Rafe Arnott’s Resistor Mag - a bit of fresh air in audio journalism.

the sound of Tao

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Have enjoyed reading Resistor Mag, some great content and graphically nice... great sense of design and both cool in its content and context and also cool in spirit. A magazine with nuance and not just rolling out the same old formula or just overtly commercial drives.

Resistor Mag - Kondo Audio Note

The interview (linked above) with current Kondo supremo and head designer Masaki Ashizawa is a great read.

Resistor Mag - EMT restorations

or (above) an interview with Hans van Vliet on restoration of vintage EMTs.

I think there’s much to love in their philosophy...

“Resistor Mag favors cultural over commercial impact; handbuilt craftsmanship over effective branding. We will remain fairly indifferent about measurements and specifications, while placing a premium on the more enduring aspects of arts, culture and the musicality of playback from hi-fi.

We realize that design and architecture are about more than just aesthetics. We are more inclined to venerate the things we love than to disparage those we do not.

More specifically, think of Resistor Mag as the tape on a reel-to-reel for laying down the tracks of writers, photographers, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs who are resisting the temptation to be basic and will work towards a shared goal of being interesting, inspiring and humorous.”


Though their tag line HIFI TILL WE DIE could be a potentially short lived aim within our game :eek:
 
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marmota

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I like the subjects and topics covered, such as the japanese High End audio scene, and the Jazz-Kissas...that's incredibly interesting. Also, the photography is beautiful, it really highlights the charm of those places.

I'm also glad that Rafe found (more accurately: created) a place that's better aligned with him and his style.
I remember being angry and frustrated (like many more people), when he was hired to take over Innerfidelity because of Tyll's retirement. Not only the wrong audience (and Tyll is irreplaceable, IMO), but he also had no idea about headphones, literally. Resistor Mag feels right, because that's what he likes and knows better, and I bet Rafe is happier with his new place too, a win-win.

Regarding the Kondo article, is fascinating and incredibly well made. The only things that I didn't enjoy were how the author, Peter Katsoolis, "downplayed" the visit at first, implying that he would rather be at a concert or spending, maximum, half an hour at the factory. Even if, at the end, he spent 4 and a half hours and deeply enjoyed the visit, it feels somehwat rude reading it just at beginning of the article. I'm not saying that going to a concert isn't more fun and interesting than visiting a factory, but when the subject of the article is a factory visit...it just feels out of place, IMO.

Also, what he said about Hiroyasu Kondo, while very intesting, would benefit from more context. It feels a bit disrespectful to me. I would like to add, that this probably is my fault, because english is not my native language (there are high chances of me not understanding correctly what he wrote), and I did not have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Kondo personally. I would like to have a proper context to correctly interpret this:

"I met Hiroyasu Kondo, the founder of Audio Note, once in the late ‘90s. It was a drunken shambles of an evening only the Japanese know how to properly conduct. As an audio innovator and visionary, the literally silvery and wiry Mr. Kondo had few peers."


"As much as he championed Toscanini, I have it on good authority from a former employee that Kondo really got his creative juices flowing by listening to porno soundtracks."

"Masaki began his hi-fi career building the Ongaku and has helmed the Audio Note company since Kondo passed away in 2006. It is arguable that the Audio Note legacy is now as much his as it is Kondo’s. A clearly humble man, he presents as a gentle and reflective soul but certainly more grounded and business-minded than his flamboyant forbear."

Anyway, it is not my intention to offend, only to provide some constructive criticism and express some doubts. I enjoyed the article, it is highly interesting, and so are the ones about the japanese High End scene and the Jazz Kissas. I'll take my time to read the EMT restorations article, which is also a fascinating subject.
Thanks for sharing it, I've had a great time reading!
 
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the sound of Tao

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That’s great Marmota. I’m with you and there are elements that may not be how I’d put things but I also like that the next generations are trying to talk to newer generations in a way that is more relevant to them and looking more to the culture (the people, the history and the music) rather than just the gear and the underlying commercial take on things.

It will be interesting to see where it goes. Many people (I believe rightly) in our hobby and industry say it’s important that we foster the new gens to keep this pursuit alive but then turn around and just carry on with the same culture in the way we always have.

