Home  |  Audio Reviews  Show Reports   Partner Mags  News 

August 2009
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Memories Of J. Gordon Holt


  I want to add a few reminiscences in memory of a friend and mentor. I first connected with Gordon in 1980, about a year after he had moved the family to Santa Fe. It was with some trepidation that I approached this iconic figure, the "father" of subjective audio reviewing who first decided to tell it like it is in 1962. He turned out to be totally affable, without a discernible ego, a free spirit with a most curious mind, and just as important — a sense of humor. Who can forget the piece titled "How to Write an Ad," by Lucius Wordburger, which appeared in the inaugural issue of Stereophile?

Much to my surprise, he turned out not to be an audiophile, not at all obsessed with equipment and status. The real driver for his audio hobby had always been the music and a passion for recording. I will always be grateful for the start he gave me as an audio reviewer and for his patience with my early reviews which were truly horrid. His priorities in reproduced music were greatly influence by his love of orchestral music, and in particular, early 20th century impressionism. He instilled in me an appreciation for the importance of tonal balance and timbre accuracy. Imaging and detail were far down on the list. He was appalled by the timbre distortions shared by minimonitors and less than enamored by "pretty" sound for its own sake.

Gordon's basement in Santa Fe was always the scene of something new and interesting. There were also pieces of gear strewn about here and there throughout the house, including some pretty ragged looking planar speakers that failed to survive Gordon's' cats. But in the end we probably spent more time watching movies on his KlossNovabeam projector system than we did listening to music.

During the mid 80s, facing a personal crisis, he extended a helping hand, and I shall remember his kindness for the rest of my life. It was a sad day when he moved to Boulder Colorado. We somehow lost touch over the past decade, and one of my biggest regrets is having failed to make the trek up to Boulder just a few more times.

—  Dick Olsher

 

 

I first met J. Gordon Holt at a CES show yet have no idea what year. I suspect he was going out for a smoke break and I joined him. Our conversation invariably drifted into recording, which he was passionate about. When moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1991 I visited Gordon in preparation to interview him for The Absolute Sound. The interview never happened and subsequently discarded questions from Harry Pearson such as, "When did you lose your dream?" when I discovered that J. Gordon was still living his dream to the fullest. It is ironic that this question proved more appropriate for Harry than Gordon. Subsequently I did interview Gordon for Stereophile.

J. Gordon Holt

One of Gordon's most compelling character traits was his unceasing curiosity. Up to the day he died he was still active on the Internet researching whatever caught his intellectual fancy. Also Gordon loved music, not all kinds of music; but nearly anything performed by a symphony orchestra. He was not, contrary to what you might expect, enamored by audio gear. He saw stereo systems as a necessary evil rather than a collection of objects to be treasured. When I rewired his system one time he immediately admitted that the new cable made a difference and did sound better, but he didn't like the fact that it did.

As to J. Gordon Holt's place in audio history, it¹s very simple — without him high-end audio as we know it today would not exist. The minute anyone starts to describe the sonic characteristics of a piece of audio gear, they owe most of the terms and intellectual methodology to J. Gordon Holt. He was the first person to ever write that components could and did sound different from one another. Any audiophile who hasn¹t read any of Gordon¹s reviews is as ignorant as an English major who¹s never read Hemmingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald.

To call J. Gordon a giant of the audio industry does him a disservice. He was a giant in all aspects of his life, and will be sorely missed by everyone who had the chance to know him.

 

—  Steven Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
Quick Links


Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews

Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Preamplifiers
Amplifiers
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc

Superior Audio Archives
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews

Videos
Enjoy the Music.TV

Columns
Editorials By Tom Lyle
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles


Show Reports
Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2017 CanMania
TAVES 2017 Toronto Show Report
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2017
CanJam 2017 Denver RMAF
KL International AV 2017 Show Report
LAAS 2017 Show Report
High End Munich 2017 Show Report
AXPONA 2017 Show Report
CanJam SoCal 2017 Show Report
Montreal Audio Fest 2017 Show Report
CanJam NYC 2017 Report
CES 2017 Show Report & Videos
Click here for previous shows.

Other
Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty

Resources And Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions
High-End Audio Manufacture Links

 


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information

Partner Magazines
The Absolute Sound
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
NOVO (CANADA HiFi)
hi-fi+ Magazine
HIFICRITIC
HiFi Media
Hi-Fi World
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine

For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics

Contests & Join Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!

Our Social Media & Video Channel
     

 

 

     

Home  |  Sitemap  |  Industry News  |  Equipment / Music Reviews  |  Press Releases  |  About Us  |  Contact Us

 

All contents copyright©  1995 - 2018  Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.