Art Dudley, Rest in Peace

The hi-fi world has lost a giant, and we at Stereophile have lost a brother.

Art Dudley passed peacefully this morning around 4am after a short illness. The cause was metastatic cancer.

Art bought his first record—Roger Miller's "King of the Road," the single—at age 8 or 9. He picked up the guitar at 16 and played throughout his life. When he was young, he had a band, The Norm.

Starting in the late '70s, Art worked at Backpacker magazine. In 1985, he joined The Absolute Sound as its managing editor, quitting that gig after precisely a year. After that, he earned his living in other ways while dabbling in hi-fi writing. Then, in 1994, after learning he'd been laid off from his job teaching sixth-graders—not enough fifth-graders, apparently—he decided to start Listener, a highly opinionated journal of music and audio. (It's safe to say that everything Art ever did was highly opinionated.)

Listener covered single-ended triodes, integrated amplifiers, turntables, tweaks, and music. It was known for its distinctive covers. Listener was an important magazine, profitable and with an enthusiastic following. In 1999, shortly after the birth of his daughter, Art sold Listener to Belvoir Publications, staying on as editor. Despite the magazine's continuing success, the company shut it down in late 2002. (See John Atkinson's comments for more details.)

Art's first column—Listening #1—appeared in Stereophile in the January 2003 issue. His first words: "Even poor people fly." That column also included this sentence, which would inform everything he wrote for this magazine: "Music is easy to miss for the listener who thinks his job is to concentrate on the sound." His final column—#210—appears in Stereophile's June issue.

I got to know Art well only after I became Stereophile's editor, in early 2019. Over the year we worked closely together, I came to admire him as much as anyone I've known. Art was a superb writer, witty, opinionated, and disciplined, and a fierce editor of other people's words—fierce, but kind. He was accomplished, and he knew it, but it never went to his head: He remained dogged and meticulous until that became impossible, after he got sick mere weeks ago.

Art was quiet, funny, and self-effacing, but in his own way he was—that word again—fierce in everything he did. He was my partner and my friend.

Three days ago, Janet, Art's wife, sent a text message to John Atkinson and me, sharing a story. Art was in pain but still lucid.

"I need to tell you both what just happened as it is SO Art Dudley," Janet wrote. Art had told her, "I just cannot get away from my thoughts," and then, "I need to tell you something: There's not going to be a last piece." Janet wrote: "Of course, I heard that as PEACE, and my heart was breaking, and then I realized he meant PIECE of his writing. And I told him, 'It's ok, you can put down the pen now, you've written all you need to write. You can hit send and be done.' And he said, 'Good, I kept thinking I would be expected to write a last piece, and there's not going to be one.' And I told him you all were going to ensure his writing legacy lives on. And he smiled and nodded and said, 'Good.' Now he's sleeping quietly."—Jim Austin

John Atkinson adds some thoughts
I had been familiar with the name "Art Dudley" from seeing it listed as managing editor on the staff page of mid-1980s issues of The Absolute Sound. So when Art's byline started appearing at the end of the '80s, first in Hi-Fi Heretic magazine, then in Sounds Like . . ., I paid attention. Here was an insightful writer who combined convincing observations with considered points of view, humor with a steel core beneath.

Both magazines that featured Art's reviews were short-lived, and I approached Art at a hi-fi show in 1994 about his joining Stereophile's team. He politely but firmly turned me down, explaining that as he had been laid off from his job as a sixth-grade teacher, he and his wife Janet were going to start their own magazine, Listener. I promised that if ever Listener ceased publication, a spot on Stereophile's masthead would be waiting for him.

An editor judges competing magazines by how many articles they publish that he wishes he had published. And on that score, Listener was a superb magazine. Reviews of often obscure but deserving brands were combined with in-depth articles on music, refreshing show reports (sometimes penned by Janet), and editorials and essays, mostly by Art, that adhered to my own philosophy: express an original thought; support it; and convincingly sum it up. And throughout it all shone Art's sense of humor: whether it was offering a photo of a bunny to offended readers or printing a single letter on each issue's spine so that when you placed Listeners in chronological order on your bookshelf, the message WILMER SAYS "NO" TO POT SMOKING appeared. Wilmer was Art and Janet's pet cat.

Other publishing companies also saw what Art was achieving, and in December 1999, Belvoir Publications bought Listener from Art and Janet. Art continued as editor, but as often happens, the new owners didn't realize that what they had purchased was not a physical magazine but Art and Art's points of view. Friction between editor and publisher was inevitable, and in July 2002, Art emailed me to let me know that Belvoir was going to knock Listener on the head and asked if my 8-year-old offer still stood.

"Of course!" I replied, adding that "the idea of you contributing to Stereophile has me jazzed." We agreed that as a freelance writer Art would start a monthly column, to be called "Listening," and contribute equipment reports. The first column appeared in the January 2003 Stereophile, as did Art's first review, of the Final Laboratory Music-4 phono preamplifier, Music-5 line preamplifier, and Music-6 power amplifier.

Being able to publish Art Dudley was a highlight of my tenure as Stereophile's editor, and in June 2015 I was able to offer him a full-time job as the magazine's deputy editor. As Jim Austin writes above, he fulfilled that role superbly.

Art's passing is a loss not just to Stereophile but to the worlds of audio and music. (Art was a gifted bluegrass guitarist and contributed for some years to Fretboard Journal magazine.) He will be missed, but his writings live on: You can find everything he wrote for Stereophile here, a video profile here and a video conversation about Listener magazine with Herb Reichert here.

Art, thank you for all you did for Stereophile.—John Atkinson

Michael Fremer writes
I first met Art back in 1986, when Harry Pearson hired me to write for The Absolute Sound. Art's level-headed demeanor and buttoned-down sense of humor were the opposite of me, which is probably why we instantly clicked. It wasn't Stan and Ollie, but after both of our magazines folded (which, believe me, was hardly funny for either of us), if we had decided on a comedy career, it would have been like that. I was honored to be Listener's popular music editor for a while, and Art's joining Stereophile was the best news. Though our musical and sonic tastes often differed, when my prose goes south and I am having difficulty framing my ideas, the cure has always been (and will continue to be) opening any copy of Stereophile and reading Art's column. To say that Art will be missed is a cliché, but it's all I've got right now.—Michael Fremer

Herb Reichert:
Whenever Art Dudley called me, he would say, "Hello Herb, it’s Old Art." I would remind him that he was still young and that I was genuine old, not him.

Only weeks ago, on an unseasonably warm day, I was walking down the street and my phone rang. It was "Old Art." He was editing my latest work, and he called to ask, "Herb, would you give me permission to capitalize the word 'God' in this sentence?" I believe that humble question tells you, his readers, more about Art than I ever could.

Completely casually, in a sunny afternoon way, that conversation segued into a discussion about the nature of God and what might happen when we pass over to the other side. Art told me his views on death and heaven (and that other place) then asked me what I imagined it would be like. Quoting somebody, I said, "We don’t remember being born and we won’t remember dying, but I feel certain it is nice on the other side." Art said he thought so, too. But I did warn him: "It might be scary the same way flying is scary." (Art did not like flying.) And I cautioned him: "It’s best not to be grumpy when you get to heaven. Do not make a bad first impression on God!" I thought of that yesterday as I told him I loved him on the phone.

Art was my writing and music mentor and unquestionably one of the biggest influences on the person I have turned out to be. I remember Art and I having another editorial discussion, about an article I had written for his audio magazine, Listener (which specialized in great writing and photos of bunny-behinds). Art was upset with something I wrote, and he scolded me like a bad dog. I told him, "No one ever scolded me like that—not even my ex-wife." I heard him laugh as he said, "But she didn’t give you complete permission to scold back. I do."

