Searching for a Heart of Gold....

Hello fellow AudiogoNer's! This is yet again another chance for us to come together as a community (moderator permitting). I still recall how the thread of Patrick Malone (Lugnut) touched my life in a deep and spiritual way....I still miss talking with Pat (God rest his soul).....

Now, there is another solid AudioGoN member in 'Dire Straits', so to speak. I'm talking about my friend J.D. MacRae (Jadem6). Recently some may know J.D. as the proprietor of Jade Audio. I've known J.D. well before he started his cable company.....I thought his reviews were so great that they really connected with me in a way that no glossy rag writer has.

To cut to the quick, J.D. was a normal, solid upstanding citizen before a major heart attack hit him at the young age of 40, in which he lost 80% of his heart function.
After quaduple bypass surgery, doctors gave him 3-5 years to live. J.D. bucked the odds, but it was not easy on his lifestyle or his family, loving wife and three children.

Cut to today, 12 years later, much longer than the 3-5 years the doctors gave J.D. (He is a fighter). However, now, his heart capacity is only 12%, and he can no longer perform any kind of work. That is the bad news......the good news that he is rising up the heart transplant list quickly...he is hopeful that it may be within weeks.

Which brings me to this topic. As a long time admirer of J.D's thoughts, and more recently a fan of J.D.'s cable work, I want to start a thread similar to what Paul Frumkin did in 12/04. The difference? I pray for a better result than Pat Malone (God Bless Him) encumbered.

To those that know J.D., and those have grown to respect the man through his opinions, reviews, or work, I hope that you join me in my prayers for J.D. and his family.

I will try to keep those interested in future postings on his 'Carebridge' which is a website that will open once he finally under goes his heart replacement surgery.

Finally, thank you J.D., first and most of all for being a friend to me. Second, I pray for your health and the well being of your family.

Third...and finally, I pray that you do receive your "Heart of Gold", as no one I know deserves it more than you my friend........God Bless.

Hi all- I, too, have been corresponding w JD for many years. As generous and kind-hearted a man as you can find, IMO. Also a gifted cable designer, FWIW. But this is about his qualities as a human being. Its hard to imagine going in to something like a heart transplant w optimism and anticipation, but I know JDs looking forward to that day. I'm not a praying man but I think of him often and he will be in my thoughts til I hear that he's got his new heart and home w his family.
Best to ya, my friend!

Hello everyone!

I'm a friend of J.D. too. Come to think of it, I don't think J.D. has any enemies, only friends! J.D. and his family are sure in my thoughts and prayers. Let's hope he will receive his heart of gold really soon so that it allows him to spend many years with his loving wife and family and friends from all over the world!

Many are praying for you, my friend, so hang in there! When prayers go up, blessings come down and I sure hope they pour down on you!

God Bless you and yours abundantly!

PS: Moonya sends her love xxxx
I have talked to J.D. on phone a time or two and he is a nice guy, I hope the best for him and hope he finds strength in everyones positive thoughts.
Don't know him or his work but I recently heard of his cables. God bless J.D.
Thank you John for writing about JD.

JD has become a dear friend since he and I met nearly 4 years ago. Living only 15 minutes apart has allowed us to spend countless afternoons and evenings listening to music (his beloved Lucinda) and comparing preamps, tubes, power conditioners, digital gear and tons of cables of all types.

As John wrote above, JD's extensive knowledge and experience of high-performance audio systems has made him a key contributor to several Audiogon forums. His attention to detail for speaker placement, component isolation, room treatments, seating position, to name a few, have brought on refinements to my system that were previously hidden to me. I am grateful for all I have learned here. And I attribute much of my audio system's sonic success to JD's suggestions and expert advice.

And now JD is about to begin a most extraordinary adventure. Many of us have the opportunity to return the favor to help JD during this time. He's a strong and tenacious man. I have no doubt that he will come through this heart transplant procedure with great success. And then he will be back in full strength with a vengeance to pursue another audio challenge.

Thank you JD for your many contributions to all of us here. And thank you for being a most caring and giving friend.

