Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Art Dudley and Vinyl

This month marked the publication of the 100th "Listening" column by Art Dudley in Stereophile magazine. I guess I've read them all, as I first started reading his work in his own Listener magazine before it's too-soon demise, and his subsequent hiring by Stereophile.

He's a really funny writer, and he takes a unique and irreverent approach to reviewing audio equipment. In his own words, in a response to a letter to the editor in the April 2011 issue, Dudley says that he has suggested "time and time again, that each record lover should strive for a playback system that presents music in a manner that he or she considers beautiful- not by distorting music, but by emphasizing those performance parameters that are of greatest importance to him or her, and gleefully ignoring those parameters that are not, regardless of who propounds them. I do that in full expectation of the gurus' outrage and the yipping of their lapdogs, and I seldom have to wait long for either."

He's willing to like an amplifier that romances music, and speakers that are not necessarily the most accurate. And other times he's fallen all over for solid state done well. He's an open-minded lover of music. While he's been writing he's owned equipment that was particularly "fringe" material, and at other times he's had fairly conventional gear. But even more than his excellent, analytical reviews of equipment, it's the stories he tells along the way, and more than a few all-out rants. He doesn't suffer fools well. You can read much of his work for Stereophile on their website. One my my very favorite writers in any genre.

So happy 100th Listening column, Art. Keep it going.

Note to readers: Since I first published this post, I have purchased vinyl from Amazon, and their shipping and packaging seem to have improved, at least in my experience.

Also in this month's Listening column, Art shares his recent gargantuan disappointment with the process of buying vinyl records from I haven't had an experience quite so profound as his, but I too have been unimpressed with their shipping and handling of vinyl. I too would recommend and, and I'd add as well to the list of quality new vinyl retailers. For used vinyl look no further than, a site that brings a searchable database of hundreds of sellers large and small to the used vinyl market. Stick to the 4 and 5 star sellers, and you'll rarely be disappointed. I got one badly scratched record from someone once, but it was an unusually cheap copy of a usually expensive rarity, and it's condition was not dishonestly represented.

If you happen to be near Pittsburgh, Jerry's Records is a huge place, chock full of very cool finds. And Amoeba on Haight Street in San Francisco is worth a visit if you are into vinyl and happen to be in the neighborhood. In fact that's a store that is worth going out of your way to get to. They also stock a good selection of shiny silver discs.

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