Sad Article in Today's Washington Post

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Unaccessible link - behind a paywall

Can you share a regular web link? I can’t read that one.

I got access just by inputting an email address and clicking No to all the marketing options.

In short:

  • Man spends decades custom-building astonishing audio system.
  • Obsession results in him being estranged from at least one son
  • Diagnosed with ALS/MND just as the system is finished
  • Becomes unable to use or enjoy system
  • Dies before he can be reconciled with family
  • System is too custom and huge to generate any interest, so is auctioned off for a fraction of its value

Here endeth the morality tale.


Have read, a tragic story to say the least…

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I think complete systems often don’t generate much interest. We all build systems differently.

I am always kind of amazed when complete Naim systems are put up for sale on Audiogon, etc and the sellers insist on selling it all together. I’ll bet in most cases they have to break them up anyway. The smart sellers just list components individually. Selling a 252 with SC or a ND555 with 555PS together – for example – makes sense, but trying to sell an entire system as a whole not so much.


If anyone is interested:

another link

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Whilst it is a shame what the system was finally sold for, I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s sad story. Quite the opposite possibly. I suspect he enjoyed the process of building the whole system as much as playing it, and had the money to support this hobby. Thankfully he got to the point where it was completed, whereas many people dont get to achieve their goals.

I think to give his system a monetary value doesn’t feel right, as you cant put a price on all the excitement building the system and record collection must have given him


This archived link should work without any restrictions:


Seen him/his system on YouTube in the past. That’s a genuinely sad story, a bloke whose obsession broke his family. I’d rather have a Rega £1,000 starter system and my family.


“But later, I followed him out to his car, where he confessed that, no, it sounded off that day.”

Whether you put together a system from the best measuring, the most highly reviewed or most scrupulously auditioned components there’s always that moment when you play it for a friend and think “Sounds a bit sh1te today”.

They are often thinking the same thing.

It’s more fun playing friends new music rather than equipment.


Did you get to the bit where he was estranged from his son for years, due mainly to his obsession with building the system?

It’s very sad . I had opened the thread about the man and his system, 2 years ago . See “exotic system “.
At least he achieved his dream and had built to the end what he wanted. But it’s sad he couldn’t enjoy it longer.

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Sounds like an OCD type of illness to me. You whole life is consumed by something fairly insignificant.


Cautionary tale for some. @Adam.Meredith I’d quote you here but your post above says it all.

No less than building a house, a Yatch or a plane during all the life. Why criticising?

OCD kind of illness is more that to me:


The ‘C’ in OCD doesn’t stand for ‘collecting’ :roll_eyes:

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