Frankly Speaking

By: Frank Iacone
February 1st, 2020

Back in 1979, I bought my first high-end Hifi System for what was to become a lifetime obsession with music and the high-end gear designed to get the most satisfaction. The NAD 3140 Receiver I had paired with a NAD turntable and DCM Time Windows cost me a total of $1200. 

Those days there were many stores that were dedicated to music and the best gear where you could go and audition and compare audio systems. I would go store to store and do comparative listening to many different speakers and systems before I settled on what would be the best sound system for my budget at the time. I was only 21 years old and loved getting out and listening to various systems in the same price range as well as many costing hundreds of dollars more for components.

Many enthusiasts today do not have the luxury of listening in brick and mortar stores as online sales have dominated audio over the last 10 years and many doors sadly have closed to long-standing establishments not being able to do enough business to cover the overheard as profit margins narrowly covered the cost of doing business.

In the early days when I entered the audio world, there were basically vinyl records, 8-track tapes, cassettes, and reel-to-reel tapes for musical sources. The modern digital era has made CD’s almost obsolete and for many, music streaming devices are the new norm.  

The days of early digital are long gone. Listeners looking for less bulky storage space for their music are now treated to large libraries on computers and other storage devices that can store portable music files on thumb drives and access the internet for music using high resolution streaming services thus eliminating the need to spend thousands on music and make it easy to have endless libraries of music at the use of tablets or phones.

The hobby for me changed when I started listening, back in 2008, with high-end headphones and I found a new exciting community which in 2014 led to our first publication, that Chris Sommivigo, Joey Weiss and I founded, Headphone.Guru that continues today as a major brand in reviewing personal audio and continues to grow more than I could have dreamed of when the company was started. Covering major shows all over the world has made us a relevant player in providing the best in personal audio reviews with a worldwide audience.

Attending many high-end Hifi shows I noticed that the audience was more mature with many in my age group. Most of the older generation were still in tune with speaker systems and high-end audio. When we did the first headphone show for Constantine Soo who organized the California Audio Show in San Francisco with the help of friends at, we were able to increase his attendance a whopping 35 percent over the previous year.

The publications covering that event noticed many younger music enthusiasts in attendance who were listening not only to headphones but also speaker systems and enjoying the different companies’ products that we’re being shown at the show. The excitement of a younger audience had everyone excited and everyone took notice.

Since there are fewer listening rooms and stores available we thought it was time for our readership to be able to read about how to compose systems and figure out what their next step and evolution into Hifi offered, so today we decided to create a new publication and are launching HiFiAudio.Guru which is dedicated to doing full system reviews.

The new monthly column of Frankly Speaking will continue to help you get more of what is happening in HiFi with the latest information and topics dedicated to making your listening experience rewarding and informational.

HifiAudio.Guru will review and present different complete audio systems priced from $1000-15,000. Music enthusiasts looking to budget for a HiFi system will be able to get good information on what is available and easily purchased and many through online vendors and companies dedicated to bringing you the best systems in various price ranges. We also intend to cover all the HiFi shows worldwide to bring you the best of what is new and exciting that will be coming.  

When I started my journey back in 1979 with music it made my life more complete. The music my family listened to in our home was in all genres. My children now all adults and my oldest daughter now having her own family, still listen to music daily.

 Music is a journey into your deepest soul and for me, it has been a healing mechanism and continues to be this day a major part of my life. There is so much to share with friends and family and HiFi Audio is a way for families and friends to listen to music together and a high-end music system is a surefire conversation piece for many, including people who never heard one before.  I continue to be amazed when I demo my HiFi system and people I share it with telling me they never heard or knew these types of systems existed.

Each month we will present different reviews and columns. If you had some experience in writing or want to work with us we are also looking for writers who want to audition equipment and have had an inner desire about the possibility of writing reviews.

 Please feel free to contact me to discuss the opportunities that are available at HiFiAudio.Guru. We also will have music columns and guest articles from industry giants on mastering and other areas of recording and what is now possible in digital technology. 

Join us for this new and exciting adventure with HiFiAudio.Guru and we look forward to writing about the best in speakers, amplification, and sources. With the resurgence of vinyl, we will also showcase different systems with turntables as well. Stay tuned for our first review and feel free to make suggestions in the comment section at the end of each article and tell us how we can improve the magazine to be the best we can be.

Let us know what you would like to read about and we will do our best to help you with making honest system recommendations to help you get the most from your music. 

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