Art Dudley Listening

Sort By:  Post Date TitlePublish Date
Art Dudley  |  May 29, 2020  |  48 comments
During the years I lived in New York City and environs, I never learned my way around Brooklyn—something I now regret, given that borough's emergence as a hotbed of audio creativity: our industry's Laurel Canyon, so to speak. Such gone-but-not-forgotten brands as Futterman and Fi were manufactured there, and today Brooklyn is home to DeVore Fidelity, Lamm Industries, Mytek Digital, Grado Labs, Ohm Acoustics, and Oswalds Mill Audio.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 21, 2020  |  48 comments
It may come as no surprise that the two Recommended Components issues we publish every year, in April and October, are Stereophile's most popular. Both go hand-in-hand with increases in single-copy sales and subscription requests, and it's worth noting that equipment and record suppliers line up to get their ads into those issues.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2020  |  51 comments
In my January 2020 Listening column, I wrote about a place where three things overlap: the joys (and benefits) of being a record collector, the natural tendency to grow and challenge ourselves as listeners, and the need to forgive ourselves for the shortcomings of our youth. The hook was the story of how I started out disliking the music of guitarist John Fahey (1939–2001) and ended up loving it. But it could just as easily have been about cooking or hiking or Jethro Tull or any of a number of other things.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 03, 2020  |  46 comments
The stars are matter. We are matter. But it doesn't matter.Don Van Vliet

Only sensibilities trained on poetry can wholly appreciate it.T.S. Eliot (writing about Djuna Barnes's Nightwood)

In the 17th century, steam engines began appearing throughout Europe and Asia, ushered into existence by any number of different inventors. More recently, multiple inventors conceived and cooked up the atomic bomb, the jet engine, and the solid-body electric guitar.

Art Dudley  |  Jan 28, 2020  |  87 comments
Only recently did I learn that successive generations of the Chevrolet Corvette are referred to by the cognoscenti with two-character alpha-numeric identifiers: C1, C2, C3, and so on. I learned this while reading about the most recent version—C8, known to non-cognoscenti as the 2020 Corvette—which happens to be the first version since C2 that impresses me. (I say that as one who used to work for the owner of a C3, a then-middle-aged male who actually boasted, while under the influence, that he and two of his C3-owning friends drove them solely because their juvenile styling attracted juveniles. Rest assured I left his employ within days of that revelation.)
Art Dudley  |  Jan 02, 2020  |  14 comments
During my first attempt at college, I lived in a dormitory where my next- door neighbors had an informal trade in pharmaceuticals; their most ardent customers were my neighbors across the hall. One of the latter was a fellow named Pete, a good-natured guy (if a bit sanctimonious in his disdain for music he considered insufficiently bluesy) whose heavy rotation list was, at the time, topped by John Fahey's The Voice of the Turtle. I merely disliked the record the first time I heard it, but in the days ahead I came to loathe it. I found it repetitive, masturbatory, technically inept, and dead boring. Pete hated my music, too.
Art Dudley  |  Nov 20, 2019  |  24 comments
Some loss of innocence is expected with both age and experience. Because I tick both boxes, and in spite of my best efforts to the contrary, I'm often a bit blasé in the face of new review samples. I wasn't with this one.

A brief recap: At the 2018 High End show in Munich, UK-based SME announced that they had taken steps to reintroduce the classic Garrard 301, a transcription turntable that's been out of production for more than half a century. At the time of its introduction—production began in 1953—success for the British-built 301 was instant. It was also enduring; it stayed in production through 1965.

Art Dudley  |  Oct 22, 2019  |  52 comments
"Let's get real, real gone for a change."—Elvis

I.
As Plato mentioned in The Sophist and thousands of art historians have noted in the years since, Greek sculptors distorted the human figure by enlarging the head and shoulders. They did it on purpose. If they didn't, when viewed from below, it would look wrong. Poets—real ones, I mean—distort smaller truths in order to create larger ones.

Art Dudley  |  Oct 02, 2019  |  35 comments
Godzilla and I are precisely the same age: We were both born in 1954, Godzilla as an expression of the postwar fears of a nation uniquely aware of the horrors of nuclear armaments, I as an expression of the postwar comfort felt by an American veteran fresh from foreign wars. We both dislike being awakened from our slumber, and we're both unusually handsome.
Art Dudley  |  Aug 20, 2019  |  25 comments
This is a story about a $1375 commercial turntable accessory and a free tweak—the latter discovered while installing the former, although the two things exist quite independently of one another.

Here's how it all went down: Earlier this year, I was sent a review sample of a perfectionist-quality platter bearing called the Buddha Bearing, intended for Garrard 301 and 401 turntables. I was happy to receive such an interesting product but slow in trying it, partly because my record player sounded so good at the time that I didn't want to go tearing it all apart, and partly because there were other review samples in line ahead of the Buddha Bearing.

Art Dudley  |  Jul 25, 2019  |  5 comments
Products come and go. Some impress more than others, and in our little world, the ones that impress the most wind up in Class A of our semiannual "Recommended Components" feature.

After a product makes it to that list, if Stereophile's reviewers go more than a few years without hearing it again—in a home system or a dealer's showroom or even at an audio show—that product falls off the list, usually quietly. Thus, if a reviewer is maximally knocked out by a piece of playback gear, yet the fates allow neither a purchase nor an extended loan, he or she or someone else on staff must endeavor to borrow it again so it can stay recommended.

Art Dudley  |  Jun 27, 2019  |  25 comments
It all started when I moved my playback system from my 11' by 16' living room to my 12' by 17' family room: The latter has proven the better-sounding setting, and it's also sunnier and more accessible—and the floor is more level and stable. (The family room is a circa-2005 addition on a 1936 house.) And now that my speakers and my racks of gear have been removed from the living room, there's room for bookcases, books, and people who aren't me.
Art Dudley  |  May 21, 2019  |  34 comments
It's a toss-up: The house where my family and I lived for 15 years was bigger than the one we have now, and had a much nicer view. On the other hand, we now live in a less economically depressed region, as suggested by the relative scarcity of inflatable lawn decorations. During the last year I saw in my neighborhood far fewer leprechauns, reindeer, Easter Bunnies, purple-and-green Draculas, and turkeys wearing pilgrim hats (which makes about as much sense as Russian soldiers wearing lederhosen). I find those things unspeakably sad, because they're horrible, cheap, gaudy wastes of money.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 30, 2019  |  13 comments
There's a noise I make when I'm having trouble with something inanimate: a deep, growly huff that starts in my diaphragm and comes out in one or two quick, staccato bursts. I huff this huff when I drop a tool or can't budge a seized bolt or the bottom falls out of a trash bag. It annoys my family and scares my dog.

I made that noise at least a half-dozen times while installing and setting up the Wand, a unipivot tonearm designed and manufactured by Design Build Listen Ltd., in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Art Dudley  |  Mar 26, 2019  |  31 comments
The world's a place of horrors
Because each man thinks he's right
—Loudon Wainwright III

As a teen, I loved spending time in musical-instrument shops. Now, with exceptions, the experience is reliably depressing.

Last Saturday was exemplary: I walked into my local supermarket of sound to buy a set of guitar strings, and was at once assaulted by the racket of two gunslingers trying to outshoot each other. Combatant No.1, a fiftysomething male with an elaborate dye job, had hold of a new Martin dreadnought acoustic guitar, on which he aggressively demonstrated his repertoire of Stephen Stills licks.

Pages

X