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In Reply to: RE: RIP Peter Aczel posted by Bob Rex on June 25, 2017 at 06:52:31
...everyone loved to hate.
He started off as an ad copy writer (maybe for Ohm speakers) and then founded TAC in about 1977.
I saw his ad in Audio magazine and became a charter subscriber.
His first issue carried definitive reviews of about 20 different preamplifiers available at the time which was quite a feat. He put Rappaport on the map calling it better than the highly touted Levinson JC-2.
A few years later he stumbled with his rave Fourier speaker review when it turned out he owned the company.
It was downhill from there - he stopped publishing, leaving his paid subscribers with nothing, to sell his speakers. Eventually the speaker company failed and went bankrupt.
He began publishing again but this time with a different attitude - he was angry, bitter and seemed out to get revenge on audiophiles and the industry with his DBT-driven objectivist views.
Pretty good synopsis ...
RIP Peter ....
I apologize for the actions of others, and for the lack of moderation to this thread.
R.I.P. Mr. Aczel.
Aczel was a con man who perpetrated by far the worst ethical violation in the history of audio magazines, and he burned "Audio Critic" subscribers by suspending the magazine for years at a time and never delivering the promised number of issues. His death doesn't mean that the facts of his life must be forgiven or forgotten.
Not a critical hate fest after his death.
If you don't have anything to say that's respectful, STFU. IMO.
p.s. His E-zine was offered free to anyone to read for the past six or more years. He even provided new content over those years.
The esteem you hold him in is so high you feel a thread on Audio Asylum should be a memorial to his life!?!?
Oh well, grief has strong effects on people.
"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination" -Michael McClure
I guess you want to live in a unicorn dream reality, not the actual reality.
Sorry. warts and all.
...in your opinion.
This is not his funeral.
It is about his life, both the good and the not so good.
Please don't be disrespectful to us who had unfortunate dealings with him.
> Please don't be disrespectful to us who had unfortunate dealings with him.
Agreed. This is a man who, after he attacked me groundlessly in the pages of
his magazine, reported me to the INS as possibly having dubious immigration
status. There was nothing wrong with my work visa, but that didn't mean it
was not a stressful situation. Taking a vendetta in "mind space" into "meat
space" like that is not something that can be readily forgotten or forgiven.
Damn, JA, that is some kind of nasty!! Unforgivable, really. As if he were his J Edgar Hoover to your John Lennon - thankfully without J Edgar's power.
I loved the first issues of TAC. Hard hitting editorials, cryptic reviews. I was impressed by his review of the Rogers LS3/5A and I got a pair of the 15 ohm models imported from England. I also got the Advent receiver and a Kenwood turntable. I loved the Cizek speaker but did not care much for the DCM Time Window. Enjoyed the group discussions with Rappaport and Carver. It was a great joy to read TAC, even the leaflet like issues.RIP.
Seems to match my experience as well. Like JA, I was strongly influenced by many of his early writings for The Audio Critic. I can only speculate, but my impression was that he felt he had figured out the "holy grail" of making great loudspeakers for reasonable prices, and became personally offended when the world didn't agree with either the results (ie, sound of the speakers) or the methods (using magazine subscription money to finance the loudspeaker company, then giving the Fourier an over-the-top "review" without disclosing the obvious conflict of interest).
As always, my personal opinion only and not necessarily that of my employer or favorite reviewers.
...although I hate to admit it.
I had just discovered high end audio and bought a pair Dahlquist DQ-10s when his first issue came out - they were his reference loudspeakers along with the electronic crossover and woofers.
Of course I bought those, too.
Then he rated the Rappaport PRE-1 as the best preamp. I was talking to a salesperson at Jonah Millers in downtown LA who said he wanted to sell his so I bought it.
Aczel said the best amps he had heard with his DQ-10s were the Quatre Gain Cells.
Quatre was located in the San Fernando Valley about an hour away and I saw an ad in the LA Times Audio Section for a sale they were having - I drove up and bought two of them.
So I was using Aczel's bi-amped Dahlquist reference system until the next issue of TAC came out when he traded in the DQ-10s for LS3-5as.
sold DQ-10s along with Magnepan. And Quatre Gain Cells because Dahlquist recommended them!
Strongly influenced? Man, you drank the kool-aid! Just out of curiosity, how long did you stick with that system?
