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The Absolute Sound
Issue 266   October 2016
The Unbroken Chain
Editorial By Robert Harley


The Absolute Sound Issue 266 October 2016


  I'm delighted to share with you in this issue the new and improved look for The Absolute Sound. Although our old graphic design was universally praised, we felt that we could deliver to readers an even richer experience. As part of the new presentation you'll see more and larger product photos (including rear-panel shots), a slightly larger font size for improved readability, and a more modern and open look. We think that these upgrades will make The Absolute Sound's content even more accessible and appealing.

The magazine's graphic design has for the past eight years been developed by Torquil Dewar, Creative Director of his company October Custom Publishing. If you've enjoyed TAS' graphic presentation, Torquil deserves the credit. In addition to creating the vision for the magazine's design, he and his team direct the photo shoots, create the cover, and lay out the reviews, columns, and features in every issue. I can't say enough about Torquil's talent and unflagging work ethic, and the high standard that he sets for himself. The spectacular graphic design of our large-format book series, The Absolute Sound's Illustrated History of High-End Audio, is also Torquil's creation. But his latest work in developing the magazine design that debuts in this issue may be his best effort yet.

In addition to the fresh look, we've created some new features that you'll see on a regular basis. One of these is Tip of the Month, in which we share with you a system set-up technique or accessory that will help you get better sound at little cost. Many of the tips will be free, costing you nothing more than a bit of time and effort. I've rarely encountered a hi-fi system that couldn't be improved with a little attention to setup. Another new feature is The Legacy Page, a regular feature devoted to celebrating a classic product from high-end audio's rich past.

Although The Absolute Sound's appearance has changed dramatically over the years, one thing has remained constant since the magazine's founding in 1973—an unswerving dedication to our readers, and to the ideal that because music is important, reproducing it with the highest possible fidelity is important. A bedrock of that continuity across the decades is our writing staff, many of whom have contributed to The Absolute Sound for a very long time. Nine of our writers have been with TAS for more than 20 years, some for more than three decades. Our team's remarkable longevity brings to TAS an unparalleled experience and insight that informs their opinions and judgments today.



Keeping those writers supplied with review samples, editing their copy, and running the machinery of putting each issue of the magazine together falls to our full-time editorial staff of Jonathan Valin, Neil Gader, Julie Mullins, and me. The four of us bring very different skill sets to the job, but those skill sets happen to mesh with a remarkable synergy. I've worked with Jon and Neil for nearly 20 years, and not only are they consummate professionals, they are genuinely wonderful human beings. And though Julie joined us just 18 months ago, she's quickly become an indispensable part of our small group as well as a refreshing new voice in The Absolute Sound. And publisher Jim Hannon, far from being a corporate "suit," is a classically trained musician, serious audiophile and music lover, and TAS subscriber since Issue 6 in 1975. I never take for granted my great fortune in working at a job I love, with people I greatly respect professionally and want as friends.

The Absolute Sound as a business is an anomaly in today's magazine industry. We're not just a "unit" of a media conglomerate that doesn't understand or care about high-end audio. Rather, TAS' owner, Tom Martin, bought the magazine from founder Harry Pearson in 1998 when TAS was in deep trouble. Tom was a TAS reader from the very first issue in 1973, and put the magazine on firm financial footing purely because he thought that TAS and its legacy deserved to continue. Everyone on the TAS team is intensely dedicated to preserving and expanding that legacy. I'm pleased to report that in 2015 The Absolute Sound had its best year ever.

The industry has morphed dramatically over the decades, and TAS' new graphic design would have been unimaginable in 1973. But The Absolute Sound's fundamental purpose has remained the same—to connect people with music. We've been doing just that for the past 43 years, and hope to continue that mission for the next generations of music lovers.




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