as we awaited word from weather-god James Spann who spoke from a little black cassette-corder like the one I had just found.
Similarly, hi-end audio is a selfless act. We are workers for the world of music and its performers. The thousands of dollars that audiophiles spend on monstrous loudspeakers and thick, slick cables are not shameless self-indulgences, but expressions of grand devotion to the recreation of an expression, an emotion, a feeling! To truly take someone's words to heart. To find yourself in someone else's soundstage. To give yourself away and believe in somebody else's dreams instead of your own.
My congregation! Ladies and Gentlemen! I tell you, there is a Pod! Some heathens choose to ignore him and burn for all eternity in the depths of hell, while Air Supply plays a continual concert of doom. Others have seen the light, and they opt instead for superior listening experiences.
I say, for the hi-fi community, there is hope. When I came to Stereophile, the first assignment Mr. Mejias gave me was to assess how I, as a young person, felt about the world of hi-fi. When my official term of Summer Intern was over, I had nothing. Well, I had a lot of stuff in my head, but nothing that I was ready to post on the blog. There was so much pressure. What had I learned here at Stereophile?!?!
Stephen has challenged me to build a system with just $1000.
I need to think fast. My requirements for the system are loudspeakers, preamp/power amp, phono stage, turntable, CD player... Shit. $1000! That's it? I'll use the 2008 Buyer's Guide data and see what I can do...
Three weeks ago, I published my top five guitar solos, a subjective list based entirely on the guitarists’ ability to move my soul through their combination of note selection and technical wizardry. These self-imposed standards led to many obvious guitarists being left off the list in favor of some less-spoken for guitar heroes with a penchant for inspiration and resourcefulness. Now I’m putting the power in your hands. Using my original list plus your suggestions in the comments section, I created a collaborative Spotify playlist titled “Stereophile - Greatest Guitar Solos Ever”. You are all invited to add songs to this list and share what you feel are the most important leads of all time. It’s a guitar solo potluck where you can hear what other playlist subscribers have to offer as well as showcase your own tastes. Open the playlist in Spotify via this link or in your web browser here. Drag songs from different artists and albums to the playlist on the left-panel of the Spotify interface to add your choices to the list. Have fun!