For me an even bigger influence than Peter Aczel was J. Peter Moncrieff of "International Audio Review". It's a bit ironic as his story arc was somewhat similar to Peter Aczel's - both lost credibility when they began selling their own products.
The very first person to write about tweaking was Enid Lumley in TAS. At the time what she was saying seemed so far-fetched that she was largely dismissed in an abusive way. However virtually everything she wrote is now an accepted part of high-end audio. J. Peter Moncrieff picked up the torch on this and was the only guy to really explore this in depth. Like Aczel, Moncrieff eventually decided that he knew more about equipment (capacitors in this case) than anyone else and started having them made to his specifications and reselling them for a handsome profit. After that there seemed to be a clear trend whereby equipment that used his parts received noticeably more positive reviews than equipment that didn't. It would seem that the results of that editorial strategy is fairly self-evident.
As always, strictly my personal opinion and not necessarily that of my employer or favorite magazine publisher.
I liked his reviews as well. Particularly the one on the Rockport Sirius III and the VAC Phi 70. Very well reasoned and logical reviews. Don't really know about his conflicts of interest but the thoroughness of the explanations was inspiring.
Do you remember when Moncrieff came up with the idea that he could thoroughly test phono cartridges by dropping the stylus on a sheet of glass and then doing an FFT of the output? As I recall he thought this methodology was so conclusive that he didn't even need to audition the cartridge.
Then there was time Moncrieff pronounced the Oracle turntable as precisely 634 times better than the LP-12.
> Do you remember when Moncrieff came up with the idea that he could
> thoroughly test phono cartridges by dropping the stylus on a sheet of glass
> and then doing an FFT of the output?
It's not a bad idea, except that it doesn't account for the effect of the vinyl
groove walls on the behavior. Years ago, Russ Andrews in the UK pointed
out to me that the "plop" sound when you drop the stylus in the groove
does characterize the phono cartridge's performance, though in a somewhat
uncontrolled way. I have analyzed a lot of these over the years.
And why do you (all) feel it's necessary to dilute his death thread with it?
Perhaps my rant should be directed at AA moderation, which doesn't seem to care.
Geez Louise-each and every time anyone dies-a fate we shall all share-and the person is discussed, someone has to spout the ubiquitous "let's not talk badly of the dead" bit like a school teacher correcting an evil student without a hall pass. It's as silly as it is predictable. It brings to mind news of Glen Frey's death on JA's website and the brew ha-ha over the merit of The Eagles' book of work. I happen to side with The Dude on that one btw.
I was responding to a post in a sub-thread about J. Peter Moncrieff, an
audio reviewer who, like Peter Aczel, was/is a superb writer but who also
shared some behavioral patterns with him.
Is is too soon to "turn over your hole cards" for the Peter Aczel poker pot?
Shall we expect a Sterophile eulogy - by you, by Olsher, by any of the "old guard" still writing for your rag?
(did JGH ever comment on the Aczel phenomenon - publically or privately - or Larry Archibald?)
> Shall we expect a Stereophile eulogy?
No, other than what I posted on Stereophile's Facebook page on June 25.
> did JGH ever comment on the Aczel phenomenon - publicly or privately - or
> Larry Archibald?
Yes, in private, but it would not be appropriate to repeat what was said in a
...I don't believe it is realistic to have some kind of a solemn memorial on Critic's Corner on an internet audio newsgroup when the person involved was an unpleasant huckster critic who took advantage of many of the people here.
Actually some people here have said nicer things about him than I would have thought.
Get a hint.
...so good, all the others are boat anchors.
Remember in the early 1980s when he printed his newsletter on red paper so people wouldn't photocopy them? You also could barely read them/
He wrote reviews like ad copy.
I could never figure out who he was writing them for - his readers, the manufacturers who also paid him to consult and buy his parts, or himself and his ego.
...I was a cofounder of the Norrthern California Audio Society in 1979.
J. Peter lived in Berkeley and used to come to our meetings.
He was a real character.
I think he managed the apartment building he lived in on Telegraph Ave. at the time. A buddy and I went to visit him once and saw his listening room with the walls lined with records in racks made from 2 X 4s.
There were a pair of Acoustats near the wall and and old beat up red listening chair across from it.
I used to see the big guy riding his 10-speed bicycle around town with a t-shirt, shorts and earmuffs on, no doubt to protect his hearing so he could hear the trebles.
