In memoriam

Prev Next

In memoriam

Dammit. Friends and great people should stick around.

I guess it's just part of the cycle but that doesn't mean I have to like it or even accept it.

My good friend of many, many decades, Tony Cordesman, passed away. 

Tony was a wonderful listener and a great reviewer. He was also an advisor to presidents and a top secret kind of spooky guy. How he managed to squeeze all that into a single lifetime I'll never know. I suspect, though, that while Tony was this amazing internationally famous sought after expert, his real love was high end audio.

One funny story. Back in 1985, PS Audio made a power amplifier we named the 200C. The circuit was designed by the late Dr. Bob Odell. The chassis, power supply, copper bus bars, perforated top cover, and internal layout was all me.

And that's where the trouble started.

I had always been enamored with the look of the big Audio Research tube amps. And this 200C gave them a sonic run for their money. It was about the closest anyone had yet gotten. And so, I reckoned we'd add a perf top to the amp to look like those tube jobs.

Tony was excited to be among the first to get his hands on one for review (he was then a Stereophile reviewer). He'd call me every few days, excited to know when we could ship. We were still trying to figure out how to stabilize the beast's circuit as, on very rare occasions, it had an unfortunate tendency to launch into a self oscillation mode which then melted down the circuit.

Against all the rules I should have followed, but didn't, I shipped out the amp to Tony with the caveat we were still tweaking but this is representative of its performance. All true.

Tony got the amp, loved it, was ready to write his review when the amp decided it had had enough and released all of its pent up blue smoke (you know, that magic blue smoke just waiting to escape). And when the 200C went up in smoke there was quite a show that could be seen through that stupid perf metal top cover I so lusted after.

Turns out Tony had left the amp on (as any good audiophile would do) and went to his day job. His wife heard something in the living room and saw the billowing plume of blue rising out of the internal sparks and flames. She panics, grabs a fire extinguisher, and douses the beast.

Now the story gets worse.

When Tony comes back home he's told to move every piece of electronics from the family living room out to the enclosed porch at the side of the house. Banished from the living room. Only the speakers may stay.

You can only guess the phone call we had. I felt awful. Tony just laughed it off.

The review came out, you can read it here, and the only mention of this disaster was in his footnote:

"Footnote 2: Like all PS Audio products, the 200C had some early teething problems. If you have a lower serial number than mine, you should have been contacted; if you haven't been, call PS to see if any adjustment to your amp is needed.—AHC"

That was really kind. 

Tony was a good friend and a great soul.

We all will miss him.

Back to blog
Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

Never miss a post


Related Posts

1 of 2