I only know what I have read on Audiogon about JD and his products. He definitely has a following here that's probably well deserved.
I wish him all the best in his surgery and recovery! And hopefully we'll meet sometime in the future.
These are strange, exciting and yet humbling times for me. When they placed my name on the transplant list six months ago, I had a very hard time with the concept that one phone call could be the start of a very new journey. Now my name is moving up on the list, and it should be within the next six months, and possibly today! Imagine getting a phone call, “Yes sir, your heart is on its way” as if it was an amp being delivered.

This past twelve years have been quite a long road, living with a chronic illness is not recommended. There have been three or four distinct times when my wife, Julie and I were sure I was on my last month of life. These often included hospital stays, and sometimes a procedure. These periods would be followed by endless months of recovery and learning to live with yet another setback.

Through this time, Audiogon has been a major factor in keeping me interested in life. I know it sounds lame, but it is true. When you are limited so severely, little things like music become major focuses. See I can “do music” and from this came a very special group of friends. Most of my active Audiogon days were in the late ‘90’s and early 21st century, consequently many of my friends are less active than before. That does not mean Audiogon has not remained a huge part of my life. I still check in a couple times a day to see what’s being talked about. I often follow threads as they progress, and at times have tried to offer a few thoughts.

When I started building cables for sale, I tried to stop the forums because I have not wanted to find myself in a situation where people would question my thoughts because I might have other motives. This has been painful, for I do enjoy the interaction, but I think it is most important to not confuse the topic. On occasion a thread that I might have thoughts on will come along, and it is safe to talk without risk of …

Anyway, Audiogon has remained a big piece of my life since my heart attack twelve years ago. Sadly, this last year has not been so good. If you can imagine, listening to music has become “too much work” for me and my system has sat many nights silent. Just getting up and finding music, putting it into the cd player and going back to sit down can be too much. How silly is that! If I reach above my head (for a cd) or bend over (to find a cd) I can and do pass out. I once passed out and hit my head on the corner of my amp, knocking the amp off its isolation cones, and leaving me a bloody mess laying unconscious on the floor.

Cool huh! I have been quite light headed lately, and must be very careful to get down if I’m going to pass out, thus I don’t fall too far.

This does not mean I go without music completely. I started having a hard time sleeping as I lay thinking of what will happen if… Finally I tried headphones in bed (like High School) which was good, so I got some better ones and a cheap (relative to our hobby) cd player with an internal headphone amp. I listen to one disk every night, and have found a different way to enjoy our great hobby. As I do with my system, I am able to escape my mind and benefit from the therapy of music. Funny thing about this bedroom system, I have a pair of $500 Dennon headphones, $500 Shanling Audio cd player with a $2000 power conditioner and two $1000 power cords. How stupid is that! But hey, it sounds very good, and I have discovered detail and room information lost in my big system.

So anyway, I continue to enjoy music, just differently for now. I look forward to a day when I can again have the energy to call John Fox and play with him at his house like we used to do. I miss that very much my friend. I look forward to a time when I am able to travel, perhaps meet some of my Audiogon friends at a show or in their homes.

My list of want to do’s includes a family vacation rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I did this in High School and have always hoped to take my family, with our disabled son on the same trip. I have a plan to do this with a local friend and his family. Next on my list is a skiing vacation with my two oldest kida. We just started being able to ski the same extreme drops I loved when this all happened. Now I come to find my kids hardly remember me not restricted by my health. How sad to know my kids do not remember the active outdoors physically fit man I think of in my head. I hope to create some new memories for them soon. Third on my list is Julie and I going to New Zealand. I have a very dear local sailing friend who now lives in Auckland six months out of the year. His daughter has five kids and a husband from New Zealand, so he now splits his time between his daughters here and there. This of course gives me an excuse to meet one of my longest Audiogon friends, Redkiwi. He and I exchange ideas and family information periodically, and he is one man I deeply hope to meet in person.

These are my goals, as for professionally, I doubt I will go back to architecture, despite the fact that I was very successful and love to design. I think it has been too long, but I might be surprised by how I feel. One thing that suffers from low blood flow is my brain power. I simply could not formulate, retain and enact a design at this time. It would simply exhaust me, and most likely cause a physical reaction. I might try and make Jade Audio more than a hobby and sharing of my discovery with friends, but I would hate to make this a profit center at the lose of feeling I was sharing the hobby and “playing audio.”