Every time I spoke to Art on the phone, I would close by begging for "just one more" pinup photo of his naughty dog, Chatter.

As Art lay dying these last days, I kept reading and rereading the latest installment of his new column, "Revinylization #4"—especially the first part about Nancy Priddy—and thinking how true this is: Art could write about anything, no matter how silly or mundane, and it would feel smart, witty, and snarky, and maybe even a little sarcastic underneath, but it would be intimate, and sincere, and real. Art’s writing always grabbed me by the shirt and pushed my face into the page and made me see what was hidden between the lines. More than any other audio writer, Art Dudley’s voice-driven prose made being an audiophile human and close-up.

I will now begin to honor Art by slowly re-reading everything he wrote. I never want to forget the sound of his voice. I invite you to join me.—Herb Reichert

Bogolu Haranath's picture

We miss you Art ...... It was always informative and entertaining to read your reviews and your Listening column in Stereophile ....... R.I.P. ..........

Alan J Callaghan's picture

My Condolences to Mrs Dudley and Julia. Mr Dudley's column was the first I read when Stereophile arrived. He had wit, class,charm and it was a pleasure to know him through his words. May God's countenance shine upon you.

shp's picture

Art was my favorite writer at Stereophile and maybe my favorite magazine writer overall, a sentiment I often thought to post but never did. The opening to his review on the Jadis Orchestra Black integrated amplifier was brilliant.

Please, Stereophile, if you do have an archive of unpublished AD reviews, I'm happy to help in any way to get them up on the site.

michaelhowell8339's picture

I wholeheartedly agree, I am in shock to the news

Anton's picture

Art was one of the true shining lights of my audio world.

I honestly can't imagine the hobby without him.

His humanity illuminated every corner of his explorations in Hi Fi and even though I never met him, I KNOW he was one of those rare wonderful people who left things better than he found them.

This is truly a quantum shift in the universe.

If there is a way, please let his family know that we considered him family in our house, as well.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

As a subscriber to Listener magazine, I canceled my subscription after seeing the issue with the naked woman in the bubble bath, with her breasts covered by LPs. I wasn't convinced that I ever wanted to meet this man, Art Dudley. Then, when he joined Stereophile, I was floored by the continued brilliance of his writing. Art's ability to say so many things in so few words - to pull multiple worlds together in a single sentence - left me breathless.

Then we met at an audio show, and my heart opened to Art immediately. Art did not like to fly, and suffered from terrible jet lag at the one RMAF we covered together. Because I had a suite in the hotel, while Art's was down the road, I immediately gave him the key to my room and invited him to use it to take a nap while I was going room-to-room. That was the year that Art got so jumbled from lack of sleep that both he and Stephen Mejias covered the same floor, and John Atkinson was dashing around like crazy on the final afternoon trying to cover all the rooms that had been missed. (I'm so glad we don't try to cover every room anymore.)

But beyond all that, Art was a friend. When I first began reviewing for the magazine and didn't know what to do, I'd give him a call. He was so helpful. I trusted Art, as did John and Jim and so many others. I trusted more than Art's knowledge; I trusted his wisdom and his willingness to be there for me 100%. What that meant for me, ultimately, is beyond words.

You were more than the best of men, Art Dudley; you exemplified the best that humanity has to offer. May you soar free. When the Angels ask if you could please help them repair their turntable's aging plinths, tell them you're taking a break, and enjoy the celestial music instead. In our heads and hearts, we will always see and hear you enjoying it.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Naked woman covered with ....... Who else could have such a wild imagination, other than Art Dudley? ...... He sure will be missed :-) ........

Stephen Scharf's picture

Wonderful tribute to Art, Jason. Thank you so much.

Very said to hear this. I only spoke to Art a few times at RMAF, but he was a wonderful guy and a briliant writer.

Best, Stephen

Randy Wuehle's picture

So sorry to hear this. Art was a great writer who never disappointed. His vintage bent greatly influenced my approach to the audiophile hobby/lifestyle. Rest peacefully Art.

JRT's picture

Sincere condolences to the family and friends of the late Arthur Thomas Dudley.

ken mac's picture

Art was my friend, my editor, my teacher, my brother, my hero. Rest in peace, sweet prince.

Ladokguy1's picture

Janet and the family, I am so sorry for your loss, I know you will miss him greatly. I certainly will also.

pboser's picture

I remember calling Art during the Listener days, probably to renew my subscription, and finding him to be such a nice man. I also spoke with him a couple of years ago at the DC show, where he was on a panel about vintage audio. There was a persistent questioner mucking up things, and I recall being surprised by Art's gentle reaction when I spoke with him afterwards. Between these interactions and the videos published in the past few years, I have a bit of the feeling of knowing him distantly, like a friend from long ago. And I have that related feeling of missed/wasted opportunity to know a worthwhile person better.
Jim, Art recently made mention of some unpublished writings - while old reviews of discontinued products may seem pointless to some, it would be a pleasure to be able to read more of Art's writing. Perhaps at some appropriate time Janet might be able to track down some of these for publication by Stereophile. I know I'll be spending time reading his pieces on the Stereophile site, watching the videos, and I'll dig out my Listener collection and think of Art. Ave atque vale, Art, and rest in peace.

rl1856's picture

WoW. What a loss for all of us. He was funny, cantankerous, opinionated, can pile on adjectives to describe. The best would probably be unique. His family lost a husband and father, we lost a friend and mentor. He intuitively understood that just because it was "new" did not mean it was "better" and that sometimes the past can teach us about the present and future. I will go back and read from my collection of Listener magazines, and then relish the last few articles that will appear in SP. He will not be easy to replace, and he will not be forgotten.

hemingway's picture

I am so sorry to learn of his passing. Art was a breath of fresh air and I always looked forward to reading his column. What a great loss for all of us. Best to his family

Sasha Matson's picture

Trying now again to add a couple comments. Art was a great friend, a Bestie, since we moved to upstate NY in 2000. Later he became a generous and supportive colleague. I smiled when I saw him, and he did the same. We had fun disagreeing sometimes. One example: Art liked to poke at sacred cows, like 'Living Stereo' recordings, which I love. I remember sitting in his listening room arguing about this, and I said "Are you deaf?!", and he clutched his head in mock dismay.I have a fine photo of Art taking the time to set up a cartridge for me, as he was handy and I am not. He didn't care for "Walk Across the Rooftops" by the Blue Nile- for me, one of my reference recordings. So he gave me his mint original Linn LP copy.We had so many fine times and discussions. I am going to start missing him more as time goes by.

The Commish's picture

The news of Art's passing is so hard to take. Perhaps it is the days we are currently enduring; to receive this news is devastating. Rest in peace my friend, you will not be forgotten.'s picture

This is very sad news. I remember how much "Listener" would brighten my day whenever I'd run across the latest copy at the newsstand. His writing was humane and funny, helping to sharpen whatever sensibilities I hold about hifi to this day. He had, for a little while there, the best little magazine going. I'm gonna need a bunny rabbit to help with this loss- R.I.P., A.D., and thanks for making the hifi world a little better.

ok's picture

..but right now I feel definitely worse.

CG's picture

That sums it up for me, too.

