About Us

Hello, World!

Hi there, and welcome to the first issue of Vinylphile, the digizine for discerning music lovers! In this magazine, we’ll be reviewing vinyl records, and everything you need to play them: turntables, tonearms, cartridges, phono stages, amplifiers, speakers, accessories, and so on. The magazine is vinyl-centric, not vinyl-exclusive, so we will also review digital gear sometimes. We might even take an occasional look at multichannel audio, but we’ll be leaving home theatre coverage to our friends in other magazines.

So why another audio magazine, and why the digital-only distribution? The reason for another magazine is pretty simple: I’ve always loved music on vinyl, and noticed that most, if not all, of the usual magazines tend to have limited vinyl-related coverage. Sure, they review turntables and cartridges now and then, but most of their software reviews are about CDs. Vinylphile will turn this on its head: we’ll be focusing on vinyl records and playing equipment, with only an incidental nod to the digital world.

There are a couple of reasons for the digital-only distribution. First, digital distribution means that we completely eliminate printing and distribution expenses, thereby allowing us to make the magazine available to you at no cost. All you need is an Internet connection to download it, and you can read the magazine from anywhere in the world. Second, we free ourselves from the print-magazine constraint of having to use a certain number of pages, so our articles can be as long (or as short) as necessary. One of my pet peeves is reading reviews that deliberately omit information due to a lack of room. And finally, by sticking to digital distribution, we’re doing our bit to save the planet and its precious resources: we won’t be cutting down trees to print the magazine, and we won’t be using up fossil fuels and contributing to the greenhouse effect by delivering it.

Digital distribution also allows us to be innovative about the magazine’s form factor: it’s no accident that Vinylphile’s square pages are 305 mm (or 12”) on each side—it’s the same size and shape as an LP’s sleeve! Whereas a different form factor might prove to be a disadvantage for a print magazine—if only because it makes it awkward to fit into stores’ magazine racks—it makes no difference for a digital publication. So for the foreseeable future, we’ll be sticking to our 305 mm x 305 mm page size.

Editorial Philosophies

So, exactly what is Vinylphile, and what do we stand for? Our goal is to provide readers with an informative—and, hopefully, interesting—magazine. In addition to the regular record and gear reviews, we will publish other audio and music related feature articles we think you’d like to read. These include dealer and factory visits, reader’s systems, audio show reports, and the occasional technical article. What we don’t intend to publish are ‘lifestyle’ articles, like reviews of cameras and watches. It’s not that we don’t like those items—we do—but we don’t want the magazine’s scope to wander too far from our initial vision of a freely-downloadable, vinyl-centric audio mag.

We take our responsibilities as a source of reviews very seriously. You, the reader, are entitled to honest reviews, so that you can make informed purchasing decisions. Note that we are not in any way suggesting that you take our reviews as gospel; the only way you can tell whether a piece of gear is for you is to audition it yourself, preferably in your own system. The best we can do is make some recommendations about what gear to try (or to avoid).

Despite being supported by our advertisers, some of whom may be the subject of a less than glowing review, this is a promise we undertake: all of our reviews will be as honest and truthful as we can make them, without prejudice. To do otherwise, we think, would be a disservice to both readers and advertisers. Being an advertiser in Vinylphile is no guarantee that we’ll review a manufacturer’s gear, or that such a review will be positive. Similarly, a manufacturer need not advertise with us in order to secure a review. Basically, if we think that an item is interesting, whether it be entry-level or ultra high-end exotica, we’ll probably review it. (But there are still costs associated with producing the magazine, and we need to pay our bills, so advertising from suitable companies is most welcome! Just don’t expect us to tie an advertising deal to a favourable review, because that ain’t gonna happen...)