I wrote a book (unpublished) a few years back, I loved the process, and might consider sharing my story in that way. I might simply volunteer at the High School’s architectural program. This is something I did for a few years before it too became too much. I miss that, I love working with kids, and helping them discover the creative side of themselves. I helped quite a few discover where they fit, and they have gone on to pursue careers in architecture.

Hell maybe I’ll win the lotto, and simply ride off into the sunset. Problem is I hear you need to buy a ticket to win, and I quite doing that years ago.

OK, back to this thread, I hope we can share this process together, and perhaps I am able to share some of the life lessons I am learning in the same way I shared my audio findings over the years. Just know the people at Audiogon have been vital to my survival over the past years, and I thank you for your love and friendship.

JD - best of luck to you! You will get that new heart and do all the things you listed!!
Wow JD, that was inspirational, as I find most of your thoughts. Your 'Bucket List' is very enlightening, and gives me a moment to pause, and wonder about my own life's priorities. I'll just assume you've seen the movie 'Bucket List' with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, if not, I recommend it.

Thanks again for sharing the insights to your life, the good (bucket list) along with the bad (knocking yourself out on your amp). One can only pretend to imagine how difficult your life has been these past 12 years. I work with a very nice fellow who had 2 of his 5 children commit suicide before the age of 24. My heart aches for him, once again, I can only pretend to imagine myself in his shoes. I do know that he is a stronger man than I am, I don't know that I could go on living in such depressing times. He still will smile occasionally, but you can still see the hurt in his eyes. I pray that all I'll ever have to do is pretend to imagine such a difficult life as Albert's or yours.

It's stories like you have lived through, and that of my friend, that make me feel very, very lucky. Even in these unfortunate economic times, and the fact that I haven't hit the lottery either (I do try to play now and then). Strong men like you JD, and my friend Albert, make me feel stronger, even if I do lose my job (a very real possibility).

I would like you to add one more thing to your 'Bucket List' my friend. Yes, I understand how much trouble you have just playing a CD in your current state. However, after the transplant is successful, and you are doing all the things that you want to, add one more thing to your list. Re-discover vinyl. Yes, it takes a lot more work than CeeDee's, but it will keep you in tip-top shape getting up every 20 minutes to flip sides, clean the stylus, LP and de-magnitize it. If you're really feeling good, spin some 45's, and you can do this every 7-10 minutes. You may just find that it sounds better too.

Peace my friend, and God's speed with your 'Heart of Gold'.

For those that don't know, my phrasing of 'Heart of Gold' is an intended pun. Based on the great Neil Young song, as we are all music fans here, coupled with JD's need for a heart transplant, and the fact that JD's company Jade Audio sells cables with Gold and Gold plated conductors.....yeah, pretty clever, but all the credit goes to my dog Nick. He is far more intelligent than I am, in fact, he typed up this reply (I know his password).

Cheers, I mean John
John, your comments regarding your friend Albert and me are what I believe life itself is all about. We share our lives with others, and we gain wisdom and courage from those who struggle around us. Your friend is teaching you every day by simply sharing his experience.

Let me explain what I mean. I know in my life I have used friends who were suffering far greater pain than me to help steer me through my troubles. These people become the inspiration in our community and many draw strength from them. I know this is true for my family. My oldest struggled deeply when I had my heart attack. He and I were play buddies, we skied, sailed kayaked, climbed and messed around together. When I got sick he was 15, and just finding himself as a man. Within a year of my heart attack his straight A AP course work slipped to C’s and D’s. He began cutting (himself) and eventually attempted suicide twice. He was hospitalized and over a great deal of struggle began to move forward. At the same time our youngest was starting public school. He is severely disables with cerebral palsy and requires 100% assistance. Our family was looking rather pathetic from all perspectives, with my growing depression, not able to work and heart failure, my oldest institutionalized and my youngest a source of pity to those who walked by.

