Opening Salvo

Not Fade Away

This issue’s cover: conductor Leopold Stokowski (1882 – 1977). One of the greatest conductors of all time, Stokowski helmed the Philadelphia Orchestra, the NBC Symphony Orchestra and other top musical organizations and appeared on many famous RCA “Living Stereo” recordings, among others.

Streaming audio is wonderful. (Well, except for artists getting stiffed – not so nice.) We can just think of a song and a few mouse clicks later, hear it.

That said, so many of us like physical media. Whether we prefer the sound of vinyl, have been buying CDs since the 1980s or just like to collect stuff (guilty as charged), there’s a certain satisfaction with owning the music and knowing it’s yours, not for rent on some server that might as well be in Andromeda.

I saw an interesting parallel at last year’s PHOTOPLUS show. Photographic film is becoming more popular. Yep, that stuff that photographers load into their cameras in the dark. One of the booths, Freestyle Photo and Imaging Supplies, even had a sign that said, “Rediscover the World of Analog Photography.” It got my attention. Freestyle’s Patrick DelliBovi informed me that these days, they’re selling a lot of film, photographic paper and even new Polaroid SX-70 cameras! He told me that among other things, their customers want tangible and physical photos, not an ephemeral digital file on a computer or cloud. Sound familiar?

In this issue: new to these pages, consumer electronics writer an Ken Sander, who used to be the road manager for Kiss, tells what it was like. Anne E. Johnson gives us a slice of Bread and a look at early string-instrument composer and lutenist John Dowland. Robert Heiblim offers insight into the demographics of today’s listener. I reminisce about Harry Pearson’s haunted house. John Seetoo offers Part One of his CanJam NYC 2020 show report. What, technically, is linearity in audio? J.I. Agnew gives us straight talk in his new series.

Tom Gibbs gets introspective and a little melancholy with reviews of Beach Bunny, Ben Watt and more. Professor Larry Schenbeck views musical landscapes from Beethoven, Ives and others. Dan Schwartz asks: why is vinyl sounding more digital? Bob Wood tells about his last radio station gig. WL Woodward concludes his series on Grateful Dead sonic wizard Owsley “Bear” Stanley. We run some readers’ responses to the question Magnepan’s Wendell Diller asked in Issue 105: Are audio dealers in trouble? James Whitworth wonders why he can’t clean up his record, Audio Anthropology indulges in some casual listening and our Parting Shot visits a desolate yet storybook landscape.