Reviewer Video Profile: Herb Reichert

When we released the "Thoughts on CES 2017" video, we received an overwhelming amount of feedback from readers who were pleased to finally be able to associate faces to the writers they had long read and revered on paper.

This video attempts to capture the essence of Stereophile writer and audio industry veteran Herb Reichert—at least as much as is possible in a 10-minute, streamed video. The lighting, background music, and close-up frames, were all stylistic choices chosen to offer the most accurate representation of Herb's personality and philosophy possible.

In doing so, we hope to transform Herb the audio reviewer into Herb the person, Herb the artist, Herb the gardener, Herb whose home I've seen, and so on. By adding depth to the Herb you know on paper, we hope that this adds depth to your understanding of Herb's writings.

In this video, Herb takes us on a partial tour of his home, aka "the Bed-Stuy bunker," including walk-throughs of his speaker and headphone collection, his audio workshop, and his painting studio. This video was shot in Brooklyn, NY in February 2017.

rschryer's picture

This was great. Thank you Jana for providing the medium and Herb the Shaman wisdom and gunslinger voice. (In the voice of Oliver Twist:) "Please, Stereophile, may I have some more?"

Anton's picture

Oh, man, that was utterly hypnotic.

Herb has a great cadence and inflection pattern, he could do books on tape!

I admit to being a video-phobe, but that was simply tremendous.

Can we see more of the listening room?

Thank you in three ways!

DougM's picture

Another great way to get young people into audio, a bunch of headphones that cost more than a month's salary. And not a single Sennheiser, AKG, or Grado. Way to go guys!

attilahun's picture

Outstanding video! Many thanks Jana.
Herb, thanks for opening your world to us, I loved seeing all your gear and "meeting" you.
Would love to see lots more of these videos and tours.
Great headphone selection, seems unreasonable to expect a single reviewer to have an example of every price and market point. He's got a lot more than most non headphone focused reviewers.

tonykaz's picture

I'm going back to read everything you've written. ( re-read )

To JA: Herb is a treasure!

Tony in Michigan

Metalhead's picture

Herb is a neat Hippy. Herb rocks!

music or sound's picture

That is an amazing bio, excellent video by Jana augmented by the the openness of Herb!

Trace's picture

An emerging talent. Very nice to meet to @ Music Matters tonight. A man of my word, I raced home to view the video.

Jana Dagdagan's picture

Wow! Haha. Thank you so much. Nice meeting you too.

Trace's picture

The audio is fascinating..... the video should be submitted to "Hoarders" Hope he is not in an earthquake zone.

Les's picture

Yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed this as well. And I'm down with Herb's way of seeing, hearing, reviewing... The fact that he has many systems is reassuring. I expect that of reviewers.

Also, the video quality was excellent. The 60p version gave it an eery feeling of verisimilitude, which was pleasurable for this type of storytelling. Beautiful use of natural light.

volvic's picture

Didn't get to see the Technics, Linn nor TD-124 though, maybe next time.

volvic's picture

found it interesting he manually turns the platter on the Palmer to help it start, is that because the Palmer has a low torque motor or just habit?

Herb Reichert's picture

and the Analogueworks Zero BOTH have low-torque motors -- both need a hand to start

volvic's picture

But was surprised the Palmer has a low torque motor, looks so muscular, I always assumed the motor was powerful to match the brawny looks. Guess I was wrong.

Herb Reichert's picture

The bunker is small - the Technics, Linn, and 124 are under the bed LOL

volvic's picture

I should know I live the same way with my gear. If I bring in that new Technics 1200G my wife will be making me sleep under the bed.

Solarophile's picture

Excellent and a bit creepy :-).

One question, what does the actual listening room look like? Appears very cramped in there and room acoustics could be a problem.

Herb Reichert's picture

best sounding room I've ever had (small speakers sound excellent)

Anton's picture

My wife was entranced.

She thought the parts with Herb addressing the camera directly visually reminded her of Colonel Kurtz...."The system allowed me to listen to a snail, crawling along the edge of a straight razor."

On re-watching, I find myself 100% in agreement with most of Herb's philosophizing...

To paraphrase...

"...the most important feature of any given audio component is what it makes you pay attention to..."

"...what it drew my attention to while I was listening is what I believe most important feature of any given audio component to be..."

I loved this part: "I believe we are what we give our attention to and the same applies the audio equipment, that is their true nature..."

Please forgive my butchery, I can't transcribe fast enough!


Thanks again.

