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Positive Feedback ISSUE 60
march/april 2012


Positive Feedback Loses One of Its Own: The Passing of Dave Glackin
by David W. Robinson


Dave Glackin: Self-Portrait, Vacuum State-of-the-Art Conference (VSAC), 2003

I opened the email. Stan Ricker's email punched me in the soul.

Dave Glackin was gone….

Yes, I could be formal about it:

We at the Positive Feedback community have some very sad news to share with our readers. One of our longstanding editors and reviewers, Dave Glackin, passed away suddenly on Saturday, March 3. Dave's wife Kathryn emailed some of his close friends with the terrible news on Sunday.

But that won't do. Any news obit could say that, and I know that there will be some of that for Dave, who was well respected in his field. I'll let those folks handle that.

So what do I say about Dave? My mind wanders…

Dave has been with Positive Feedback for some twenty years now. I was introduced to Dave by our mutual friend, Ray Chowkwanyun, who himself was writing for PF at the time. Dave and I struck up what turned out to be a wonderful friendship at that time, and after reviewing his writing, which was always excellent, I invited him to join us as a writer/reviewer. Dave's background was in aerospace and solar astronomy, with some years spent at JPL, followed by various responsibilities at The Aerospace Corporation. In our conversations, we would often talk about NASA, astronomy, satellite-based sensing, and so on…but always we would go back to our mutual love of fine audio. He loved it so.

Dave was a humorous and gentle soul…I did not have one bad moment or a single disagreement with him in our twenty years of friendship…and could always be counted on to be helpful and smiling. The older I get, the more I appreciate people like Dave, a problem-solver, and not a problem-maker.

Dave Glackin and Stan Ricker, CES 2003 (photograph by Robinson)

But Dave was also an adventurous person, who belonged to an explorer's society, and various aerospace and engineering groups ( He took real pride in that… me, I just used to tease him about it.

But Dave's technical prowess or exploring is not what I'm thinking about as I'm sitting here, struggling with what to say right now. An SACD of Gieseking playing Debussy preludes in the background (recorded back in 1953 and 1954 in mono… melancholy) expresses what I feel, but I can't write that. I can only let the music flow, and wrestle with this old friendly enemy, my keyboard.

Dave was too good a friend, and had been here for too long for me to dash anything off, or to spend much time organizing my reflections.

PF's Roger S. Gordon and Dave Glackin…two lovers of LPs and turntables!

He was very close to Stan Ricker, the great mastering engineer, and Dave and I both did what we could to give Stan the recognition that he deserved. That was typical of Dave… he was quietly passionate about his friends, and the things that he cared deeply about.

Dave Glackin and Stan Ricker, Silverdale, WA, VSAC 2003 (photograph by Robinson)

Stan Ricker and his bass, in front of his mastering lathe. 35mm photograph by Dave Glackin, as used for the cover of Positive Feedback, Vol. 7, No. 5, back in our print days.

I consider Dave's photograph above to be one of the best portraits done in high-end audio. Stan tells me that he still has it hanging in his room, framed, a gift from Dave. And his interview with Stan is a classic, still worth reading, big time.

Dave Glackin, Paul Weitzel, and Stan Ricker at VSAC 2003 (photograph by Robinson)

If you want a treat, and an education, go into the PFO archives and Google up the articles by Dave. Read them. His was a judicious, well-spoken, and knowledgeable voice in our creative community…you'll see what I mean. Dave's work speaks for itself. Reviews, interviews, music, photographic essays… Dave did them all, and did them superbly.

Dave Glackin with Lila Ritsema, Stan Ricker, and Alan Kafton at CES 2003 (photograph by Robinson)

My last photograph of Dave: Dave Glackin at the table with me during the Los Angeles/Orange County Audio Society Annual Gala, December, 2011

(iPhone 4 photograph and image processing/rendition by Robinson)

Dave, I can't write any more. I'm going to miss you, and know that there's no way to replace you, good friend.

Rage, rage, against the dying of the light….