Ironically he was the only audio writer to criticize Aczel in print for his lack of ethics in reviewing the Fourier loudspeaker. And then he was reviewing equipment with his capacitors, solder and wire in it.
I met Enid once, too, in about 1981 at a party at Art Ferris' (Modulus preamp) house. She was 6 feet tall and very personable.
a couple of times and BOY was she outspoken. she made Mel Schilling quite nervous when she visited Music and Sound on Ventura Blvd across from Woodland Stereo with a leather case of LPs.
it came up in the discussion that she soldered her speaker wires directly to her Maggies.
...I was looking for new speakers and had probably heard a half dozen that didn't do anything for me - then I heard the DQ-10s and I had to have them.
Looking for the electronic crossover, I ventured into to a high end shop in Huntington Beach called Haven and Hardesty.
Dick Hardesty, who later became the Audio Perfectionist and wrote an ezine, showed me an issue of TAS and introduced me to the underground audio publications. I was hooked, kool-aid and all.
I kept the speakers for about 5 year but I highly modified the them subbing a KEF T-27 for the two tweeters among other things.
After about 3 years I bought a pair of real subwoofers and traded the Quatre amps for a Threshold 400A on top and a Bryston 4B on the subs. The Rappaport went for a Threshold NS-10 (not one of Nelson's finest) and later and ARC SP-6B.
Ahh, the good old days.
> > So I was using Aczel's bi-amped Dahlquist reference system until the next issue of TAC came out when he traded in the DQ-10s for LS3-5as < <
Great story, thanks for sharing! The funny thing to me is that the DQ-10's were overall much better than the (admittedly good for the day) LS-3/5a'a. The worst problem of the DQ-10 was the horrible piezo-electric "super-tweeter". Simply disconnecting it solved a lot of problems. More gains could be had by mirror-imaging the upper-frequency drivers and replacing the stock wiring and capacitors, but that kind of tweaking was just a glimmer on the horizon back then.
I never had a chance to hear the Rappaport or the Quattre, but I bet the system sounded a far sight better than just about anything else for back then, with the possible exception of tubed electronics from Audio Research, Marantz, or McIntosh, and ESLs from KLH or Quad.
As always, strictly my personal opinions, prone to error and not necessarily those of my employer or favorite reviewer.
...I mirror-imaged mine, subbed better caps and and did a bunch of other stuff including using a KEF T-27 tweeter in place of the two stock ones.
I wrote an article about my mods and sent it to HP and he published in TAS in about 1980.
I went out and listened to the LS3-5as and thought they were pretty amazing in the way they threw an image but the DQ-10s sounded much better.
Are we even sure he's dead?
Has there been independent supporting confirmation?
"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination" -Michael McClure
Now THAT'S funny!
I discovered his writing long after the Fourier incident and found his views humorous. I guess he was trying to be serious. Either way, I read as much of his stuff as I could find, knowing that the polar opposite of his views was usually the right path. It's not easy finding someone that you can count on with that level of regularity.
"Either way, I read as much of his stuff as I could find, knowing that the polar opposite of his views was usually the right path."
Ah, the right path, insha'Allah.
Did you ever end up selling any of your prized guitars so you could buy a pair of Linkwitz Orions (Aczel's favorite speakers)? :-)
I thought his favorite speakers were the Fourier! :)
Nope, still have the guitars. My audiophile-dom has gone bye-bye, for the last 3-4 years or so. I'd rather have the guitars and new music than the next great preamp.
Clackers... there is no substitute! And speaking of Butterfield, I just ordered the "Got a mind to give up living" live CD. Try playing THAT on an audiophile rig! But that's a case in point - my music search is leading me to more bootleggy recordings, and my excellent recordings sound just excellent on my current system. ;)
you posted a thread with a heap of Richard BassNut Greene posts in it.
"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination" -Michael McClure
"you posted a thread with a heap of Richard BassNut Greene posts in it.
I should clarify. I make zero apologies for providing a link to a post whose thread contains posts by someone you don't like.
Although I was ribbing kerr, there's also some really good observations in his post. Among other things, he's completely aware of his own shifting perceptions with time (AKA "break-in"). As such, he's much more self-aware than the majority of the subjectivist camp, who assert their subjective experiences as objective reality.
I wasn't paying attention to that, as you can probably guess.
We used to rib each other about this sort of stuff all the time.
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