I first met Julian back in 1976 when I was demonstrating the first concert-hall simulator for the living room. I was a bit nervous in that I was meeting an authority and legend in our industry, and I was a neophyte when it came to experience and breadth of knowledge.
To my surprise and delight, he was warm and friendly, and he expressed great interest in the device - how it worked and what it would eventually mean for consumers. That single meeting and the subsequent review of the product launched my career as a manufacturer.
My experience was just one of many - others like me met with Julian and had a chance to explain what we were doing and what our products were all about. It didn't matter that we were not one of the Japanese giants or powerhouse speaker companies. He was there to listen, learn, and suggest improvements. And he was ready to use his valuable editorial space to discuss products or ideas he felt had merit, no matter where they came from. For this opportunity, I and many of my colleagues will be eternally grateful to a man who gave us the chance to grow in our careers. He will be missed by all of us.
- Peter Tribeman, chairman, Atlantic Technology
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Julian's "ethic" and common sense inspired me early on, and still guides me to this day. I enjoyed his company, coaching, and confidences on many an occassion, most especially those overseas "junkets" where he was revered by the hosts and carefully attended by the "youngsters" within earshot of his wisdom.
- Steve Booth, senior editor, Consumer Electronics Daily (successor publication to Television Digest)
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I guess few of the younger generation know much about Julian. Back in our youth, he was the unchallenged dean of hi-fi reviewers. He never had an ax to grind, accepted each product with an open mind, and, in an age of strongly individualized hi-fi components, was always respectful of the designers' intentions and efforts.
I only met him in person twice that I recall. Once was at an AES convention in New York City. He was the center of attention wherever he went, but he seemed oblivious of his celebrity status and would patiently chat with and respond to anyone who tried to speak with him.
Eventually, I started working in the industry and had the honor of having something I had designed, the dbx Soundfield-One loudspeaker, reviewed by Julian. Jerome Ruzicka, a VP at dbx, and I drove the speakers to Julian's home in New Rochelle. It was like a dream come true to spend a day with him at his home laboratory, and, of course, he was a most gracious host.
These days, so many consumer-electronics products are produced by large conglomerates, and the Internet has let anyone be a reviewer of individual products. All this has, to my mind, reduced the importance of magazine-based reviewers. So I doubt we'll see his like again. Too bad - he was definitely the right man in the right place at the right time. He will be missed.
- Mark Davis, Dolby Laboratories
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Although living in the U.K., we used to look forward to reading Julian Hirsch's lab reports and "Technical Talk" column. As magazines in this country changed from the mid 1970s to the present to 100% subjective reviews full of unfounded claims (like there being huge audible differences between turntables, amplifiers, or cables), it was always good to have him to guide us through the nonsense.
- Mark and Lily J, readers
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