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The Absolute Sound
Issue 234   July / August 2013
TAS Turns 40
Editorial By Robert Harley


TAS Issue 234   July / August 2013  It is my great pleasure to welcome you to The Absolute Sound's special 40th anniversary issue. It was exactly 40 years ago that Harry Pearson published the first issue of a digest-sized quarterly journal devoted to music and the equipment to reproduce it well. As part of our special coverage, we reprint in this issue Harry's seminal review of the Double Advent loudspeaker from Volume 1, Issue 1. We're also featuring a sampling of those now-iconic cover illustrations from the early years, our selections of the 100 Most Significant Products since TAS was founded in 1973, and Jonathan Valin's insightful commentary on The Absolute Sound and its evolution over the past four decades. You'll also find on theabsolutesound.com additional 40th anniversary features including the covers of all 234 issues presented sequentially with one mouse click. You can also download as a free PDF the entire first issue of The Absolute Sound.

Not many magazines have survived for forty years, and even fewer are prospering and growing in the Age of the Internet and the Decline of Print Media. I'm pleased to report that in the second decade of the twenty-first century TAS has never been stronger. We owe that success to you, our readers, who are the most loyal, involved, and passionate audience imaginable. TAS exists because of you and for you.

A magazine is only as good as its writers, and TAS is fortunate to have a "dream team" of freelance contributors. Our writers present a wide spectrum of voices that span virtually every era of TAS. Associate Editor Neil Gader and three writers Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert E. Greene, and Paul Seydor have each written for TAS for more than 25 years. And although Dick Olsher is relatively new to our pages with "only" six years tenure, he's been writing authoritatively about audio for nearly thirty years. In fact, back in 1989 when I was new to reviewing Dick and I briefly shared a listening room at the Stereophile offices in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wayne Garcia and Steven Stone also have long histories with TAS, in Steve's case going back to the 1980s. In addition to this team of seasoned veterans, we've added some fresh new voices, including Kirk Midtskog, Vade Forester, Ron Doering, and Scot Hull, whose debut review appears in this issue. We're also fortunate to have Mark Lehman as Music Editor and proofreader. Mark holds a Ph.D. in English and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of music a powerful and unique combination of skills that benefit the magazine immeasurably.

High-end audio is very different than it was forty years ago, and TAS looks very different than it did in 1973. Yet at its heart this is still the same magazine, with the same ideals, principles, and mission. There's one person on the editorial team who, more than anyone, deserves credit for moving The Absolute Sound into the 21st century while maintaining the magazine's core values, aesthetic, and indefinable "feel." That person is Jonathan Valin. He and I have worked closely on audio magazines for more than 16 years (14 of those years on TAS), and I can tell you that TAS would not be what it is today without him. In my view Jonathan is, by a wide margin, the best audio writer the field has ever seen. In addition to his unparalleled insight into the relationship between sound quality differences and their musical effects, he brings forty years of deep experience with the best-of-the-best audio components. Has anyone ever written about audio more authoritatively, entertainingly, or with greater erudition than Jonathan Valin? If so, I'd like to know who. Moreover, he has a tireless work ethic, copyediting every word you see in TAS, correcting layouts, and proofing the entire magazine. But beyond these skills, Jonathan brings to TAS a sensibility that elevates what we publish to a higher level than that of a "mere" audio magazine.

The next chapter of The Absolute Sound has yet to be written. But with the combination of an intensely loyal readership, an exceptional editorial team, and humanity's fundamental love of music, the journey may just be beginning.



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