Ediots . . . I mean Editors and Then Some

That is not a feeble attempt at a joke; it really is how Mr. Freud forced this Contributing Editor to slip on the word “editors.” Perhaps I was thinking of The Absolute Sound Executive Editor Jonathan Valin, who not only pulled a no-show for the Friday and Saturday afternoon 90-minute Editors panels—pre-show promotion and the show guide had advertised his participation, with Robert Harley—but also attempted to erase from history, in his online AXPONA report, the rather significant fact that the last major audio show in Chicago was not the 1994 Consumer Electronics Show, as he claims, but rather in 1999, when the Stereophile show came to the Windy City. Is such competitiveness really necessary, given how different the two magazines are?

Moderator Bes Nievera (right) gets wired for sound.

The moderator for both panels was the extremely articulate and informed Bes Nievera of Music Direct and also a host on Chicago area public radio station WDCB, who just happens to be a long-time audiophile. Panelists included (left–right), from TAS, Editor-in-Chief Robert Harley; from DaGoGo.com, Senior Editor Ed Momkus; from Stereophile and an embarrassingly long list of other publications, Contributing Ediot Jason Victor Serinus, and Stereophile’s Editor-in-Chief John Atkinson.

The two sessions were quite different. Friday’s pretty much focused on the announced subject, “What Attracted Us [to High-End Audio] and How to Attract a Younger Audience in the Future.” But after that subject curiously devalued our Friday full-house audience, which was almost exclusively composed of people ages 40 and up, Bes steered us into more open-ended territory in the second Saturday session. Need I say that, given his intelligence and that of the “audience,” it wasn’t a challenge to come up with a host of really fine questions?

Steve A Davis videotaped both panels, presumably for posting on the AXPONA site down the line. IMHO, John Atkinson was in superb form, responding to questions and concerns with an intelligence that bespeaks his many years in the twin professions of audio and music. Especially enlightening was a challenge from an audience member as to why Stereophile does not review Magnepan, and JA’s response: because Wendell Diller will not submit his loudspeakers for review unless JA agrees not to publish measurements of the speakers. Always fair, at least in my experience, John then went on to praise the many positive aspects of Magnepan, and to explain why he feels that measurements are an essential component of audio reviews.

Before asking JA about Magnepan reviews, the reader snapped the panel.

Although there were too many rooms to allow us to check out other panels, they included a keynote address on the future of high-end music and a panel on personalized music delivery, both from Mark Waldrep of AIX Records; “Rediscovering the Reel,” hosted by Myles B. Astor; a nude exposé of phono cartridges by Peter Ledermann of Soundsmith (whose room sounded really great at the show); Vinyl Ripping with Rob Robinson of Channel D (Pure Music and Pure Vinyl); and an Introduction to Transcendental Meditation with Carla Brown.

Glotz's picture

 Bob Harley used to write for a long time for Stereophile, and I would think, given how tight the audiophile community is, that you guys would be pretty darn close.  I don't know if JV is a curmudgeon in real life, but I think it's REALLY important that The Absolute Sound and Stereophile would have a special relationship at the shows.

(Now, after meeting Harry Pearson in '93, I CAN understand why people might be turned off by the old TAS..)

I agree about the whole Magneplanar review thing- I understand microphones pick up line sources pretty poorly, and measuring the 'cabinet' is nigh impossible, but Diller should just knuckle under and send his Maggies in, and let the chips fall.  Does he really expect a large backlash from the measurement freaks/flat earthers?

Glotz's picture

It was a stellar review that propelled the 1.6 to greater visibility. 

There were measurements in there as well. 

John Atkinson's picture

Glotz wrote:
It was a stellar review that propelled the 1.6 to greater visibility. 

There were measurements in there as well.

Wendell's opposition to my measuring Magnepan speakers is a relatively recent development. He feels that if I published my usual suite of measurements, they would reveal proprietary technology that he would prefer not be made public, lest it allow other manufacturers to replicate it. As I am not about to change my core belief as editor that a review magazine must accompany its reviews with measurement data to suit Wendell (whom I have known for 30 years), we have an impasse.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

john abramson's picture

1. Harley was present, which does imply that TAS was committed to the panel discussion. So to what good purpose do yo further excoriate JV and use him to illustrate your proposed dichotomy between the two magazines? The implication drawn is that you have an ax to grind with JV,  If so, it does no service to you, to Stereophile or to the reader,  to further tan the hide of  the already well tanned JV. He doesn't deserve  a 'break'...we do.

2. JA has been tested and proven himself over time, via his writings and general comportment, to be a respected leader in the audiophile community.  I hardly thinik his reputation can be further burnished by, what seems to me, your fawning , mountain- making over what is his best described as JAs already well known high standard of professionalism.