John Potis - Rest in peace


It is with a heavy heart that I come to tell the Audiogon community that John Potis has passed away last night. As I got to read his work at and Positive Feedback Online, I developed a strong appreciation for his reviews of high-end audio components. I came to feel he was perhaps the best writer in the high-end audio hobby currently. Not only did John exhibit the great skill of being able to balance the artistic and technical aspects of a component he was describing, he also did a bang up job in letting the reader know how it actually sounded.

He was a bull of a man, and it still seems impossible to me that the cancer took him down so quickly.

Though manufacturers/distributors and reviewers are supposed to keep a high wall between them, John and I developed a very close and deep friendship over the almost 2 years time that I came to know him. He was a devout family man, possessed a wicked sense of humor, was a great guy to hang out with, but most of all, he was a genuinely good and decent man who did his best each and every day.

Godspeed to his wife and two daughters,
My sincere condoleances for John's wife and daughters.

I am very sad to hear this.

I did not know John Potis other than through his product reviews on sixmoons, which were of interest to me.

However, when I was recently doing research to find the right amp to drive my Ohm speakers, I emailed John on a whim based on expertise with the products that was evident in his reviews.

He was kind and interested enough to respond both promptly and in great detail on multiple occasions and provide me his insights despite having no vested interest and not knowing me at all prior.

He seemed to be a genuinely good guy and a true professional to boot! My most sincere thoughts and condolences go out to his family!
This is so endlessly sad. It's been 761 days since the cancer demon took the person dearest to me and my deepest sympathy goes to everyone who has to go through a similar ordeal. Sincerest condolences to John's family.

Back in 2006 when I was unsure whether to buy a Stax 3030 or 4040 system or yet something else, I had mailed John asking for his expertise. I thought perhaps I'd be happy enough to receive a few lines sometime. Instead, the next day I had received detailed, personalized advice about what I would have to pay attention to and what to expect in the context of my system. Same as with Mapman, John didn't know me, he was not going to sell anything to me nor did he have any other interest but the ambition to help someone make the choice he would likely be most happy and satisfied with. Thanks John.
Sad news and a loss for everyone, God Speed.
I can only echo what Mapman & Karelfd have said. I also emailed Jon on a whim with audio related questions and what followed was a few kind,in-depth, responses from a man who had nothing gain from taking the time to help educate a newcomer to high-end audio.

I really enjoyed his reviews and will miss his contribution to the audio community and world at large.
Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences regarding John.

To me, that was just the way he was. He loved corresponding with people, and had as much time as a person requested of him, whether he knew them or not. The overarching thing, as can be clearly seen, was that he never had anything to gain from any of this. He just wanted to be as helpful as he possibly could be to a person. He had very good insight into high-end audio, and we are all the richer for being able to have him share those opinions with us.

He was just a hell of a man, and a good friend. I think this is only going to get harder for me as time goes by...
I am very sorry to hear this. May God be with him and his family, especially at this time.

Though I did not know him personally, his reviews were always spot on and I've always valued his insights. It was just so weird that a couple of days ago, I was wondering why his name wasn't coming up as far as reviewing new upcoming equipments. Little did I know that cancer has taken him.

The audio community is at a loss. condolences to his family and friends.
RIP good man, you will be missed!
I had a very similar experience corresponding with John and found him to be generous with his time and his knowledge. He clearly cared about this hobby and the people who professed to be a part of it. I will miss his reviews and his insight. I can only offer up my deepest condolences to his family and to his colleagues. May he rest in peace.
Trelja, I recently received the sad news about John. I find it beautiful that so many other audio enthusiasts/music lovers out there, also reached out to John for advice.
He got me hooked on Ohms, and I'm forever grateful for his educational, thoughtful and of course, funny emails.
Funny how some people just seem so approachable- he gave off that feeling, and backed it up so well. I'm glad I at least had the little bit of contact that I did with him - he seemed like a pretty special person.
I just saw Chip Stern's article "Do You Believe In Ghosts?" on, and was intrigued since John and I had traded quite a bit of e-mail back in years ago. As I read on, the penny dropped: John had died!

I did not know John well, but he enriched my life. For me he was a friendly, knowledgeable, generous, good humored, down-to-earth, humbly self-assured man who freely gave of himself. I can only imagine how much he added to the lives of those close to him, and of the magnitude of their loss.

Back in 2001 I was back into a speaker building phase, which transitioned to a budget audiophile jag. Having read some of John's reviews, I dropped him a note with some questions regarding one of his articles, also fishing for recommendations on receivers. Rather than a brief response, John overwhelmed me with the friendly replay and rich detail he gave. Over the brief course of our correspondence, he provided friendly feedback, alternatives, advice and the occasional whack in the head when I'd wandered too far from audio reality.

John patiently provided the occasional reality check as I sorted through the results off my great receiver audition (three Harman-Kardons, a Denon, a Rotel and an Outlaw make for an impressive stack, a lot of listening and a whole bunch of notes).

At one point when I was working out amplification for some NHT passive subs I'd picked up, he said "you know, I have a spare sub amp I'm not using. Why don't you try that out?" John sent me the amp, with a note that said just keep it! Of course, the amp was a nice piece of kit, not a cast-off. He declined my offer to pay him, cover shipping or even send a decent bottle of wine. Needless to say I shared some of my observations on the positive results. I still use the amp.

