I’ve been following Audiogon Forum for a few years now, but
never jumped in before. The Forum is a guilty pleasure I enjoy a few
times a week. It’s not unlike a cigar, where for a few brief minutes, I can
forget about pressing issues of health, business, politics or global warming. Many
of the folks who regularly post here are as brilliant as they are entertaining,
so I’ve learned a lot. Sincere thanks for that.
Robb Report is kind of like our forum, or that cigar.
It’s a Mozart divertimento, not Bach’s B-minor mass. Which is why I
always marvel that its subject matter often raises so much ire. The magazine is
serious about its subject; it’s meant to inform and entertain—but it’s not a
I’m the guy who wrote about the high-end gear in the June issue, and regularly
contribute to the magazine, mostly about cars, old and new. When the feeling
moves me, I’ll do a little something on two-channel audio gear that I’ve
purchased for my own use, and subsequently thought was worth sharing, or have
heard, and that impressed me. It’s not my day job: I own a creative agency (think
Mad Men, but much smaller, and regrettably without the booze and sex). Most of our clients are luxury brands, but whether automotive or audio, I
never write about them in the magazine; that’d be a conflict of interest.
Many of us have heard $1m-plus systems, and some of those are
as groundbreaking as that $3.3m Bugatti Chiron, which I’ve driven and admire. Why
some people see this stuff as the spawn of Satan is lost on me. Most is created
by serious minds with a vision of something great. As some here have explained,
expensive gear reflects a lot of investment in R & D, materials, marketing
and so forth. One of my clients makes $250k amps and another sells $299/pr
speakers by the container-load. Neither rips-off their customers.
Please don’t judge Robb Report too hastily. I know
many hundreds of the readers personally, and most are thoughtful, philanthropic
and “self-made” men and women looking for a little diversion from a busy life.
Maybe they’re even too busy to learn everything there is to know about
diamonds, for instance, but want a little primer on what’s what. About which,
one of my clients, a noted jeweler, explained—and showed—what distinguishes
natural gemstones from artificial ones. My take is that they are to be preferred, in part from the feeling you get knowing that one is natural and the other is not.
Think old Shelby Cobras or Mustangs. Replicas abound, and they are in no way
inferior to the originals. I prefer the genuine article, but don’t disparage
someone who can’t afford it, or chooses not to be burdened by the responsibility
For me, it’s all good, and everybody can play in the
sandbox, no matter which toys you own. Cheers!
P.S. about my music and gear:
Around 500 recordings (LPs and CDs) of stuff composed before
1650, almost as much through 1750, and mostly radio silence until we get to
Miles and his cronies. Maybe a little classic rock—Hendrix, Roxy Music,
whatever—when the mood strikes. The speakers won’t bring down the house: KLH
Nines lovingly rebuilt by David Janszen; Quad 57s resurrected by Wayne Piquet,
and Harbeth 40.2s—a nod to the 21st century. Stax SR-009S headphones
are for drilling deep.
P.P.S.: A subscription to Robb Report is about $79
for 12 issues, and I understand that barely pays for printing and postage.
Audiogon affords as much entertainment for free. Nothing to argue about there!