This is not the happiest way to re-open the magazine after our usual holidays break but I simply can't avoid this. A week ago a true legend of the HiFi arena, James Bongiorno, passed away. It is a sad loss indeed. We TNT-Audio had the honor and the pleasure to interview him exactly ten years ago (how time flies!) when he was recovering from liver disease and starting new projects and designs (Ampzilla 2000 etc.). He told us about his early days as HiFi designer, and how he came to design so many innovative HiFi components. Personally, I find the contents of that interview extremely insightful and still astonishingly up-to-date, especially when he talks about the HiFi market, its gurus and their false promises. In case you missed that ten years ago, I'd suggest to read it thoroughly!
After a long fight against liver problems he had seemed in good health again, but evidently not everything was OK. It's a sad loss because his contributions to high quality audio were original and enlightening, we will certainly miss his unconventional approach to HiFi.
Our younger readers may not know who James Bongiorno was or how his work, beginning in the seventies, was seminal to the current state of the art. So here's a brief compendium of what he did, from his early designs to his latest achievements:
If I were forced to cite one single project that can describe James Bongiorno's genius I'd choose the GAS Ampzilla power amplifier because, at that time, this represented a refreshing departure from the usual HiFi cliché's...this power amplifier was every audiophile's dream!
More generally, his amplifiers and preamplifiers for SAE, GAS and Sumo were components that marked an era, for the originality of their design, circuit layout and price/quality ratio. He was such an eclectic designer and man, his clothes proved this beyond any reasonable doubt! Just make a search on Google Images with keyword "James Bongiorno" and enjoy his colourful approach to attire :-)
Our small world of audio enthusiasts has lost another piece of its history and I have to admit that it is hard, nowadays, to find such leading personalities among new gurus and designers. We will miss you, Mr. Bongiorno!
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