Gabriel Donnelly's picture

For 20 years Art's writing made my world a brighter place. I will miss terribly his humanity, warmth, knowledge and insight. Much love to Art's family

shib's picture

I never knew Art personally, only professionally. Since his days at Listener when we built our Audio Note Kit 1's concurrently, to our purchases of Sony SACD players, his a 777ES, mine a SCD-1, to introducing him to Bob's Devices step-ups. We were on the same wavelength. When our SACD players started to have mechanical issues and my complaining about Sony not having parts, I praise Art for having the courage to ask manufacturers in his reviews of CD players if they had spare parts for legacy products.

I will miss his wit, humor, sarcasm, and honesty. Art was one of the great audio writers that I could count on one hand (JGH, HP, Art, JA, HR; after JGH and HP passed I added Roy Gregory and MF).

We will talk about your "last piece" when I see you again.

funambulistic's picture

And thank you kind sir.

volvic's picture

Yes, we in the audio world mourn the loss of a quirky writer, who I believe, had great taste in music. But right now, I am not that upset that I will no longer read another Listening article by Art, but I do feel particularly upset knowing that his loving wife and daughter will no longer have him around. He sounded like a great father, husband and friend to his immediate family. I share in their grief and I am truly sorry for their loss.

shawnwes's picture

You were a breath of fresh air and it was truly a pleasure to follow your musings that no matter which tangent they took off on always found their way back to the wonderful world of audio & music.

Wavelength's picture

I meet Art just before he started Listener. We had a common ground in 80's New Wave post Punk music in XTC and Gang of Four.

He will be missed and I am so sad as I think back to our years together talking about acoustic guitars and music.


pmadsen's picture

My deepest condolences to Art's family, friends, and colleagues. I didn't always agree with Art, but try as I might, I could not stay away from his articles. His writing invited us into his life, and his passion. I will miss this...

Tony Plachy's picture

I will miss Art greatly. He was such a good writer and audio journalist. My heart goes out to his family. Does anyone know if there is a charity that Art supported?

rschryer's picture

Art confided in me during one of the Montreal shows that he'd had a run-in with cancer, but I thought he'd beaten it. I did not see this coming. It happened so fast. I'm shocked and sad. What a huge loss.

I consider him a legend in the audio biz, and though I may sound selfish saying so, I wish he'd been able to write one last article, to say goodbye.

Anton's picture

His columns always felt like conversations, to me, so I agree with your sentiment.

I like to think he would have offered up the audiophile version of Warren Zevon's last interview...Enjoy every record.

Really really sad right now.

rschryer's picture

Had Art gotten the chance to write a good-bye piece, I'm sure it would have been poignant and deep and would've left many of us in tears but gratified that there was closure.

Art's passing happened so fast, it feels like he didn't quite get to finish what he started.

ChrisS's picture

Happy Trails, Art!

mmole's picture

The finest of men.

Rest in peace sir.

er1c's picture

Everything one can think of feels cliche' but, respect to a man who followed his passions.

kar82's picture

RIP Art! Thanks for your service to the field of audio that we all love.

jamesgarvin's picture

This sucks. Art was the one audio reviewer/scribe I rarely read for the equipment he covered. Art was the one audio reviewer/scribe I religiously read strictly for the prose he put on paper.

Robert Deutsch's picture

Most of my contact with Art was at the Montreal audio show, where we often shared the task of reporting on the show. Art was not fond of flying, and usually passed on the Las Vegas CES. But he loved the Montreal show, which he was able to get to by train, Sharing the show report coverage meant that we were each supposed to visit a different set of rooms, a practice that Art did not always adhere to, because he could not refuse the pleas of some exhibitors to visit rooms that were not part of his coverage. Watching Art's interactions with exhibitors and attendees, I was always impressed by the kindness and patience he showed, even when dealing with individuals who were making excessive demands on his time. I used him as a model, and tried to be understanding when an exhibitor showed disappointment when they found out that they were part of my beat rather than Art's.

A particularly fond memory that I have of Art is the dinner that my wife, Beverley, and I had with Art, his wife, Janet, and daughter, Julia, at a restaurant in Cherry Hill, NJ, near what was then their home. The conversation was wide-ranging, almost none of it dealing with audio. I subsequently tried to persuade Art to attend the Toronto audio show, and he showed interest, but the timing was not right. Now, sadly, it is not to be.

I shall miss him greatly.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Here is one of your favorite songs, Art .......

'What if all these fantasies come flailing around?' ......... 'Losing My Religion' :-) .......

Volti's picture

and a person with a good heart. You'll be missed.


rorie's picture

My sincerest Condolences to Art’s family. Art’s writing and his profoundness in those symbols he put down on “paper” that make up ideas amd convey notions were second to none in the audiofools world. May you rest in peace.

Tbzc's picture

He was not only an excellent audio writer. For me he was also a teacher and a preacher of listening culture. With a very down to earth perspective. He will be greatly missed. Condolences to the family.

Franco Moggia's picture

I’m saddened, Art Dudley has a very kind person with an exemplary education and culture, friendly and always ready to listen to you, a real gentleman. I will miss him with his smile and this humanist way without ever making you feel uneasy.

He left too young R. I. P Art Dudley may your rest be serene and filled with music.

speedy g's picture

I always went to Art first,his perspective nailed it for me.GOD BLESS

Stephen Mejias's picture

The angels in heaven are playing bluegrass today.

Anton's picture

Thanks for that.

tonykaz's picture

I'm feeling sad & guilty for this loss and I didn't even know this person. I realized Mr.Art had something to say and the abilities to say it.

I'll visit all his writings in a binge reading frenzy. ( I've been waiting for a rainy day, like this virus )

For me, a distant reader, Mr.Dudley has/had a mysterious greatness that enticed my curious eye to discover. I miss him now and will continue to miss him.

Tony in Venice

ps. from now on, we will continue to lose everyone

CG's picture

It's funny...

Art's taste in music and gear is almost completely opposite mine. But, his was the first column I read every month. Each and every month. (No offense to the rest of you guys...) Such was the grace of his thought and writing.

I am already missing that.

gdinderman's picture

Art was my favorite audio writer of all time, and the reason I began subscribing again after many years. The magazine Listener was great and his column Listening was great as well.

Reading Art's storytelling in Listener rekindled my love of hifi, and reading Listening reminded me what's really important in this hobby. For Art, the stuff never outshone the experience, and the experience was grounded in the music.

When they break in new writers at Stereophile, Absolute Sound, or any other audio magazine, just hand them a few copies of Art's work, and simply say, "This is how it should be done."

To Art's family, we are all so sorry for your enormous loss.

RH's picture

This was a very saddening shock to read!

Just yesterday I was discussing my admiration for Art's writing with an audio reviewer friend, and my friend agreed "He's the writer I want to grow up to be."

I was a fan of Listener magazine and given that was my introduction to Art Dudley, I always had the feeling he was a bit of an odd fit for Stereophile. But any way to read more of his writing was good by me.

The way he would pull together different subjects in to an article, always with a wit that reflected back through each subject, blew me away. My go-to example was picking up a Stereophile and seeing Art start a column on horn-designs with "Consider the Coelacanth..."

As usual he had me hooked with his first sentence, wondering where it would go, and he was always a trustworthy and entertaining guide.

My condolences to Art's family...and to the rest of us whose audio lives he has been a part of for decades and who will miss his writing so much!

Jancuso's picture

Condolences to Janet & daughter, his family and extended audio family. For me, this quote says it all about the man - "Music is easy to miss for the listener who thinks his job is to concentrate on the sound." RIP, Art.

jimtavegia's picture

My condolences to his family and HE will be greatly missed and he touched so many lives. I am heart-broken over this.

mhardy6647's picture

I am shocked and saddened to learn of Art Dudley's passing. It could be argued that writing about audio is akin to dancing about architecture (to paraphrase Frank Zappa or whomever said something along those lines about music criticism), but Art was one of my very favorite hifi writers. He will be sorely missed.

