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Robert Schryer  |  Feb 04, 2020  |  12 comments
As per our ritual, Karim and Dan arrived at my door in late afternoon, bearing our ritual's customary offerings: dark beer, wine, cold pork sandwiches, fruit and chocolate tarts, good music on well-recorded CDs, and audio hardware to try out on the host's hi-fi—on this particular Friday, my hi-fi. It's what we did: break bread while gabbing like regular folk about regular things, then bolt for the listening room for an evening of hi-fi fun.
John Atkinson  |  Aug 10, 2020  |  24 comments
Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying

I watched the TV with horror. George Floyd, an African-American man in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was being killed in front of the camera. I retreated to the listening room. In what couldn't have been a coincidence, the Roon app's "Discover" function had recommended I play What's Going On, Marvin Gaye's groundbreaking album, released in 1971 by Motown subsidiary Tamla.

Jason Davis  |  Oct 29, 2020  |  15 comments
In March 2003, as news networks broadcast images of American tanks racing north toward Baghdad, my infantry platoon dug shallow foxholes in southern Iraq. We were part of a defensive perimeter guarding FARP Exxon, a helicopter refueling point for the Army's 101st Airborne Division.
Alex Halberstadt  |  Sep 23, 2020  |  13 comments
When I was a child, my father was a dealer in black-market records. We lived on what was then the outskirts of Moscow, in what was then the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It was the 1970s, and our nation's record stores only sold discs of domestic manufacture, most of them wooly-sounding classical recordings on the Melodiya label. This meant that a healthy contingent of Muscovites valued records smuggled from what they referred to in hushed tones as "The West" more than just about anything else their rubles could buy.
Jeff Weiner  |  Jul 27, 2021  |  3 comments
I grew up in a household that didn't have a record player and was pretty much devoid of music. In high school, I got a little stereo and began collecting records. By the time I entered Brooklyn College, in 1963, my "main man" was Trini Lopez; I also had a couple of Jack Jones albums. In New York, I discovered the Cafe Au Go Go.
Jason Davis  |  Jun 16, 2020  |  14 comments
Photo: Sasha Matson

I met Art Dudley twice, and in both instances, he was exceedingly humble and gracious with his time. The first time, I thanked him for hosting the Virtues of Vintage panel at DC's Capital Audiofest, just moments after he was verbally accosted by an unwell man seated in front of me—something about audio-journalism lingo and abstract phrases like "midrange bloom."

John Swenson  |  Mar 16, 2021  |  11 comments
My music is keeping me alive.

I have terminal cancer, which is like Bergman's chess match with the Grim Reaper: You know you're going to lose, but with skill, determination, and luck, you can delay the inevitable, move by move. Determination is key, because it's all too easy to give up. My music—a collection I've amassed over the last 60 years—inspires me to keep going, to keep listening.

John Atkinson  |  Mar 26, 2019  |  3 comments
"Got a match?" ("Uh-uh")

"It's a fabulous party! . . . Look at all the fabulous people."

"You wanna dance?" ("Yes I'd love to . . .")

"Let's party a little bit." ("All right . . .")

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 27, 2020  |  4 comments
When I was 11, my father brought home the voice of tenor Enrico Caruso (1873–1921) in a three-LP box set whose faux leather cover and sepia-tinted photos I admired over and over. When he put on the Sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor, I exclaimed, "Daddy, I've heard that before!"

"Yeah, you broke it when you were 2," he replied.

Jonathan Scull  |  May 26, 2021  |  11 comments
'Cause it's hard to say what's real / When you know the way you feel—Flaming Lips, "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21," from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

In a recent Zoom meeting, some friends got into a dust-up about how "real"-sounding high-performance audio systems can be. The consensus was that there was no chance at all of real, live sound. A label owner waved it off as impossible: "Fuhgeddaboudit," he said. He's from New York, like me.

Jay Jay French  |  Apr 12, 2021  |  12 comments
By the time this issue of Stereophile arrives in your mailbox (and on newsstands), Lyric Hi-Fi & Video, the legendary symbol of male-dominated, uber-luxury hi-fi retail, will be closed forever.

This makes me sad. I wasn't just a client of Lyric; I worked there.

Carl Thomas Hriczak  |  Jan 02, 2020  |  6 comments
It's 9:45 on a mid-September weeknight in Greater Toronto. Having spent the evening reveling in the glory of her 9th birthday—candles blown out, presents open, pleasantly full of Wegmans' Ultimate Chocolate Cake—Our Birthday Girl has one additional request:

"Can we please play 'Happy Birthday Polka'?!"

Sasha Matson  |  Feb 03, 2021  |  7 comments
It says something about the power of music that some individuals fading into dementia can still recognize the music they knew earlier in their lives. Not to denigrate new music, or music one hasn't heard before, but our mental jukeboxes award top chart numbers to music that we have lived with over time. Those DJs making their playlists in our brain are the toughest of critics. They don't care what anyone else might think, "Close to You" is staying in the rotation. Music and memory are linked.
Julie Mullins  |  Apr 28, 2020  |  20 comments
When I was growing up, calling Dad to dinner required a trip down carpeted stairs to the basement, an audiophile man cave in a time before the term had been invented. I'd open the door from the kitchen, and a great wall of sound would emerge—and nearly blow me back before I descended the stairs.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Sep 08, 2021  |  10 comments
Step 1. When I was in my mid-20s, an older editor at the Dutch current-affairs magazine I worked for told me he wanted to write a piece about audiophiles: He had been bitten by the audio bug himself. Because I often wrote about rock and pop music, he asked if I had a quality hi-fi system, and if so, would I be willing to be interviewed for his article

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