Enjoy the Music.com

The Absolute Sound

From The Editor...
April / May 2003
By Robert Harley

  It is difficult to imagine high-end audio without Harry Pearson. Looking back on this 30th Anniversary of HP’s founding of The Absolute Sound, I was struck by just how much he has contributed—and continues to contribute—to the field. Every discipline needs a visionary thinker to create its intellectual foundation and illuminate the path forward. Astonishingly, HP has fulfilled that role for thirty years and counting. (And HP says, “You ain’t seen nothin’, yet!”)

J. Gordon Holt deserves credit for inventing the then-novel idea that audio components are best judged by listening to music through them, not by looking at test numbers. Indeed, HP credits Holt not only for getting him interested in music reproduction but for inspiring the publication of The Absolute Sound, ten years after Holt began The Stereophile.

Holt began creating the language we use to describe reproduced sound, a language HP greatly expanded upon. In fact, I think of HP’s creation of the lexicon we all take for granted today as one of his three great achievements. I know how fruitful it is to use that lexicon in product reviewing; to have invented the terms that convey from writer to reader the sonic and musical effect an audio product has on reproduced sound is a monumental intellectual triumph.

HP’s second great achievement is the flip-side of his invention of the audiophile lexicon: his thinking behind the listening. Rather than use a product review merely to describe the product’s sound and make a value judgment, HP’s reviews are vehicles for exploring the nature of reproduced music, how electronics and electro-mechanical devices affect the listening experience, and for identifying certain distortions and the musical effects of those distortions. HP’s description of the soundstage, to use one example, greatly expanded everyone’s thinking about the spatial aspects of reproduced sound. More recently, his concept of “continuousness” has made concrete a quality that had heretofore remained amorphous. These terms, and others, changed the way we evaluate audio products—and greatly influenced the way audio designers approached their art.

By putting into words what had previously been ineffable, and illuminating the underlying thinking behind those words, HP created the lingua franca for an entire field.

Harry’s third great achievement is, of course, the idea that all music reproduction equipment can be referenced to an absolute sound—the sound of unamplified instruments in an acoustic space. Thirty years later, HP’s simple yet brilliant concept of the absolute sound continues to be the intellectual foundation of this magazine.

So join us in celebrating thirty years of TAS, starting with this issue. We begin by reprinting a classic review from Issue 11, and will have many more surprises in store over the coming year. Enjoy.


  Robert Harley



Quick Links

Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews


Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews


Enjoy the Music.TV


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

Show Reports
The HiFi Summit Q2 2021
T.H.E. Show 2021 Report
The HiFi Summit Q4 2020
The HiFi Summit Q2 2020
Bristol Hi-Fi Show Report 2020
Florida Audio Expo 2020 Show Report
New York Audio Show 2019 Report
Capital Audiofest 2019 Show Report
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2019
High End Munich 2019 Show Report
AXPONA 2019 Show Report
Zagreb AV Show Report 2019
CanJam Singapore 2019 Show Report
Salon Audio Montreal Audio Fest 2019
Click here for previous shows.


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


Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information


Partner Print Magazines
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
HiFi Media
Hi-Fi World
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine


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


Contests & Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!




Home   |   Industry News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us


All contents copyright©  1995 - 2021  HighEndAudio.com and Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.