This morning, I learned that my favorite Hi-Fi writer ever, from Stereophile Magazine, Art Dudley, passed away on April 14th of this year.
I had no clue Art was sick and this came as a shock to me, as well as just plain sad. He wasn’t that old, in his early to mid 60’s, and always looked healthy and robust in the pictures and videos of him, I was able to see. Truly, life is fragile and this has hit home for me.
Art loved Single Ended Triode amps and tube preamplifiers, which I’ve owned many of in the past and one of his favorite pair of loudspeakers is an old high efficiency Altec design from 1966, called the Flamenco, similar to one of the speakers I own and use now. I say “similar to”, because the driver I use, the Altec 604, has been brought back to life by Great Plains Audio, so while mine is a copy and my cabinet is a one of a kind thing I designed and had someone build, the driver does use original Altec tooling, so an Altec driver. Art would probably disagree and I wish I could have had that conversation with him.
He used old vintage Garrard and Thorens turntables that he re-conditioned himself and digital audio was pretty much an afterthought for him. I don’t think he thought digital was listenable enough for him to enjoy. He also didn’t sweat room acoustics and audio tweaks. Probably better off that way. He was also an accomplished guitar player.
I was hoping to go to the 2020 Axpona show, where he would have been and meet and talk to him for a couple of minutes. Maybe have a discussion about that Altec driver. I’m truly sorry I won’t ever be able to now.
Anyway, Art was an opinionated writer, but could put sound into words, like no other writer I’ve ever read. I can tell from things he wrote about and things I read about him that he was a good husband, father, animal owner and human being. I just watched a video of him from 2017 describing his system in great detail, his thoughts on stereo equipment and at the end, he is driving somewhere and sees a turtle in the road. He pulled his car over, took out his floor mat and pushed the turtle to the other side of the road. Only a good person would do this and I will miss him.
Our thoughts go out to his wife and daughter and all his friends and co-workers that were able to interact with him often. I regret never meeting him in person, although I felt I knew much about him from his writings. He will be missed by many.