Another Audiophile obituary


http://www.legacy.com/guestbooks/mcall/peter-aczel-condolences/185898962?cid=full

I just saw this today. Peter wasn't popular with many audiophiles due to his position and attitude. I did subscribe to his magazine for awhile though. Joe
jnovak
Peter was not popular with many audiophiles because he was NOT an audiophile.  
Mathematician, yes, logician, sure, audiophile, not at all.

Nonetheless, sorry to hear of his passing. RIP Peter.
I also enjoyed Peter's writings, even if I sometimes disagreed. I was also saddened to hear of the passing of reviewer Alvin Gold last week. I really enjoyed his intelligent and entertaining reviews. He was one of my favorites. 
Peter was a bit of a self-righteous, smug a-h. Kind of like a recovering alcoholic who now lectures everyone on the evils of drinking. Alvin Gold, being British, really knew his hi-fi. I hope Ken Kessler writes a piece on him.
Ah, Alvin -- read him a lot back in the day in the UK. RIP good man. Peter was more of a mystery to me, seemed to have an agenda, but what's new? Sorry to hear of any good writer's passing.
Peter was not popular with many audiophiles because he kept hitting them over the head with reality
His take on reality, which he insisted you share.
Sad to hear of the passing of Peter Aczel. His publication "The Audio Critic" threw down the gauntlet against the Subjectivists - Harry Pearson's TAS and J.Gordon Holt's "Stereophile". Aczel was an Objectivist who believed that listening alone was inadequate for reviewing audio equipment. A component that measured bad would sound bad.This approach was first used by the esteemed British publication " HiFi News" in 1956. So the combination of listening + measurements yielded the truth of a component's musical accuracy.                    Aczel was an early supporter of the superiority of digital over analog recording and playback. He found no difference in sound quality between a Sony Discman and a Theta DA converter.His playback system included Boulder electronics and Quad 63 speakers.                                                                         We the intelligent music listeners will miss you, Peter!

With the good comes the bad.....he had an ownership stake in a speaker company that coincidentally received a rave review in his publication without disclosure of the relationship.   He later solicited existing subscribers for a long term subscription renewal at an attractive price.  He subsequently published a few more issues, then disappeared, taking all of the subscriber funds with him.    I think he later tired to resurrect the Audio Critic, without compensating previous subscribers.  
Well all this talk goes to show what happens when you die. They sell your equipment give the opinions about you and talk about you before the dirt under you settles then forget about you the next day. Everybody has their own angle. Enjoy the music everyone before you are dead and gone! 
R.I.P Charles Threatt and David Baskin. Both of you could be hell at times but you both had damn good ears! 
Most people don't know this, but over the past couple of decades, Peter suffered from severe hearing loss.  Like many people of a certain age, he literally could not hear.  You didn't get to see that in print.  While he did have his fans, following Peter Aczel would be the audio equivalent of the blind leading the blind.
RIP Peter. A voice of reason amongst an audio journalism community that has become mostly hype

There is is a strong anti-objectivist sentiment reflected on these forums. Objectivists must be either deaf or with an agenda while subjectivists hear angels from their fuses or speaker wires. It is distasteful to me that an objectivist is vilified upon his passing. 
"Objectivists must be either deaf...:

Only in your case Shadorne.

shadorne
RIP Peter. A voice of reason amongst an audio journalism community that has become mostly hype.

>>>>Actually, unless I miss my guess, he wasn’t a voice of reason, he was just an unapologetic naysayer.

shadorne
There is is a strong anti-objectivist sentiment reflected on these forums. Objectivists must be either deaf or with an agenda while subjectivists hear angels from their fuses or speaker wires. It is distasteful to me that an objectivist is vilified upon his passing.

>>>>Huh? He was always vilified by real audiophiles when he was alive. Nothing has changed. You’re just trying to rewrite history. He wasn’t an objectivist or a real skeptic or audio critic. He was simply a naysayer and pseudo skeptic. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck. What you do in life lives after you. 


