Over the years I've met many members of the Audiophile Style community and have always been amazed by the intellect, character, and enthusiasm of everyone. Given that we're all isolated from each other because of the current global coronavirus pandemic, there's no better time than now to kick off our series introducing members of this community to each other. I'll go first, answering the same questions I've sent out to those who've expressed interest in being interviewed for this series.
Please send me a message or email if you'd like to participate. The response so far has been wonderful. It ranges from hardcore audiophiles to those who are more interested in numbers and graphs. None of that matters much because this is all about getting to know everyone and sharing a bit about yourself that others will find interesting.
Thanks for participating. I look forward to publishing more of these in the coming weeks.
All installments can be found here, in the series index.
1. General area of the world in which you live?
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
2. General description of what you do or did for a living?
Audiophile Style has been my "job" since November 2007. Like most people, I didn't focus my education and work life to become the founder of a website dedicated to HiFi. In college I interned with the United States Marshals Service. Chasing fugitives, like Dr. Richard Kimble, out of the USMS Milwaukee, WI office for a summer was an experience I won't soon forget. After earning a Bachelor degree (Summa Cum Laude) I went into IT tech support, working at a help desk for the largest hair care company in the world with thousands of salons on several continents. After three years I worked my way up to Network Administrator where I designed, configured, and maintained a global infrastructure of switches, routers, firewalls, disaster recovery sites and synchronized storage.
After a few years I got bored and left for law school. I finished 1.5 years of law school and decided it wasn't my cup of tea. I was more entrepreneurial and preferred much less structure. I left law school to work in IT for a large financial services company. The company had a several billion dollar contract with IBM, and my job was to figure out how to decrease our technology consumption in order to pay IBM less. IBM charged the company per CPU second used, among other things. Making tiny changes to running jobs often saved a few seconds here and there and equated to big money saved in the long run.
While working in this capacity I started Computer Audiophile. I worked 40 hours per week in an office, then at least that many hours on the site at home. Fortunately I had an understanding wife and no children at the time. After two years, I left that job to work on the website full time and haven't looked back.
3. What are your hobbies?
Other than listening to massive amounts of music, I enjoy analog photography, Pearl Jam, and tea.
I shoot photos with a Hasselblad 503CW as much as possible. I do it for pure enjoyment. Shooting with my Canon 5D mk iii is so much easier, but is absolutely no fun for me. Shooting digital is mindless to me. Selecting a film stock, shooting photos, sending the film in for processing, and waiting a week to see the results is enjoyable to me. My current go-to lens is a Zeiss / Hasselblad 50mm CFi and my favorite film of the moment is Fujichrome Velvia 100. There's nothing like slide film.
I've been a huge Pearl Jam fan since I first heard the album Ten in August, 1991. The music changed my life. I feel fortunate that I fell in love with music from a band that has stayed together for 30 years and counting. Today is March 30, 2020. I have tickets to see Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden in NYC tonight. Unfortunately, the tour was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. I can't wait to see them at MSG whenever the make up date is scheduled.
Tea is my favorite beverage and I've become a bit of a snob about it over the years. I drink second flush Darjeeling or Nepalese black tea. Currently my tea of choice is Organic Nepali Golden Black from Young Mountain Tea. Sourced from the Tinjure garden in Ilam, Nepal, it's the best tea I've ever had. I purchase it by the pound. Some day I'd love to go on a tea estate tour in India or Nepal.
4. When did you start this wonderful journey into music listening?
As an eight year old, I remember bringing the vinyl record of Pink Floyd's The Wall in Ms. Van DeWeigh's second grade class and playing Another Brick in the Wall for my classmates. Yes, I loved sticking it to the man even in second grade, but I also loved music and good sound back then. The vinyl record was my brother's. To this day I've never owned a turntable or a record (other than my collection of Pearl Jam's vinyl releases and a test pressing of Shelby Lynne's Tears, Lies, and Alibis given to me by the mastering engineer).
5. What was your first “album?”
I started my music collection by (high-speed) dubbing my brother's Led Zeppelin cassettes. The first cassette I remember getting was Motley Crue's Shout at the Devil, followed by eight cassettes for one penny as part of the Columbia House record club. At eight years old I wasn't legally capable of entering a valid contract, let alone a Negative option billing agreement, but I signed up anyway unbeknownst to my parents. I taped my single penny to the card I pulled out of one of my mom's magazines, sent it in, and waited for the glorious package containing eight whole cassettes. Years later, my first compact disk was Tom Petty's Full Moon fever, followed a few minutes later by Metallica's Ride the Lightning.
6. What does your music collection look like, number of physical records, CDs, etc… and number of “favorited” albums streamed?
18,965 albums listed in Roon
17,820 albums stored locally on a NAS
1,145 albums favorited in Tidal / Qobuz
44.1 - 17,094
48 - 141
88.2 - 163
96 - 672
176.4 - 77
192 - 385
352.8 - 14
DSD64 - 446
DSD128 - 31
DSD256 - 3
7. What was your first audio component / stereo?
Technics SA-R230 receiver and a pair of $64 Kenwood two-way speakers. I got this setup for Christmas one year and was ecstatic.
8. Is there one component that you no longer have that you wish you wouldn’t have sold or that you wish you still had?
I wish I still had my Adcom GFA 5802 amplifier. I loved that thing, but had to sell it many years ago. I have no idea how it would sound today, compared to my Constellation amps, but I have a soft spot in my heart for that amp. It was my first "real" amp that wasn't part of a receiver.
9. Is there one current component that you wish you had in your system?
Probably Audio Note / Kondo Kagura amplifiers. I'm not sure I could be satisfied with them as my only amps, but I absolutely love them.
10. How much time do you spend listening to music each week and on which systems does this listening take place (main system, car system, mobile system, office system, etc…)
I probably spend 30-40 hours per week listening to music.
5 hours per week in my car during the weeks my daughter is in school.
5 hours per week on my bedroom headphone system.
20 hours per week on my main system.
10 hours per week on my desktop / headphone system.
11. What’s the first concert you ever attended, best concert you’ve ever attended, most interesting concert venue you’ve ever attended?
First concert - Motley Crue, at the Met Center in Bloomington, MN on March 6, 1990
Best Concert - Pearl Jam, PJ20 concerts at Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI September, 3/4 2011
Most interesting venue - Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field (08/20/2018) and Fenway Park (08/06/2016)
Honorable Mention (most memorable) - Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall February 10, 2001.
12. What components are in your current audio systems and can you provide a photo?
QNAP TVS-872XT Roon Core > Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical > dCS Rossini or Berkeley Alpha DAC RS3 or EMM Labs DV2 > Constellation Audio Inspiration monoblocks > Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2 speakers.
Acoustic Room Treatments: Vicoustic Diffusion and Absorption, ATS Acoustics Bass Traps
Custom convolution filters for room correction designed by Mitch Barnett of Accurate Sound
QNAP TVS-872XT Roon Core > Sonore opticalRendu > dCS Rossini or Berkeley Alpha DAC RS3 or EMM Labs DV2 > Schiit Vidar monoblocks > RAAL-requisite SR1a headphones.
QNAP TVS-872XT Roon Core > Sonore microRendu > Mytek Brooklyn > Alclair Electro, electrostatic custom in ear monitors (IEM).
13. Anything else you’d like to say?
I want to thank the Audiophile Style community for being the best audio community in the world. Without you guys, this site wouldn't exist and I'd have to get a real job.
All images shot with Hasselblad 503CW, Zeiss / Hasselblad 50mm CFi lens, Kodak Ektar 100 or Fuji Velvia 100 film.