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AS THE EDITOR SEES IT

from CHARLES FOWLER 1951

ABOUT three weeks ago, the reporter for our local newspaper paid us a visit:

  1. " I hear you're going to publish a new magazine."
  2. "That's right."
  3. "What's it about?"
  4. "It's a magazine for audio-philes."
  5. "For whom?"


We shall stop repeating the conversation right there. It took the reporter the better part of an hour to get a word in edgewise . . . and you, the readers of High-Fidelity, know only too well what an audio-phile is.

What is an audio-phile ?

But . . . what an audio-phile is, is extremely important. This is very fundamental, because the success or failure of our effort to give you a magazine which is interesting and helpful to you depends on our ability to understand who and what an audio-phile is.

That's why we have taken time during these past couple of months to look over every subscription order which has been received. It has helped to answer the question, "Who is an audio-phile?" It is certainly apparent that an audio-phile is anybody and everybody: the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. The man who is publisher of two newspapers and owner of a big radio station; a well-known movie actor; the owner and operator of a tourist motel; the head cashier in a bank in a neighboring community; and so on, and on, and on. Who? A cross-section of America, united in a common interest: music, and the improved reproduction of music. We can get out the dictionary and define audio-phile technically: a person who is friendly to the sense of hearing.

Warum ein neues Magazin ?

But why? Or more explicitly (if less grammatically) how come you got that way? Any number of reasons. The basic interest in music, a characteristic of the majority of audio-philes, grew up for the same multitude of reasons which give birth to an interest in any social or cultural activity. The interest in better reproduction of music seems to have been aroused generally by "hearing a friend's installation".

Before we go any further, we would like to ask your help. High-Fideuty is your magazine. It is, very specifically, your responsibility to assist us in making it the kind of magazine you want. In subscribing, or in buying this first copy, you are not taking a look at a long-established publication, to see if what it says and writes about is of interest to you.
.

You are examining an idea

You are examining an idea: that there is a need for a publication devoted to your interests in "the sense of hearing", and you are examining a suggestion from us: that this is the type of material you want. Exactly how we can serve this need, and with what material to fill the pages of this publication, is up to you. Because you have invested in one or more copies of High-Fidelity, you are, as it were, a stockholder in a company. And the board of directors of that company needs the help of the stockholders in guiding the future of the company. We sincerely want to hear from every reader; we want to know who you are, what your interests are, what we can do to help you as an audio-phile, what you want to see in this, your magazine.

We know only the general background picture: that you are part of a great movement surging throughout the country. Just how great, we did not realize until we began to search for the answer to a question: are there enough music lovers and audio-philes to justify the publication of High-Fidelity? We knew that there was no magazine devoted specifically to such interests. We had a rough idea of what these interests might be because we ourselves have always enjoyed music, we've been annoyed by the way it sounded when reproduced at home, and we had enough of the tinkerer in us to like fussing around with amplifiers and speakers. An average audio-phile. But how many more, like us, were there?

Ein Blick in die Vergangenheit

The upsurge of musical interest in America is literally astounding. Here are just a few statistics. According to David Ewen *1), there were 13 major orchestras in America in 1901. Musical America listed 159 for 1950! In addition, there are today over 10,000 community orchestras - semi-professional groups performing locally and primarily for their own enjoyment. Further, Holiday Magazine estimates that there are over 20.000 school orchestras and groups.

And while we are talking about the amount of live music available, let's kill once and for all the old saying that "In summer, no one bothers with music." We particularly resent this remark, because we live so close to the Berkshire Summer Festival at Tanglewood. Last summer, more than 14.000 turned out for a single concert!

Average attendance has been 9,000 to 13,000. In other parts of the country, there are at least 23 firmly established summer series in the states of California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. .... in addition to innumerable summer music schools and smaller, less well-known music groups. That is a glimpse of the "live music" picture. The story of recorded music is so astounding as to be beyond belief. 50,000,000 records a year would be an underestimate. Ewen guessed at a figure of 10,000,000 serious-music discs way back in 1940. For what this phenomenal output means in terms of new musical experiences and the bringing back to life of a vast and unperformed repertory, see C. G. Burke's article on page 25.

Und was ist mit dem Radio ?

And on the air? The WQXR program guide for April scheduled the performance of 277 major compositions. WNYC scheduled over 1,000 serious and semi-serious selections in a two-month period! And these are but two stations!

*1) Music Cornea to America, by David Ewen, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1942.

On the side of improved home reproduction, the picture is equally dramatic. Every manufacturer and every supplier reports sales of custom equipment to be beyond every expectation, and mounting steadily.

This is but a cursory glance at the movement of which you are a part . a movement in which there is a keen community of interest which we hope we can foster and encourage . . . with your help.