Herb Reichert's picture

I am honored by your attention and flattered by your thoughts - Jana and I thank you - we were anxious about doing it, but we did it anyway :-)

4Real's picture

I appreciate the subject of attention.
A question I often have with respect to "attention" and what I consider the "ubiquitous phenomenon (or gift) of attention" takes into account how much "agency" each of us may or may not have and/or perceive ourselves as having in this entangled relationship between the user and the used.
Given I've yet to accomplish a "context free" mode of "attending", albeit can consider context as malleable, as per my wish to understand and empathize--still, I suspect I am not alone as one who questions the directionality of attention and the degree attention uses me, and I, with some modicum of agency, use attention.
Given this quandary, I am curious about how you might perceive your own relationship with this "gift" we call attention.
Would you classify your attending as more "forest" or "trees" oriented?
How, or what means (epistemologies?) would you consider utilizing to better understand this orientation?
And for what purpose or function might the more natural or dominant orientation serve?
Please understand, I appreciate the sentiment, "what grows is what is paid attention," and to a degree agree with the sentiment (and even practice), however I have as much seen such language devolve into dogma--which is not at all what I am suggesting you do or have done.
My inquiry is simply about attention and our relationship with attention.
Thank you for an endearing (if not mystery laced) sharing of your life.

Anon2's picture

I enjoyed seeing the environs of this audio expert. The next time you cover the audio system of a professional musician, there should be a similar video account. I particularly enjoyed how this person keeps a speaker collection, and has some in reserve for the appropriate occasion. I'm also glad that regular people can still live in Brooklyn.

edincleve's picture

Thanks for the peek into your life, Herb. Btw, the video was very well done, and I am curious as to who did the editing, Jana or you?

Also since you showed us your KEF LS50's and Technics SBC-700's which of the two sets of speakers would you pick if you had to listen one of these for the next umteen years? I know you did a review of the SB-700's where you mentioned a comparison to the LS50's, but you didn't say which one you preferred. Since my next speakers will be in this price range, I would appreciate your opinion. In case it matters, I have a 12" subwoofer.

Anon2's picture

I took note of the stack of bookshelf speakers in the hallway, each of which was named.

However, I also noted briefly the Dyanudio speakers as the discussion on the headphones reached its ending on the video.

Which Dynaudio speakers were in the "headphone room?" Were they Dynaudio Focus or Excite speakers (since Emits don't have a woodgrain finish)?

Were or will these Dynaudio speakers be part of a review? I enjoyed the video, and watched it a second time this weekend.

Herb Reichert's picture

I am just the candlelit stranger.

I try to avoid offering system advise but since you have a subwoofer - why not also consider a classic like the LS3/5a?

edincleve's picture

Thanks for responding, Herb

It's funny you should mention the LS3/5A's because I used to have those speakers (Rogers, used with two Cizek subwoofers) almost 40 years ago. It made for an wonderful sounding system, especially with the LS3/5A's being relieved of producing under 120 hz.

There are two reasons why I'm not considering those speakers now.
1) Cost, about $2200, which is over my budget.
2) The reviews I have read that compare the LS3/5A's to LS50's all seem to prefer the sound of the LS50's.

I would consider Harbeth P3ESR's, that seem to be a similar type of speaker, but those are also above my budget.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Btw, there are no audio stores here that have any of the speakers I have mentioned.

es347's picture

..very strange indeed

readargos's picture

It was like watching an extended teaser trailer for an upcoming feature.

JohnG's picture

Thanks for this. It was great fun.

Allen Fant's picture

Thank You- Jana
an outstanding video and excellent concept for this "new" idea from your readers. Hope to see all of the writers make a video soon.

Happy Listening!

johnnythunder's picture

This video profile is a beautiful portrait of a man who is a national treasure.

Johnny2Bad's picture

I always enjoy reading your reviews. I know from experience that it's critical to "know" a reviewer, to have heard some of the same equipment that a writer has spoken about, to understand how his tastes correlate with my own. I've come to know and value your pages in Stereophile.

I wish more people would understand that it's not important whether a reviewer's preferences agree with their own, it's knowing whether they likely will or not, and how they would or would not. From there I can easily choose candidates for audition.

Glotz's picture

Herb, just hangin' with you would seem a blast. You infuse the remarkable into the mundane!

I think all of reviewers need to do this! No judgment, just pure fun.

JL Main's picture

Thank you Jana for this wonderful view of Herb Reichert. This is a beautiful piece of audio and visual editing that gave true insight into your subject. Keep up the fine work. This is really a work of art. Herb is a real treasure. Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous!

anomaly7's picture

Jana- This was wonderful. It makes me want to read every article of Herb's that I may have skipped over. Stereophile's loss is YouTubes gain.
Herb, so nice that you shared such a personal glimpse into your life with the world at large.