Mohammed remembers cleaning his first LP at age 9, as he dubbed his father’s record collection to audio cassettes, and some of the L.A.S.T cleaning products he used 30 years ago are still the ones he uses today.
Mohammed searches the globe for foodie finds and used record stores. Although a vinyl collector and lover, he believes that the future is digital and is always seeking out formats and hardware to produce digital playback that can engage.
He is also a fan of trying anything in the audio industry, and you will find all kinds of weird tweaks in his listening room. “It doesn’t matter if you can’t explain it, as long as you can hear it.”
He enjoys sharing his music passion with his wife and 2 children. Each of whom has their own music collection.
When not listening to music, Mohammed works as a general manager at a very large software company working on user experience design.
Read more about Mohammed’s system here.
John has been interested in music and audio since his early teen years, or stated another way, as long as he can remember. He has been involved in the audio community in one way or another for around 20 years and has been a regular contributor to the on-line magazine Stereomojo. There, he has been the resident computer audio guy and “value conscious audiophile” (aka “cheap bastard”)
John is a professor of analytical chemistry and a forensic chemistry consultant in his spare time when he isn’t listening to music or evaluating gear. He tries to fit in plenty of time to hang out with his two teenage kids, his lovely wife, and the family cat, though only the cat also seems to harbor audiophile tendencies. John also enjoys running, cycling, golfing, hiking, or just about any other activity that sucks up time and money.
Read about John’s system here.
Dave McNair has been a professional recording engineer, mixer, producer, audiophile, and for the last 20 years, a multiple Grammy-winning mastering engineer.
Since his earliest days, music has been a constant. Starting with seeing The Beatles live on Ed Sullivan to studying classical guitar from age 11, then later a series of rock bands, his love of music, sound, and tech, lead him to a career in music recording. Concurrent to beginning his engineering career, he sold high-end home audio in several locations including Innovative Audio and Sound By Singer in NYC.
After years of residence in NYC, Los Angeles, and Austin, he now resides in Winston-Salem, NC where he operates Dave McNair Mastering and spends his free time listening to records, reading, meditating, cooking vegan food, hiking, riding road bikes, and swapping out hi-fi gear in search of a better sound.
Grover is a recent transplant to Los Angeles, CA, and a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied music, creative writing, and how to wear skinny jeans. After graduating Grover pursued a freelance career in audio, doing professional research in the fields of Auditory Cognition, Psychoacoustics, and Experimental Hydrophone Design.
Before moving to Los Angeles, Grover worked and lived in Chicago, Illinois as a mixing and mastering engineer, working in genres such as Avant-garde Classical music and Jazz. As a recent transplant to L.A., Grover now works in the music, video game, and film industries.
He is also actively pursuing a career as an independent musician, composer, and producer. Grover wrote for Innerfidelity and Audiostream, before finding his forever-home at Part-Time Audiophile.
Darryl is a retired executive living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although he gets a good deal of exposure to live music via season subscriptions to Santa Fe’s various opera, orchestral, and chamber music groups, Darryl believes a great sound system is the only practical means invented by modern technology to experience the work of long-gone (i.e., sleeping with the fishes) or simply inaccessible artists and their performances—at least in his current temporal existence. And he has plenty of software to stimulate his auditory contemplations, given that he’s amassed and continually adding to a vinyl collection of well over 10,000 records.
Audio being a hobby (this is the Part-Time Audiophile, right?), Darryl spends much of his non-listening time volunteering for various worthy—depending on your point of view—organizations. In addition, he hosts a weekly program, “Tuesday Night at the Opera,” on Santa Fe’s public radio station, KSFR (7:00-10:00 p.m. Mountain Time; streaming live on www.ksfr.org). Further background may be obtained from his parole officer.
Darryl’s system can be found here.
Paul Ashby has, gratefully, retired from the music business but still can’t resist sniping from the sidelines from time to time.
He lives in Contra Costa County, California, with his partner Kate, and their cats, Wafflehead and Timmy. He is approaching the tipping point where he enjoys gardening and landscaping more than music.
We’ll see how that pans out.
You can find Paul regularly on his own site, Anything But MP3.
Columnist, The Reluctant Sommelier
Nina has been “into wine” for the last 20 years. She serves as the Secretary-General of the North American Sommelier Association (NASA) and is the brand ambassador for the wine region of Rioja, Spain. She is also a professional wine educator, focusing on US varieties.
Her professional certifications include: WSA/NASA Silver Pin Certified Sommelier, NASA American Wine Specialist, NASA Italian Wine Specialist, WSET Advanced Certificate, and the Court of Master Sommeliers Level 1.
Columnist, Radio Schmaltz
Nan is a graduate of The University of North Carolina where she studied philosophy and linguistics, and DJ’d for UNC’s college radio station, WXYC. She earned her master’s at Duke University studying radio as an educational tool, oral history, and storytelling. After finishing her graduate degree in 2016, she continued to DJ, became active in ham radio, began woodworking seriously, and became the librarian and assistant music director at WCPE, The Classical Station.
