I’ve been thinking about this lately and seeing Paul McGowan’s recent related post on the subject made it hit home: no two audio systems are alike.

    Think about all the source components, speakers, cables and accessories available – what are the odds of any of us having the exact same system? And even if, say, a dealer sold the identical gear to more than one customer, their rooms are different, and the room has a major influence on a system’s sound. Of course there are commonalities – I think those who’ve heard a Quad ESL could agree on its sonic personality, for example – but consider all the above and throw in the fact that every listener is different and it’s apparent that each of us enjoys a unique experience from our audio systems. For now, just an observation – and a subject that asks for further exploration.

    In this issue: Anne E. Johnson looks at the rise, fall and rise of Rod Stewart, and gives us eight great tracks from jazz singer Nancy Wilson. WL Woodward begins a series on the outrageous life of Grateful Dead sonic mastermind Owsley “Bear” Stanley. John Seetoo examines Berlin, Lou Reed’s revered and reviled masterpiece, and talks with Ohm Acoustics’ president John Strohbeen, who has some very different ideas about loudspeaker design. Tom Gibbs goes crate digging!

    Professor Larry Schenbeck concludes his interview with musicologist Steve Waksman, who takes us further into the career of Woodstock sound man Bill Hanley. J.I. Agnew has a warm look at the history of vacuum tubes. Rich Isaacs concludes his series on progressive rock titans Gentle Giant. Dan Schwartz continues his quest for audio system perfection, this time via AC power regenerators. B. Jan Montana contributes an incisive show report on NAMM from the perspective of an audiophile. Wrapping up the issue, cartoonist James Whitworth illustrates that some audiophiles have pointed opinions, Audio Anthropology looks at 1960s DIY audio furniture and our Parting Shot takes us to the beach at Puerto Vallarta.

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