Were you an audiophile in the 1980s and 1990s?

If so you will probably recognize a lot of the anecdotes in my new book about the music, the equipment and behind the scenes in some of the audio journals.  It's "The Lucky Audiophile - Anecdotes from High End Audio".

"Mike Kuller’s book, part autobiography, part musical history, chronicles his life and journeys in the world of high-performance audio during the 1980’s and 1990’s with Harry Pearson and The Absolute Sound magazine. His reminisces bring back memories of what could be considered the “Golden Age” of audio. His concert lists document many of the important and influential artists of the last thirty years. If you ever wanted to peer behind the curtain of The Absolute Sound during its heyday, give Mike’s book a read."  Steven Stone, reviewer and columnist for The Absolute Sound and FutureAudio.com

"It's a fascinating and engrossing tale of the journey he has taken.  An enjoyable read."   John Atkinson, Technical Editor Stereophile



I also greatly enjoyed Art Dudley's reviews on Listener and later pubs.  He introduced me to EAR (I own the 890, 864, 324 and used/sold the Acute for 15 years).  However, I did not use the 890 and 864 for more than a year back in 2006 as it was inferior to my new monoblock tube amps and subminiature preamp.  Then in 2022, I installed Synergistic Research purple fuse in the 890 and blue fuse in the 864, put Ultra SS Stillpoints under the 864 and SR MigSx under the 890-transformed my system into high end (good became great without SOTA cost).  I don't know how Art (and others) decided that the EAR equipment was so great using stock tubes, standard glass fuses and listening on their small rubber feet.  The 864 was given so-so initial reviews which I can verify as being accurate (forward sounding/in your face, lacking depth/flat soundstage).  Also, changing to NOS tubes (Mullard 4004/RCA cleartop 12AU7 line stage) were essential to elevating the 864 as well.  Too bad I couldn't share my enthusiasm with Art for the EAR gear sooner.   

@fleschler or for that matter w Tim P…. my prayer is he and Art are laughing at ALL of us from the stars… RIP

All: even when making the simplest of field recordings in reverberant space of unamplified instruments, Microphone choice and placement have…. already cast the skewing die…..


The Sensible Sound…. i miss that rag also….

i am greatly enjoying the thread….

If you are enjoying all this reminiscing, you will enjoy reading my book - “The Lucky 🍀 Audiophile”. I mention a lot of this equipment and the audio journals. And i discuss a lot of the live music I saw. Flashback for sure. 

No discussion about the most influential audio writers and reviewers would be complete without mentioning Bert Whyte. He made some of the earliest commercial stereo recordings, releasing them on tape (through Everest) even before there was the stereo LP, and that was before he landed at Audio magazine as a columnist. His experience recording some of the greatest orchestras and conductors served him well as an audiophile and critic.

As time passes, sometimes things change dramatically and you don't even think about it.

Back in the Stone Age, we didn't have the Internet, email, and nobody carried a cell phone. Audiomart was a "magazine", not a website. I say magazine generously. It was more of a pamphlet with individual ads typed on a typewriter in a little booklet deal. The commercial ads looked like they were cut and pasted in.

That's cut and pasted like with scissors and Elmer's. Seriously, things were every bit that primitive. the rag was published in Pennsylvania so those of us on the West Coast were at a serious disadvantage. Most all the good stuff was gone by the time we got our copies. 

We had to spend extra for First Class postage to have any chance at listings. Yes, things were like that then. A typed booklet through the mail was the best we had.

Real old timers will remember this--we used to place ads in the Classified section of the newspaper in the Audio section to buy and sell components. Yes, we did. The classified section of the newspaper.

Have any of the youngsters out there even seen a newspaper Classified section?

That's what I thought.

Then there were the garage sales. There was a period of time where nobody wanted that old tube stuff. Transistors were the way to go man. Dump the old junk and get what you could.

I found a bunch of Dynaco, Scott tube amps and preamps, what have you at garage sales for peanuts. They were happy to get rid of it. I heard about dumpsters that they had thrown the stuff into. No the dumpsters were gone, no diving thank you.

Times change. The way we do business has changed radically. It's easy to forget about that. eBay didn't exist. eBay became the great leveler for prices long ago.

People will just look up stuff and on their cell phones these days and get an idea of pricing.

We didn't have eBay listings to check. Even if we had, we had no cell phones to check with.

That was life in the Stone Age. 

I get all sentimental sometimes. Pardon me while I brush away a tear.

These kids today don't understand.

And their music, it's all noise. Now in my day...