Welcome to the fourth installment of our Meet the Audiophile Style Community series. All installments can be found here, in the series index.
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.
Thanks to Audiophile Style community member @Solstice380 for participating in volume three of this series. I love reading this stuff even more than publishing it.
1. General area of the world in which you live?
2. General description of what you do or did for a living?
R&D Engineer – primarily in active electronic materials and devices including RF dielectric filters, medical ultrasound arrays, electro-optic devices and vibration analysis - all apps use the same family of materials. I have been lucky enough to do significant international travel in my career and am happy to have friends that I can stay with when on personal trips.
3. What are your hobbies?
Boat maintenance… I mean Sailing, House repair (by necessity!). I was an avid LP collector until the flood hit. When I saw the insurance check for the LPs I choked at how much money I had spent over the years. Now I'll have to peddle the rest on e-Bay to support my retirement when I get there!
4. When did you start this wonderful journey into music listening?
My father was into Big Band jazz and swing so that was always playing in the house growing up. Mom and Dad went dancing most Saturday nights. I played trumpet in jazz and marching band, and French horn in concert band, through high school. My brothers are both over 10 years older than I so when they got into music in the mid- to late-60s I listened to what they played. Started with Dave Clark Five, Jan and Dean, Beach Boys, etc. and quickly changed to the Dead, New Riders, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Jimi and Janice, etc. My oldest brother had started college hehehe.
In college I landed a DJ spot on the U radio station and got hooked up with the tech guys on the Student Activities Board. We did the coffee house setups, etc., with a nice 16 channel board, Crown amps, a couple dozen Shure 57s and Audio-Technica microphones and E-V, Voice of the Theatre and Peavey speaker setups. I also started renting out the system, and myself, to local bands for gigs in the area. We also put on the movies, guest lectures and concerts. We lost $50K on Renaissance and $30K on Marshall Tucker concerts so they disbanded everything! Renaissance was a hoot - they were all tripping. Annie Haslam has an amazing voice and she went from laughing to talking to singing in one sentence when we were in the prep room. Some of the riders that came in with the requests for refreshments and goodies were funny. Some just listed their booze and others spec'd what kind of mints they wanted. Good stories from those times – at least the ones I remember.
5. What was your first “album?”
I bought a few cut-outs while I was in college but spent most of my money on beer and weed. I still have my copy of Talking Heads ’77!
6. What does your music collection look like, number of physical records, CDs, etc… and number of “favorited” albums streamed?
Lost half of my LPs and a third of my CDs in a flood a couple years ago. Still have ~2000 LPs, 2500 CDs left to rip and 4 TB of ripped and downloaded files. 0 streaming currently.
7. What was your first audio component / stereo?
When I got my first position out of college I got a Denon integrated and turntable with ADS stand mount speakers from a Tweeter Etc. on the north shore of Boston. I became good friends with the salesman and ultimately was the Best Man at his wedding. He went to work with Henry Kloss when they started projection TVs and then became VP of Sales for Boston Acoustics. One of our gang was on his way up at ADS and later became the national for Panasonic mobile audio. Another was finishing up at Berklee and then went to work for AVID. I took the dull career path!
I moved up to Thiel 3.6s, an Aragon 4004 amp and a Mark Levinson ML-28 preamp when I lived in Albuquerque. Went to college about 1 1/2 hours from where McIntosh Labs is and we got a tour. Late 70s, mind you. Also was near Corning Glass Works and got a couple tours there. That was about the start of fiber optics when lasers took up a whole room.
I've put together my current system over the last 10 years. I probably won't make any more major changes / investments. Need to save for retirement!
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?
All of them, I’m a hoarder. I still have 2 pairs of Thiel speakers in my storage. But of all I would probably like to have the ML-28 Preamp with MC Phono. That was my first truly high-end component.
9. Is there one current component that you wish you had in your system?
Not really. But if someone wanted to give me a pair of Constellation Mono 1.0s I’d take 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…)
Usually 10-15 hours total. When I’m not traveling for biz it’s 10-15 hours on the main system and 2-3 to SiriusXM in the vehicles. When I’m traveling it’s Hi-res from Onkyo HF Player on an iPad/iPhone > Oppo HA-2 dac/amp > Etymotic Research IEMs (1 pair 20 year old ER-4S and one pair newer ER4XR)
11. What’s the first concert you ever attended, best concert you’ve ever attended, most interesting concert venue you’ve ever attended?
I’ve been lucky to see some memorable shows. Missed some days at college traveling to see concerts. But, we drove 3 hours to Syracuse Univ. in '80 to see Frank Zappa and I had 2 finals the next day - made it back and somehow aced both! A 2 week Grateful Dead road trip on the East Coast in a station wagon with 4 buddies. The Dead, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at RFK in 86. Aaron Copeland conducting the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra doing the American suite. Little Village (Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, etc.) at the Orpheum in Minneapolis. My buddy and I drove 7 hours each way to see The Who on their "mid-90s final tour" at the Colorado State U. stadium in Boulder - in <24 hours. Steely Dan at the Shoreline Amphitheater in 94. Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan at the Fox Theatre in Detroit (truly magnificent restored venue) and they did 5 songs together. Chris Thile’s band warmed up for Paul Simon there, too. Detroit Opera 2 seasons (2 too many, sorry!). I still have 2 gallon-size zip-lock bags of ticket stubs, and most of my faculties.
12. What components are in your current audio systems and can you provide a photo?
I9-9900KS / RTX-2080 based server, HQPlayer > SOtM modded switch > SOtM or NUC NAA
McIntosh D150 DAC / MCT-450 CD/SACD Player combo, dCs Debussy, Lampizator Golden Atlantic balanced, DSD512 engine
VPI Scoutmaster TT, Shelter 501 Mk II
Misc: Sony HD FM Radio, SiriusXM Tuner, Magnum Dynalab FT-101 Etude FM Tuner, Senn HD700 cans
McIntosh C500 SS Preamp > McIntosh MC452 Amp > Wilson Audio Yvettes
Dedicated 20A line, 2 PS Audio P10 AC regenerators, Uptone JS-2 and LPS-1 PSUs and Iso-Regens
Transparent Audio Ultra Cables, Y.F.S. and LUSH USB, Blue Jeans CAT6 network
GIK Room Treatments (bass traps, wall absorber and diffuser panels)
13. Anything else you’d like to say?
My listening pleasure wouldn’t be what it is today without everything that I’ve learned from CA / AS members. The technology/product insights and music recommendations have been invaluable.