At least this is how it looked from the outside. People could see us and say, “See, it could be worse.” I understand this was a role we played, but this in fact was not an accurate depiction, as people soon learned from us. No our youngest (Michael) it turns out needed and asked for no ones pity. Michael became the brightest spot in everyone’s day as he made his way through the school system. See Michael is without question the brightest shining soul I have ever known. Despite all his obvious challenges, he is upbeat, excited for the small things that make up his day, and is a source of 100% joy and love for anyone who approaches him. My oldest learned to apply his tools and is now working with at risk youth providing alternate education to kids that feel a lot like he once did and is going to get married to a wonderful woman this summer..

The fact is I could never have gotten to know Michael or our middle child Sarah had I not had my heart attack. Michael because of his body, and Sarah by nature are quieter, slower moving beings than was I. Had my heart attack not stopped me, and slowed my pace I would have missed ten plus years of nightly cuddles with these two “teddy bears” and therefore I would have missed too much. These two have been my crutch from which I stand today.

In fact this is how I choose to look at this entire journey our family has been on. I would not ask to change a single event despite how very painful and dark they may have been, for without those events, just the way they happen I could not be here, today!

And today I am in awe. I have had the opportunity to share my life once again through these forums. See Audiogon is maybe the greatest reward I discovered through the outcome of these events. What I mean is I doubt I would have discovered Audiogon if I was still healthy moving at the speed of life. No I may hardly have found the Internet without slowing down. But that is just the surface of it.

I am blessed with friends I never expected to discover. I have shared a fathers illness with a man in Indonesia, shared medical stories with a friend in Malaysia, a dear friend in Hong Kong whose daughter was born, a speaker buddy in Croatia who I long to meet in person, a DIY’er in Moscow, and one in Ecuador, a great friend in New Zealand who has shared so much, my lovely dear in Belgium, her mum and cat who sends my messages often of hope and good will, a guy in the Netherlands I know would be instant buddies with, many in England, Spain, France, Italy, oh it goes on and on. I am in awe, like I said before. How could I be so blessed to have met people from all over the world, and now I can share this journey with them all. How damn cool is that! Oh yea, and there are one or two ;-) here in the US and Canada that mean something too. I do love you all.

So thank you John for being inspired, for I have paid deeply to be in this place. I do hope I can share this journey with my friends, and perhaps, just maybe we can all discover together the true meaning of life. LOVE. Perhaps in our ever so insignificant way we can discover that no matter who we are, or where we come from, we all can love, and care, and learn, and grow and hopefully someday, we can all understand how damn important we are to one another and that love is the answer to all our needs.

Please feel free to share with me as we grow together into something we can only today imagine. Lugnut showed us all how to humble ourselves and share our feelings. Yes even us big tough guys; just don’t let anyone know beyond these forums. I hardly want to look like a wimp.

I love you all,

JD, A wimp is far from what you look like here in the Mountains Of NC as I'm sure it's far from what you look like anywhere else for that matter. It takes a BIG man to let his soul shine through. Remember the song "Big Bad John". I'll be praying for you and God Bless!
I have never talked to or corresponded with the gentleman but I certainly wish him the very best!
For those that are interested, here is some information to a 'Caring Bridge' set up for JD MacRae.

03-18-09: Jadem6
This is just a quick update for those who wish to follow my progress as events unfold. A life long friend and I have been working on setting up a “Caring Bridge” website. This will become a clearing house for future updates (both medical and personal) on an as needed basis, and likely every couple weeks until the surgery, then most likely daily for some time.

I encourage you to log into my site where we have already posted “my story” which provides some background on my family and me. I also have updates on my latest health and personal information. If you wish to sign my log book or offer your wishes, please feel free to do so.

Thanks for the support and love.

JD MacRae's Caring Brdige

Hi John- link does not work [maybe the 'net was a spelling teacher in a former life ;~)]
I think Caring Bridge has some sort of filter to links. The link is you may need to cut and paste it to make it work. Bookmark it for future use...

Thanks John for following up...

