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Larry Birnbaum  |  Dec 01, 2021  |  0 comments
In the early 1970s, my hometown—Chicago—was a hotbed of blues. I discovered the blues in high school via the Rolling Stones, and I began to frequent the city's blues clubs as a college student, at first while still underage. From Theresa's, the South Side tavern where Junior Wells performed, I progressed to the West Side, where on weekends I would head down Madison Street to see Howlin' Wolf at Big Duke's Blue Flame Lounge.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 02, 2021  |  44 comments
Take a walk at night. Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears.—Pauline Oliveros, Sonic Meditations

The one activity that distinguishes audiophiles from other music lovers is our practice of sitting in solitude and listening closely to music reproduced on a finely tuned playback system.

Kurt Gottschalk  |  Oct 05, 2021  |  0 comments
New York City is a dream you can't have—glitz, glamor, grime, too much to take in from within, too much to understand from afar. It's a metropolitan manifestation of the Heisenberg principle, its nature changing with how you look at it. No matter how you try, you can't see the forest for the skyscrapers.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Sep 08, 2021  |  11 comments
Step 1. When I was in my mid-20s, an older editor at the Dutch current-affairs magazine I worked for told me he wanted to write a piece about audiophiles: He had been bitten by the audio bug himself. Because I often wrote about rock and pop music, he asked if I had a quality hi-fi system, and if so, would I be willing to be interviewed for his article
Jeff Weiner  |  Jul 27, 2021  |  3 comments
I grew up in a household that didn't have a record player and was pretty much devoid of music. In high school, I got a little stereo and began collecting records. By the time I entered Brooklyn College, in 1963, my "main man" was Trini Lopez; I also had a couple of Jack Jones albums. In New York, I discovered the Cafe Au Go Go.
John Swenson  |  Jun 29, 2021  |  1 comments
Last week, I had a puzzling dream. When I woke, the vision remaining from the dreamscape was of a single thread of conversation, almost oracular, with no context. Ringo was telling me, "That was actually John singing on that one, mate."

I searched for a hidden message. Maybe it was one of those naked-in-public dreams, the Beatles drummer chastising me for misidentifying the singer in some review I wrote. I soon forgot about it.

Jonathan Scull  |  May 26, 2021  |  11 comments
'Cause it's hard to say what's real / When you know the way you feel—Flaming Lips, "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21," from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

In a recent Zoom meeting, some friends got into a dust-up about how "real"-sounding high-performance audio systems can be. The consensus was that there was no chance at all of real, live sound. A label owner waved it off as impossible: "Fuhgeddaboudit," he said. He's from New York, like me.

Jay Jay French  |  Apr 12, 2021  |  12 comments
By the time this issue of Stereophile arrives in your mailbox (and on newsstands), Lyric Hi-Fi & Video, the legendary symbol of male-dominated, uber-luxury hi-fi retail, will be closed forever.

This makes me sad. I wasn't just a client of Lyric; I worked there.

John Swenson  |  Mar 16, 2021  |  11 comments
My music is keeping me alive.

I have terminal cancer, which is like Bergman's chess match with the Grim Reaper: You know you're going to lose, but with skill, determination, and luck, you can delay the inevitable, move by move. Determination is key, because it's all too easy to give up. My music—a collection I've amassed over the last 60 years—inspires me to keep going, to keep listening.

Thomas Conrad  |  Mar 02, 2021  |  13 comments
I wrote an article for the March 2017 issue of Stereophile called "The Permanent Jazz Festival: The Rise of Europe and the Future of Jazz." It presented two theses: that much of the energy in jazz now comes out of Europe, and that the best place to feel that energy is in the crowd at a European jazz festival. There are hundreds of them throughout the year.
Sasha Matson  |  Feb 03, 2021  |  7 comments
It says something about the power of music that some individuals fading into dementia can still recognize the music they knew earlier in their lives. Not to denigrate new music, or music one hasn't heard before, but our mental jukeboxes award top chart numbers to music that we have lived with over time. Those DJs making their playlists in our brain are the toughest of critics. They don't care what anyone else might think, "Close to You" is staying in the rotation. Music and memory are linked.
Robert Schryer  |  Dec 29, 2020  |  70 comments
When I first heard the word "audiophile," I loved it. It sounded fresh and dignified. I related to it instantly. An audiophile! I loved the whole idea of it, the focus on music, on sound. That was me! I'd found myself! And people like me. Other audiophiles, who lived all over the world. To paraphrase Tom Petty, it was like a first flash of freedom.
Jonathan Scull  |  Nov 23, 2020  |  45 comments
So, what's "this thing of ours"? I'm only half-kidding. High-end audio is deadly serious for many passionate audiophiles. Some measurement types defend their turf without thought—without mercy—and often deride subjectivists, like me, who believe if you like what you hear, then that's what counts, enjoy. Objectivists say if you can't measure it, then it doesn't exist. Well, goes the retort, you don't know what to measure, your instruments aren't refined enough, and on and on.

The struggle continues to this day for some reason, and boy-howdy is it ferocious, especially regarding cables.

Jason Davis  |  Oct 29, 2020  |  15 comments
In March 2003, as news networks broadcast images of American tanks racing north toward Baghdad, my infantry platoon dug shallow foxholes in southern Iraq. We were part of a defensive perimeter guarding FARP Exxon, a helicopter refueling point for the Army's 101st Airborne Division.
Alex Halberstadt  |  Sep 23, 2020  |  13 comments
When I was a child, my father was a dealer in black-market records. We lived on what was then the outskirts of Moscow, in what was then the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It was the 1970s, and our nation's record stores only sold discs of domestic manufacture, most of them wooly-sounding classical recordings on the Melodiya label. This meant that a healthy contingent of Muscovites valued records smuggled from what they referred to in hushed tones as "The West" more than just about anything else their rubles could buy.

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