She has done freelance audio work including boom mic, sound mix, and post-production editing. She is a copywriter and copyeditor for several music and performing arts organizations.
Nan writes about music culture and radio technology of all kinds. She DJs FM radio, operates ham radio, and got her first job in high school to save up for a belt-drive turntable. She currently works in classical music and theatre, but she often puts down her work to drop the needle on Scriabin’s Preludes and dream in technicolor.
Editorial Board & Associates
Marc Phillips has been writing about music and audio since 1998 when he started his original Vinyl Anachronist column for Perfect Sound Forever, an underground music magazine. Since then he has contributed over 130 columns on enjoying LPs and turntables and other related topics.
Since then he has written for such publications as Ultimate Audio, AudioEnz, TONEAudio, Positive Feedback Online and here at Part-Time Audiophile, among others. For the last several years he has written both The Smoking Jacket and The Deep End columns for Part-Time Audiophile. From 2011 to 2018 he partnered with Colleen Cardas at Colleen Cardas Imports, where he imported and distributed 10 brands of high-end audio from Italy, Australia, the UK, and New Zealand.
He lives just outside of Portland, Oregon, with Colleen and a precocious Toy Schnauzer named Lucy who is one of the leading canine experts on high-end audio in the United States.
Born and raised in Athens, Greece, Panagiotis had his first experiences with music through his uncle’s reel to reel rock tapes, grandfather’s 45’s of folk music, and a futile passage at the conservatorium where he was supposed to learn the guitar. The guitar never happened but the love of music grew strong; during the 80’s, he could not get himself off the boombox, listening to just about everything he could lay his hands on.
By the time he was 15, he had his own weekly radio show at a local station, rock music mostly. It was the early 90’s, so a mix of vinyl and CD would do the job.
Time flew and he found himself in Italy, studying medicine and listening to classical music. And as the musical tastes evolved, so did his hi-fi system. From Marantz, NAD, B&W, Rega, all the way to ASR, ATC, Garrard — and with just a touch of DIY, he loved each and every single piece of hardware.
Oddly, Dr K honestly believes that there are many ways to happiness: he enjoys using both solid-state and tube gear, MM and MC cartridges. If given half a chance, he will loudly declaim his fondness for the “analog sound” of vinyl, which isn’t surprising as his music collection is heavily biased towards the black, and not the silver, discs. You want to see something scary? Watch him talk with Stereophile‘s Michael Fremer. The two of them appear to have their own language.
Dr. K is also an occasional contributor to Enjoy The Music and founded the Audiohub.gr forum. And yes, he really is a practicing medical doctor. You can find him, and his cutting-edge medical practice, on the island of Zakynthos.
Check out Dr. K’s system here.
Editor-in-Chief, The Occasional Podcast
Brian is a recovering musician-turned-audio-reviewer. He loves the tech and the tools of music, especially the ones involved in reproduction. After he finished his undergrad degree in business, he went to the local community college and got another in photography, which was way more fun.
He likes it when people have unbridled enthusiasm for something and has the utmost respect for individuals who try to create, and even more for those who are good at it.
Brian was a contributor to InnerFidelity and is a long-time collaborator and sometime contributor at PTA. In addition to The Occasional Podcast, he currently manages and writes reviews for his own head-fi site, Audio-Head.
Managing Editor, Part-Time Audiophile
Eric began his musical journey at four years old by first listening to vinyl 45s in his parent’s living room. Enthralled with the sound, he thus declared the family “quadraphonic all-in-one” to be his own from then on.
Manipulating dials and switches would soon bore Eric, and by age seven he would find himself in a state of perpetual-hot-water for tearing apart every unsupervised piece of electronics in the house.
Better sound has been a lifelong obsession and curse for Eric, as he continues to work towards attaining an expert level status in the advocating of all things audiophile.
Richard comes from a family with two generations of music lovers and audiophiles which precede him. He started listening to opera when he was 10 years old and bought his first audio system when he was 12.
When Richard is not busy with his investment business, he spends most of his time listening to music, socializing with audiophiles over fine wines, and setting up turntables. Richard has done over 2500 turntable setups in the last 10 years. AnalogMagik is his creation and is the undisputed premier audiophile solution to cartridge alignment and setup needs.
In 2003, Richard started writing his own blog Stereopal.com where he documented his visit to different audiophiles from around the world and gave him the opportunity to listen to (and pass judgment on) thousands of audiophile systems. His blog later turned into the Greater Toronto Area Audiophile Club (GTAA), which is now one of the most active audiophile groups in Canada.
Check out Rick’s complete system here.
Art Director, The Occasional Magazine
She’s done corporate America. She’s worked the agency route.
