One Man's Dream - Ken Fritz Documentary about the world's best stereo system

“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe*


I’m not sure where I saw this, but it is well worth the watch.


Made it into the Washington Post today:

I haven’t watched the documentary. The article is extremely sad. I expected to read it and think “I should send this to my wife so she can see she doesn’t have it so bad.” But the article is so tragic that it’s not a subject for humor.

It reminds me of the story of Jiro Ono, who is the subject of the outstanding documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. Obsession, at its most extreme, can result in great achievement but often not without substantial collateral damage.

[There’s a photo in the article of Roon on an iPad. It takes a read of the article to understand how digital music entered the story.]


Agreed that the article is heartbreaking. So much damage, and then when he had it “finished” he couldn’t even enjoy it. Almost an O. Henry story.

Hard not to do a little self-examination after reading it. :confused:


The lunatic fringe indeed. Hard to understand the obsessive/compulsive folks.

I saw the original video when it was floating around. At Capital Audio Fest eBid had thousands of note cards on a table advertising the auction. The auction was crazy. Just pages after pages after pages of random stuff. Speaker cones, components, random electronics, Christmas ornaments, kitchen appliances. It was whole house estate auction that just happened to include all the stereo stuff collected and built and trialed over the 4 decades this man was building the dream. The number of Krell amps was impressive but tracking individual lots and bids was just overwhelming. Certainly this stuff could have gone for more if it wasn’t jumbled into a generic online estate sale.

Hobby should fun. Too often we let it eat us. This is a tragic story of it eating an entire family. Good gosh I hope if I ever start going down this path I listen to the people who love me and will claw me back and I will listen.

@Bill_Janssen Thanks for posting. I always meant to go back to the auction site and see what things went for.

The items and their final bids are still online: #1719: *SOLD* Million Dollar Music System Auction: 1324 Hybla Rd: N. Chesterfield VA 23236 (Appraise Sell LLC)-


It’s a long article but I couldn’t put it down. How sad to read about someone so consumed by the technology that he loses sight of everything that’s important: music and family. The moment when he permanently ruptures his relationship with his oldest son is especially heart-breaking. And his unwillingness to finally make up with his son is the final heart break. What a small, petty man.

My dad was a true audiophile. He had great equipment: McIntosh electronics, Bozak speakers Revox, reel-to-reel tape decks. But for him, it was all about music. And he readily shared his love of music with his family. I continue his love affair with music My own systems are much more modest. But they do the job for me and that’s all that matters–and that should matter.

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I reminds me of the days when I would go to audiophile club meetings at different houses each week. Many of them were avid readers of absolute sound and would only listen to those recordings on HP’s list. I am nauseated by the number of times I had to hear the rainforest segment of the Emerald Green soundtrack. These people were much more interested in sound than music and were obsessive about the smallest wire/cable change. Don’t get me wrong, I also love equipment, but I love music more. This guy’s story was really sad. Funny thing – my wife was debating sending this to me fearful I would take it the wrong way.


A similar anecdote, from the home theater side of my life: We have the misfortune of still using Xfinity (Comcast) for both Internet, and TV. A couple of years back they started down-mixing the audio channels to stereo for their on-demand movies, and even on some of their less popular channels–presumably to save bandwidth. That in itself is annoying, but the real problem is that their audio engineers still send everything out wrapped in a 5.1 carrier signal.

If the signal format correctly announced it was only 2 channels of audio, my receiver would process it via a Dolby Logic algorithm, and generate surround, and more importantly center channel dialog information. But since the receiver thinks it’s already decoded into 5 channels of audio, it just passes everything straight through, including 3 channels of silence. I’ve opened tickets and been on multiple support chats, but trying to find anyone who even understands what I’m talking about is the most futile activity imaginable.

The other night we dialed up an old 80s movie and started streaming it. Instantly I heard the familiar hollow 2-channel sound. I tried cycling through a couple of different surround options on my receiver, but nothing worked. So I paused the movie, and told my wife and son it would just be a second. I went into the Xfinity menu and told it to force the audio signal to send just stereo, then spent another few minutes trying to remember where we had started streaming the movie from.

Finally I started it again, and now the dialog was decoding correctly and coming out of the center channel. I asked my wife if she could see what I meant about it sounding tinny earlier, and better now. There was a slight pause, and she agreed. Then she said, “It’s hard being you, isn’t it?” :joy:

It did sound so much better though!