What happened to Jfox

There was once an active contributor to the Audiogon Forums who went by the name Jfox. He was a very knowledgeable audiophile who had a very fine system: Sound Lab A-1 speakers, Aesthetix Io phono, Calisto pre,and Cat amps. He was a fine writer who contributed a lot. Since around 2005, he seems to have dropped out of sight. Does anyone remember him and know what happened? I would appreciate hearing. Thanks, Tom
I believe you mean Jafox. There is a Jfox member on Audiogon, but that member has no feedback or forum posts. Jafox's name is John Fox, he is a friend of J.D. MacRae, of Jade Audio, and lives in Minnesota. He was a wonderful contributor to these forums, I learned a lot from him over the years. He seems to have lost some interest in this site, but I cannot say why. The latest post I see by him is dated 4-14-13 in a reply to his only review, or the Aria WV5 XL (Line Stage only) Tube preamp

He also has a system listed as of 4-29-12.

For the most part though he has been MIA on these forums for the last several years. I don't know why, but his presence is missed by me as well. I hope that he is well and happy.

When I first joined here a few years ago I spent many hours reading the old archived threads. There were a number of members of seemingly great character who posted quite often years ago and really made this sight great.
They are surely missed.
Thank you Jmcgrogan2. That is indeed the person I was referring to. We can only hope Jafox returns as he had a lot of audio wisdom to share, and is a very articulate writer. He is missed indeed.
TWB2, look around your neighborhood, your job and your friendships. you'll notice some notable absentees. You'll find that your aquaintences on the 'Gon mirror your aquaintences in life..... if you stay long enough, it's sure to change.
Or for that matter, if you want to go back a really long time, whatever happened to Cornfedboy (Kelly)?

Ditto what Mitch said....people walk into and out of your life. Some decide that there is simply nothing more to be said or done in this hobby and find other interests, much like moving on to another job in another city. That is life.

Like I said in my first post, I just hope that John is healthy and happy.
Sorry if you all have tried this but what about sending Tvad and JaFox private messages through the newer system? Maybe they might reply there. Maybe they got disgruntled with the upgrade and/or moderation and haven't been back due to that. If they see that things are getting a bit better they'll possibly start interacting more.
Jafox is alive and well. He moved to southern California for a extended job opportunity. He comes back to Minneapolis a couple times a year, and he is hoping to come back for good soon.

His system is all boxed up and remains in Minneapolis while he has built a fine mid-level system to enjoy while he is gone.

I believe he stays in touch with the Audiogon forums and with the listings. He saw a pre-amp that he made me buy, so I know he stays active on the gone.

He is a good audio friend and I miss him and his input. Seeing him only a couple times a year is way to little. I'm sure he'll return when he has the time and has things to contribute.

There are a number of the original members that have fallen by the way side. I assume they stay active reading, but just grew tired of arguing the same points over and over.

Let's all chime in and maybe Jafox will join in too.

John, I believe Kelly did some legal work for Audiogon back in the day and felt it was a conflict to join in the forums too. I miss him very much.
Jade is correct. I remember an old thread where Cornfed explained his departure. I also remember Jmcgrogan saying goodbye and explaining why. Good to have you back!!
J.D., it's always good to hear from you my old friend! I hope you and your family are well, though I know that you are still waiting.
Thanks for the update on John. Next time that you see him, please tell him I said "Hello".

Interestingly enough part of my extended absence from this site a couple of years ago was due to a temporary work transfer to Southern California as well. Work is getting harder and harder to find these days. I'm glad I am not younger!!


PS: Now that you mention Kelly and his legal work, it did jog my memory. I believe that you are correct again.
While on the subject, how about audiofeil. He kept things interesting, that's for sure. His audio store's website is still active.
I had an e-mail discussion with John a couple of months ago and as Jade mentioned, he is indeed alive and well in the land of gold (CA).

Several years ago, I began communicating with John because he owned the same amps and speakers as I. I was seeking to obtain some of his tube rolling experience and he provided it in spades. Interestingly, as with any good tutor or teacher, John made me do some of the heavy lifting along the way by doing some homework etc., but because he and I think about that subject quite alike, I enjoyed the challenge and the research it entailed.

Although John and I have communicated via e-mails many times over the last few years, we have never formally met. Be that as it may, John suggested that I try some interconnects for which he was quite fond, and sight unseen, and without funds exchanged, John sent me his quite expensive IC’s. I realize that one can gain a feel for someone else via e-mail, but there is always a risk associated with such endeavors and I appreciated John’s vote of confidence and very kind and generous offer more than he knew!

That lending experience, and John’s posts, reviews, and off-line suggestions have made me a more knowledgeable audiophile and have enabled me to significantly improve my system.

I look forward to the day when the time becomes more conducive for John to again post on the ‘Gon with the frequency and aplomb some of us have come to expect!

Best Wishes and thanks for your friendship all your help John!

I believe some valued contributors to this and similar sites may reach a saturation point and find that topics/debates become redundant and non productive. How much more can be said about certain popular topics such as tube-solid state, digital-analog, high power-low power amps, box -panel-horn speakers,silver-copper etc. They eventually find other areas of interest to pursue, while still enjoying listening to music minus the talk about audio equipment.
I am a newcomer here but already quite appreciate the many knowledgeable members who contribute, and do so with tact. After being a member of the avs forum for several years, I left there tired of the bickering and small mindedness that occurs regarding science and double blind testing.

