Jim Austin

Jim Austin  |  Feb 15, 2022  |  39 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.
Jim Austin  |  Nov 19, 2021  |  52 comments
Here's another Stereophile milestone, our second one this year. In August, we celebrated the magazine's 500th issue. This month, we celebrate a number that's smaller but almost as round: our 30th Annual Product of the Year Awards.
Jim Austin  |  Nov 17, 2021  |  21 comments
The Wilson Audio Specialties Alexx V ($135,000–$151,000/pair) is the biggest, heaviest, most expensive loudspeaker I've had in my listening room. It replaces the original Alexx in Wilson's lineup; Michael Fremer reviewed the earlier Alexx, bought it, and owned it until replacing it recently with the Wilson Chronosonic XVX.
Jim Austin  |  Nov 16, 2021  |  45 comments
Even though I'm the editor of Stereophile, I sometimes struggle to get my audio system to play. It's a little bit embarrassing. Just last night, I put on a record and there was no sound. I figured out the problem immediately: I'd forgotten to turn on the amplifiers. But the reason isn't always so obvious.
Jim Austin  |  Oct 21, 2021  |  24 comments
I've got a music problem. Specifically, I've got a rock music problem.

It's a true cliché—that is, a cliché that happens to be true: Rock music, in almost all its forms, is young people's music. It's about new, fresh experiences—new love, new sex, consciousness sought or attained, rebellion, drugs—and when you've reached a certain age, those experiences don't feel so fresh anymore. That's a fact about which it's hard not to feel some regret. You don't have to share their sentiment to realize that there's a reason Pete wrote, and Roger sang, "Hope I die before I get old."

Jim Austin  |  Sep 14, 2021  |  12 comments
When I decided that Stereophile should review the McIntosh MAC7200 receiver (see the review in the January 2021 issue), I had several reasons for doing so. First, McIntosh is known for the quality of its radio tuners and amplifiers, so I was confident it would be an impressive product. (It was.) Second, a review of a terrestrial radio receiver in 2021 had a certain retro appeal that I thought Stereophile readers might appreciate. Third, as Larry Greenhill wrote in the introduction to that review, I like terrestrial radio.
Jim Austin  |  Aug 18, 2021  |  6 comments
Many loudspeaker designers are minimalists at heart. They embrace a design aesthetic that says that simpler is better. Based on the evidence of the company's R 8 Arreté, Ole Klifoth, of Danish loudspeaker maker Audiovector, is not one of those designers.

On its website, in the Specifications section for its "R"-model loudspeakers (footnote 1), Audiovector offers a long checklist of technologies, many of them optional, some of them, called "Concepts," assigned snappy names and acronyms: IUC for Individual Upgrade Concept; LCC for Low Compression Concept; SEC for Soundstage Enhancement Concept; NES for No Energy Storage; FGC for Freedom Grounding Concept; and NCS for Natural Crystal Structure.

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