I’m not necessarily even championing the way next gen looks at things but it’s important every gen respects the other and values their contributions. The differences are important and having a culturally diverse community adds layers of dynamic richness and life. We mightn’t always agree with what other gens see as important or even agree how they interpret life but it’s just good to see others being integrated into all our worlds.

It’s interesting to see these things as part of a greater cycle. While not at the very oldest of spectrum I’m still marching happily on towards the latter phase of my being so my perspectives are changing to accompany notions of some kind of end point from my own end. It’s just nice to see others step up and continue to develop and define who we (audiophiles) are and reflect a more now and also future looking view of what we as a group may value. If the focus is more on representing the culture, our people and the music as well as gear then that is a good thing to me.

Loved that you got some good things out of it. I hope we see more divergence in the way our community sees itself, the old ways have great things but also it’s good to expand and explore beyond as well. It’s not going to stay alive and well if it’s all locked up and static. Life is dynamic and so our community’s culture should reflect that if it wants to be ongoing, relevant and responsive. I’m looking forward to seeing more about what our future audiophiles think is the way they want to be in all this. If they are music lovers and enjoy people and have some sense of humour then that is a marvellous sign for all.
 
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PeterA

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Another classic post from Sound of Tao.

I will be interested in watching whether or not the next generation of audiophiles becomes more interested in the advantages of experimenting with set up and how it can dramatically affect the sound of one’s audio system or whether they will chase gear And be primarily concerned with upgrading.

It will also be interesting to see if they adopt a simpler language more about what they hear from live music, or if they stick to the 30-year-old glossary of terms.

They may go back to a previous time which I think of as a more hands on personal experience rather than one driven by consumption, advertising, and what is available at the local dealership: lower cost, more do it yourself and experimentation, more attention to setting up and improving what they already have.

My hope is that there will be a new vitality to the hobby to sustain and even grow it.
 
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marmota

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I agree with you, @the sound of Tao, specially when you say:
" it's important every gen respects the other and values their contributions."

Not only between generations, but also in general. It is important to respect and learn from each other, of course, there is people with vast experience, and people like me that are just beginning, but for me the most important is to help, to have empathy and not downplay the other person because of different sound or even music tastes.
It's not possible to make friends while saying "I'm right" all the time ;)

@PeterA
"It will also be interesting to see if they adopt a simpler language more about what they hear from live music, or if they stick to the 30-year-old glossary of terms."

I can talk for me, and I can tell you that, while I'm quite chatty and probably talk too much, I'm a very simple creature in terms of describing sound. I've heard some systems that cost more than my house, and I know that what I have is obviously not up to such standard. It happened to me that I've bought a pair of IEMs, well reviewed for being "smooth". Tried them a couple of days and returned them, the reason was that I couldn't enjoy music. I've come up with a one sentence review one week after returning them. It does not have a description about dynamics, or detail. My thoughts were: "being molested by a very persistent, evil and maliciously trained mosquito". :rolleyes:
If someone of my generation opens a review site, I sincerely hope he's not like me LOL
 

the sound of Tao

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... It happened to me that I've bought a pair of IEMs, well reviewed for being "smooth". Tried them a couple of days and returned them, the reason was that I couldn't enjoy music. I've come up with a one sentence review one week after returning them. It does not have a description about dynamics, or detail. My thoughts were: "being molested by a very persistent, evil and maliciously trained mosquito". :rolleyes:
If someone of my generation opens a review site, I sincerely hope he's not like me LOL
I’m a big fan of the reality that there’s a million ways to see a thing or describe a thing... a diverse mixed cultural world that’s gets along well and seeks to understand others is a good way to go.
 
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marmota

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I’m a big fan of the reality that there’s a million ways to see a thing or describe a thing... a diverse mixed cultural world that’s gets along well and seeks to understand others is a good way to go.

Exactly!
Talking about the Kondo article, their gear certainly looks like an audio poem to me...even the schematic. This is something that I subconsciously thought when seeing the amps years ago in pictures, but the descriptor "audio poem" just crossed my mind recently. The copper chassis, silver transformers, tubes, the japanese heritage...is like an audio Haiku. It's certainly one of those objects that, even without prior background about the company or knowing the price, you know it's important just looking at it IMHO.
 
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the sound of Tao

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Another classic post from Sound of Tao.

I will be interested in watching whether or not the next generation of audiophiles becomes more interested in the advantages of experimenting with set up and how it can dramatically affect the sound of one’s audio system or whether they will chase gear And be primarily concerned with upgrading.

