Positive Feedback Logo

The Higher End:  The Arrival of Issue 100 and Year 30

11-01-2018 | By David W. Robinson | Issue 100

Ye Olde Editor:  a portrait by John Robinson


I don't usually get too hung up on round numbers and anniversary metrics…they happen all the time. But as we get ready to launch our next issue and go into 2019, I wanted to stand up, take a stretch, and note two things that are at hand.

Partners and close friends and colleagues:  Carol Clark, Dave Clark, and David W. Robinson – a self-portrait by Carol

First, this is Positive Feedback's Issue 100 of online publication. That's a nicely round sum, and none the worse for being attained elsewhere and elsewhen. That's not the total count of issues of Positive Feedback, of course; in our paper-‘n-ink days, we published dozens of issues…48, if my count is correct. And our partners and Managing Editors, Dave and Carol Clark, published audioMusings for some years (with 5 other partners) before we merged it with Positive Feedback…some 15 issues there.

And we've been partners, along with Lila Ritsema, since 2002 now. We still love one another, and really do get along. Positive Feedback is a creative community of shared values, and our 16+ years together now have been great fun and a real blessing for us all.

I suppose that you don't have to like your partners…but it sure helps!

So among us we've actually published 163 issues of our publications…now merged into one…over time.

That's a helluva party!

During that time, we've had a lot of writers, reviewers, editors, photographers, and artists pass through here…or stay. We have some 80+ on the masthead right now, plus many more over the years since 1990. How many? I couldn't say exactly. Between audioMusings and Positive Feedback, somewhere between 100 and 200, I'd guess. Somewhere.

Some went on to other publications. Some went to other things entirely. Some were here and retired. Some became ill and had to quit writing and audio more or less entirely. Some simply vanished.

Life's funny that way.

Just to name a few:

Clark Johnsen, audio essayist and longtime contributor; caricature by Bruce Walker

Dr. Jim Merod, scholar, professor, writer, recordist and producer, and a hale-fellow-well-met of a fellow single malt imbiber; a self-portrait

More recently, Dr. Wayne Goins, blues and jazz guitar master, scholar, writer, professor, and utterly righteous guy; portrait by David W. Robinson from the Blues Masters concert of 2017 in Salina, KS

Nelson Pass of PASS Labs, a new Senior Technical Editor and contributor at PF, in his listening room at Sea Ranch, CA – portrait by David W. Robinson, 2018

Some have been brilliant; some were more workmanlike. Some were reviewers; others were designers, manufacturers, or distributors, writing But all have been…or were...members of the PF community.

And some…they died.

Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg…gone, but not forgotten, a self-portrait, date unknown

Dave Glackin, a loyal friend and true, and a great writer…a self-portrait from 2003…R.I.P.

We've published a number of "In memoriams" over the past three decades. Way too many. I don't want to go back over that raw and painful list again. But we've been blessed with some really great people over the years, more than I can name here. Check our Archive page, and browse through all the back issues. You'll see what I mean.

Days chase weeks chase months chase years…

Speaking of years, that brings me to the second thing.

On January 1, 2019, Positive Feedback will enter its 30th year of publication. That's another round number worth noting, even as it fades into the rearview mirror. If nothing else, it's a demonstration of the perseverance of we happy few, persisting over three decades now, and willing to put it on the line month after month, and year after year, in pursuit of our common passion. Notches on the gun; miles under the wheels.

It's been a long road since the foundation of Positive Feedback in the formation of the Oregon Triode Society, and of audioMusings arising from the establishment of The Greater South Bay Audiophile Society (which has become the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society). During that time, Carol, Dave, Lila, and I have sought to build a creative community of like-minded and like-souled people, who shared a passion for the audio arts and their possibilities. This is no corporate possession; this is no shiny toy of the wealthy; this is no cult; this is no collection of know-it-alls.

No, this is an artistic community for the audio arts.

And to be honest, we've been doing it mainly for us; you've just been along for the ride.

Some of you have enjoyed it enough to join us in the common creative work; those have been the fine discoveries along the way. And very many of the rest of you have demonstrated your appreciation of what Positive Feedback has to offer by returning again and again, and really reading our essays, reviews, and articles.

We thank you.

Now, 30 years and 163 collective issues later, with affiliates in multiple countries, and mutually beneficial content-sharing relationships with congenial enterprises, PF looks forward to a future of continuing to cover and share with our readers the wonders of music, recordings, and the audio arts, and their power to transform us, if we will but let them.

We hope that you will continue with us on our journey.

Dr. David W. Robinson, Ye Olde Editor

Photographs by David W. Robinson, John Robinson, Carol Clark, Dave Glackin, and Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg. Cartoons and drawings by Bruce Walker and Dan Zimmerman; classic Alice in Wonderland drawings by Sir John Tenniel.