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INTERVIEW | “The Editors” SERIES |27|


Title: “The Occasional”
Publisher: “Part-Time Audiophile”

Type of publication: ONLINE PDF MAGAZINE
Frequency of publishing: QUARTERLY
Year of establishment: 2017



THE EDITORS is a cycle of interviews with audio magazine editors from all over the world – both those in charge of printed publications, as well as online magazines and portals. It started on January 1st 2012 and 26 interviews have been published since then – the one below is No. 27. Our aim is to familiarize our readers with the people who usually hide themselves behind reviewed devices. It is the “WHO IS WHO?” of specialist audio press.

came across Marc during the High End 2019 exhibition in Munich, in a room dedicated for the press. He was having coffee with his colleague, Panagiotis Karavitis, and as we talked, it appeared we had known each other, although only virtually. I could not let such an opportunity go by and, after returning to Poland, I emailed both gentlemen, asking them to join the group of editors whose life and work we write about.

We are starting with MARC PHILLIPS, the managing editor of “The Occasional Magazine”, a PDF quarterly. It is a rare form of online publications – we previously encountered it while interviewing Jeff Dorgay, the Editor-in-chief of “TONEAudio” magazine. “The Occasional Magazine” is an addition to “Part-Time Audiophile”. It is going to be the 27th meeting of “The Editors” cycle.

WOJCIECH PACUŁA: To start with, tell us something about yourself.
MARC PHILLIPS: I’m Marc Phillips, the Managing Editor of “The Occasional”, which is the quarterly PDF “magazine” for “Part-Time Audiophile”. I’ve been a writer for most of my life and I even have a degree in Literature, but I started following my passion – writing about high-end audio – when I started writing a vinyl/LP column, “The Vinyl Anachronist”, for the NYC-based underground magazine “Perfect Sound Forever” in 1998. (Yes, I still write a bi-monthly column for them after more than 21 years.)

I’ve written for many magazines: “Ultimate Audio”, “TONEAudio”, “AudioENZ”, “Positive Feedback” and “Part-Time Audiophile”, and from 2011 to 2018, Colleen Cardas and I ran Colleen Cardas Imports, which was the US importer and distributor for Unison Research, Opera, Pureaudio, Brigadiers Audio, Les Davis Audio, Axisvoicebox, REDGUM Audio and The Wand. Colleen and I live outside of Rochester, New York, with our miniature schnauzer Lucy (Colleen Cardas was the CEO of Cardas Audio for twenty years and helped her father, George Cardas, to develop and expand the company – Editor’s note).

Is “The Occasional Magazine” a magazine, portal, or yet something else – how would you describe it?
While “Part-Time Audiophile” is an audio website and a sort of the parent organization for us, “The Occasional” is the quarterly PDF magazine we produce – it looks like a print magazine with beautiful hi-res photography – we have a professional art director named Denise Herninko who is incredible. Our goal is different than that of “Part-Time Audiophile” – we don’t want to be an audio magazine, but a magazine that covers other lifestyle topics that audiophiles love – watches, wine, cigars, music, and more.

Who came up with “The Occasional”?
“The Occasional” was the brainchild of my predecessor, Rafe Arnott, who left “Part-Time Audiophile” a couple of years ago after doing a year’s worth of issues. His successor, John Stancavage, unfortunately passed away before he could truly take over from Rafe, so “The Occasional” was in limbo for a year. I took over last fall, when PTA publisher Scot Hull was waiting patiently for me to phase out my importing/distribution, so that I could return to my true love, writing.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of online magazines?
Their strength is the ability to reach a much wider audience than with print formats. Their weakness is that we keep on asking: “Who are these reviewers?” and: “Why should consumers trust them just because they have a website?” Trust your ears first, not the reviewers.

How about print magazines?
Their strength is that I still prefer to read from physical formats, while their weakness is that they are too expensive to produce anymore.

What audio magazines do you read?
I started reading “Stereophile” in 1985, but have not read it so much in the last few years. Until I officially came aboard “Part-Time Audiophile”, I was a huge fan. I also like “Positive Feedback”.

Do you have another hobby, or are you completely absorbed by audio?
My other hobby, which many people know, is smoking premium cigars. I’ve been writing a cigar column, “The Smoking Jacket”, for PTA for many years. 

What would you include in your “dream system”?
My dream system is one where I no longer “listen with a clipboard”, which is my term for listening critically without really being hypnotized by the music. I imagine my final system will be vinyl-based, where I can quietly listen to my favorite LPs for the rest of my life without needing “more”. I’ve come close to that many times, most recently with the Fern & Roby Raven loudspeakers run by Linear Tube Audio amplification.

What is the most important component of a system?
Outside of the listening room and your ears, I’m a big believer that the most important part is the signal source, according to the rule garbage in, garbage out. A great turntable with a modest pair of speakers usually sounds better than a modest turntable with a great pair of speakers.

If you were to choose the signal source, would it be a digital or an analogue one? And if digital, then SACD/CDs or streaming?
I’m a dedicated vinyl guy, but I listen to CDs since I still have a big collection. I’ve gotten into streaming over the last couple of years, and now I’m addicted to Qobuz and Roon.