My condolences to his family.

Zachteich's picture

RIP Art. Your Listening column was always the first thing I read in every Stereophile that hit my mailbox. I loved your writing. You were cheated out of the chance to write a "last piece" but I think that a paraphrase of the last words of your final column will suffice as an epitaph: He was a hell of a guy, and I loved every minute with him.

generubinaudio's picture

I am so very sorry to hear of Art's passing. I have known Art for so many years, I can't even remember what the audio world was before Art came along. We also had a special connection as musicians, Art was a fabulous bluegrass guitar picker.

Kal Rubinson's picture

I am shocked and saddened. During Art's years at Stereophile, I came to respect and enjoy his work as a writer and as an editor. More than that, he was a fascinating human being. I now savor memories of spending time with him over a drink or a meal and sharing our life events on a deeply personal level. He will be missed in many ways.

jgm's picture

His writing will be desperately missed. He was always an original thinker and brought plenty of controversy along the way it a way which I found, approachable, hilarious at times and never off putting. I was a Listener subscriber and I discovered at least one excellent turntable (which I sill own) though those writings - I wish I still had some copies of Listener laying around. Condolences to his family and friends. RIP Art, you will be missed.

Lars Bo's picture

Oh no. A great loss.

Art was the most musical of audio reviewers, of high integrity and generous, and his writing was unique; artfully clear and simple yet very thoughtful and complex. I never met him, but somehow feel like I surely have. I will miss Art Dudley.

Condolences to Art's family and friends.

Garth Leerer's picture

We lost a true music lover. I remember playing Art a David Grisman LP at a Stereophile Show. He enjoyed it so much I gave it to him. So long friend.

jamesk's picture

Shocking, yes. Numbing too.
The thing Art's writing did was what music--but only great music--does.
It makes you feel and think and thus understand the writer's informed opinions, not just his perspective. Art did not write like a lawyer. HE did not write to convince or persuade anyone, he wrote to tell you what he felt and thought and the reasons and his experiences that led him to those ideas, values and judgments. There was his viewpoint and his experience informing why he believed what he believed, without proselytizing, offered in clear yet pregnant prose (the greatest feat in writing) (unlike this comment).
You could adopt or be repelled by Art's loving views about idler wheels, efficient ancient speakers, mono carts, or low powered tube amps, but they were his and he told you why they worked for him. Its that clarity of self understanding (yet continuing evolution and self reflection) that we saw on the page. He was truly human and I surmise humane. I really regret never meeting him and hope his stowed material is published and his family finds comfort in how many other people to whom Art Dudley really mattered.

hiwattnick's picture

I don’t even know what to say. I didn’t even know Art personally, but I felt like I did from reading his articles, reviews, etc. He wrote in a way that was truly very special.
I just saw this news on Ken Micallef’s YT vid, and I went numb. This is truly shocking and of course very saddening news. Your contributions to this world will not be forgotten, Art. Thank you for leaving such an amazing legacy. RIP, Art.

dc_bruce's picture

borne ceaselessly into the past.

That quotation from "This Side of Paradise" comes to mind when I think of Mr. Dudley, whose work I enjoyed and never failed to read over many years. Mr. Dudley seemed always to be about the recapture of lost time . . . going back to older audio technologies and saying to the rest of us, who thought we had moved on, "see, you missed something."

In a world where The Next Big Thing is constantly hyped and praised, Mr. Dudley offered a unique and valuable perspective. What's more, he did so elegantly and with an ever-present sense of humanity.

Well done, sir!

And thank you.

13DoW's picture

'Highly opinionated' to quote Jim Austin, but even if you didn't agree you had to read him because his columns were so well written. The video interviews in more recent years show a nice, fun, humble guy behind that sharp wit. This is very sad.

AJ's picture

Very sad news. Met Art at Capital Audiofest back in 2013, came by my room for a listen, had a nice chat. Seemed like a really sincere person and lover of music.
What a shame, RIP

Soundfield Audio

SGva's picture

Listener magazine was my all time favorite audio magazine and Art my absolute favorite audio writer. I was heartbroken when Listener ceased publication. From the great group of writers he put together, to the bunnies, to his great sense of humor and, ultimately, his humanity, I cherished the arrival of every issue. I was delighted when he joined Stereophile as I would once again be able to read his thoughtful, fun and informative writings, interspersed with humor and, perhaps a soft lecture on life. I met him at the New York Audio Show a few years ago and was delighted to discover what a personable, genuine and gracious human being he was. My heart is broken this afternoon with this unexpected news. I received my May issue of Stereophile in the mail around 1PM today and immediately went to Art's Listening column to see what I'd be reading this evening. I set it aside for reading later tonight. I had no idea. Then late this afternoon, a friend and colleague copied me with his Facebook post, paying tribute to Art. I'm pretty numbed. I will greatly miss Art. I hope Janet, Julia and all his friends realize how much he was loved by those in our little hobby. Peace, I hope I get to see you again some day.

gpdavis2's picture

As many have said, my favorite writer in this genre. Huge shoes to fill at Stereophile and no one could be the same as Art. Condolences to his family and may he RIP in that great listening room in the sky.

Topher's picture

It was reading Art's pieces on this website that got me into the whole audiophile world a few short years ago. I didn't realise then that his writing would teach me about a whole lot more than just music playback equipment, but about how to be thoughtful, how to be truthful, how to be kind, and just plain how to be a human being.

The writer Calvin Trillin used to recall a simple piece of advice his father gave him: "You might as well be a mensch." To me that was the attitude that came through in Art's words: we only go around once, so for goodness' sakes get it right. He always seemed to just get it right. Rest in peace.

map856's picture

I'm very saddened by this news. Art has always brought me great joy through his thoughtful, educational and often amusing writing. I always looked forward to reading his contribution with every new edition of Stereophile. It felt like he was writing for me personally. Vale Art, may you rest in peace. Sincere condolences to his family, friends, Stereophile colleagues and readers.

sommovigo's picture

Art was the gentlest of Gentlemen. I admired his writing, of course, but also (most critically) his emphasis on music as primary. The gear is a fun distraction, but those who worship at the altar of music had, in Art Dudley, a righteous pastor. May God welcome you home gladly, amigo.

m_ms's picture

I'm saddened to learn of Mr. Dudley's passing. He once fried me in his Volti Audio Vittora review (under my previous "Tesla one" name), and I had to give it to him for waiting for the official review to get the last word. May he rest in peace.

Jack L's picture

Though I know Art only by reading his reviews starting last year & never knew this was his last contribution only 2 weeks back on the Rogers.

RIP, Art. God be with you in heaven.

Everybody must go one day, sooner or later. It is God's blessing that you did not suffer. Like my old Dad who was 102 & was in good health until he passed away peacefully while staying in hospital for only a week last November. NO suffering, thanks God.

Jack L

bbooth's picture

My deepest and most sincere condolences to the Dudley family. May Art forever rest in peace.

I have enjoyed reading Art's articles for many years, and I always looked forward to his latest reflections. Seeing him on YouTube confirmed my suspicions that he was a really cool guy. A really cool guy indeed, who will be missed by all who he touched through his very genuine, always unassuming writings. RIP Art Dudley . . . . Thank you.

Krasdale's picture

My deepest condolences to Art's family and friends.

Ortofan's picture

... your time might be up.