Der Brief einer Ehefau an die neuen Macher :

PERHAPS the best summation of who are audio-philes, and why we are publishing High-Fidelity, is to be found not in our own words, nor even in the words of an audio-phile, but in a letter written by - who could do it better! - the wife of an audio-phile:

Gentlemen:

I am enclosing a check, $3.00, for a year's subscription to be sent to my husband, Col. Russell G. Barkalow.
My husband is a very critical listener and very technically minded, period! He started as a youngster with a crystal set. Then, when he got to radios, he would sometimes have four of them in the house at once, making comparisons to determine which was the best. In Alaska, in 1947, he got completely fed up with radio reception, as it was very poor. He tried record players, big speakers, amplifiers, needles, etc., each time making an improvement

We came here to Virginia in July 1948, and he started all over again. He has finally wound up with a 3-way Webster changer, McIntosh amplifier and equalizer, Altec speaker, Pickering compensator, diamond-tip needle, and goodness knows what else (I do not have a technical mind so can not remember all the equipment!) This I do know, he gets wonderful reproduction - one can hear every instrument in a band or orchestra. He will not have a noisy record nor one that does not have full range. As you well know, the piano is the most difficult instrument to record, but it has now graduated from the "Silver Dollar Saloon" type to where it sounds as though it is right in the room and sounds - like a piano! This I think is a very good test.

My husband has made everyone who hears his system very unhappy, because it is so much better than that with which they are familiar. I was disturbed at first, but he explained that people do not know what high-fidelity reproduction is, and therefore they have to be shown. I now see his point and agree one hundred percent.

He has said that sooner or later someone would come out with a publication such as yours, so when he saw your advertisement, he was delighted.
You are in on the ground floor and so can do much to help make people realize that they can get high fidelity in both radio and records. Of course, all people cannot afford the more expensive layouts, but there are some modest ones which are good.

I am telling you all the above so you can understand why my husband is so interested in your new publication. He feels that this is the only way that the manufacturers can be persuaded to put out high class records and equipment: there has to be a public demand. This is where you can stress that thought to the very great advantage of all of us. More power to you!
Helen H. Barkalow
(Mrs. R. G. Barkalow)

.
Thank you, Mrs. Barkalow. We hope that we can live up to your expectations and can meet the challenge of serving you and all audiophiles.

Departments in High-Fidelity

In addition to regular features such as the Record Review Section, we have several departments planned which, since they are reader departments, will not appear until the next issue. The one we shall be most interested in personally is -
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THE FORUM

Here's the place to sound off about sound ... about music ... about whatever is on your mind ... about high fidelity or High-Fidelity. Here's the place to pass along to other audio-philes your thoughts and suggestions on records, music, broadcasting, and, of course, audio. Whether there's something that should be done, or shouldn't, or if you just want to start an argument. The Forum is the place where you can make your ideas known to the largest group of audio enthusiasts gathered into the readership of any magazine.

TRADER'S MARKETPLACE

With audio equipment becoming somewhat scarce, and certainly more expensive, there's a ready market for any surplus equipment you may have. If you will take stock of audio items you own but don't use any more, you will probably be surprised to see how much cash it represents. And - the other way around - if you are looking for a particular bit of unusual equipment, or a special record, an item in the Marketplace will probably find it for you. See the advertising section for complete details.

BOOK SERVICE DEPARTMENT

One of the common queries is, "Where can I get a good book on such and such a subject?" The answer is on pages 4 and 5. We have gone through a bibliography of hundreds of titles and have tried to select a representative group of current ones. The selection is heavy on the music side, for the simple reason that there are many more books on this subject. There are not too many good books of a non-technical or semi-technical nature on audio (one more reason for publishing High-Fidelity!). If you have favorite titles, please tell us about them and write us for any particular books which are not listed. There will be a revised list in each issue, in which new books released between issues of High-Fidelity will be reviewed at length.

READER SERVICE DEPARTMENT

Theoretically, the Reader Service Department can give you the answer to any problem that may arise in connection with your audio installation. At least, it's set up that way. However, we don't challenge you to stump the experts, but we certainly will do our best to dig up any information you want on equipment, components, manufacturers' addresses, books, and other things within reason. If we haven't the answer at hand, we can probably hunt up the particular specialist who knows.

If your question is simple enough to answer in a few lines on a postcard, there will be no charge. If you're going to make it necessary for us to write you a letter, send 25c for each question. Since we don't like to draw diagrams, we will probably refer you to a book that will give you the circuit for what you want. And if you hit us with the $64 question, enclose a remittance accordingly!!

We'll do our very best to get an answer off to you within 3 days, but be lenient with us 1) when an issue of High-Fidelity is just about to go to press and 2.) during July and August, when we spend a fair share of our time at Tanglewood listening to the Berkshire Festival. At all other times, answers to your problems have top priority.

- Werbung Dezent -
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