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Reviewer's Bio

Phil Gold
One man in his time plays many parts,
his acts being seven ages.

  Act 1. As a child, growing up in a sleepy seaside town in southern England, I was fed a diet of classical music by my mother, traditional jazz by my father, and scraps of rock and folk music from my brother and fellow Enjoy The Music.com™ contributor, Alvin. Listening to Schubert, Beethoven, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Sidney Bechet, Donovan.

Act 2. I was educated in mathematics and economics in a fine old university town, with no hall large enough for a full orchestra, but no shortage of church choirs, chamber music and solo recitals. This background has informed my life's preferences for small-scale performances and the love of choral music. Listening to Mozart, Bach, Edmond Hall, Earl Hines, The Beatles, Ten Years After.

Act 3. The hero becomes a sheep farmer. I would take large flocks of sheep out to pasture, and listen to music on a tiny transistor radio. I remember listening to the BBC world service on the hills outside Nazareth. Listening to Mahler, Bruckner, Stravinsky, Oscar Peterson. 

Act 4. I join the army, and thankfully, never see action. I learn to drive a tank, and find there are advantages to monocular vision. No music at all!

Act 5. Enough physical work -- I'm not cut out for it. Now I become an actuary, and move to Canada. Many fine concerts, a wonderful Meridian active system, and my Linn Sondek is born, November 1980. The next year I get married. Listening to Bach, Bach and more Bach.

Act 6. I switch to software development, and set up my own business with two partners. Two children and much music fill the house. Musical horizons expand. Listening to Latin Jazz, Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Klezmer bands, Early Music, Shostakovich, Piazzolla.

Act 7. Music and equipment reviewer, in the evenings and at weekends. A new age is just beginning...

 

Sound Objectives
When listening to classical music, my ideal is to reproduce in my living room the ambiance, sound pressure levels and tonality of a live performance in a fine venue. The ideal venue is different for chamber music, orchestral music and choral works of course, but I have been fortunate in my life to have experienced how fine this sound can be:

   Chamber music: The George Weston Hall in the Toronto Arts Centre

  Orchestral music: The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

  Choral music: The Chapel of Kings College Cambridge

 

In many cases I use recordings by artists that I have heard live to assess the sound from the equipment I review.

I love jazz played by small groups of musicians, but I don't carry a mental yardstick for how this should sound. Instead I look for air and space around each instrument, strong realistic tonality, warmth, a very wide frequency range and a sense of ease, a total absence of strain. If I feel I'm in the same room with the musicians, I know it's working. Folk music follows a similar pattern.

For pop and rock music, who knows what it should really sound like? What is the true tonality of these electric instruments? Is that distortion meant to be there? Here I judge on a more subjective level. Do the various elements in the mix come through clearly, am I hearing low level information, are transients well reproduced or is the effect harsh and fatiguing? I would never use rock music alone to judge sound, but I like to include it as one factor among many.

 

Phil Gold's System
Linn LP12 turntable with Ittok tonearm
Clearaudio Virtuoso wood cartridge
Cardas Neutral Reference Phono cable 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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