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Robert Schryer Posted: Apr 18, 2017 64 comments
Audiophilia is dead.

Actually, it retired to an exclusive country club in the sky—but as far as the enduring, salt-of-the-earth audio hobbyist is concerned, it may as well be dead. The reason is simple: The old audiophile paradigm used to be mostly about when we were going to get that top-shelf component we had our eye on; it was rarely an if proposition. That's because, if you were an average, determined audiophile, it wasn't prohibitively expensive to buy top-shelf equipment. That's what made our hobby so exciting back then: the idea that you could actually own the best sound around. Damn!

Robert Schryer Posted: Mar 29, 2017 1 comments
If there's one thing that brings me more joy than seeing a lot of happy people at the Montreal Audio Festival, it's getting a seat in an exhibitor's room. Unfortunately, I often can't have it both ways. Those same happy people, if there are enough of them, will make it so there's no chair left for me to sit in.

One way to improve one's sitting chances is to go on Sunday, generally the day with the least amount of show goers. I call it the Sunday rule.

Robert Schryer Posted: Mar 27, 2017 2 comments
My pretend-award for this year's "speakers most like Mega Bloks" category goes to Israeli company PureAudioProject, whose Trio15 modular open-baffle speaker concept proved a hit at the Montreal show. A pair of Trio15 speakers is sold in kit form, in the loose sense of that term, since there's not much kit to assemble. What there is is a metal frame, two outboard circuit-board crossovers, and three rectangular panels, each pre-fitted with a driver, that "snap" together vertically to create the speaker's front baffle. Customers can choose between a variety of different drivers and crossovers—shown above is a panel with a Voxativ unit—and even swap those parts themselves at a later date; any modification is a "snap" that requires no soldering.
Robert Schryer Posted: Mar 26, 2017 0 comments
Whatever our preference in sound, there are audio components or systems that are not only better than others at plucking our heartstrings, but of doing so on such a level of intimacy it's as if the hardware were delivering the musical performance specially for us. I experienced such moments while listening to Coherent Audio's audio setup, which featured a Baetis Prodigy music server ($US3000), a Triode Labs Au Pre preamp ($CDN2000), a Triode Labs 2A3 SET ($CDN3900), and a pair of dual-concentric Coherent Audio Model 12GR speakers with a sensitivity rating of 96dB and an impedance of 8 ohms.
Robert Schryer Posted: Mar 25, 2017 0 comments
I was pumped about this year's Montreal Audio Fest, the city's 30th consecutive audio show, for a couple of reasons. First, I was pumped because I was covering the show for Stereophile with the estimable Art Dudley, and, second, because after last year's debacle that saw the show being unceremoniously cancelled by then-fest organizers/owners, the Chester Group, then resurrected by previous and self-re-instated show organisers, Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay, the event's rapid revival was proof to me that the Montreal audio show still has legs and a purpose. (The show is taking place this weekend at the Hotel Bonaventure.)
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Robert Schryer Posted: Nov 15, 2016 10 comments
My friend was in dire straits. What had been rare occurrences of panic attacks—one every year or so—had turned into a full-blown panic disorder that made it impossible for him to enjoy peace of mind..

If you've never suffered a panic attack, the idea of one—of being, in the absence of any real threat, suddenly overwhelmed by fear—can seem inconceivably strange. Try to imagine fear flooding your mind with such fierce momentum that you struggle to catch your breath, so convincing is the sensation that everything is spinning horribly out of control. Once that happens and the fear has taken over, it doesn't matter if the threat is real or not.

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Robert Schryer Posted: Jul 14, 2016 10 comments
Once in a blue moon, I'm asked this question: How much should I spend on an audiophile rig? It's usually asked by someone with no real interest in buying an audiophile rig, but who's fishing, for giggles, for the exorbitant figure that is the presumed going rate for joining our hobby. Sometimes, when the mood strikes, I'll bang out a randomly absurd number—"$80,000!"—then lean back to observe the fallout. Nine times out of ten, that fallout consists of a head shake and a snicker, as if to say, "You guys are nuts!" But on those occasions when honesty seems the best policy, my short answer to the how-much question, regardless of the buyer's financial means, is the same: As little as possible.
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Robert Schryer Posted: Mar 22, 2016 Published: Apr 01, 2016 14 comments
It's one of audiophiledom's eternal questions: What can we do to draw more music lovers into the audiophile fold?

Of the proposals bandied about on audio forums, two seem predominant: a) sell stuff more people can afford, and b) sit your neighbor or the cable guy in front of your stereo, cross your fingers, and let 'er rip—the theory behind b) being that the experience will be so epic as to transform the reluctant participant into an audiophile butterfly. As if.

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Robert Schryer Posted: Nov 18, 2015 Published: Dec 01, 2015 43 comments
It never fails. Browse Stereophile's Facebook page, scroll through the comments to an article that refers to life as an audiophile, and splat—appearing like bird droppings on your glistening screen are anti-audiophile wisecracks pointing out exactly how far off the "normal" track our hobby has derailed. Occasionally, I catch myself in mid-sentence, already replying to one of these droppings, the gist of my intended message invariably being: "If you're an anti-audiophile, what are you doing using up what life you have left reading a webpage devoted to a hobby you don't get? Shouldn't you be hanging out with your own friends?" Then, realizing that I'm wasting my time.
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Robert Schryer Posted: Jun 23, 2015 Published: Jul 01, 2015 15 comments
A decade ago, my mother, on noticing a copy of Stereophile on my kitchen counter, asked me, "Are you still into that sound stuff?" Her tone had a touch of exasperation.

"Geez, Mom. I've been an audiophile for 15 years. This isn't a phase I'm going to outgrow."

Instead of motherly empathy, I got a slight smirk and a retort: "But it's always the same thing."

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