In 1999, she started d-Vision Creative.
Over the years, Denise has built a dedicated team that prides itself on innovation and quality. Driven by good design that solves problems, they craft the fresh, memorable creative for maximum impact. And they do this for clients that range from enterprising start-ups to established corporations.
Denise has crafted the image and presence of many of our favorite audio companies and has taken up responsibility for the layout and visuals of our premier audio journal, The Occasional Magazine.
Director of Photography, The Occasional Magazine
Lee is a Philadelphia-based commercial photographer best known for his work in the field of Consumer Electronics product photography, but he’s also a hobbyist who loves to make art with his camera wherever he finds it.
He’s also a personal audio enthusiast, a some-time reviewer, and active in the Head-Fi community.
Lee is actively engaged by many high-end audio companies to do product photography; you’ve probably seen his work for Audeze, Cavalli Audio, VPI, and many, many others.
You can find him at www.leeshellyphoto.com.
Publisher & Founder
Scot started writing about high-end audio in 2009. He’s written for TONEAudio, Enjoy The Music, and The Absolute Sound. Scot’s a photography enthusiast, a fan of science fiction, and apparently has terrible taste in movies.
For the record, “Part-Time Audiophile”, as a title, was something of a joke. With a full-time job in technology and two small kids, Scot obviously felt he had too much free time on his hands. By calling it “Part-Time”, he figured he wouldn’t take it too seriously. That worked out well.
Scot left his tech career in 2017; while his alignment is still Neutral-Good, he did recently become multi-classed, adding “cleric” to his skill set. For weaponry, he still favors a +3 Namiki Vanishing Point he won playing Sabacc with Captain Sisko. His favorite prayer is “Spoon!”
Rafe got his start listening to music young thanks to his father’s love of vinyl and big speakers. He was finally able to start down the audiophile path in the last several years and hasn’t looked back.
A passion for music, high-end gear, clean vinyl records and their ability to transport the listener through time to the jazz studios of the ‘50s and ‘60s, is what helps drive his tube gear fetish and recent lust for large horn speakers.
Akira Kurosawa films, ’80s teen comedies, two crazy children, crate-digging, craft beer, and frequent road trips to Portland help keep him sane.
An award-winning photojournalist for over a decade, Rafe has financed his audio-hardware sickness as a news videographer in Vancouver, B.C. After leaving PTA, Rafe took over as the Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream before starting his own magazine, Resistor Magazine.
Kirsten met her first halfway-decent hi-fi setup in 2007 and has been bogarting the sweet spot ever since. She lives on the Oregon coast with her husband Malachi, a pit bull named Hank, some ridiculously huge speakers that she insists are “not really that big, really,” and an ever-growing collection of vinyl. In Real Life(tm), she is director of the local public library and answers to “Hey, Library Lady!”
While Kirsten has moved on from PTA, we wish her and Mal all the best with their new lil’ monster — and their new daughter.
Frank’s journey in high-end audio started in 1979 when he was giving an estimate to a customer that wanted to have his house remodeled. He had a Teac reel-to-reel playing Harry Belafonte Live at Carnegie Hall, and Frank had never heard sound like that on a stereo system before and quickly become hooked.
After an early retirement in 2009, he discovered high-end headphones and have since written headphone and headphone-related reviews on Headfi.org and Dagogo.com. Over the years, Frank claims to have heard or owned just about every high-end headphone in the marketplace. His musical taste is mostly jazz, classical, and acoustic folk, but he admits he also listens to Classic Rock and other genres as well. While he no longer owns a vinyl-based system, he does have over 1500 CD’s of all types of music for his reviews.
Thirty years in, Frank still has the same love and passion for music and is more excited for his hobby now than ever before. He left Dagogo for a brief stint at Woo Audio before a short stay at PTA; Frank left to found Headphone.Guru and can be found at headphone meets and audio shows all over the country.
John has a decent speaker-based system but spends most of his time with tiny speakers strapped to his head, or sometimes even inserted into is ears. Gross. John tries his best to eschew purple prose but occasionally has trouble avoiding sesquipedalian loquaciousness.
Shockingly, he doesn’t “do” vinyl, being utterly content with his ever growing collection of music stored in lossless digital form. He is terrible at photography and apologizes in advance for the shoddy pictures he might force upon his hapless readers. Consider yourself warned.
These days, John can be also found contributing to Inner Fidelity and Digital Audio Review.
Malachi spent the last twenty years in the IT field, which may help to explain both his foul temperament and his somewhat worrisome relationship with coffee.
He’s spent the last ten years enthusiastically listening to music through systems that make his friends and family doubt his mental health.
Besides relaxing with music, his hobbies include soldering, chain-smoking, driving too fast, and playing with his dog.
He dislikes biographic blurbs and detests writing about himself in the third person.
