I received my audiophile genes from my father. In 1961 and moving into middle age, he bought both a Corvette (a 1960 convertible, which my mother proceeded to commandeer) and one of those newfangled stereo systems. It comprised a Scott 340 receiver - then an extravagant purchase for us, a Garrard Lab 80 turntable with a Shure cartridge (I do not remember the first model), and AR-2's. His passion and my mother's was jazz, especially prewar. I didn't share the taste at the time. But I was exposed to hours of Ed Beech, the DJ on WRVR-NY who lorded over a collection of about 10,000 records and seemed to know everything about every jazz record ever made.
In the meantime, I listened mostly to rock 'n roll, keeping my ear close to an old Zenith table radio and hoping for my own system that would sound better than the $59 Victrola down in the basement. I saved my paper route money for about a year and a half and at 13 went to Lafayette Radio, whose catalog I knew by heart. Bought a Dynaco SCA-35 integrated, inherited the Garrard when my father moved up to a Dual, and added a pair of KLH 22's. I was off and running.
For those who are younger, this may all sound unexceptional or quaint, but at least in my town, I was the exception. None of my peers had such a stereo until they got off to college in the late '60's. On the other hand, many of my friends could produce their own music. I never took up an instrument as a child, which I regret, and am trying to remedy, to this day.
In the intervening years, I have never ceased to be thrilled by music, of almost all kinds. So many peers seemed to stop listening to anything new or different around, say, 1971, which is beyond my ken. And as my musical taste broadened to jazz and classical and other forms, so increased the desire to capture the feel of that music in my home.
Like many audiophiles, my favorite instrument is the female voice. In critical listening, it is what I listen to more than anything else to see if some sort of truth is being communicated. I suppose that means that for me, it starts with the reproduction of the midrange.
I had the opportunity to start reviewing a little over four years ago for Ultimate Audio, which was most enjoyable and whose disappearance I regret. I have a full-time job with a large financial firm, so the reviewing is always a pleasure and never becomes a chore. Living just north of New York, my wife and I are fortunate to attend a lot of live music - not just in the city but in the 'burbs as well. And finally, the best music I get to hear comes from the piano and guitar played by my teenage son - I hope to try to do half as well as he in the years to come.
Loudspeakers: Ars Aures Midi Sensorial, Genesis VI..
Front-end, analog: Linn Lingo/Cirkus etc. turntable, Ittok arm, Sumiko Celebration cartridge;
Electronics: conrad-johnson Premier 17LS pre-amplifier; conrad-johnson Premier 15 phono pre-amplifier; Music Reference RM-9 II power amplifier
Cables, speaker: Goertz AG-3, Transparent Audio Reference, Kimber Select; interconnect: Nordost Valhalla, Transparent Audio Reference, Goertz MicroPurl, Straightwire Maestro, and various others
Accessories: Grand Prix Audio Monaco equipment stand and amplifier stand, Versablock, Gryphon Exorcist, VPI 16.5 and Disc Doctor record cleaners, VPI brick, Silver Circle Pure Power One 5.0 II power conditioner, Blue Circle Power Line Pillows, Signet stylus cleaner, Zerostat, Real Traps sound treatment, Rives Audio PARC room correction.