It will also be interesting to see if they adopt a simpler language more about what they hear from live music, or if they stick to the 30-year-old glossary of terms.

They may go back to a previous time which I think of as a more hands on personal experience rather than one driven by consumption, advertising, and what is available at the local dealership: lower cost, more do it yourself and experimentation, more attention to setting up and improving what they already have.

My hope is but there will be a new vitality to the hobby to sustain and even grow it.
Many thanks Peter,
We are of an age caught up with the love of things and celebrate the gear which is marvellous stuff and can give us great joy. Also we love certainty in life and in our knowing and the idea that everything has a fixed answer.

The current age is less bound by fixedness simply because acceleration of change has got the whole world moving faster (no judgement on whether that’s survivable or not) so I’d also think that being more adaptive and interpretive will help in a time of increased change so it helps if we get back to balancing and bringing back simpler more holistic ways of thinking and being as well.

I’m assuming that next gen will seek to redress the imbalances it finds in previous gens just as previous gens have always done before.

Perhaps the trend is to simpler nourishment, being more whole and real and connected and enjoying what you have and not always chasing after something more. That will be a more realistic enjoyment perhaps. Maybe they’ll tire of unnecessary conflict and accept the views of others more. Hopefully they’ll discover what it is that most gives them meaning in this. For me it started with the love of music and culture and after an excursion of a lifetime that seems where it is ending up as well.

We have been caught up with a strong focus on the gear and this has driven certain positive outcomes and brought with it constraints also. A bit more celebration of music for its own sake rather than as sonic demonstrations would be nice. A simpler less exclusive language about what the experiences of listening brings would be good also but would require that we also have more latitude in accepting what can be grey for us rather than just expecting everything to be separated into some easy tick box of black and white absolutes that then don’t reflect life and the way we actually are.
 
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the sound of Tao

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Exactly!
Talking about the Kondo article, their gear certainly looks like an audio poem to me...even the schematic. This is something that I subconsciously thought when seeing the amps years ago in pictures, but the descriptor "audio poem" just crossed my mind recently. The copper chassis, silver transformers, tubes, the japanese heritage...is like an audio Haiku. It's certainly one of those objects that, even without prior background about the company or knowing the price, you know it's important just looking at it IMHO.
Great design speaks its nature. Things should look as they are and our instincts can tell us a lot. There is a refined poetic sense in the approach of Kondo as an artisan. I’d also suggest nuanced and simple and soulful. Even the adoption of silver says something about the spirit of the design.
 
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microstrip

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Have enjoyed reading Resistor Mag, some great content and graphically nice... great sense of design and both cool in its content and context and also cool in spirit. A magazine with nuance and not just rolling out the same old formula or just overtly commercial drives. (...)
Thanks for pointing to the Resistor Mag site - it is very interesting and looks promising. It was great to find their audiophile objective clearly stated "At its best, playback equipment should reproduce music exactly the way the artist envisioned, and take you on the intended experience."

I also appreciated the choice of the current Linn Sondek LP12 for one of their first reviews - a deserved homage to a great turntable that I have enjoyed so much.
 
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the sound of Tao

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Thanks for pointing to the Resistor Mag site - it is very interesting and looks promising. It was great to find their audiophile objective clearly stated "At its best, playback equipment should reproduce music exactly the way the artist envisioned, and take you on the intended experience."

I also appreciated the choice of the current Linn Sondek LP12 for one of their first reviews - a deserved homage to a great turntable that I have enjoyed so much.
The artists vision and how we experience it is a great point to aim as a framework for understanding how our systems communicate the performance.

That realistically means that we’re going to have to use interpretation and accept it will be about our take on things. Having understanding of music I find helps a lot there as well Micro.

How we experience how music expresses and also understanding the nature of the composers and the players helps in aligning how reflective the spirit as well as the context of a music performance comes through in our systems.

It is funny that we do get in part very much focussed on “flavour of the year” gear and don’t more often consider heritage in design and landmark gear. The Linn Sondek still looks great.

I’d imagine certain system approaches allow for more timelessness in gear. I noticed at the back of the Kondo showroom the Siemens horns (looks like Bionors). Two way OB is such a classic move that is wonderfully timeless... it’s great to see (like at DDKs) the originals still alive and making great music.
 
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