Welcome to the thirteenth installment of our Meet the Audiophile Style Community series. All previous installments can be found here, in the series index.
Please send me a message, email, or telegram 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, and even people in the industry are eager to participate. This series 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 and months.
Thanks to Audiophile Style community member @StephenJK for participating in volume thirteen of this series. As always, I love reading this stuff even more than publishing it. I say to myself after reading each one of these, you guys are so much more interesting than me. If I had half the talent of Stephen at home renovations, I'd be a happy guy. I also love his listening to Jazz stations from Boston and Chicago on the console stereo. Great stuff.
1. General area of the world in which you live?
North Bay, Ontario
2. General description of what you do or did for a living?
R&D for development of automation schemes for mining machinery and support systems for field projects.
3. What are your hobbies?
Home renovations. I do everything from framing, drywall, wiring, plumbing to ceramic tile and fine woodwork.
4. When did you start this wonderful journey into music listening?
As a kid growing up in northern Quebec. On cold winter nights the console stereo could pick up jazz stations in Boston and blues stations in Chicago. Went to bed most nights with the bedroom door open and listening to music playing.
5. What was your first “album?”
Long time ago! I remember by older brother had Elvis’ Golden Hits and my sister had Best of the Animals. I remember my father bringing home Bob Dylan and explaining that he had something interesting to say.
6. What does your music collection look like, number of physical records, CDs, etc... and number of “favorited” albums streamed?
We have around 1,000 CDs and 1,500 LPs. All have been ripped or recorded and stored away. All of that music is stored on a USB drive (many backup copies in other locations!) and played back from a laptop to the stereo system. Just started looking into streaming from outside sources such as Tidal – it’s early days but so far most are poor quality and hard to listen to.
7. What was your first audio component / stereo?
First real stereo that I bought new was in 1978. A Sony PS-X6 turntable, Koss CM-1020 speakers, Soundcraftsmen PE2217 preamp/equalizer and a Crown PS-400 amplifier.
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?
Yes – a pair of Klipschorn speakers that I completely rebuilt a few years ago with updated crossovers, new diaphragms for the squawkers, new tweeters and a full cabinet rebuild and refinish. We downsized our house and those monsters just don’t fit into many homes. Reluctantly they were sold to a willing buyer. The speakers I have now are better, but those Klipschorns have a unique sound.
Second would be a Revox B77 reel to reel (1/4 track, 3-3/4 and 7” ips) that I bought new in the early 80’s. It had the optional remote control, digital real time indicator, aluminum editing hubs and dust cover. I don’t know that I would use it if I still had it, but suspect that I would. I do remember what a pain recording, splicing and editing was like but maybe these days I could find pre-recorded stereo tapes that I never could before due to living in smaller communities.
9. Is there one current component that you wish you had in your system?
No, I’m happy with the system I have now. It’s been a long development path of upgrading for my wife and I and we’re happy with the system we have now. The goal has been twofold, to improve the stereo and at the same time get ready for downsizing and retirement in the next four to five years.
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...)?
We listen to music every day, but often as a background to our evening meal and conversation about our day. The TV is in the basement, the stereo is in the living room.
11. What’s the first concert you ever attended, best concert you’ve ever attended, most interesting concert venue you’ve ever attended?
First was Bachmann Turner Overdrive, in Winnipeg in 1975. Coming from a small northern town I expected a rock concert to be something magical. It wasn’t – it was awful. Somebody named Bob Seeger opened for them, nobody had heard of him but I thought he had a great sound. BTO came on and I think maybe played for a bit over an hour with a couple of encores. It was a “going through the motions” type of thing and a disappointment for many in the home town crowd.
Best concert? That’s a hard one. Certainly David Gilmour’s concert for Rattle That Lock in Toronto in 2016 would be up there. There were only a few dates in North America and the skill, passion and musicianship of that concert was stunning. Wilco in Toronto last fall for their Ode to Joy tour were everything you would want from a live concert. No chit chat, just music. We have all of their catalog on CD, but the energy and passion they pour into their live performances makes it so much more enjoyable.
Other memorable concerts would be the first time my wife and I attended the Opera in Toronto. We had season tickets for a number of years but the very first was the Canadian Opera Companies rendition of Lucia di Lammermoor sometime in the late 90’s. The soprano (Sumi Jo) made it absolutely clear why people say the best instrument is the human voice. It was the first time I actually thought someone with that type of range, power and musicality to break a glass as in that Aretha Franklin commercials for Memorex tape.
Most interesting venue? Without a doubt the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto with Daniel Lanois in 2005. The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres are the last Edwardian stacked theaters built in the vaudeville era of 1913.
12. What components are in your current audio systems and can you provide a photo?
The last and big change was trading in a Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista Phono, Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 800 integrated amp and a PS Audio Directstream Jr. for a pair of Devialet Expert Pro 440 DSP monoblocks. There were a few minor technical issues as in how to still be able to record LP’s but the sound is wonderful and continues to adapt to our needs.
13. Anything else you’d like to say?
I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with fellow enthusiasts! Growing up in northern mining towns where even TV was a single channel that went off the air at 11:00 PM meant that other entertainment options were needed. Music has, and always be an important and enjoyable part of life for my wife and I.