It's cool to be invited to contribute as a staff writer and special projects reporter for Enjoy the Music.com web magazine. It's a real honor to be on the roll call. As a staff writer am reviewing myself as an audio component, I would be:
Very transparent, and present well with a fine image. My soundstage is excellent, having done radio programs over the years for large and small stations. My taste in music is a smorgasbord of flavors and textures, including a wide range of types and styles. I'm also a musician and know how acoustic and electronic instruments should sound, I have a trained ear and an intuitive sense of compositional structures. I have done special projects for a well-regarded recording label, which has been rewarded with many Grammy achievements.
Over the years I've worked in several capacities and with many associations and companies in the audio industry, running the gamut, from hi-fi retail, cables, speakers, electronics, and accessories. Also, I'm beating my chest for high-end audio advocacy internationally and some Silicon Valley start-up madness with marketing audio products and developing e-commerce channels, establishing the conduit for audio companies to sell their products. Still a work in progress in today's ever-changing economy.
My audio sensibilities tilt towards the good to great value for the money audio components, even vintage gear! I love really good cheap eats and also appreciate the exceptional palate bomb $$$$ meal! Oh, and let's follow it up with worthy wine pairings from $$ to $$$$. People always ask me, "Are you a good cook?" I say," I just cook with good ingredients." This is similar to the way I view good audio systems. Look at NAD, for example, I have two original NAD 3020's, and they are an amazingly great value, even in today's market compared to more $$$$ modern units. It's like a Julia Child's recipe for a French omelet. Can't be beaten and simply done!
I was always a great fan of various magazines. Because of my compact sound space, I review components in a near-field set up, which takes the room out of the equation. Hence, the name of my column. Near-Field Nirvana. I find that most speakers lend themselves very well with that positioning. I have done a lot of control room listening and find it satisfying and revealing to my ears.
My ears are my test instruments. As Yoda said to Luke, "Go with the Force Luke". I've worked with amazing gifted audio component designers, where metrics and science were employed to craft the building of their play-back gear. However, in the end, what does it sound like?
My cats have always had the knack for nailing a component's sonic merit from the first note. I truly trust the position of their ears and body NLP, yes, the tail too.
Good listening and above all enjoy the music!
-- Ric Mancuso