Welcome to the ninth 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 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, 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.
Thanks to Audiophile Style community member and site contributor @JoeWhip for participating in volume nine of this series. I love reading this stuff even more than publishing it. As I say to myself after reading each one of these, you guys are so much more interesting than me. I also have to thank Joe for all the music recommendations over the years and for the fantastic articles he has written for us!
1. General area of the world in which you live?
I was born and raised in the suburban Philadelphia area and have lived here my entire life. Married with two sons, one a brilliant chemist and the other a fine singer, songwriter and keyboardist now based in LA.
2. General description of what you do or did for a living?
I am a retired civil trial lawyer.
3. What are your hobbies?
Other than listening to music and attending as many musical performances as I can, my hobbies are golf, gardening and traveling. My wife and I have traveled the world and have visited all 7 continents, adding Antarctica to the list in December. We love traveling and that has all come to an abrupt halt. Can’t even golf now so have to chip and pitch in the yard. (This was written a few months ago. I believe Joe is back on the course now - CC)
4. When did you start this wonderful journey into music listening?
Music listening is part of my DNA. My dad had a rather successful band in the Philadelphia area for about 40 years. I guess I came out of the womb listening to music. One of my dad’s uncle was a well known tenor in the early 20th century, so music runs in that side of the family. My son John seems to have inherited that talent. It passed over me entirely.
5. What was your first “album?”
I have no recollection as to what my first album was. It was probably a Duke Ellington or Mel Torme album that I grabbed from my dad.
6. What does your music collection look like, number of physical records, CDs, etc... and number of “favorited” albums streamed?
Right now I have about 1000 CDs and roughly 500 LPs. The music I listen to is on a hard drive consisting of ripped CDs and downloads, of both PCM and DSD. Have a few terabytes of music for my primary listening.
7. What was your first audio component / stereo?
My first piece of audio equipment was one of those small box record players, a toy really, but it played albums and 45’s. I have a nice collection of all 45’s from the late 60’s through the 80)s, as my dad used to buy them to transcribe the music into a fakebook for the band. He wrote them all out in the key of C and transposed them on the fly. I wish I could do that. My first stereo that I purchased was a Lafayette receiver and Advent speakers and an Ariston turntable. I think.
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 tend to keep the stuff I buy for along time. So the short answer is no.
9. Is there one current component that you wish you had in your system?
If I could add one component, it would be a fancy blingy reel to reel tape deck. In all seriousness, I would like to add a nice streamer to supplement my laptop. I have had two in my system on loan but I was not impressed, especially for the money. I have my eye on the Sonore system as a buddy has the older one with AES and the new USB system and they both sound great. Maybe later this year.
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...)?
As a general rule, I usually listen in the dedicated audio space from two to four hours a day. I have done a good bit of listening on my iPad via YouTube with my headphones and occasionally in my Model 3 which has a very nice sound system. WRTI HD in Philly has very nice sound.
11. What’s the first concert you ever attended, best concert you’ve ever attended, most interesting concert venue you’ve ever attended?
The first concert I attended was probably watching my dad’s band. The first real concert was the Duke Ellington Big Band before the Duke passed away. There is nothing like the sound of a big band. Wow. I was lucky enough to see Joe Williams fronting the Count Basie Band at the Academy of Music in Philly. We sat in the peanut gallery and the sound was sublimed. The opening act? Herbie Hancock and Buster Williams. As for my favorite concert, I would have to say Stevie Wonder at the late, great Devon Music Fair in the mid 80’s. Stevie was alone on the turntable stage with the band on the floor around the stage. That concert was like a religious revival and was Stevie at his best. Three hours I think. As for concert venues, the Village Vanguard in New York is incredible, drip ping with history and great sound. The two most interesting venues, the Sydney Opera House and the Grand Opera House in Vienna. The Opera House in Vienna has sublime sound, at least where we were sitting.
12. What components are in your current audio systems and can you provide a photo?
My system consists of a Spectral DMC 5 pre amp, a McCormack DNA1 amp that was rebuilt by Steve McCormack to the gold signature package in 2019, a Schiit Yggy 2 with the Unison USB card, Vandersteen 3A Signature speakers. I use an Oyaide USB cable from their DJ line and Audioquest interconnects and speaker cables I bought in the 90’s. I have two 20 amp dedicated circuits into the room from a nearby pony panel. The amp is plugged into wall and the rest of the kit into an isolation transformer. The Macbook laptop is plugged into a separate circuit completely. Power cords are also from the 90’s. I guess they were spiffy back in the day but were gifts from friends in the business. I have tried others in the interim but didn’t hear any obvious improvement.
VPI Mark III table with. Kuzma Stogi arm and a clear audio gamma s cartridge.
13. Anything else you’d like to say?
My philosophy is buy good equipment and make sure you put it in a good space that is optimized for sound. You don’t need fancy traps and the like, I use regular furniture, rugs and the like. Listening to music should be fun. Fix your room to avoid chasing your tail. Sure, there is plenty of BS in this hobby, but please buy what you like and enjoy it.