While our proverbial clocks are still ticking, here are some words to live by taken from one of AD's early Listening columns:

"Get out. Go for a walk. Hug your children. Call your mom. Go bird-watching. Give a lot of money to someone you think really needs it (use your imagination). Buy a Zane Grey novel, take it to a nursing home, and read from it to the first patient you find there. (Old people love Zane Grey.) Go to a pet store and look at the bunnies. Smile more. Lose a little weight. Go to the library and read a biography of your favorite composer. Shovel someone's sidewalk. Hug your children again."


Bogolu Haranath's picture

That is an excellent quote, Ortofan ....... Excellent recommendation from Art Dudley :-) ........

John Atkinson's picture
By Art, unearthed by Steven Stone. Wonderful writing!

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

hiwattnick's picture

Thanks for posting this link, John. People shouldn’t ever forget what a phenomenal guitar player Art was.

Kramth's picture

I still can't really believe it—Art is gone.
How we loved you these many years; what a loss for us all.

mercer_1's picture

Loyal fan, Listener Subscriber - thank you for sharing your enlightened wit - may all your rivers be dry fly perfection - RIP Art.

rim88Baud's picture

My wife and I were loyal readers of Listener, which was brilliant, and Art was the center of that brilliance. We met him once at the Capital Audio Fest, and our brief hallway discussion is a fond memory. Somehow he was the writer we most related to as a person -- and it wasn't just the bunnies(!) (although they helped).This news has knocked us back. Our sympathy goes out to his family. Life isn't fair.

JohnG's picture

When I came back to the hobby six or seven years ago after a 20-year hiatus, one of Art's articles in Stereophile was among the first things I read. I knew I'd come to the right place. I look forward every month to his wit, knowledge, modesty, and remarkable ability to explain complex technical issues in an approachable way. I'm so sorry he's gone, and send condolences to his family, whose loss much be very great.

ROGER OYSTER's picture

I was honored to have been a contributing editor, writing reviews of classical music CDs, for Listener for a number of years. Art Dudley was the coolest person I never met---we spoke on the phone, exchanged email, but I never saw him face to face. My loss. OUR loss. RIP

kana813's picture

I don't think any reviewer enjoyed listening to music more than Art.

Andrei's picture

Condolences from New Zealand. One of the nice things about Stereophile was always that the writers had strong personalities. Even then it was only Art's columns that I reread - not just for content but pure wit.

Indydan's picture

I didn't know he was sick. I will miss reading his articles. My best to his family. RIP Art. You will be missed.

Indydan's picture

I didn't know he was sick. I will miss reading his articles. My best to his family. RIP Art. You will be missed.

jusbe's picture

To borrow from another post elsewhere, I didn't know Art, and he didn't know me, but I feel like I've lost a friend.

Have every copy of Listener. Art seemed to be talking to me when he wrote, with wit, humour, insight and knowledge. His writing was lucid, precise and entertaining and, frankly, he kept my interest in audio going when I was ready to abandon it all. Followed his columns at Stereophile too. His loss leaves a great hole in my reading on this hobby but I'm glad to have had the chance to read his writing contemporaneously.

Farewell Art, from Auckland, NZ and Yorkshire, UK. RIP.

Alan J Callaghan's picture

My Condolences to Mrs Dudley and daughter ,Julia. Mr Dudley,in his writing,exhibited,wit,charm,passion,empathy and sarcasm.his column was my first read when a new issue arrived. RIP Sir and my God's countenance shine upon you

wade's picture

Although I rarely agreed with Art's choice of gear, I always read everything he wrote. I read it because Art was a superb writer and a joy to read. He wrote with intelligence, humility and humor. I would go so far as to read articles he wrote on matters far from anything I would ever need to know--like his series of articles about his reconstruction of a vintage turntable.
If Art wrote an article about how ice melts , I would read it because I could count on learning something about the process while smiling at some ironic observation in his prose. If E.B. White had been an audio scribe, he would have had nothing on Art. I will miss him very much.

J Giolas's picture

I knew Art professionally. I always felt he was a kindred spirit and wished I had the chance to know him better. My colleagues and friends Peter McGrath and Dave Wilson became good friends with Art. I felt I came to know Art through them.

The history of Dave and Art's relationship is fascinating and speaks to each of their personalities. Early on, Dave saw Art as an iconoclast, a writer who was determined to be different for different's sake. Art's predilection for esoterica—triodes and horns and generally tweaky, anachronistic audio components that Art euphemistically called "vintage" (a term he may have coined)—was anathema to Dave. For his part, Art saw Dave as a purveyor of expensive, carriage-trade extravagances with high prices born more of ego than substance. Sophia, Wilson’s first effective loudspeaker ambassador to Wilson Unbelievers, changed all that. Peter, who had by then become good friends with Art, convinced him to try a pair with no obligation to write about them. Like so many others within the ranks of audiophiles and reviewers who start with a preconceived idea about Wilson and Dave's analytical approach to "sound," Art was utterly seduced (“smitten” was the word he used) by Sophia.

After their initial rocky start, the two men quickly developed a mutually respectful relationship that continued to blossom over many years. Later, Dave and Art's respective experiences with cancer became the basis of an even deeper bond. By the time Dave passed away, he and Art had become close friends.

I featured Art's obit for Dave in The Wilson Way. Here is a snippet.

"...For the longest time, I was out of sync with Dave. I first met him and his family in 1985, in Sea Cliff, NY, when I worked at The Absolute Sound—but I didn't get to know him at the time. And then, for a few years after I left TAS, I became a Linnie—and Wilson Audio loudspeakers were not on the list of things that Linnies were allowed to like. (Looking back, neither were most of the world's other great hi-fi products, but that's neither here nor for there.)

"Then two things happened, more or less back to back: In the first half of 2010, I reviewed—and was thoroughly smitten by—Wilson's then-new Sophia Series 2 loudspeaker, which impressed me as the company's most beautiful-sounding product. During the writing of that review, I got to know Dave a little better, and I came to appreciate him not just for having the technical sensibilities of a good recording engineer, but for his sly and at times almost subversive sense of humor. Who knew?

"And then, in the second half of 2010, I was diagnosed with eye cancer. I didn't share that news with many people outside of my family, but I did tell my dear friend Peter McGrath, and he passed it on to Dave. And in the months during which I recovered from surgery and acclimated to a regimen of treatments that were decidedly off-putting, there at my side, figuratively, was former cancer patient Dave Wilson, sending me books about people who had fought the same thing (he would always buy one copy for me and one for himself, so that he could read it himself and get up to speed), and calling me regularly to offer encouragement. I learned a lot from his generosity of spirit, his inquisitiveness (and facility with all things scientific), and, yes, his immense, unshakable faith. A dark time was made brighter by Dave's many acts of kindness and friendship."

I didn't know Art very well, but I loved his writing. For me, he joins Wes Phillips and Harry Pearson (and perhaps even Dave himself) in a very exclusive club of lost great writers who showed us that, in the right hands, even audio writing could be an art form.'s picture

Thank you for this, Mr. Giolas.

Tony Plachy's picture

I will truly miss Art and his wonderful column. My heart goes out to his family and friends. This is such a shock.

grantray's picture

As energy neither created nor destroyed, as divine stardust, breathing through us all, living and inanimate, may whatever he passes on to in this infinite universe be even more beautiful than what he leaves behind.

Brown Sound's picture

A sad day for the audio world, indeed. I will miss his writing and sharp wit. So long, sir.

MrGneiss's picture


berlinta's picture

My sincere condolences to the family and all friends of Art Dudley.
Fate ought to improve its aim, when a good man like Art has to pass while others are to continue ruining the lives of so many.
But while those won't be remembered fondly, he will be, - with a smile on one's face.


