J. Gordon Holt (1930-2009)

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J. Gordon Holt (1930-2009)

Postby softspeaker » 08 Sep 2012, 12:45

Še kako res, respect!

http://www.audiofilodigital.com/2011/01 ... phile.html

Justin Gordon Holt (19 April 1930 – 20 July 2009) was an audio engineer and the founder of Stereophile magazine, and is widely considered to be the founder of the high-end audio movement, which promoted the philosophy of judging sound quality by subjective tests, generally with "cost no object" sound components, including loudspeakers, turntables, amplifiers, vacuum tube components, cables, and other devices. Known as "JGH" (from his byline in published reviews and articles), Holt established a reputation for veracity, often-controversial opinions, passionate critiques, and journalistic integrity. He also pioneered the concept of the yearly "Recommended Components" list, providing a thumbnail summary of reviews for audiophiles looking for the finest sound components available at any price. Holt also came up with "Holt's Law," the theory that the better the recording, the worse the musical performance—and vice-versa. (...) Source: Wikipedia.

WHERE DID WE GO WRONG ? Source: ...Stereophile !
"We seem to have come to a tacit agreement that it's no longer necessary, or even desirable, for a home music system to sound like the real thing. We speak in hushed and reverent tones about reproducing the ineffable beauty of music, when in fact much real music is harsh and vulgar and ugly. We design the all-important musical midrange out of our equipment in order to try—vainly, I might add—to recreate the illusion of three-dimensional space through what is essentially a two-dimensional reproducer. And whenever we hear a loudspeaker or a CD player that shows subversive signs of sounding more 'alive' or 'realistic' than most, we dismiss it out of hand as being too 'forward' or 'aggressive.' ...As if a lot of real music isn't forward and aggressive ! ".

"The idea that all we are trying to do is make equipment that gives the listener some sort of magical emotional response to a mystical experience called 'music' is all well and good, but it isn't what High End is all about. In fact, high fidelity was originally a reaction to the gorgeously rich-sounding console 'boom boxes' that dominated the home-music market during the 1940s !

"We've lost our direction....The High End in 1992 is a multi-million-dollar business. But it's an empty triumph, because we haven't accomplished what we set out to do. The playback still doesn't sound 'just like the real thing.' People, let's start getting back to basics. Let's put the 're' back into 'reproduction.' Let's promote products that dare to sound as 'alive' and 'aggressive' as the music they are trying to reproduce."

Strong stuff. Fifteen years later, Gordon is comfortably retired in Boulder, Colorado. I e-mailed him Labor Day to ask him about that 1992 polemic.
Do you still feel the high-end audio industry has lost its way in the manner you described 15 years ago?
Not in the same manner; there's no hope now. Audio actually used to have a goal: perfect reproduction of the sound of real music performed in a real space. That was found difficult to achieve, and it was abandoned when most music lovers, who almost never heard anything except amplified music anyway, forgot what "the real thing" had sounded like.
Today, "good" sound is whatever one likes...
Since the only measure of sound quality is that the listener likes it, that has pretty well put an end to audio advancement, because different people rarely agree about sound quality. Abandoning the acoustical-instrument standard, and the mindless acceptance of voodoo science, were not parts of my original vision.

Do you see any signs of future vitality in high-end audio?
Vitality? Don't make me laugh. Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me (...).
Hope that remembering the words of that honest master reviewer be useful to refresh the memory of most of those so called themselves "reviewers", writing about ridiculous products for ignorant multimillonaires.
And now, following those sincere comments from J. Gordon Holt, let's be consistent and return to the true origins of Hi-End... it's going to be a long run due to so many commercial interests established by most of those Audio Magazines, but I think it's well worth the effort.

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Re: J. Gordon Holt (1930-2009)

Postby Perk » 08 Sep 2012, 20:59

Takšno stanje lahko danes najdemo ne samo v audiu, ampak žal kar vsepovsod. Je pa res, da je ravno v audiu nekako največ prodajalcev megle, ki lačnim odjemalcem prodajo glih kar čejo za koliko čejo.

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