There are three types of (not necessarily mutually exclusive) review: objective, subjective, and observational. Over simplifying, objective reviews rely on measurements. The unit being reviewed is hooked up to various bits of test equipment, measured, and the results pronounced based on those measurements. In subjective reviews, the writer describes how good (or bad) the test piece is in his or her subjective opinion. Observational reviewing was pioneered by Stereophile’s J. Gordon Holt and popularised by Harry Pearson at The Absolute Sound, and is the model we will use. In an observational review, the reviewer’s job is to convey to the reader how something sounds (a task, it turns out, that isn’t as easy as it would seem). We hope our reviews do indeed give you an idea of how something sounds.

As I alluded to previously, we think that there is no substitution for the expert help and advice from your local dealer. Most high-end dealers are interested in cultivating a longterm relationship with their customers, rather than making a quick buck. Yes, you might be able to save a few dollars by going to a big box store (if they sell the gear you’re interested in), but the experience a specialist dealer brings to the table is invaluable. So, don’t sell yourself short: befriend your local dealer, and above all, trust your ears.

We hope you enjoy reading Vinylphile as much as we did putting it together. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to send them to me. In the meantime, keep spinnin’ that vinyl, and thanks for reading!

Rich Teer
June 2010

Cast of Characters

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Rich Teer

Rich is a life-long music lover, who is passionate about vinyl. He grew up listening to all sorts of gear, courtesy of his dad’s audio dabblings. Rich’s eyes (and ears) were opened up to how great a high-end audio system can sound when he attended his first hi-fi show, in the UK, and he has been hooked ever since.

Although he worked Saturdays in a hi-fi store while he was in college, Rich spent most of his working life as a computer consultant, programming computers and administering UNIX systems. To paraphrase John Miles, music was his first love, so Rich decided to persue his love of music and high-end audio. To that end, Vinylphile was launched in 2009.

Reviewers and contributing writers

Atane Ofiaja

Atane is a music lover, and a passionate jazz fan, hard bop jazz in particular. His family is Nigerian, so he grew up listening to a lot of afrobeat and highlife music. His tastes aren’t limited to jazz and African music. He also enjoys blues, funk, soul, and R&B.

He got into hi-fi and records in college, when he visited Stereo Exchange in NYC. Amazed by what he saw and heard, he vowed to one day have a stereo of his own. It’s been a love affair ever since that eventful day.

In addition to writing for Vinylphile, he’s currently a writer for Elements of Jazz and Stereo Times. He was also the Social Marketing Coordinator of a large, independent consumer electronics retailer in NYC, where wrote many articles and covered music events, concerts and festivals.

Outside of the world of hi-fi, he’s a passionate about attending live shows and concerts, football, fine dining, photography, reading, mid-century modern furniture, and Blu-ray movies.

John Adrian Spijkers

John was born in The Netherlands and bought his first LP, Beatles ’65, in 1967, and his first turntable in 1970. Over the years he’s owned a lot of different equipment (some high-end, but mostly mid-range stuff), and listens to vinyl nearly every day. He likes buying new and used LPs: he’s a big progressive rock fan and loves listening to female singers.

He’s been in sales and marketing his whole adult life, including a three-year stint at Polydor Records in his early youth, and 25 years in publishing as a regional sales manager. He currently works in marketing for a major wholesale club retailer.

In addition to amassing a sizable LP collection, John is in the process of building up his concert Blu-ray collection, and has a fixation towards football (soccer) jerseys. His personal motto is “Live Life. Leave A Legacy!”.

Annie St. Jean

Annie grew up in a family where singing was part of life. She credits these early experiences for her picky ear! Although she didn’t have the opportunity to take piano or guitar lessons as a child, she started playing trumpet in high school. Annie went on to play the trumpet in the militia, and performed the changing of the guard in Quebec City in the early 1990s.

When she is not teaching, Annie enjoys playing piano and guitar at home. Although she’s no Chris Botti, she enjoys playing trumpet while Sting and Sarah McLaughlan CDs are playing on their audio system!

Annie has been enjoying visiting the local audio store for the last 15 years, learning much about great sound and equipment, as well as some very interesting artists. Annie’s writing adds a light, humourous touch to our reviews.