Let­ters

An ode to our found­ing fa­thers, and should you break in speak­ers?

Sound & Vision - - CONTENTS -

Rob Sabin’s Track One col­umn in the Jan­uary is­sue ex­cerpts com­ments on Wood­stock by for­mer edi­tor Wil­liam An­der­son. I ac­tu­ally re­mem­ber read­ing those re­marks in 1969. They’re even more laugh­ably con­de­scend­ing and out of touch to­day than they were then. How­ever, Sabin’s com­ments on his pre­de­ces­sors are no less con­de­scend­ing: “eru­dite, pipe-smok­ing, suit- and lab-coat-wear­ing type who snob­bily held the clas­si­cal genre as the stan­dard-bearer for mu­sic.”

Even with­out the snark­i­ness and stereo­typ­ing, that misses the point. An­der­son and his col­leagues in the late ’60s were help­ing to ad­vance the science of au­dio record­ing and re­pro­duc­tion. Yes, some of them had rather lim­ited tastes in mu­sic. But that may have been an ad­van­tage. Their goal was fidelity to the orig­i­nal sound, and for them that meant the sound of acous­tic in­stru­ments (a pi­ano, a pipe or­gan, a sym­phony orches­tra, an un­am­pli­fied voice). That’s a pretty re­li­able bench­mark. Think what would have hap­pened if the de­vel­op­ment process was driven by peo­ple who took Phil Spec­tor’s “Wall of Sound” style of elec­tronic ma­nip­u­la­tion as their ideal.

We take the achieve­ments of our pre­de­ces­sors too much for granted to­day. Let’s give them some credit.

Thomas V. Lento Wilm­ing­ton, DE

Thank you for your Wood­stock re­mem­brance. My buddy and I were there for the whole show (which we can prove with ticket stubs and pho­tos, thank you). You say, “As the leg­end goes, the fes­ti­val was all peacelove-dove from start to fin­ish,” and I can tell you it was no leg­end...that’s ex­actly how it was. It’s hard to be vi­o­lent when you’re stoned. We made a pil­grim­age to the site for the 40-year an­niver­sary and, de­fy­ing signs that said “Stay Off the Grass,” I took a seat on that hill­side ap­prox­i­mately where we were in 1969, only to be threat­ened with ar­rest by a rent-a-cop for vi­o­lat­ing their sign. Can you imag­ine? We were the rea­son they even had a Bethel Woods Cen­ter for the Arts, and we were be­ing chased away. I sug­gested to the gen­tle­man that the papers would have a field day: “Se­nior cit­i­zen and for­mer Wood­stock at­tendee ar­rested for sit­ting on the grass.” As a crowd had gath­ered by that time, he left me alone while I com­muned with the past. Ommm...

I also re­call your pro­gen­i­tor mag­a­zine, which I first sub­scribed to in the early ’70s. I re­mem­ber edi­tor Wil­liam An­der­son well. He could be stuffy, but the lessons he taught about au­dio value shaped my au­dio life. He would roll over in his grave if he read your re­views of $1,200 ear­buds and $40,000 speak­ers as be­ing a good value. Us­ing his prin­ci­ples, I’ve put to­gether an out­stand­ing 5.1 A/V sys­tem of Sony, Polk, and Sam­sung (60-inch screen) prod­ucts for the miserly sum of $1,700, com­plete.

I loved Stereo Re­view, and I love Sound & Vi­sion. Some things have changed but never the pas­sion we share for good sound. Keep up the good work.

Herb Gold­man Hol­ly­wood, FL

Thomas, on the con­trary, I meant no snark­i­ness or dis­re­spect in my de­scrip­tion of my fore­bears, and though it draws on a stereo­type, it’s a fair ac­count­ing of the ap­proach, tone, at­ti­tude, in­formed in­tel­li­gence, and fine writ­ing and edit­ing skills that helped es­tab­lish Stereo Re­view as the pow­er­house it be­came. And I do give im­mense credit to all of the folks who’ve held this seat be­fore me, in­clud­ing a few edi­tors-in-chief I’ve had the plea­sure of meet­ing and work­ing with in my ca­reer. This in­cludes Wil­liam Liv­ingston (22 years in the po­si­tion), who was still edi­tor emer­i­tus and an oc­ca­sional vis­i­tor to our of­fices when I first came to SR in the mid-1990s; Bill’s suc­ces­sor Louise Boundas, who was EIC at that time; her suc­ces­sor (and our cur­rent edi­tor-at-large and web edi­tor) Bob Ankosko, who took the reins in the late 1990s and was re­spon­si­ble for re­cruit­ing me to SR as a se­nior edi­tor and later for shap­ing Stereo Re­view and Video mag­a­zines into Sound & Vi­sion; and Mike Met­tler (our mu­sic edi­tor), who helmed the mag­a­zine in the years prior to its merger with Home Theater. All of these in­di­vid­u­als left their im­print and took good care of the pub­li­ca­tion while it re­mained their charge. As I’ve

said be­fore, I’m proud and even hum­bled to sit in their shad­ows.—RS

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