Audiophile70's picture

One of the best writings came from Art Dudley. Will be greatly missed.

Wimbo's picture

Say hello to HP and JGH. See you soon mate.

pfmorujao's picture

It is very, very sad news. Being a Stereophile subscriber since 2002 I read all his Listening chronicles. Always a pleasure to read and a person one could always really trust on his opinion. His Shindo amps reviews are something to read and learn from. His Koetsu Black review a great piece of writing. I loved his most recent Revinylisation column. I feel I learned a lot from his captivating reviews. It is a great lost for Stereophile, the Audiophiles and music lovers of the world. I send my deepest regrets to his family and friends. I feel I lost someone close too.

Allen Fant's picture

AD shared his gift for writing in the Audio press. I, too, was a Listener subscriber. Like so many other Audiophiles, I enjoyed his wit, in the reviews over the years. Sorely missed already. R.I.P.


Ali's picture

I am so sad listened yesterday . I am very sorry hearing from Art. So sad indeed...

davidz's picture

What impressed me most about Art was that he was not just a great audiophile writer, but simply a great writer. That is extremely rare in any hobby or profession. I always felt Art had a great novel in him, with or without audiophile parts. But I know these are selfish observations: Art clearly lived a full life, bringing wisdom, humanity and flair to every column he wrote. Thanks, Art, we'll miss you greatly. -- David

BDP24's picture

A major source of my hi-fi and music reading pleasure, information, and wisdom is forever gone. Has there ever before been a hi-fi reviewer with such a knowledge and appreciation of music, the same of hi-fi, with the ability to write about both so entertainingly and humourously? Art and I shared a love of Bluegrass---a music not big amongst audiophiles, and a distain for hi-fi products built in such a manner as to make them unaffordable for no good sonic reason. Art and JGH can continue their respectful disagreements about hi-fi matters in Heaven ;-) .

jimtavegia's picture

Thanks to Herb for reminding us that this is a good time to re-read all of Art's work.

aopu.mohsin's picture

I still can't believe it - it is very hard to swallow a news like this. It makes this 'depressive' time more somber. Very sad news for audiophile world indeed. We lost a superb, fun writer and a brother indeed. May the Almighty rest your soul in peace. You will be greatly missed.

cgh's picture

For someone that didn't know he was sick news like this comes out of the blue and hits like a gut shot. A razor's edge separating the before and after. It's comforting to know Art occupied this world, making it a better place, and hurts to know that he isn't here anymore. He was a rare mind and a great writer. He will be greatly missed but I believe he leaves a tremendous legacy. He saw art and beauty in places he taught us all to look at a bit more closely.

My sincere condolences to his family and friends. Probably all the more difficult given the current conditions preventing everyone from coming together to celebrate a great man.

edgepast's picture

Just logged on to get my latest fix, only find myself in shock. Thoroughly enjoyed reading Art's writings over the years. Such a warm, candid, intelligent, passionate and interesting contributor. Thank you so much for your insights and entertainment over the years.

FredisDead's picture

I have said many times on various audio boards that Art is the best audio write extant. I am at a loss for words. I never met him and no, I did not feel like I knew him, but he had a profound affect on how I listen to music and choose equipment. I don't see how I can get any work done today.
This reminds me of when Steve Tilford died (I am a cyclist). I used to follow Steve's blog every day just as I primarily read Stereophile for Art's column. Life will not be the same.

SambaMaster's picture

I interviewed Art for a then-large jazz magazine in 2003 or '04.

My favorite quote represents Art's philosophy on audio:
“What more irrelevant thing could you do for a living than write about hi-fi? It’s a pretty goofy thing to do.”

MhtLion's picture

it's a sad day. Art of one of my favorite writers. Rest in peace.

halloweenjack's picture

Condolences to Art's family. This news makes these bad times all the worse - Art's column was like getting a little birthday present every month - funny, cranky, wry, reasonable, beautifully written, thoughtful. He's the reason I have Altec Valencias and Bob's Devices, a badass mono cartridge and a low watt tube amp - all of which his articles convinced me to seek out because they convey what I took to be his ideal -that music is a supremely experiential, humanist - humane - act of fellowship and recognition. Man, I never met you, but I'm going to miss you, Art Dudley

Krondo_JD's picture

R.I.P. Art, your musings were always entertaining even when I didn't agree (Lowthers, really?). Condolences to the Dudley family. I'm going to have to dig up my old Listener magazines...

Josaa's picture

I have always enjoyed reading hifi-magazines ever since I started with the hobby in the 80’s. Looking back, very few articles or writers have impacted the way I execute this wonderful way to spend time and money. It was different with Art. He motivated me to return to Naim, to launch my and a friends “Mandrake” project (diy Shindo inspired amps and speakers), Schopper renovate a Thorens TD124, buy a EMT arm and cart, and I just enjoyed reading everything he wrote. Before falling asleep yesterday I read his column in Stereophile May issue and now I wake up to this. Very sad. Thank you Art and may you rest in peace.

James.Seeds's picture

What happens when an Audiophile dies? Not to diminish or disrespect the passing of Art in any way. What will become of the accumulation of all those records, CDs, and audio equipment? Will they find their way into auction sites, sold off to friends or given away to someone who can appreciate them. It's sad because I'm sure Art had colorful stories for every piece he had. It's really sad when an Audiophile dies.

volvic's picture

I remember Art in his articles saying how much he valued his Shindo gear and idlers because they were well-built items that would outlast him and he could leave behind to his daughter, who already owned a TD-124. I cannot imagine his family selling off his music and gear. I've been re-reading his earlier works while listening to Elgar's Dream of Gerontius conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, a work he used very regularly when evaluating gear. Very sad that the June issue will feature his last column.

clarets2's picture

Your body of work survives you. I will continue to re-read your pieces.
Thank you.

mschlack's picture

I didn't know Art personally but he gave a good sense of himself through his work. As an audiophile who has come to it gradually and without the kind of high finance needed for the ultra high end, I appreciated Art's focus on quality but less than the cost of a car gear. And his musical taste, as well. RIP.

DocSG's picture

Art was a great writer. He drew me in on topics I didn’t think I cared about. I bought a lot of the albums he wrote about and love them all. The Kentucky Colonels is but one example. He made the hobby fun and exciting. I pray for his family. He was the ying to Mickey’s yang - or is that backwards?

jimtavegia's picture

Knowing what a fan of his Altec Valencia's he was and high efficiency speakers and low watt tube amps I bought out from my storage my pair of JBL SFM12 monitors that I had used at the schools were I taught Math. They already had Yamaha, Peavy, Soundcraft models that they used for assemblies and season programs, but when I brought these JBL's to school everyone was shocked at how much better they sounded than all the others they had used. They became the go-to pair and I was put in charge of all the music programs.

These JBLs are somewhat similar in design with a horn compression driver and 12" woofer in a sealed cabinet in this case. I stacked them on top of my AR-58's and I was struck by two things: 1.) their efficiency was at least 3-6db more then the AR's, and 2.) How musical they were, they were just fun to listen to with all types of music. I thought kind of ridiculous for a carpet covered speaker that was mostly designed to just "play loud", but they did more than that and sounded as much as my memory would allow to the Klipsch Heresy that I have heard numerous times. My fav is still the Klipsch Cornwall.

If I had learned anything from Art's writing is that this hobby is supposed to be fun, bring the listener closer to the music that we enjoy in what ever way MAKES US HAPPY! I also learned that we all need to expand our musical horizons and allow all genres of music into our lives and give each one a chance. To know that Art was an accomplished guitar player and a lover of bluegrass music, but still loved jazz, classical, whether mono or stereo is insightful of partially knowing who Art was.