Skeptics will always be vilified by people who want to believe in magical power cords that sound brilliant.  Completely disregarding that the cable between the power station and your house costs 10 cents a foot.  Plug in a magical conditioner and all will be well.  Magical speaker cable that defies the laws of physics.... ROFL..... RIP Peter
Well the subsequent comments to my remark certainly prove my point. In fact, I cannot think of a more concrete proof that those who dismiss extreme hype are vilified here by the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx.
This is sad news, regardless of what one may think of Mr. Aczel's audio-related ideologies and positions, or his publication.  To any of his friends or family who may read this at some point, I extend my sincere sympathies.

Regarding his audio-related beliefs and his publication, the following is excerpted from a post I made here a couple of years ago in this thread:

Regarding Mr. Aczel's credibility as a reviewer, it is perhaps noteworthy that over the years there were in effect two Peter Aczel's. There was the Peter Aczel who published "The Audio Critic" prior to its nearly seven year hiatus between early 1981 and late 1987 (that period closely coinciding with the existence of the Fourier Systems speaker company, of which he was President and part owner). And then there was the metamorphosed Peter Aczel who resumed publication of "The Audio Critic" following that period.

During that second period ... Aczel fervently maintained that all amplifiers meeting certain basic criteria sound identical. And much of what he had to say in each of his issues was devoted to attacking the high end community and its publications.

Prior to that hiatus, however, his reviews were typified by statements such as the following, which I've extracted at random from a couple of his issues:

[The Amber Series 70 amplifier] has a nice, solid bottom; a midrange that lacks the ultimate transparency obtainable at much higher prices but is open and musical nonetheless; and a clearly etched top end that doesn't harden or smear even when the program material has a wide dynamic range and is rich in high-frequency energy.
(Volume 2, Number 3, Spring through Fall 1980)

[The Bedini Model 45/45 amplifier] is supposed to be a scaled-up version of the Model 25/25, with everything essentially the same except the bigger power supply. Well, there's one other thing that isn't the same in our opinion, and that's the sound. The Model 45/45 isn't even unequivocally superior to a good sample of the Hafler DH-200, at one third the price, let alone the smaller Bedini or the JVC. Where the Model 25/25 is utterly smooth and edgeless, the 45/45 exhibits that characteristic little transistory zing and hardening, and its midrange transparency and delineation of high-frequency detail are merely good, not great.
(Volume 2, Number 2, Summer/Fall/Year-End 1979)
Regarding the alleged conflict of interest with the Fourier Systems speaker company:  In fairness, the first TAC issue published following the long hiatus, and following the demise of Fourier Systems, included a lengthy and very detailed recounting by Mr. Aczel of his side of the story. He maintained, among other things, that when the Fourier model 1 review was written, about two months prior to publication, the company was in the very early stages of being formed, and at that point:
... there was no working capital to speak of and no idea who would end up owning the company by coming up with the capital. Thus the disclosures made in the article regarding the involvement of "The Audio Critic" and its Editor in the Fourier project were as complete and forthright as the few established facts of the case permitted."
One more thing worth noting about the Fourier 1 speaker, in relation to Mr. Aczel's credibility as a reviewer: Just a few months after its introduction the design he had so raved about underwent major modification, including substitution of a different midrange driver and a different tweeter. The stated reason being that "some driver-related problems that had eluded our attention in the laboratory made its interface with certain rooms unpredictable." (Issue 10, Fall/Year End 1987). If I recall correctly, btw, "The Sensible Sound," not exactly the most hypercritical of audio publications, had panned the original version of the speaker in their review.

Also, fwiw, I auditioned the revised version of the speaker at Lyric's store in White Plains, NY, I believe in early 1983. I recall it as being a decent performer, but not one that particularly excited me.

Aczel was no doubt an extremely gifted, intelligent, and persuasive writer. As I recall his day job was in the advertising business. He was a reviewer that I WANTED to like and respect. Ultimately, though, between the attitude and beliefs he manifested in his later period, his total inconsistency pre-hiatus vs. post hiatus, and the unsettling Fourier saga, I found it impossible to do so.

Regards,
-- Al


Excellent overview of Aczel, Al. In his second act he was just so full of contempt and hatred, it made me uncomfortable to read.

There was little point in his reviews after his "enlightenment", as all he said in them was, "Yes, this sounds just like all the other competently designed products of it's type I have already reviewed". What's the point of reviewing it then?

I did like David Rich's technical articles in the mag, however.

+1 @geoffkait