After a few years, I changed jobs, then bought a sailboat, and my excess energy was channeled into those rather than audio. I'd drop John a note from time to time, but got wrapped up in my own stuff and stopped.

This year, around Christmas, I realized that it had been years since I'd conversed with John, and figured once things settled down I'd drop him a line.

I should not have waited.

I don't know details of John's cancer, except that it was fatal. I had cancer in the mid-90s. Fortunately, it was curable. My sister-in-law is more than a decade into stage IV breast cancer (unheard of). With the support John had from his family and many friends, I doubt there's anything I could have shared with him that would have been helpful or comforting, but I'm left with a sense of loss at his passing, and of failure for not having stayed in touch enough to know that he was ill.

Tonight I'll listen to music and think of John.
Just reread Chip's piece, minus my shock, and noted that it was apparently an aneurysm, not the cancer, that killed him. Also reread a bunch of e-mail that he and I had traded, and realized how much of a mistake I made not staying in touch with John these past 6 years.
Thanks for all of the posts to this thread. I have been in contact with John's family, and it was an embolysm that took John down, not the cancer.

Obviously, his wife and daughters are still in a state of shock. What concerns me beyond getting them past this difficult time is the medium - long term, since John was the primary bread winner of the family, and their housing was a part of John's employment as chef at the country club they lived. To that end, I am hoping to organize a series of benefit auctions here on Audiogon for the benefit of the family. Hopefully, the site, along with a large number of industry people will lend their hands to help the family. More to come.

Still, none of this feels real to me...
"organize a series of benefit auctions here on Audiogon"

Fantastic idea!

Is suspect many will step up to the plate to help the family of a guy like him!
There's a vendor currently advertising on Audiogon who continues to use John Potis' reviews in his ads.

Don't know about you but I find this extremely distasteful.

What say you Wally?
Yes, Bill it certainly is distasteful. In fact I think we should burn all of the literature of dead authors and purge historical records of any mention of their existence. Period.

What's the matter, John published some reviews of equipment that you don't handle which are creating some competition for you.

If Wally or anyone has license to use what I assume was copywrited stuff, then why not. What exactly is distastful, or did you mean disrespectful, about doing so?
Unless some copyright or other legal right of usage issue exists, I don't see anything wrong with using another person's endorsement of a product to promote a product. That's a most common occurrence in marketing and generally is a positive reflection of the endorser.
Let me just throw out there that Bill was also one of John's many friends. So, I completely understand and appreciate where he's coming from here.

Newbee and Mapman are two of my favorite Audiogoners, and I just hope you guys make peace with Bill, as his intentions are more than genuine and sincere in this instance. Let me fall on the sword and come right out and say that all of us who knew John are going to be more emotional than we normally appear in these threads so I suggest we agree to give a little bit wider a berth in accordance with that.
Trejla, Thx for the kind words.

I'm a big Audiofeil mark. No need to make peace......
Trelja, FWIW I have corresponded with Bill and I think he better appreciates my POV as I do his. I will not reiterate it here.

But FWIW, I think John's works deserve to live, in what ever form or manner that his estate finds appropriate, so others, on both sides of the counter, may benefit from them and appreciate their (and his very human) value.

Unlike yourself or Bill I did not know him personally but I certainly appreciated what he did and the manner in which he did it. He claimed much respect, from me at least, that was not so freely extended to many others. I would have enjoyed seeing him published more widely, much more!

A "Mark" is piece of slang terminology that is used in professional wrestling to identify one who is an unmitigated fan of a particular wrestler or stylistic element of the craft:

Mark -
" ....The term can ... be applied to a fan who idolizes a particular wrestler, promotion, or style of wrestling to a point some might consider excessive."

To be a "mark" for a particular wrestler is a compliment to that particular wrestlers style or appeal in performing his craft.
Mapman, thanks for the clarification, I was scratching my head there for a minute, then again, English isn't my strong suit. Bill certainly has his fans here, me among them.

Newbee, I'm sorry I don't have the links, but the perfect illustration of how good (the best, IMHO) a reviewer John actually was would be the review of the Bryston 28SST(?) monoblock writeup he did for PFO. Compare and contrast that with Stereophile's Larry Greenhill, and you wonder who's review should have been published by Stereophile. In short, John's was night and day better. I was over his house to hear the Brystons, which he was in absolute love with, and they truly were mind blowing and thunderous with his Tidal loudspeakers, although I'll still take a tube amp, thank you. John was just like most of us, not a big money guy, someone who had to work a real job to support his family and make ends meet, and he simply could not afford to keep this pair, no matter how much he wanted to.
Perhaps, in hindsight, disrespectful may have been a better choice of words.

Lastly, comments regarding products in my line are always restricted to technical, compatibility, and service issues.

Unlike oracle, bobbyp, robert, and a host of others I don't use the threads for financial gain; my posting history is testament to that.
I just stumbled across this thread, and am in shock. I haven't spoken with John since last April, but this has blindsided me. Virtually every speaker that I own right now has some connection to John, from the Genesis APM-1's, NHT 3.3s, ACI Sapphire XLs and Emeralds, and even the old Apogee Centaur Minors. John and I first connected back in the old CompuServe audio forum, and then we met in person when I moved to Baltimore 12 years ago. We had spend many hours over the years listening to various systems, to the point that when John wrote something about how a piece of equipment sounded I could directly relate his words to my own shared listening experience and understand how the item sounded. His untimely passing will be felt for a long long time... I need to try and get in touch with Becca.