While Mal has moved on from PTA, we wish him and Kirsten all the best with their new lil’ monster — and their new daughter.
Mercer is an Audio Evangelist, and a reviewer of music and audio components. He got his start at The Absolute Sound in 1994. After his tenure there, he joined Atlantic Records where, under the tutelage of legendary Grammy award-winning producer Arif Mardin, he worked with multi-platinum selling artists Jewel, Sugar Ray, The Corrs, Chaka Khan, Bette Midler and others.
In his career as a music writer and audio reviewer, Michael has contributed to industry bibles such as The Absolute Sound and HiFi+, Positive Feedback, The Daily Swarm, The High Fidelity Report, Big Black Disc, Headphone.Guru, Audio360 and Enjoy the Music.
When not rustling words for DownBeat, Electronic Musician, Bass Player and Modern Drummer magazines, Ken feeds his vinyl LP habit, photographs New York City’s remaining neighborhoods, and reviews audio equipment for PFO. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Ken currently resides in Greenwich Village, New York City, a swift subway ride to the city’s well stocked and overpriced used vinyl stores. His LP prizes often find their way to his Facebook page, Jazz Vinyl Lovers, where love of jazz and the occasional turntable photo keeps heads turning and the conversation buzzing.
Raised in the Deep South, educated as a commercial artist, Micallef is also a regular contributor to Autodesk’s lineshapespace.com online business magazine, where Smart Buildings, Industry 4.0, and the Internet of Things provide grist for the mill of future design and cloud-based and 3D manufacturing.
Ken’s current rig includes Shindo electronics, DeVore Fidelity and Snell speakers, a Kuzma turntable and various cartridges.
You can find more of Ken on his website, his photo site Greenwich Village Daily Photo, and now as a contributing reviewer at Stereophile magazine, but you might know him from his work with Positive Feedback Online, Digital Audio Review, and more.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio by listening to his Dad’s system in the late 1970s when he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s, he got swept up in the CD wave which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later, while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. He was involved in the first high-resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. He now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area.
Lee’s current rig consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Magnepan speakers fed by a VPI Scoutmaster and Lyra cartridge and several different digital sources. He’s still is a serious music collector, with a tendency toward first pressings for LPs, and he maintains a large library of import and gold CDs.
Lee left us to take over the role of President at NextScreen Publishing, managing both The Absolute Sound and HiFi+.
Roger is an economist and entrepreneur, still active, but claiming to be retired from a career that included starting and operating nearly two dozen companies in industries ranging from aerospace to franchising, to healthcare, to Holstein dairy cattle breeding, to oil and gas drilling, to publishing, and, finally, to High End audio, where he was founder and designer for XLO, the company whose cables were, until he sold it in 2002, recognized as “The Best in the World”. He has consulted to companies as diverse as Procter & Gamble, Motown Records, and Lear-Baylor, Inc.; is an accomplished inventor, with U.S. patents issued or pending in several disciplines; and, with basic discoveries in interactive field theory and capacitive discharge effects as related to signal transmission in cables, is considered to be an authority on the performance and electrical characteristics of short lengths of wire.
His first published writings were in the field of consumer electronics, where he was a reviewer for Sounds Like… Magazine, a consumer audio publication, and later became Editor of Sounds Like…News, an industry publication in the same field.
You can find Roger at Audiophile Review, Positive Feedback Online, Enjoy The Music and the LAOC Audio Society.
John first became fascinated with hi-fi at the age of five when his dad and a family friend built matching console stereos in the garage. He remembered asking what “bass” was, pronouncing the word like the fish, shortly before getting his hand slapped away from the gleaming, gold-plated control knob.
At age 12, he proudly received his first stereo system, an AM/FM/8-track “quadraphonic” unit made by a sewing machine company. This started him on a relentless upgrade path, leading to equipment by Technics, Yamaha, Marantz and, as an adult, his first separates from NAD and then Krell and Mark Levinson.
The hobby took hold to such an extent that he began visiting many out-of-state dealers and audio shows. Luckily, he managed to remain married to his patient first wife, who supported his obsession up to the point where she had to leave the spa to pick him up from some four-hour demo during what is supposed to be vacation time.
His day job as a newspaper journalist allowed him to interview many of his musical heroes, ranging from B.B. King to Yo La Tengo.
He was pretty sure of two things: Los Lobos is the best band in the world, and it is impossible for any pair of speakers to be too large.
We lost John in August of 2018. May he rest in peace.
Joe Surdna is a practicing artist and writer who has published in Playboy, GQ, Zoetrope and has worked on several alt-weeklies as an entertainment reporter focusing on art, new music, art, and film reviews.
His primary focus will be the continuation of a monthly column on new album and music discoveries, stand-out videos, books, and highlight and dust off a gem straight from the archives.
He is currently at work on a new collection of short stories called The Animal Collective and Other Fables.