Jim Shaw

Interested in audio from middle school. In high school, was chief engineer of the morning news audio broadcast. As a HS junior, I worked part time as a gofer for Audio Recording Studio in Cleveland. Our owner/engineer was the recording director for the famous Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell / Robert Shaw. Mostly, I lugged an Ampex recorder, tapes, cables, mixer, etc. for them. (An Ampex 350-2 is very heavy.) In those days, we used Telefunken U-47's and Altec condenser mics a lot for over head of the Orchestra. Those archive tapes still exist today, and they're pretty darn good. I believe the Orchestra archive has mastered them all to digital by now. George Szell conducting Beethoven is worth hearing.

In the studio, early on we were still all mono. Mostly, we did rock 45's and commercials. Again, I was gofer, but spent a lot of time staying out of the way and learning to listen critically. We used an Altec VOT for a monitor. I learned that Vlad, the owner, could tell when a U-47 was 3 degrees off optimal for a vocalist (and send me in to crank it). One of my evening jobs was to cut acetate demos and commercials for local auditioning and broadcast. No real mastering was done there. But I learned the principles and techniques of cutting records.

Finished HS, and went off to [a major engineering university] and graduated BSEE. My first career was in factory automation and controls. When that industry started to get shipped overseas, I changed to commercial aircraft avionics and test equipment. I traveled the world for 25 years and graduated upward to corporate management. I retired, and here I am -- happily speeding up as I drive past the airport.

I have had a continued interest in music and sound for most of my life. I first recall learning to love music, listening to a Mozart piano concerto to get to sleep every night. (We only had one Mozart concerto at my house in those days.) I later learned to play the piano. I can easily pass an evening doing just that, and my house has two grand pianos on two floors.

Starting with Heathkit electronics and home-built speakers, I've owned a ton of audio stuff over the years. But I have never allowed myself to become one of those obsessives about HiFi. It's about the music for me, and HiFi is what it takes to listen to it.

Today, I use -- in the living room -- Elac DBR62's, two JBL subs, Emotiva power and preamp, and I stream with a dedicated iPad feeding a Schiit DAC. There's an AT120 turntable, and a DVD deck and DAC. I still have a pristine RT-707 tape deck, which I mostly just dust off. These are good enough for me and probably will be a stable setup for the rest of my years. In my bedroom, I have a pair of RP600Ms, pushed by a Denon integrated amp. Very listenable at the low SPL's I listen at, there. Since added 2 WiiM Minis, one for each system to get simultaneous synced playback of non-critical material.

I have no interest in home theatre equipment -- and I can barely stand to go to a movie theatre and endure the painful sound levels. A monitor with a good sound bar and a little sub do me just fine.
North central USA
Retired professional electrical engineer (Reg. P.E.) and world traveler.


Perfect is infinitely costly. State-of-the-art gear ages rapidly; tomorrow, some new thing will be SOTA and your brag rights will dissolve into apologies. | No matter how much money you spend, hifi cannot reproduce your first music-accompanied pot high. | Before I am interested in a reviewer's upchuck on speaker virtue, I want to know his taste in music. | Lottery tickets are probably a better audiophile investment than expensive interconnect cables. | Before you jump onto the audiophile 'train,' be sure you know where you want to go, and when you should get off. That, or it's just an obsession with train rides. | You can have good, loud, and cheap. Pick any two.
As an engineering undergrad, I took two semesters of Electrical Measurements. A direct quote from the course professor: "If you cannot measure it, you cannot describe it."


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