BTW: For the past eight days I have felt better than I have for a year! Yea me!!! I even got over to Jafox's for an hour. I ran out of steam, but it has been over a year since I felt good enough to play. Not only that, I found a new Audio buddy who lives within a mile! That makes four within walking distance.

Now I just need the energy to have a relationship with them.

Sorry about that techninal difficulty, let's try this again:

JADE MacRae Caring Bridge

BTW JD, that's great news. Any idea as to why you've felt better the last 8 days? Maybe the oil change in the hospital helped out a bit?

I have no idea, my guess is spring has finally come to the great frozen north and I am able to take my walks again. I just am enjoying what I get and don't ask why. Best to just take what I get.
It was great to give JD a nice relaxing hour or so of music at my home this week. He was looking mighty good. And as usual, the music system got another performance boost from his visit. Now there's even more openness to the presentation. I'm mighty fortunate to have such an audio guru only 15 minutes away.
Spring up here sure can be fickle. Sounds like it might hit 60 next week although a good spring storm wouldn't surprise me much either. I remember a few in April but thankfully melts pretty fast. It's been a winter for sure! I love that first very, very soft green when spring really starts to happen and I'm looking forward to it. Shouldn't be too far off. Noticed the cardinals are starting to sing their spring songs. The gold finches are even starting to show a hint of yellow. Truly lovely. Take care.
I don't know JD but am enlightened by your request for prayer for him. That I will do, most gladly.
Hi JD,

I don't know if you remember me but I bought your cables and also had a heart attack 3 years ago. I was much more fortunate and have fully recovered. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Hi Bob,

Of course I remember you. Thank you so much for posting your thoughts. It may seem like a simple gesture, but knowing people are thinking and praying for me and my family is truly therapeutic. Thanks Sit, Rja and John for your words.

Spring is taking forever to get to Minnesota this year as I'm sure Rja will testify, I am relying heavily on the love and support of friends to stay positive. We had one weekend of warm weather, and it felt so good to sit in the sun, now it's cold again...

I was blessed to discover a new audio friend who just happens to live a mile away! It seems like he has been in my life forever. In the past two weeks he has stopped by to share tubes, or music or simply his thoughts. Amazing how people appear when we most need them. I so needed a person who has time to just stop by, not necessarily for music who takes no work to commune. It's like you all who are just here to be supportive. Thanks again.

I was fortunate enough to meet a new good friend recently. He lives really close to me, which as we freaks in audio all know, is quite a rare event.

Not only that, but his system sounded good. Devilishly good. Like "better than it had a right to" good. After many more meetings and discussions, I started to understand that it was his cables taming the beast of non-enjoyable audio. He never really says it or hard sells, or even talks up his own products, but they are very good and about the time you try them, it is readily apparent (again without discussion), that they are good indeed. J.D. actually voices his cables, he has done the many hundreds of hours legwork and earwork required for such an endeavor, and he really knows the effects and interaction of conductors and materials. Oh, and he has a grasp of critical dampening as well.

I was myself battling a system that wasn't currently sounding as good as I expected. Enter JD and his cables. They simply stopped any component interaction and let the music breathe in a way that portrays it as a real sounding event, in real time, with all the attack, decay, harmonics and body and color and tone left intact. Naturally, when these attributes are correct, sound stage clarity and presence fall right into place.

I've been in audio long enough to spot the "Real Deal". The man is the real McCoy. Fear not in supporting him, you may just get a lifelong friend. If you're not looking for cables, pause a second and breathe a quick prayer for a healthy recovery. J.D. is worth the few seconds of your time required.
It's hard to believe it took another 5 years, but as an update to all who have posted on this thread, J.D, finally did get his new heart. The surgery took place a couple of weeks ago. After 12 days in the hospital, he is now home and recuperating.

Congratulations J.D.! Your patience and perseverance though this much too long struggle has been a true inspiration of courage to all of us. May God Bless you and your new heart with many, many healthy years of health and happiness!!

JD, Just read my post above about the winter of 09, what a laugh! As fellow Minnesotans we both know this winter has definitely been the butt kicker. Hoping for your fast and total recovery.
Call Neil Young!!
I should call Neil, see if he'll come over and hang. Maybe play some tunes.