It’s been a very long 24 months for everyone but we’re still here and publishing almost 80 articles a month in 2022. Both Brian and I are very grateful to have such dedicated writers who continue to create incredible content each week. We have almost 40 reviews planned for the next 3 months including some great products from Acoustic Energy, Sonus faber, McIntosh, HiFiMAN, Naim, Rega, Pro-Ject, NAD, DALI, Bluesound, Focal, KLH, Schiit Audio, Audio-Technica, Grado Labs, Grell Audio, and many more…
We’re definitely sticking with the affordable audio side of things; although there will be the occasional products below $5,000 that are truly worth checking out — probably less than 5 or 6 for the rest of 2022.
We have some incredible new podcasts, videos, show coverage, and articles planned for the rest of the year so don’t forget to check us out on a daily basis. We will be at CanJam NYC 2022 in a few weeks — and possibly even Montreal in March if conditions permit.
We hit an important milestone with 440,000 visits last month and that’s huge for a publication like this; we promise to never do commercials for hair replacement products on our YouTube channel.
We’ve sent out these questions to our staff and industry friends and plan on publishing these answers over the next few months. We hope you find them enlightening and somewhat frightening.
What was Your Best Audio Purchase?
There have been so many since 1987 that it’s almost impossible to pick just one. The best tube amplifier was the Wavelength Audio Duetto from Gordon Rankin. Hated selling that to pay the divorce attorney way back in the day.
I definitely miss the MartinLogan reQuest speakers the most. I’ve never owned anything better. I would buy a used pair but the cost of replacing the 20 year-old panels would be very high. I do plan on buying a pair of used MartinLogan Aerius i for my living room system; I owned a pair when they were first introduced and probably should have kept them.
I owned 3 of Don Garber’s Fi amplifiers and had to sell them when I moved overseas. Just a lovely man who created fantastic pieces of art. There was something extraordinary about them that I have not seen in anything else since. A true loss when he passed away a few years ago.
What was Your Worst Audio Purchase?
I don’t even have to think very hard about this one. I was somewhat obsessed with Copland back in 1998 and owned 4 of their components. I had zero issues with the integrated amplifier, power amplifier, or CD player — but the Copland CTA-301 MKII pre-amplifier was a disaster from the moment I hooked it up.
I had a local Copland dealer in Ontario and I was able to listen to all of the components in his store before pulling the trigger on a purchase. It was also around the time that I started reviewing equipment and I had the chance to listen to the preamp with 4-5 different turntables which all sounded very good with it.
The CTA-301 MKII was a very expensive purchase and it broke almost once a month for a year. I couldn’t wait to sell it. I lost almost $1,000 on it and decided that I was done with the brand for life. I love how their products look and I did enjoy the sound quality while it lasted.
Dream Audio Component?
A pair of MartinLogan CLS IIz or Apogee Duetta II loudspeakers with the appropriate stack of Krell amplifiers from the same period. Two REL subwoofers to fill in the bottom octaves.
I own close to 3,700 films on DVD, laserdisc, Blu-ray, and UHD 4K and it’s no secret that I love movies more than music. I love music and have accumulated thousands of records and CDs over the past 40 years but I am a child of the 1970s who fell in love with the cinema in 1977 and I’ve never looked back. 600+ pieces of Star Wars memorabilia and counting.
I have a favorite film but I’d rather share the 10 films that helped shape me in very different ways instead.
Stalag 17 is my favorite film for a myriad of reasons including William Holden finally getting recognized for his incredible body of work. It inspired so many other WW2 films and a rather famous television show.
The Empire Strikes Back and Blade Runner blew my mind in 1980 and I’ll confess to owning some expensive posters from both films that made my accountant mad when I purchased them almost 17 years ago as an investment. I look at them now as beautiful pieces of art in the hallway that will be passed down to the kids.
Slap Shot is still too crude for the kids to watch but I grew up in the Great White North and have played the frozen game for over 40 years; it was one of my childhood fantasies to be an NHL goaltender and raise the Stanley Cup in my hometown. Paul Newman was perfect in the role of Reg Dunlop and I own 2 Charlestown Chiefs jerseys that feel very old time hockey. I do manage to put on the foil at least once or twice a year now with my childhood friends.
The Best Years of Our Lives, The Bad Sleep Well, and Yojimbo had a profound impact on my appreciation of veterans, corporate culture, and my appreciation of John Ford, Akira Kurosawa, and Toshiro Mifune.
