Interviews

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Ken Micallef  |  Jun 25, 2021  |  10 comments
When Pat Metheny was growing up in the small Missouri town of Lee's Summit, his family's home stood within can't-even-hear-yourself-shouting distance of the Missouri Pacific railroad. trains, tornadoes, freezing winters, hot summers, small-town isolation—all fed an imagination that (combined with plenty of practice) fed a legendary music career.
Ken Micallef  |  May 05, 2021  |  4 comments
In her reworking of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from my Friends," on the 2018 tribute album, A Day In The Life: Impressions Of Pepper (impulse records), Brooklyn guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson reinvents both her instrument and the song.

Most baby boomers can hum the tune of the Beatles' classic, from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in a handful of notes. It might take longer to recognize Halvorson's joyous, angular version. A master of jazz phrasing, guitar technique, avant-garde discourse, and effects pedals, Halvorson bends the Beatles song to her 21st century will.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 14, 2021  |  10 comments
Listening, an extraordinary video tribute to the late writer Art Dudley's taste, vision, and devotion to music, premiers this month on Stereophile's YouTube channel. The video follows the unusual path of Art's beloved Altec Lansing Flamenco loudspeakers from their home in Upstate New York to their current residence, the listening room of deaf audiophile Bob Lichtenberg in Port Orchard, Washington.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 13, 2021  |  31 comments
Back in 2013, I took the train to Stamford to give a presentation to the Connecticut Audio Society to help celebrate their 30th anniversary. On March 6 I returned to the CAS, but this time via Zoom. I talked about a subject close to my heart: measurements and their connections with accuracy and/or musical enjoyment. The video is now posted to the CAS YouTube channel—it runs for 2+ hours but I think Stereophile readers will find what I had to say stimulating, perhaps even sometimes controversial.

My presentation takes up the first 21 minutes and is followed by a Q&A with the CAS members. (Great questions, guys!) At 1:18:00 I give a tour of my listening room, where two of my cats decide to make a cameo appearance.

John Atkinson  |  Nov 14, 2020  |  20 comments
"Pints With Ayre," the series of videos produced by Colorado manufacturer Ayre Acoustics, has been regular viewing chez Atkinson during these pandemic times. Covering subjects like volume control design, amplifier gain stages, audio transformers, and listening tests, the series presents sometimes esoteric technical subjects in an easy-to-grasp manner.

In the latest episode of “Pints With Ayre,” I was invited to talk about a subject close to my heart, the how and why a review magazine’s reviews should be accompanied by measurements. You can find my current thoughts at the link in this article. I don’t think I gave too many secrets away!

Sasha Matson  |  Nov 05, 2020  |  2 comments
Marty Krystall is a musician's musician, highly regarded and known to his peers in the LA music world as a triple-threat wind player equally adept at jazz, classical, and in the studio. He is also an audiophile, a recording engineer, and a record company owner, having created the K2B2 label with bassist and colleague Buell Neidlinger in 1979.
Ken Micallef  |  Oct 08, 2020  |  3 comments
"The data lords are gathering data and giving it to organizations that then manipulate us with the things they know about us, things that we don't even know about ourselves," says five-time Grammy Award–winning composer, conductor, producer, and band leader Maria Schneider. "They give our data to any company that'll pay for it to manipulate you, specifically targeting your vulnerabilities. It takes away freedom of thought, a true discourse where people are thinking for themselves. Count me out."
Julie Mullins  |  Sep 29, 2020  |  4 comments
Jonathan Weiss doesn't do things the ordinary way. Nor does he follow the usual audio industry processes.

In 2006, Weiss founded Oswalds Mill Audio (OMA), manufacturer of a range of high-end loudspeakers and other products with exotic, vintage-inspired approaches and designs. Serious handcraft and bespoke materials, from solid hardwood enclosures to leather from luxury makers Hermès and Jean Rousseau, are behind OMA's upper-echelon pricing.

Julie Mullins  |  Aug 17, 2020  |  3 comments
The phrase "renaissance man" carries gravitas. It's probably overused. But Damon Von Schweikert believes the term genuinely befits his late father, speaker designer Albert Von Schweikert, who passed away on May 29, 2020, leaving behind myriad contributions to audio through his namesake companies.
Ken Micallef  |  Aug 05, 2020  |  16 comments
On iconic singer-songwriter James Taylor's 20th album, American Standard, the lanky crooner adapts the classic American songbook to his easy-rolling musical ways. The result is an American mixture of timeless songcraft.

Where some popular singers use the songbook canon to increase record and ticket sales, Taylor has no need to change himself or increase his audience. He's as comfortable as any man can be, having sold many millions of records the world over for almost 50 years.

Sasha Matson  |  May 28, 2020  |  2 comments
"What happens in college stays in college" might be the best policy for most undergrad-formed bands, but Snarky Puppy is an exception to that rule (and a number of others). Bassist/composer Michael League found fertile musical ground in the jazz studies program at the University of North Texas when he formed Snarky Puppy in 2003.
John Atkinson  |  May 11, 2020  |  27 comments
At the end of April, Adrian Low, the proprietor of Toronto retailer Audio Excellence, asked if he could interview me. "I've been interviewing audio luminaries for some time," Adrian wrote, "partly because I am so interested in how they started, their experiences, and also to share these with fellow audio enthusiasts."

We connected with Skype and, in the two videos embedded below, Adrian and I, along with Jan and Vilip from Audio Excellence, talk about many things connected with my 52 years as an audiophile, my 43 years in audio magazine publishing, and my 33 years at the editorial helm of Stereophile.

John Atkinson  |  Apr 10, 2020  |  66 comments
In his review of the three-way, active Dutch & Dutch 8c loudspeaker in the August 2019 issue of Stereophile, Kalman Rubinson concluded that "The D&D 8c demonstrates that active, DSP-empowered speakers are the future." I was equally impressed by the 8c's measured performance—a superbly flat on-axis response and an unmatched control of dispersion over the entire audioband—and asked to borrow a pair so I could experience the speakers in my own listening room.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 27, 2020  |  26 comments
Occasional Stereophile contributor Steve Guttenberg publishes a YouTube channel about audio that has achieved an impressive reach. As Steve told me in a conversation I had with him last December, 22% of his 98,000 subscribers (at the time we talked) are under 34 years old, and, to judge from the comments, most of them don't read Stereophile!!!! "It would nice to introduce you to them!" said Steve, and proposed he interview me and post the video to his channel when it hit the magic 100k number, which it did on January 9.

Steve visited my place in Brooklyn just before the New Year, and we spent an afternoon talking about audio, magazines, measurements, and music.

Ken Micallef  |  Jan 07, 2020  |  9 comments
Of the celebrated triumvirate of John Scofield, Pat Metheny, and Bill Frisell—the most original and influential jazz guitarists of the past 50 years—none is more distinctive, or self-effacing, than Frisell, a true changeling of the guitar. Frisell is a jazz-based musician, but his music crisscrosses genres, and his guitar playing isn't bound to or limited by a specific technique. He's a master illusionist, able to alter a song's meaning far beyond its original intent with the aid of a Telecaster guitar, a modest effects chain, and, most importantly, his rich imagination.

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