Think Pieces

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Herb Reichert  |  Oct 29, 2019  |  19 comments
"The crying rain like a trumpet sang
And asked for no applause.
"—Bob Dylan, "Lay Down Your Weary Tune"

I remember as a toddler sitting in the kitchen on a highchair, watching my mother smoke a cigarette, apply red lipstick, and tune a turquoise table radio from one news station to another. Between the strange, nattering voices, the radio emitted a sharp hissing sound. That's my first memory of human voices coming from a little box.

John Atkinson  |  Aug 16, 2013  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2006  |  28 comments
You could sense the frustration in Keith Pray's e-mail. "We are on the same team. I have always respected your wishes and will continue to do so," he had written me. At the request of a possible advertiser, Stereophile's publisher had asked me a question about something appearing in the issue of Stereophile we were preparing. I had responded that not only would I not give him an answer, I felt it inappropriate for him to ask.
George Reisch  |  May 07, 2006  |  First Published: Jan 07, 2000  |  0 comments
Two scientists are racing for the good of all mankind—both of them working side by side, so determined, locked in heated battle for the cure that is the prize. It's so dangerous, but they're driven—theirs is to win, if it kills them. They're just human, with wives and children.
John Atkinson  |  Sep 19, 1997  |  First Published: Sep 19, 1993  |  0 comments
"To be an influence in any society...one can be a little different, but only a little; a little above one's neighbours, but not too much."---C.P. Snow, The Masters, 1951
Larry Archibald, J. Gordon Holt, C.J. Huss  |  May 05, 1985  |  0 comments
Editor's Note: In 1985 and 1986, an argumentative thread ran through Stereophile's pages, discussing the benefits or lack of double-blind testing methods in audio component reviewing, triggered by J. Gordon Holt's review of the ABX Comparator. As this debate is still raging nearly 15 years later, we present here the entire discussion that bounced back and forth between the magazine's "Letters" section and features articles. It was kicked off by a letter from C.J. Huss that appeared in Vol.8 No.5.John Atkinson
Martin Colloms  |  Jun 29, 2017  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1992  |  9 comments
It has been said that the high-end audio industry has a weakness which perversely has also helped to maintain its growth. The evolutionary process whereby designs are improved, upgraded, and supplanted at regular intervals keeps everyone interested, and of course affords reviewers useful employment. On the other hand, once a purchase has been made there may be resentment on the part of owners who find that, by the time their choice has become established and awarded sufficient review recommendation, a product upgrade is already in the pipeline.
Robert Baird  |  Oct 10, 1999  |  0 comments
As January 1, 2000 approaches, and the MP3 whirlpool continues to swirl, one simple fact has made me feel as if I'm stuck at the starting line of the entire download controversy: The sound quality of MP3 has yet to improve above that of the average radio broadcast. Until that changes, I'm merely curious—as opposed to being in the I-want-to-know-it-all-now frenzy that is my usual m.o. when to comes to anything that promises music you can't get anywhere else.
George Reisch  |  Aug 07, 2005  |  First Published: May 07, 1998  |  0 comments
John Atkinson, you were right the first time ("Letters," Stereophile, December 1997, p.17, footnote 1): Jeremy Bentham is, indeed, the famous English philosopher and legal theorist whose mummified remains are preserved at the University of London. Sitting in a large glass display case, Bentham has been holding court since his death in 1832. As you noted, Bentham looks deceptively like a waxwork. But this is because his head, in fact, is made of wax. The original, rumor has it, suffered through one very macabre rugby game played long ago by mischievous students.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 17, 2008  |  5 comments
The "Want to make an easy $1,000,000?" e-mail wasn't a scam from Nigeria but an alert from Paul DiComo, late of Polk Audio and now of Definitive Technology, about a double-blind cable-identification challenge made by The Annoying Randi, a magician and debunker of paranormal events who goes by the name of "The Amazing Randi."
Brian Cheney  |  Jan 01, 1988  |  0 comments
Alright already, quit shoving. I know I don't belong here. This magazine already has a place for manufacturers---in the back, where those large egos are squeezed into small column inches so they can't hurt you. Not that I'm exactly proud of my job. On social occasions, if pressed as to my profession, I will usually admit to some honest toil such as mortician or hodcarrier. Speaker design is downright devious work. As proof, examine the specifications for the 1376 models in Audio's 1988 equipment directory. Much of this data, when compared with each described system's real-world performance, looks like Joe Isuzu wrote it on a bad day.
George Reisch  |  Jul 10, 2005  |  First Published: Sep 10, 1998  |  0 comments
"Wanted: Linn Axis turntable or similar, 555-1234."
George Reisch  |  May 30, 1996  |  0 comments
In debates about audio, philosophy, literature, fine art, or whatever, people often adhere to either absolutism or relativism. Absolutism supposes, for example, that either analog or digital is superior and that whichever is better holds for all parties concerned. Michael Fremer, for instance, is not just advertising his opinion about the superiority of analog; he believes that everyone would acknowledge it if they paid attention to the evidence. Relativism, on the other hand, teaches that no such absolute and univocal consensus can be reached. In the end, we all have our own subjective preferences, and that, quite simply, is that. If we disagree about whether tube amps are better than solid-state, or single-ended is better than push-pull, c'est la vie.
Sasha Matson  |  Sep 17, 2019  |  7 comments
In Alfred Hitchcock's great film Vertigo, filmed in San Francisco in 1957, the protagonist, Scottie, played by James Stewart, becomes obsessed with Madeleine, played by Kim Novak. Scottie, a retired detective, suffers from a disabling case of acrophobia, which becomes a critical if tenuous plot point.
George Reisch  |  Nov 05, 2004  |  First Published: Sep 01, 1997  |  0 comments
Here in Chicago the other day, I was on my way to an appliance store, so audio was the last thing on my mind. But, as if by some miraculous intervention (or just stupidity), I parked and went in the wrong store: "Why does this appliance store have bins and bins of CDs in it?" Realizing my mistake, I found the stoves and ranges I was looking for next door—but not before noticing bins and bins of used LPs behind all those CDs.
Bill Leebens  |  Sep 20, 2013  |  134 comments
There are all sorts of ways of having fun, and just as many ways of spending money. Most of the time, spending money is necessary to have fun; whether it's going to a movie, having dinner out, scrapbooking, playing video games, whatever—nothin's free.

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