Listening #3 Letters

Letters in response appeared in May 2003 (Vol.26 No.5):

Life is too short

Editor: Art Dudley's March "Listening" column is one of the finest ever to have appeared in Stereophile.

Most of my musician friends (I'm pleased to say I have quite a few) enjoy listening to recorded music, but do so over modest equipment, and without inordinate concern for the quality of the recording. They get to hear plenty of live music, and generally, their view is that reproductions of live music always involve compromises, and that they're happy to hear great records, even if they aren't superbly recorded or played back. On the other hand, you couldn't pay them to sit and listen to inferior music-making, no matter how well-recorded. What, after all, is the point of perfectly preserved garbage?

Many years ago, when I first became a Stereophile reader, I was mortified to learn that Casino Royale was viewed by some as the audiophile Holy Grail. I made the mistake of buying one of Art's un-favorite Sheffield Lab discs, listened to it once, admired momentarily its lovely vocal reproduction, soundstaging, etc., and never played it again. It became clear to me why many well-adjusted music-lovers viewed audiophiles as dolts who love their toys but couldn't care less about music.

Fortunately, over the years, Stereophile has progressively distanced itself from the camp of "audiophile demonstration discs" that contain brilliantly recorded bad music. (Sam Tellig, for one, has always had this right.) Art's column sums up perfectly what the music-listening experience should be all about, and why life is too short to listen to well-recorded rot.—David Eisenberg,

Art's welcome

Editor: Prior to reading the March issue's "Letters," I had no idea that Art Dudley's presence could illicit so much emotion from Stereophile's readers. (Oh no, there are pinko-commies writing for an audio magazine!) Anyway, if he can such cause controversy and discussion, I am sure he'll be nice to have around.

I can tell you that his March "Listening" had me laughing out loud at least four times (with several more audible chuckles). Art's roast of our hobby was a refreshing departure.—Chris Eriksen,

Pity the poor music-lover

Editor: I pity the music-lover who cannot appreciate the charm of Leroy Anderson's music. My reading relationship with your new critic, Art Dudley, begins very inauspiciously as a result of his bizarre tirade in March.—Paul H. Goldstein, Palo Alto, CA,