Jim Austin

Jim Austin  |  Jan 14, 2021  |  22 comments
In my As We See It column in the January 2021 Stereophile, I wrote about stories we tell ourselves to make our lives and music better—personal stories like the one about my relationship to my Thorens TD-124 turntable, or about hanging out with your dad (or mom) listening to records. Also hi-fi stories like the ones about the types of audio components we prefer—analog, digital, tubed, solid state—and how they sound. "Stories deepen our relationships," I wrote, "including our relationships with our audio systems and the music they make."
Jim Austin  |  Jan 08, 2021  |  5 comments
For jazz fans, a new batch of releases in Blue Note's Tone Poet series—vinyl reissues remastered with care and cut from the original analog tapes—is reason for celebration. Fortunately, the batches come frequently. The latest releases, as I write in late October 2020, are very solid, musically and sonically.
Jim Austin  |  Dec 17, 2020  |  76 comments
Stereophile has discussed the pandemic occasionally because of its relevance to our industry and our listening lives. But for the most part, I've steered the magazine away from politics and current events, and I will continue to do so. In this essay, though, I will engage, glancingly, not with politics or current events but with an idea that's drawn from them. I'm doing it to make a point about audio.
Jim Austin  |  Dec 14, 2020  |  19 comments
(Photo by Mary Kent)

Of late, Stereophile has written a lot about vibration-isolating footers under loudspeakers. The idea of isolating loudspeaker vibrations from floors is controversial. Many (perhaps most) designers believe that dynamic loudspeakers in particular—those with significant moving mass in their cones—should be rigidly connected to the floor as is typically done with spikes. A rigid connection of the speaker to the floor reduces the Newton-1 reactive motion of the cabinet in response to the motion of the cones, heavy woofers in particular. Cabinet motion could be expected to smear the loudspeaker's sound.

Jim Austin  |  Nov 20, 2020  |  16 comments
This is Stereophile's 29th Product of the Year issue; the first appeared in 1992. That was the year I finished grad school. It seems like a long time ago.

That year, the Loudspeaker of the Year was the $14,000/pair Sonus Faber Extrema. The winning digital source was the legendary Mark Levinson No.30 DAC—also approximately $14,000. JA later bought one, upgraded to 30.5, then to 30.6 status. He still has it.

Jim Austin  |  Nov 18, 2020  |  50 comments
In my early years of writing about audio (footnote 1), I was known—to the extent that I was known at all—as something of an objectivist. I was, after all, working as an editor at a leading science journal at the time, just a few years out from a brief career as an actual scientist, still in recovery from the physics PhD I'd earned a decade or so before.
Jim Austin  |  Oct 21, 2020  |  3 comments
Last month, I received so few vinyl reissues that I had to invite a guest writer—jazz critic and political commentator Fred Kaplan—to fill in. Fred had managed to grab an early copy of the excellent Analogue Productions 45rpm reissue of Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival. I didn't get mine until a week or so after his review was submitted.

This month, I have a tall stack to choose from, so I'll mention several.

Jim Austin  |  Oct 15, 2020  |  40 comments
I've written before in this space that to me the most wondrous aspect of our avocation (apart from the music) is the way it exists at the intersection of logic and emotion, of science and art. The equipment we use is made by engineers applying scientific principles, yet its goal is to deliver sensual pleasure. Both viewpoints are valid.
Jim Austin  |  Sep 24, 2020  |  13 comments
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania–based hi-fi dealer Now Listen Here is holding a real, live, non-Zoom event this coming weekend, September 26 and 27, 2020, at the Hyatt House in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, next to the King of Prussia mall.
Jim Austin  |  Aug 26, 2020  |  10 comments
My first exposure to Manger Audio loudspeakers, which are based on the "bending-wave" technology invented years ago by the company, was to the Manger p2, their passive flagship speaker, at the 2019 AXPONA. I heard it again a month or so later at High End Munich. I was impressed both times, especially by its transient and spatial performance.

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