In your opinion, what is the difference between a casual music lover and a true audiophile?
In considering the true love of music, the differences seem small. On the other hand, considering the scope of technology, the differences between audiophiles can be great. Perhaps it is the nature of the music rather than the nature of the listener. So thus, there is casual music. There is serious music. Should this casual listener experience the enrapturing effect that excellent music induces upon them, it follows that they will appreciate listening and experiencing this again and again, finding new ways to improve on its delivery. Thus is born the neophyte audiophile.
What’s your favorite piece of gear in your current system?
Either my triaxial air-bearing turntable constructed from scratch, or the quad-amplified Gold Ribbon Concepts speaker system V 6.2, also from scratch. I love every component though.
How did you become an audiophile?
It was a retrospective realization. While in residency, at the hospital I had my hearing tested. “Why?” the audiologist asked. I said “I design speakers and I think my left ear is -3 dB at 18 kHz. So I need it checked.” Naturally he ignored this – until the test was done. Astonished, “How did you know this?” he asked. “It just sounds like it”. I replied. So I think it was that affirmation which make me realize I should continue to honor this gift by pushing the limit of this fascinating technology.
What advice can you give those who are new to high end sound?
Understand what the limits of your hearing might be. Formulate a sound theory which works for you upon which you would build a hifi system to meet that criteria. Be practical in your approach regarding time and finances, and know this is a work in progress, that you will always be learning. Lastly, when all the construction dust settles, or all the equipment boxes are opened, don’t forget to enjoy the music.
Which new or new to you item are you looking to add to your system?
Building in ionic plasma speaker for fun. There is really nothing my system needs, really. Possibly, very different speaker transmission cables, not sure.
In your opinion, what’s the future of hifi?
Because the ear is the most sensitive organ of the body, media vendors will, and are already, using HiFi to embrace all other avenues of media, video, 3D, gaming, commercial advertising. The compressed formats will be replaced by 192K/24 as storage costs decrease and storage density increases exponentially. Digital amplifiers’ switching speed will increase to be true fidelity and their size will greatly shrink. In 50 years, SOTA speakers will be unrecognizable. It is hard to even imagine them. And, Richard C Heyser and Nelson Pass will remain the Einsteins through the centuries.
What are your favorite recordings and/or favorite live music experiences?
I enjoyed Shpongle at Madison Square Garden this past Halloween. I brought an LP for Simon Posford or Raja Ram to sign. It was also Simon’s birthday. Just imagine. No one there had ever seen their LP. I have every one. Their LP’s fidelity is so exceptional no algorithm can process them for noise. In April Ozric Tentacles played in my home town. I was so enraptured seeing them live, I actually exclaimed “Wow, this sounds better than my stereo at home!” Then, “Of course, you fool – they are live!”.
What is your day job?
Physician. My practice also incorporates esoteric high technology.
If you could have any other job than your own, what would it be?
If the working conditions were more acceptable, the advanced propulsion projects in Area 51, or Building 8 at the KSC.
Which artists have you or would you like to meet (living or dead)?
Michelangelo, J S Bach, Brian Eno, and the Master Masons designing portions of the Vatican.
If money and time were of no consequence, what would your dream audiophile evening be?
Listening to a new design in the lab of Nelson Pass.