How about the amp/speaker combination – low power/high sensitivity or the other way round?
I’ve done both, but I lean toward low-powered tube amps and high-efficiency speakers. I once had a 2Wpc Yamamoto Sound Craft A-08 45 power amplifier and I still miss it.

Do you think that active speakers will become mainstream in audio?
Not really. They’re just another choice for audiophiles – some will like the convenience, others will still want to experiment with amplification. But as we lean more toward lifestyle products in high-end audio, one box less will be a preferred approach.

Is there any new technology that has attracted your attention?
I’m old-fashioned when it comes to audio – LPs first, but I have been streaming with Qobuz and Roon lately, and I’ve finally embraced the sound quality without reservation.

What you think about DSP-based room correction – is it a solution for the audiophile world?
I’ve only used products with DSP on a very casual basis, but I’ve been pleased with the results. As a former trade show exhibitor, I can say it could have been a godsend for some really troublesome hotel rooms in the past. I haven’t used it too much in the context of a review or in my home system, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to. I look forward to exploring DSP more in the future.

Tell us please about 10 audio albums that “High Fidelity” readers should buy.
I am very eclectic when it comes to music – I’m able to review all genres. I always balk when I’m asked to talk about my favorite music, because I’ve spent too many years exploring everything.

I grew up listening to classic rock (The Beatles, The Who, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd), but when I entered college in 1980, I became fully immersed in New Wave and punk. By the time I left college, I was listening to a lot of jazz and classical music as well. I used to say that I loved everything but metal, country and rap, but in recent years I’ve fallen in love with performers such as Tool, System of a Down, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Public Enemy, OutKast and more.

Since you have pressed me, however, I will give you a few titles that I could especially recommend:

  • Sonny Rollins, Way Out West
It is the best-sounding LP I own and one of the greatest jazz trio performances in history.

  • Dean Martin, Dream with Dean It is because Dean Martin is right there, in front of you!
  • London Proms Symphony Orchestra, Clair de Lune This RCA Living Stereo LP contains beautiful music from the beginning to the end.
  • Dead Can Dance, Into the Labyrinth This is unbelievably hypnotic and beautiful music.
  • Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington, Recording Together for the First Time It’s a magic moment in time.
  • Nina Simone, Little Girl Blue It’s the best thing I’ve heard in the last two years.

  • Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio, Midnight Sugar Everything you’ve heard about the original Three Blind Mice LPs is true.
  • Sera una noche This MA Recording of Argentinian folk music has an incredibly warm and realistic sound.
  • Tinariwen, Elwan Political music from the Sahara mixed with Mississippi delta blues that will blow your mind.
  • Anything from 2L Recordings. This Norwegian label is at the forefront of both recording technologies and interesting, challenging music.

Thank you and see you!
See you!


  • KARI NEVALAINEN  | “INNER” ⁜ Finland, Editor-in-chief
  • JOHN E. JOHNSON, Jr., Ph.D. | ”Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity”, USA, chief editor
  • YOSUKE ASADA | “Net Audio”, “Analog” HERE, JAPAN, chief editor
  • DANIEL BREZINA | HIFI-VOICE.COM, CZECH, editor-in-chief (Šéfredaktor), see HERE
  • EDGAR KRAMER | „Audio Esoterica”, AUSTRALIA, editor-in-chief, see HERE
  • MICHAEL LAVORGNA, „AudioStream”, USA, editor-in-chief, see HERE
  • MICHAEL LANG, “Stereo”, GERMANY, managing editor (Geschäftsführender Redakteur), see HERE
  • SRIDHAR VOOTLA, “”, INDIA, journalist, see HERE
  • SCOT HULL, “Part-Time Audiophile”, USA, editor-in-chief, see HERE
  • ART DUDLEY, “Stereophile”, USA, editor-at-large, see HERE
  • HELMUT HACK, “Image Hi-Fi”, GERMANY, managing editor, see HERE
  • DIRK SOMMER, „”, GERMANY, chief editor, see HERE
  • MARJA & HENK, „”, SWITZERLAND, journalists, see HERE
  • CHRIS CONNAKER, “Computer Audiophile”, USA, founder/chief editor, see HERE
  • MATEJ ISAK, "Mono & Stereo”, chief editor/owner, SLOVENIA/AUSTRIA; see HERE
  • Dr. DAVID W. ROBINSON, "Positive Feedback Online", USA, chief editor/co-owner; see HERE
  • JEFF DORGAY, “TONEAudio”, USA, publisher; see HERE
  • CAI BROCKMANN, “FIDELITY”, GERMANY, chief editor; see HERE
  • STEVEN R. ROCHLIN, “Enjoy the”, USA, chief editor; see HERE
  • STEPHEN MEJIAS, “Stereophile”, USA, assistant editor; see HERE
  • MARTIN COLLOMS, “HIFICRITIC”, GREAT BRITAIN, publisher and editor; see HERE
  • KEN KESSLER, “Hi-Fi News & Record Review”, GREAT BRITAIN, senior contributing editor; see HERE
  • MICHAEL FREMER, “Stereophile”, USA, senior contributing editor; see HERE
  • SRAJAN EBAEN, “”, SWITZERLAND, chief editor; see HERE