Art, just from reading his writing, one could tell he was kind, loving, serious, open-minded, very funny, and not afraid to go down the "road less traveled" in search of something new.

I have been so saddened over these days about his passing and I never got to meet him, but I feel that I have lost a family member in a way I would have never had guessed. Maybe at nearly 73 in August I am beginning to let things get to me more, and with covid-19 allowing us all more time to think of such things, I am thinking of things I cherish more and should appreciate more; and complain about things much less.

I have some blue-grass music here that I will listen to the rest of this week as a way to remind myself of someone who brought great joy to us; and who will be very greatly missed by all of us. Those of you who knew him personally are very lucky.

monetschemist's picture

Thank you for all that you have written and shared, for all the lives you have improved and the ideas you have challenged. For being such a fine person, for inspiring us all in so many ways.

Condolences to Art's family, to his friends and colleagues. Fuerza y ánimo.

orbitcrock's picture

Have been reading Art's articles for 20 years and enjoy watching videos he's in, can't believe there won't be anything more by him, it's just...very sad. Condolences to his family.

johnnythunder's picture

who was a great writer with great taste. An intellectual and a poet who wrote about the soul of music as well as anyone ever. I always learned something about music and the reproduction of music in his columns. Condolences to his family and his co-workers at Stereophile. A huge loss for audiophiles. Let's keep his memory alive by listening to equipment that gets to the soul of music.

Old Audiophile's picture

I did not know Art personally. Never had that pleasure or good fortune. Like a good many other audiophiles who browse the pages of Stereophile and other such publications, I experienced him through his writing and reviews of audiophile components, including YouTube videos. I trusted his assessments and relied upon his valuable expertise and guidance. He was one of my "must read folks" before making any decisions about some of the audio gear I was considering over the years. I was shocked when a fellow audiophile friend informed me, just a couple days ago, that he had passed on. I felt, immediately, that I just had to find some way of expressing my condolences to his loved ones and saying a very heartfelt "thank you" for all of the knowledge and guidance he's provided along the years. God Bless You, Art!

Ortofan's picture

...a turtle owes its life to the kindness of AD.

Scott Frankland's picture

I met Art soon after he started Listener magazine. He asked me to write a technical article explaining how tubes work.

I remember bumping into him years ago at CES. I went to an exhibition room looking for someone. When I opened the door I saw Art sitting on the floor playing an electric guitar without amplification. He’s not the one I was looking for, so I was surprised to see him there. I was even more surprised to see him playing music instead of listening to equipment. It was kind of a testament to his priorities. That image still lingers....

windansea's picture

In my early 20s I came across a Listener magazine and entered the fascinating universe of Art Dudley. Loved his unique writing and thinking then and ever since. I'll imagine him up there chatting with Ken Shindo and James Lansing. His family should know that we will always remember Art fondly and re-read his writings and, in his honor, listen to music he loved.

FredisDead's picture

to me that this was a fraternal secret. The S'Phile staff and some others that knew him as close friends were aware of a long battle with cancer and the rest of us were not. In a way, that gives me comfort. I fully understand Art and Janet's preference for privacy as to something so personal and so unrelated to Art's work. And thinking of Art these last few days I find myself thinking of two articles he wrote. One was on the pair of Large Advents he found at a curb sale and restored for his daughter. That piece worked several levels. It addressed the significance and limitations of the loudspeaker and his love for his daughter and then also his pride in taking something old and with some personal labor and toil, burnishing new life into something that had faded. The second piece that sticks out in my mind came in two parts; his eBay find of a Thorens TD124 that was affordable due to being posted for sale in an incorrect eBay category and then a detailed history of what made the TD124 unique and then once again detailing his labors to restore the neglected piece of legendary engineering to it's former glory. Only Art could write about building a plinth with birch ply and make the process sound absolutely interesting, including the little missteps along the way and how he overcame them.

BluesDog's picture

Fare thee well, Art. You are one of the reasons we will continue to hold forth around the audiophile campfires and keep the special stories alive.

Glotz's picture

He taught me force, touch, and so many other lessons in listening critically. What a gifted, expressive writer with incisive conviction about everything he wrote.

God bless Art and everyone that loved him. A million hugs everywhere.

Mortality sucks.

mcrushing's picture

Where so much hi-fi writing was concerned with how systems perform, you were concerned with why they exist. You explored the emotional and the philosophical. You appreciated our obsession with cartridges, cables, coils and tubes, but reminded us the component that matters most is the one between our ears. I read your column for insight, humor, humility, and because I came to realize that you understood, better than most, the reasons human beings need to experience music in order to be happy.

I regret not reaching out to tell you these things while you were here. I hope saying it now will provide some small comfort to your family and those who knew you well.

SteveDisque's picture

I only just found out about Art's passing, and almost by accident -- from another member of a mailing list. I'm devastated by the news.

I owe him a great deal. I began my "life of crime" -- my reviewing career -- here at "Stereophile." When I wrote to him at "Listener," he took me on precisely because he had liked my work here. When that magazine folded, one of his other writers co-founded the Positive Feedback site, which is how I ended up there. And now, thanks to him, I'm back at "Stereophile."

The one time we did meet in person -- when he and Janet were in New York City for something-or-other -- we had a marvelous time. He was a friend as well as a colleague (and an editor -- though, to my knowledge, he never changed a word I wrote).

I'd been meaning to call and thank him for easing the way back, but I never remembered, or found a chance when I did.

Art, as the long string of testimonials shows, you are remembered. And you will certainly be remembered by _me_!

orgillian's picture

The best writers can communicate their thoughts and ideas precisely, using words as musicians use notes. The best editors can shape the works of writers that aren't the best appear to be so.

Art was both of these. Condolences to his family, as for them I'm sure he was much more.

Sal1950's picture

RIP Art,
I'll miss your writings on classic and antique gear. Your "Listening" columns were my first go-to's with each new issue.

Timbo in Oz's picture

A gentleman, even given his strong opinions! Calm fits him.

C_Hoefer's picture

I always wanted, and expected, to meet Art Dudley some day; I felt he was in some ways a kindred soul, in terms of audio values and political values. Not to mention that we both have daughters named 'Julia', of about the same age! Given that I live in Spain, opportunities to coincide with Art at a show never came up for me, and now we will not meet in this life, to my deep regret.

Without meaning to offend any of the other great writers who still are among us - or those already gone - I just have to say it as clearly as I can: Art Dudley was a writer, the best writer the English-speaking hi-fi world has ever seen or is likely to see. Whenever a new issue of Stereophile arrived, I read Art's column first, then any component reviews he might happen to have done that month. It didn't matter what Art was writing about, I wanted to read it; and frequently ended up re-reading it a week or two later. I never heard Art's actual voice, but the power of his prose created its own voice that I hear in my head when I read his work: a wise, sharp-witted and incisive, but joyful and self-deprecating, middle-aged man's voice. Since I don't want to lose that voice from my life, as Herb R. said, now I have to go re-read all of Art's 200-odd columns, and hunt up old issues of Listener.

My heartfelt condolences to Janet and Julia.

raykkho's picture

Your articles, wit and insight will be missed.

My sincerest condolences to Mr Dudley's family and loved ones.

