William Zane Johnson has passed away at the age of 85. He was founder and former president of Audio Research. We will surely miss him.
This is very sad news, indeed. My life as an audiophile (and much later as a reviewer) would not have been the same had I not heard (way back in the winter of 1973-74) the Audio Research Corporation SP-3 preamp and D-75 amp driving Maggie I-U's, and come, instantly, to the realization that tubes, (a few) transistors, magnets, and pieces of Mylar were capable of reproducing recorded music with a previously undreamed-of realism. It was an epiphany I have often referenced in TAS and never forgotten. After that audio-life-changing experience, I think I owned or heard (and, lately, reviewed) just about every preamp and amp that William Z. Johnson designed and marketed. Like so many others of my generation, he is the high end to me--and always will be.
I know that Audio Reserach is in very good hands with its current staff, but WZJ's passing really does mark the end of an era--a thrilling, youthful era of discovery in my life and in the lives of so many other now graying and balding music lovers and audiophiles. I certainly hope that WZJ knew how much he meant to all of us.
My deepest condolences to his family and to the Audio Research Corporation, which was his second family. May he rest in peace.
Well said Jon.
He was a major influence in my audio life as well and on first meeting a very intimidating man. I found him not to be that way at all! It was his products that opened my eyes to the possible and my mind to what can happen.
RIP Bill we shall all miss you.
coopersark -- Thu, 12/15/2011 - 10:04
Bill Johnson had touched more lives than he could have ever imagined by allowing a whole generation to connect with recorded music on a deeper level that was possible without his designs and products. His craft became a baseline for us audiophiles. It is a baseline of high performance and excellence that I have never taken for granted, and appreciate every day when I listen to my Audio Research equipment. My first exposure was almost thirty six years ago, and that exposure had turned into a life long passion for me. I know that same experience was shared by thousands of others of the "Baby Boom" generation stateside and others of our age around the world. My music is silenced tonight. May he rest in peace. Bill will be missed by all who knew him either in person or by his inventive, incredible, and simply marvelous audio designs.