[SOUNDSTAGE!] Marc Mickelson is the Editor-in-Chief of SoundStage!
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Monthly Editorial by Marc Mickelson
October 1998

Where it Began, Where it's Going

I remember my first stereo system -- bought from K-Mart with money earned doing farm work, an 8-track tape player and recorder as its source. I recorded favorite songs off the radio with it, and I still remember that time by some of those songs: The Police’s "Roxanne," Elvis Costello’s "Accidents will Happen," Dire Straits’ "Sultans of Swing." All I have to do is hear one of those tunes and I’m instantly transported to days of too much time spent in my parent’s basement -- which was my room then -- playing with my all-in-one stereo.

Fast-forward to today, and I sit in front of an audio system that cost considerably more than my parents’ house listening to "Accidents Will Happen" from a remastered CD with "previously unreleased tracks." The road from K-Mart to the high end as been a circuitous one, and I count at least seven pairs of speakers between the two -- along with preamps from Hafler, NAD, Conrad-Johnson (two different models) and CAT; any number of power amps; and enough interconnect cable to circle my own house, which has its own listening room, dedicated that is.

A similar path is evident for just about any job or hobby about which we have passion -- cooking, sailing, creating a website. I have a friend who loves carpentry and has now, after many years of buying and selling, amassed a collection of yellow-and-black DeWALT saws and drills that professionals would envy. He graduated from Black & Decker. SoundStage! is in the same situation -- somewhere on the road to its constant betterment. And here’s a list of recent tweaks and planned upgrades.

  • News Online is running in earnest, bringing you stories on new equipment and software as well as other items of audiophile interest. As more industry people find out about it -- and Doug Schneider’s tireless hawking will ensure this -- we expect it will grow into something very special -- the place to get your home-entertainment information on the Internet.
  • Last month we debuted the work of three new writers: music reviewers Deryk Barker and David Sherman, and video fanatic Karina Montgomery. This month we publish the first equipment reviews by Jeff Fritz (of the Wisdom Audio Adrenaline Dipole 75 speaker system) and Ken Micallef (of the Dali Grand speakers, which will appear on 10/15). Roger Kanno has begun writing DVD reviews for us. All six new writers are busily working on their next reviews.
  • And this editorial announces the departure of Doug Schneider from this space. Oh, he’ll still be around -- there could be no SoundStage! without Doug -- but he’ll be concentrating his considerable and diverse talents on the business of running SoundStage!, which is no small feat, and the further development of the SoundStage! sites. This month we introduce our Insiders’ Forum, where you can read the opinions and ideas of industry people, with another surprise or two to come.

Now to answer the question you may be asking: Where is SoundStage! in the continuum of improvement? I suspect we’re around the area of my second stereo system -- Scott receiver, BSR turntable, Stanton cartridge, and Altec speakers. I hadn’t discovered specialty audio cables yet, mostly because they didn’t exist in any great numbers. And I suspect I’ll remember this time like I do the days of "Accidents Will Happen": It took a lot of work to get here, and there’s a lot of work yet to be done.

...Marc Mickelson

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