A legend in his own time.
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For many of us, JGH represented our introduction to the high-end. He truly understood all of the nuances in the reproduction of sound and in developing a synergistic system. Many of his writings were brilliant, straight-forward essays that enhanced my understanding of the search for the proverbial holy grail that we all seek in one way or another. We have lost a giant!
RIP, Mr. Holt. A great loss, but thanks for years of contributions and the hours of thought you put into communicating elusive and novel ideas about sound and sound reproduction.
I learned so much from his clear and lucid writing. Audio would be much different and certainly probably less than it is, without his incredible contributions.
Explaining to my Wife why I'm down upon hearing this news reminds me of when I tried to explain to my parents when Jimi and Janis died so close together: it won't translate well to "normal" people.
Stereophile has some interesting interviews, including this fascinating but curiously short one that I've quoted from below. I hope more audiophiles take some of the things he had to say to heart.
"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..."
RIP Gordon Holt. Sadly he also predicted the end of this hobby which will probably die along with the boomer generation.
"Somewhere along the line we lost track of what audio is all about: the reproduction of music."
It seems, these days, that many of us audiophiles have become so preoccupied with the minutiae of sound reproduction that we haven't even noticed that it doesn't sound like music any more. We marvel at the soundstage presentation, lose our continence over the detail, and climax over our system's ability to rattle the lighting fixtures and scramble our otoliths (footnote 1). But ask your average audiophile if his super system reproduces instrumental sounds realistically and he'll give you a blank stare or, worse, tell you that it must because it's so accurate.