Positive Feedback Logo

John Marks Welcomes You to The Tannhauser Gate...and I Welcome Him to PF!

06-24-2016 | By David W. Robinson | Issue 85


I have had a long acquaintance and friendship-at-a-distance with John Marks of John Marks Records, and, until recently, a contributor to Stereophile. Music lover, producer, writer, reviewer, audio designer, and a very cogent, trenchant thinker, John is a person that I have a very great deal of respect for.

I first encountered John around the time of the release of his superb recording, Glass Bead Game, back in the later '90s. I was so impressed that I put him on the cover of Positive Feedback, Vol. 8, No. 1, back in the halcyon days of PF in print. He submitted a "self-interview," which we published in that issue.

Since that time, John and I stayed in intermittent contact with one another, normally via his email lists...occasionally by direct emails, in which we would discuss various aspects of history, culture, and the Christian faith. While we did not always agree, we were always stimulated by our exchanges, and by the play of "iron sharpening iron" as we shared our views. This is, as C.S. Lewis noted, the "second kind" of best friendship, the sort typified by sharp interplay, some disagreement, and the fellowship of shared values, if not always of shared historical interpretations. For this sort of thing, I have treasured John, even at a distance.

John and I do share all of the important things, though:  Our common faith, our love for music and the audio arts, our passion for superior writing and clear thought, and our mutual eschewment of the McDonaldization of our culture, both American and global. We also are agreed that both darTZeel and Bricasti Design are exceptional examples of the audio arts!

The great news is that John has agreed to the cross-publishing of his writings from his new blog site, The Tannhauser Gate (http://thetannhausergate.com/), here at Positive Feedback. I believe that John's excellent work deserves a much wider audience in the world of fine audio, and I also think that our readers will benefit from his views, reviews, and meditations. Being the Chief of Police, I have the blessing of making it so!

I therefore welcome John Marks to the Positive Feedback community, and look forward to seeing his cross-published work here on a regular basis.

Dr. David W. Robinson


Positive Feedback



[From the launch of TTG in February of 2016; HERE .]

The Tannhäuser Gate is my personal blog. This is not a group effort, and I am not going to make any pretense of objectivity. Subjectivity reigns. I am not going to make any effort to cover the entire waterfront, either of audio equipment or recordings. I don't see the point in telling you that the umpteenth new Debussy La Mer recording didn't really grab me. As Emerson wrote:

Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.

Posting comments is a privilege, not a right. I will moderate all comments. That means that I might reject a pending comment. I will clean up obvious finger-slip errors such as spacing, punctuation, and mis-spellings, but I will not tinker with the sense of a sentence. Comments that are positive civilized contributions to an ongoing discussion about culture among adults will have a greater chance of being approved.

If you submit a comment and it does not appear, either I have not had a chance to look at it, or, I rejected it for being inappropriate or negative.

I will mention favorably from time to time my own recordings, and also products from my new enterprise, Esperanto Audio. If that displeases you, you can tune out. I am not going to waste my readers' time by letting people who don't know what they are talking about take over the discussion.

A few brave audio companies have paid sponsorship fees, which I appreciate. Whether I decide to write about a piece of audio gear or any other product has nothing to do with sponsorship or the lack thereof.

As a usual practice (the exception being a hot-bargain special sale), I will not specify or recommend buying sources for media products such as CDs, SACDs, and DVDs. That is because the best price is a moving target. E.g., sometimes Arkivmusic.com has the best price; sometimes Amazon beats that price. Oftentimes, buying used from eBay sellers or third-party sellers on Amazon is the best strategy.