Wes Phillips RIP

Sad news: We heard this morning that Wes Phillips, who was Stereophile's deputy editor 1995–1999 and a valued contributor 2000 to 2011, passed away yesterday morning after several years of chronic ill health. Wes (right) is shown here at his leaving lunch, 1/1/99 with (L–R) music editor Robert Baird, then-publisher Larry Archibald, and editor John Atkinson. Wes is survived by his wife Joan. We will post more information as it becomes available.

All of Wes's writings for Stereophile can be found here. His first equipment review, in October 1994, was of the Conrad-Johnson Premier Eleven power amplifier, his last review, in February 2011 was of the Luxman B-1000f power amplifier. Below is one of the most recent photos we have of Wes, at the 2008 Montreal Show, with (far left) John Marks, (near left) Robert Deutsch, and (far right) John Atkinson.

FIacone's picture

Sorry to hear about Wes. He was one fo my all-time favorite writers! He will be missed but never forgotten.

jimtavegia's picture

RIP. I enjoyed his writing and he will be greatly missed by those who knew him and by us who enjoyed his writing. Condolences to his wife.

Jim C.'s picture

I always read every Wes Phillips review, whether or not I was interested in the component he was reviewing, because I wanted to know what music he was listening to. That guy had the most interesting taste. I'll miss him.

readargos's picture

Wes Phillips' reviews heavily influenced my purchasing decisions, including the time he was writing for one of the online magazines. He did a fine job communicating the essence of a product, as well as putting its ultimate performance in context with state-of-the-art gear. The one time I heard a product before the reviews came out was with Vivid Audio speakers. I already knew they were special, so I was in lock-step with Mr. Phillips' review of the G1 Giya (as well as John Marks' reviews). As Jim C. shares, Mr. Phillips also had an interesting, and eclectic, taste in music that led to a few album purchases. His writing was already missed, and now we honor the man.

Allen Fant's picture

I started by Stereophile journey and subscription way back in 1993 to the present date(2016). WP was a true Audio Press talent. I have missed him for awhile now. His writings back in the 1990's was pivotal to my untrained audiophile mind. I am happy to own my collection of this publication going back circa 1993.

R.I.P. and condolences to his family.

Anton's picture

If there was an actual 'guru' of Hi Fi, Wes was that to me.

This is just not right. :-(

Art Dudley's picture
Even in recent years, when Wes didn't do much writing, he remained a much-loved and -respected presence in audio, rightly so. He was more than just a reviewing hero to me: he often sent my daughter books (and turned her on to some authors who remain her favorites), and when my wife was very ill in 2008, he gave her books, too, to help her through her convalescence. To say Wes will be missed just doesn't go far enough.
sommovigo's picture

Supremely talented writer, and superbly gifted human being.

I had forgotten what Wes looked like when he was large, as I had become accustomed to him as a much thinner man - though seeing this photo of him reminded me of when we had all gathered in the hotel lobby in Los Angeles during one of the mid-90's ('95 or '96, can't recall) Stereophile shows ... each of us with a nice pour of scotch, trading tales, enjoying the kind of bonhomie that makes memories like this one sweet and enduring.

I haven't been in touch with Wes in several years, at least since the time he left Stereophile. Wish I had been more proactive about staying in touch with him.

Jancuso's picture

Very sorry to hear this news. An excellent writer, superb human and kindred music lover. Condolences to Joan and his family. RIP

bdiament's picture

We've lost another one of the good ones. I always enjoyed reading Wes' writings in Stereophile and was fortunate to meet him in person once when in Santa Fe.

You will be missed Wes!
Condolences to his family and to his colleagues at Stereophile.

corepowertech's picture

Wonderful person - kind and thoughtful. He will surely be missed.

I always enjoyed my conversations with Wes.

My condolences to his family and his colleagues at Stereophile.

Anton's picture

One year, while getting ready for a show at the Alexis Park Hotel in Las Vegas, Wes joined as for some libations and room prep.

We were 'almost happy' with the set up, but angsty and fussing over things.

Wes proclaimed "Limoncello time!" and told us he would let us in on the ultra secret trick all the pros know for final room set up.

So, we sipped limoncello and Wes had us play different records. If the record sounded good, it went into one pile and if it didn't sound so good, it went into a different pile.

After a few dozen quick sound checks, Wes said the final tweaking process was done. All we had to do was remember to only play records from the 'sounds good pile!'

He was the impetus for us labeling our little bottles of limoncello as "System Enhancing Solution."

Wes was a problem solver par excellence, and humorously pragmatic. I know he was an avid consumer of vampire detective novels, as well.

Wes could discuss literature, philosophy, sonics, film, the process of thinking insightfully about what we experience....anything. Wes was the bomb. He wasn't just 'a man,' he was 'the man.'

So, glass raised to Wes!

Now, I guess I will have to depend on current resident philosopher Art Dudley to fill the void left by the loss of Wes. Maybe Herb Reichert, if he ever gets Roy Hall's seal of approval. ;-D

Bill Leebens's picture

Wes continually pissed me off: between the brilliance of his writing, his knowledge of...well, EVERYTHING, and his ability to get along with virtually everyone, he was role model as well as mentor and friend.

To say he will be missed doesn't even begin to cover it.

Anton's picture

This made me think of you. You are "Wes worthy," sir.

Bill Leebens's picture


Anton's picture

I meant that you were a multifaceted person.

Tonkinvet's picture

Wes was a warm and generous man, whom I've had the honor and pleasure of calling my friend for thirty years.
I'll deeply miss his wisdom, wit, and kindness. Life is short...Live, love, laugh, and be thankful.

Axiom05's picture

A very sad day. Wes was among my favorite Stereophile writers. I could always trust his opinions and I always enjoyed is writing. I really missed his presence over the past several years.