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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  |  13 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.

Tony Scherman  |  Dec 06, 2022  |  3 comments
Summer 1959. The concert under the stars in the Wellfleet, Massachusetts, town parking lot was over. Pete Seeger was packing up his banjo as I approached him gingerly—I was 6 years old. I stuck out the notepad I'd been careful to bring. "Can I have your autograph?"

Towering over me, six-three to my three-eight, Seeger said in exasperation, if not outright coldness, "I don't give autographs. I'm not some goddamned star."

Terrified, I stood my ground.

Jason Davis  |  Jul 03, 2023  |  2 comments
At least I didn't get arrested is a helluva way to begin a story, but then I never expected the FBI to question me about my online record shopping, viewing it as cover for potentially "Conspiring to Provide Material Support" to an international terrorist organization. "We need some information from you," the email said. "We've also temporarily limited certain features in your PayPal account."
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 21, 2023  |  0 comments
Photo by Laure Crost

We all have at least one cherished album that takes us back to the exact time and place we first heard it. Whenever we hear any of the music from that special album—regardless of whether it occurs months, years, or even decades later, of whether we hear it in the grocery store, on a car radio, or on a friend's playlist—we instantly reconnect with the feelings the music originally evoked within us.

Some of my old gear is boxed up in an offsite storage space, but almost all of my old LPs are within reach. I can reconnect with them and how they make me feel in a flash, with the drop of a needle.

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.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 02, 2021  |  44 comments
Take a walk at night. Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears.—Pauline Oliveros, Sonic Meditations

The one activity that distinguishes audiophiles from other music lovers is our practice of sitting in solitude and listening closely to music reproduced on a finely tuned playback system.

Kurt Gottschalk  |  Oct 05, 2021  |  1 comments
New York City is a dream you can't have—glitz, glamor, grime, too much to take in from within, too much to understand from afar. It's a metropolitan manifestation of the Heisenberg principle, its nature changing with how you look at it. No matter how you try, you can't see the forest for the skyscrapers.
Brian Richardson  |  May 31, 2022  |  22 comments
In audio reviewing, there's a tension between scientific explanations for the qualities of the sound we hear and how the music, as conveyed through our equipment, makes us feel. Insights from the new field of interpersonal neurobiology can help us understand this conflict.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 06, 2022  |  33 comments
Axiomatically, audiophile audio is about quality of reproduced sound. Experientially though—for me at least—it's about visions in the mind's eye. The older I get, the more attentively I listen to recordings, the more importance I assign to the myriad moving pictures I see between my speakers.
Sasha Matson  |  Oct 23, 2023  |  5 comments
When I read the news that songwriter and guitarist Jaime Royal "Robbie" Robertson had passed, I forwarded a link to the obituary in the New York Times to my friends Doug and Jon. They were with me in the balcony of the Berkeley Community Theater on the evening of January 31, 1970, to hear a performance by The Band. We were juniors at Berkeley High School that year and lived and breathed that music every day. I recall sitting around with them outdoors, singing songs from The Band's first two albums.
Tony Scherman  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  2 comments
In the spring of 1969, as an aspiring jazz drummer of 15 pretentiously and largely uncomprehendingly drawn to the music's difficult avant-garde, I learned that Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman's alter ego during Ornette's starvation years and an icon of free jazz himself, had recently moved to the village of Congers in my native Rockland County, New York, just north of New York City. Ornette was putting together a group drawn mostly from his early cohorts, and the call went out to Stockholm, where Don had settled—to the extent that he settled anywhere—with his Swedish wife, Moki. Hence his arrival practically on my doorstep.
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.

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