I’m a proud Zionist and Orthodox Jew and I have been collecting Jewish and Israeli films since I was old enough to pay for them myself. Exodus and The Ten Commandments are viewed once a year in our home as part of our observance of Passover and as a reminder to my children about our family history in the Holocaust and Israel (from 1922 when we helped start Kibbutz Yagur outside of Haifa). Yagur was the basis for the kibbutz used in the book and film (another Paul Newman classic) and I take enormous pride in my Jewish and Israeli heritage.
Double Indemnity and Lawrence of Arabia are monthly movies for me. Two brilliant films that I can watch over and over again.
I find it easier to list my favorite musicians or composers than individual albums because nobody wants to read a list of 100 or more records.
Rush were my heroes growing up. Geddy Lee’s mother (Mary Weinrib passed away on July 2nd, 2021) survived Auschwitz with my Bubie and both were liberated from Bergen-Belsen in 1945 before they both ended up in the Toronto suburbs. I bought my first bass at 17 and tortured my family for almost a decade pretending to be Geddy. I am forever grateful to Neil, Geddy, and Alex for a lifetime of shows and opening my mind to music in all of its facets.
Rush, Dvorak, The Who, Lee Morgan, Robert Cray, Sarah Vaughan, Elvis, Eric Dolphy, Green Day, Bruce Hornsby, Monk, Depeche Mode, Queen, Aaron Copland, Ennio Morricone, Vangelis, Tori Amos, Billie Holiday, Angus Young, Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Peter Gabriel, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Bill Frisell, Talking Heads, Lou Donaldson, Miles Davis, John Prine, and Donald Byrd.
Musicians or Bands I Really Dislike
Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, The Grateful Dead, R.E.M., The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and Santana. Roger Waters ruined Pink Floyd for me with his virulent anti-Israel BDS activism.
I was diagnosed late with bipolar disorder and I’ve managed to build a very fulfilling life while combatting mental illness in a very real way for a few decades. My ability to write 70 articles a month is both a blessing and a curse. I’ve managed to squeeze in being the Director of Marketing at 3 companies, 5 years as a cook/chef, and over 25 years as a professional writer and editor. I understand what it means to lose one’s freedom and mind. Until you’ve had someone take it away from you and strap you to a bed in the dark awaiting a body cavity search at 3 am — you don’t really understand what freedom means.
Favorite Sports Teams
Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals, Houston Astros, Arsenal, Peterborough Petes, Hershey Bears, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Buffalo Stallions
Jerusalem, Haifa, Washington D.C., Bologna, Houston, and Montreal
3 hot veal sandwiches, matzo ball soup, dim sum, and two smoked meat sandwiches from Schwartz’s in Montreal. 3 ice cold Brio Chinottos to wash it all down. I could care less about my weight on my last day. After running my daily 4 miles and taking 100 slap shots at the garage door.
Favorite Record Store
Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street in Toronto. I would not have become an audiophile or cared about music had I not walked into this store as a kid in 1979. Multiple floors of music and across the street from my favorite video game arcade on the longest street in the world.
James Ellroy, Cormac McCarthy, George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, Franz Kafka, and Sholem Aleichem
Being alive. My children. Israel. Being Jewish. Princess Leia.
February 10, 2022 at 5:06 pm
Great article. Equipment I miss: Rogers LS35a, Dahlquist DQ10s, Klipsch LaScallas, Pair of Dynaco ST 70s, in mono.
February 10, 2022 at 11:19 pm
Any mention of Sam the Record Man brings back a flood of memories.
I still remember walking up to the counter with long hair 1/2 way down my back and the requisite leather jacket purchasing an armload of classical music. The looks of puzzlement were priceless.
I left Canada 25 years ago, but still miss Subway’s “hot assorted” subs and of course the late Sam the Record Man
February 11, 2022 at 1:37 am
I left in 1989. Sam the Record Man was as important to me as Maple Leaf Gardens or my local synagogue.
I remember going to either Harvey’s for a burger or California Sandwich for a veal before I spent all of my money.
February 13, 2022 at 3:13 am
Aah sams. Video arcade first run across the street to Sam’s Always tried to make sure I had enough left for an album. And of course always stare at all the musicians signatures on every inch of spare space in the store. Sam may be long gone but the sign still survives in his memory.
February 13, 2022 at 3:04 pm
Funland? I spent countless hours across the street playing video games from 1983 to 1987.
I would take the subway from St. Clair/Yonge down to the Eaton Centre and walk up the street.
I would walk across the street to StRM, buy a few albums, get a panzerotti somewhere (which annoyed my parents who owned Mother’s Pizza), and waked up to Carlton Street to meet my Uncle who had tickets for the Leafs.