Keep on walkin’ / Don’t look back. The Temptations 1965 R&B hit single “Don’t Look Back” may as well be the official hifi reviewer’s anthem.
The endless parade of the new, and I am obviously right there with the rest, could leave one with the impression that anything older than last week’s review is old news. Thanks to friends and colleagues and a personal history in hifi that stretches back to the ’70s (that’s the 1970s in case you weren’t sure), I’ve been reminded on a fairly regular basis about the glory contained in hifi past.
My favorite room at High End Munich each time I’ve attended has come courtesy of Korea-based Silbatone Acoustics who invariably have uber-rare-fi from Western Electric coupled with contemporary electronics designed by J.C. Morrison and analog rigs from Frank Schröder and Thomas Schick, with Joe Roberts presiding over the festivities. Joe Roberts, you may remember, was the Editor of the much-loved Sound Practices magazine which ran from 1992 to 1997.
While we’re strolling down favorite hifi publications lane, my own journey into the heart of hifi writing began with Art Dudley’s Listener Magazine where I learned that writing about hifi could be fun, interesting, and educational while also talking about things other than hifi (sound familiar?).
Which brings me to our new feature, Flashback-Fi. I’ve known Adam Wexler for many years, our friendship got its start at one of John DeVore’s Monkeyhaus events. Adam is the proprietor of Stereo Buyers, a buyer and seller extraordinaire of used hifi gear based in Brooklyn’s lovely Red Hook neighborhood (it still feels like one and if you squint you can still imagine that regular people can afford to live there). I say extraordinaire because Adam always has tons (and tons) of extraordinary hifi gear coming and going through his shop.
One day as was perusing Adam’s latest collection of gear on offer from the selling arm of Adam’s business, High-End Audio Auctions, on Instagram, I thought — wouldn’t it be cool to listen to some of this great gear and write about it? I’m not claiming that was an original idea as many have gone here before including Art Dudley and Herb Reichert, another favorite writer and friend, but it still felt exciting.
So that’s what I’m going to do for our new Flashback-Fi feature. Along with Adam’s assistance and inventory, I’ll be pulling out some choice pieces from his mega-stock rooms and bringing them into the Barn for a closer look and listen.
The first piece is already on its way from Red Hook to the Barn so you’ll be hearing more about that very soon. Here’s a hint:
opening image: ‘L’Enigme d’Isidore Ducasse, Man Ray (1920)