Jim Austin

Jim Austin  |  May 17, 2022  |  11 comments
I wrote about the music industry's impressive recovery in the February 2022 AWSI. Robust LP sales were a headline item of that report, but they're a sideshow: Paid-subscription streaming is what is bringing the industry back.

When I wrote that, 2021 wasn't quite over, so year-end financials weren't available. They're available now.

Jim Austin  |  May 01, 2022  |  4 comments

T+A elektroakustik GmbH & Co. brought the A-team to the 2022 AXPONA, including American rep Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations David Schultz, Chief Operations Officer (and heir apparent) Conradin Amft, and Founder and CEO Siegfried Amft. During a light Saturday breakfast in the big T+A room, the elder Amft briefed the Stereophile team on T+A's status and plans; expect some big announcements at High End Munich later this month.

Jim Austin  |  May 01, 2022  |  9 comments

Audio shows are great for hearing new components and systems—of course they are. But they can also be good for encountering new ideas. Over two days at AXPONA, I encountered the same curious idea from two manufacturers.

Jim Austin  |  Apr 12, 2022  |  52 comments
There's a notion among audiophiles that we must be regular consumers of live music, especially live acoustic music. It's the only way, the thinking goes, to calibrate our ears to the sound we should all be aspiring to at home.
Jim Austin  |  Mar 16, 2022  |  14 comments
No hi-fi is an island entire of itself; every component is a piece of the system, a part of the mains.—John Donne, from The Compleat Audiophile, 1623

Around the time I took over as Stereophile's editor, I bought a Peloton, the internet-enabled stationary exercise bike. It was a lifesaver during the pandemic, when gyms were closed; despite the poor audio quality and the awful music many of the instructors choose, it's good, diverting exercise.

Jim Austin  |  Feb 16, 2022  |  26 comments
There's a school of thought that maintains that among all hi-fi components, the D/A converter is easiest to perfect or come close to perfecting. Just make sure that every sample is converted accurately, that there's little rolloff in the audioband, that aliased images are suppressed almost completely, and that background noise is extremely low, and you have a top-quality D/A processor. Use of a high-quality DAC chip is assumed.
Jim Austin  |  Feb 15, 2022  |  42 comments
Evidence is nothing without judgments.—The Lord Leto Atreides II in God Emperor Of Dune, by Frank Herbert

In college, I majored in physics, but I took a lot of theater courses. Not acting—I never had any affinity for that—but all the other aspects of theater: set design, directing, theory of performance, playwriting. One professor, a playwright himself, offered some advice to his students that has served me well ever since: To learn the craft, observe your response first, then look to the text to figure out what about it caused you to respond the way you did.

Jim Austin  |  Jan 19, 2022  |  9 comments
I'm excited about the return of live music to New York City. I've attended several classical concerts in the last few weeks, and in a week or so, I'll take in a show at the City Winery: Suzanne Vega. I haven't yet made it back to New York's amazing jazz clubs—the Vanguard, the Blue Note, Smalls—but I look forward to doing so soon, especially to dropping in on my jazz local, Smoke, when it reopens in a few weeks in new, larger digs.
Jim Austin  |  Jan 06, 2022  |  6 comments
Jay Jay French has a book out, but it's not what you might think, or not exactly.

French earned fame in the 1980s as the lead guitarist for transvestite metal band Twisted Sister, which produced some of the most recognizable—and widely licensed—rock music in history: "We're Not Gonna Take It." "I Wanna Rock."

Jim Austin  |  Dec 16, 2021  |  17 comments
My As We See It column in the November 2021 issue of Stereophile was a sincere expression of regret over my inability to connect with current rock music. It ended with a request for recommendations. I got 'em. What's more, most (but not quite all) of those who responded found themselves inthe same situation: They too found most current rock'n'roll difficult to relate to.

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