Scot Markwell's picture

I first heard of Art Dudley from Harry Pearson sometime after I started working with HP at TAS in 1992. Harry would often tell disparaging stories about Art and all of the times he "wronged" Harry. I soon learned that it the other way around; it was more like all of the times that HP wronged Art. When I met him over the years on multiple occasions, I would hear hilarious stories about his getting pissed off at HP's demanding ways, from having his "people" deliver laundry to HP (he never had a washer or dryer in his house in all of the time I knew him up to his passing in 2014), to Harry's incredible personal servant-like demands that he would place on his editors (in my case on his set up man) and employees, like bringing him deli sandwiches in bed, cleaning cat litter boxes, and so many other things that drove most people away from Pearson over time. Art knew I was not a fan of this kind of servant crap, but he also knew that my love of TAS (mainly its philosophy) ran deep and that I was there to help "make it better". Not sure that I ever succeeded on that one... Through all of that Art always acted like a true gentleman and a friend and never asked my why I worked for such a mad man.
But there was so much more to Art. His love of music (most music; he certainly really disliked some things) was paramount, and it figured in every word on audio he ever wrote. I put up with HP and TAS for many years for the sake of the music, something that Art certainly never wavered on himself. I would yell at him out loud sometimes reading his columns when he wrote about things that I was opposed to or thought petty or unneeded, particularly when he chose to bring politics into audio. But I always read whatever he wrote in Listener (when I had access to copies) and later Stereophile before anything else in the magazine, just to see if anyone could keep up with his quality of work in that issue. Sadly it was often the case that no one did, though Mikey Fremer would routinely rise to the occasion if he was not in some far away land showing folks how to correctly set up a turntable and arm/cartridge. And other stalwart souls also knew how to be the right kind of person to write on audio (such Gordon Holt and John Atkinson).
I disagreed strongly with Art regarding his obsession with rim-drive turntables (I was a belt man), but I understood where he was coming from. Everything to him was done and discussed in the service of music. I did not much care for Bluegrass, but I did buy several LPs in spite of that because Art made them sound so special. My favorite was from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band:"Will the Circle be Unbroken". Not a great recording in particular but oh boy what music! I had hoped to get many more based on his recommendations.Sadly no more will be coming...
I knew when Art had eye cancer and some other issues along the way; we corresponded often enough that he took me into his confidence much more than I thought I deserved, as he was, in my view, in many ways a very private person, despite his seeming desire to connect with every music lover on the planet in a close and personal way. I was looking forward to his reviewing (maybe) some of my products, but sadly he simply did not have time to get to them. That is now meaningless; what was always paramount was Art's honesty and character, things that we all could count on as long as any of us have known him.
I am going to miss him a lot.

John from Toronto's picture

I have found myself of late rereading the many heartfelt, eloquent and moving tributes to Art. I am certain they have given his wife much comfort and solace knowing how much he was loved. More than a few have brought a tear to my eye.
I must admit I had to shake my head when I read about Art's understandably brief tenure at TAS.
As a young journalism student and audio buff in the seventies, I allowed my imagination free rein to fantasise what Sea Cliff might be like.
I pictured a Tudor mansion or a perhaps a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. It had an ocean view of course. Inside Infinity IRS Betas from floor to ceiling. I was in the sweet spot, sitting in a deep chair with leather soft as butter, tapping my toes to "The Weavers Live at Carnegie Hall." "Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene, I'll see you in my dreams!"
I found out later that listeners sat in plastic lawn chairs. My fantasy did not include having to do HP's laundry, serve him deli sandwiches in bed or cleaning the kitty's litter box!
I was genuinely saddened by HP's passing. He was a true pioneer in his field. It can be said without much fear of contradiction that he invented the high end.
In the end it was for the best that Art left TAS. Look at all he accomplished since!
Most of all, look at how much he was loved!

Eddie G's picture

Art Dudley was and still is my favorite writer.
You will be Missed.

Matrim C's picture

Not that I had anything against the magazine. But, I was reading some magazines at a local bookstore and I think it was some piece on an FM receiver (Found it! Listening #141). But it was the first article I read and in the first paragraph is mentioned "hantavirus-carrying protagonists." I audibly laughed at that. Anyway, he hooked me again, and his writing just felt like I was letting someone chat away at me. A one-sided conversation that I didn't mind I couldn't interrupt.

I will definitely miss his insights, stories, and reviews.

PS - Apologies to Stereophile; I did not purchase that particular issue. Not because it was bad. But because I read the whole thing at the store...

Retro-thermionic's picture

Art said he never got to do his final piece. I disagree with him it’s “Simple Machines”. Read it three times now in honour of his fine writing and engaging spirit.

James Romeyn's picture

I am a month late to this sad, awful, terrible news. There can never be another audio writer like Art.

I am sad for all concerned, all of us who loved Art's thoughtful prose, and especially for the loss of his wife and family. May he rest in peace.

Joe Franceski's picture

I don't know whether it's coronavirus or what but I just found out the terribly sad news of the death of the great Art Dudley. He and The Listener Magazine changed my life. While I had a love of music since college, I did not really have a love of audio or even a strong appreciation of our noble hobby until I started reading The Listener. It would be no exaggeration to say that I awaited every issue of that magazine with a near breathless anticipation. That connection with him continued with his work at Stereophile. My love of tube gear; my passion for sound and my now deep interest in the recording process all stem from the mind and heart of Art Dudley. When I went to a dealer and spend hours with Shindo Labs gear it was like going to a church of sound under the tutelage of Art Dudley who was the St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas of audio. My quest will go on...because the passion in my heart was formed by the brilliance of Art Dudley. That he is no longer with us stuns me. I feel the loss personally and deeply. I may cry later. Right now I am listening to a Requiem on my system and having a wee dram of Talisker. Art Dudley, I didn't know you personally, but you changed my life, and I will always admire and think about you...I feel so very, very sad right now. Thank you Art for what you did for all of us.

Paul S.'s picture

Heartfelt condolences to Art's wife and daughter.
That's all that matters.

Bottomzone's picture

I'm so sorry to hear about Art's passing. My prayers go out to his family.

stereodesk's picture

Art was loved by many and appreciated for his skill and ease by many more. So, sorry to see you moving on. you were all class.

Fred and the Team at Prana Dist.

tenorman's picture

I’ll miss his brilliant writing , his wonderful wit and insight . His column was the first thing I read when the latest Stereophile arrived at my local book store .
He’s was such a gifted writer . He could just as easily have written for New Yorker magazine imo - he was that talented . Irreplaceable . Best wishes and empathy to his family .

John Werner's picture

I'm 61 and when I was young it seemed the only writers appearing in audio rags I kind of connected with were few. In Stereo Review it was an interesting mix. I actually liked Julian Hirsh because he was clinical. He did the measurements and dutifully reported them and he wrapped it up in terms of listening with no regard to nameplate or ancillary components. Then I learned about the fun part of the equation and I credit that to Steve Simels album and artist reviews (Jon & Sally Tiven & Michael Tearson to a lesser degree in Audio). Clinical was good and subjectiveness was better if written with flair and honesty. I moved on to Stereophile but initally wasn't drawn to any one writer. I did like to peruse J. Gordon Holt but I doubt he was an Allman Bros. or J. Geils fan. Then I discovered, and subscribed, to Listener. This was like a DisneyLand ride. The spirit of the magazine was to just love music and find any gear that augmented the enjoyment while being a bit off-the-wall humorous. I'll always thank Art for making the more obscure areas of audiophilia so palatable that even though I won't ever aspire to have a low-wattage single-end triode system it was like manna from above to read about it. Then Art pushed it right over the top by allowing Harvey Rosenburg to introduce himself to me. I can only imagine all the other audo editors reciting "un-publishable". Art was so open thinking he actually gave Rosenburg a column which was hilariously entitled "Fashion and Beauty". Art became my all-time favorite audio writer, editor, and publisher...a title he will hold forever with me.