There is difference of opinion here too of course, but it's handled with respect and maturity. The knowledge is really appreciated too.
Wow! What an honor. Oh my gosh. Thank you.

I have not written much here the last 3 or so years since I accepted a job in San Clemente for a company that builds a very specialized implantable cardiovascular device that uses no leads directly to the heart! And of course, we got gobbled up by a twin cities company, so I hope to be returning to MN by the end of the year.

Not sure where to start or how to thank everyone here for their very nice comments. I read the forums here occasionally but with me away from my magical minnesota music box, I have been very much out of touch with keeping up on the latest breakthroughs. And the comment above about not wanting to rehash the same debates such as the importance of cables, modifications, the power of tube rolling, etc., has put my focus elsewhere. But it's nice to be back.

Apt. life has pushed me into audio's mid-tier zone…..but this has been a fun adventure to discover the magic of 20-30 year designs that nobody ever knew was possible. Having a pair of Jade Ref ICs in such a system is major crazy expensive, but it makes one aware of how good some of the components were long ago. I will share some of my happy findings in my current "budget" system in a follow-on writeup here. But first, I would like to share some experiences at the recent Newport Audio Shows here.

Sadly, this year's show is best described as one word: disappointing. Whereas last year and the previous year, there were several setups in the $10-20k system price that just knocked my socks off. I don't know if it is limited time for setup or the challenges of the hotel rooms, or what, but the $100k+ based systems do not justify their cost with such auditions there…..with one exception…..the demo of the Estelon speakers. Wow, wow, wow! But overall, the focus seems to be again and again about detail and I walk away nearly every time asking, "where's the dimensionality?"

At these shows, it seems like there's not much focus to assemble a SYSTEM. Too many setups with a $15k source, $2k of crappy solid state electronics, often ignoring cables altogether, and then a pair $2-3k or $10-20k speakers! I can understand the skepticism on the importance of cables, but electronics? still?

The little $2k Napa systems conquered several systems that were much more expensive. Sadly, only one room really got my full salute this year - as always the Von Gaylord systems are exceptional. And this year was no different. The previous two years I camped in the Nola speaker room. This year it was good too, but not like before. The Nola Contender speakers at $3600 have no competition……just incredible. The designer said to me more than once, "you again?" Yes, they were so very good…..and with mid-line ARC integrated amp and CD player. I ended up buying the Nola Boxers for my apt.

The only other overall presentation that impressed me greatly this year was the SoundLab room. They sounded so good even with mediocre (at best) electronics. if the dealer listens to these speakers with those electronics, he has no idea what these speakers really can do. Gosh I would have loved to just drop in the Aria preamp at that moment! But they sounded so good! Made me smile.

Other product lines that caught my attention were the Totem speakers (oh my, so good!) and systems with Cary tube electronics. If I were to start from scratch, I would do a serious shootout between Cary and Von Gaylord, pick the "winner" and set that as my reference point. And I know nothing about these lines.

A few times I went into JD mode and moved a chair to near field position. I got a few looks but I also told the presenter that he should try it some day. Maybe they did later when nobody was looking. 8-)

Not having much experience with mid-level systems, I have learned much in the 3+ years here, but sadly, not much from going to these shows. The Napa systems made me very aware what magic can be had for cheap but I want more. One does not easily transition from SoundLabs, Cat amps and the Aria preamp to a $2k system of a zillion compromises, but the Napa system is an awesome start and then to work back up. And moving to a dedicated basement room for a system and then to an apt living room 2/3 the size has been a challenge. But there have been a few WOW moments and discoveries here and also at a friend's house nearby. When you take a 30 year old tube preamp to a friend's home and replace theirs with this, and your friend's wife from an adjacent room suddenly asks what just happened because she never heard music like that in their home ….. mission accomplished! Another convert. 8-)

More next time on my apt system and comments on a few pieces I bought/sold/kept from A'gon activities.

Thank you again.

John, it's great to hear from you again my friend! What an adventure you've been on. Personally, I'd rather stay in San Clemente than return to Minnesota, but we are all different, and we all have roots. As my job was crumbling, I was offered a temporary transfer from my home here in PA to Los Angeles. I took it and worked out there for 10 months. I loved it, and so did my wife!

At the end of 1 year, corporate says that all temporary transfers must end, either become permanent, or leave. So I was offered a full time position, but due to family obligations and timing, I had to turn it down (July 2011)and return to PA. Today, I would have gladly accepted that job, as my youngest son is now out of college and we are finally empty nesters. Life is all about timing, but we LOVED SoCal!! PA is so boooooring now...LOL!! We would have probably been better off had we never known how great life can be in SoCal!!

Anyway, my audio experiences are somewhat similar to yours, as I am now unemployed, and have sold off most everything I had of the old big rig. I still have a very nice system by many standards, but much more mid-fi compared to the old glory days. The job market is weak, and at my age I think that even when I do find work it will pay substantially less money, so for me, the golden age of audio appears to be over.

I do still enjoy reading and listening to the adventures of others though. Welcome back! It's great to hear from you again!! Newport Beach is a very ritzy area, but a lot of fun to pass through. I should have gone to the show in 2011 while I was out there!

San Clemente?! I live there too and have also lived in Minnesota (Bloomington). Hard to beat the weather and life style here though nothing ever compares to home. With real estate prices the way they are here I have given up my dream of ever having a decent sized music room so I have to be satisfied with my small setup in the spare bedroom. I am actually quite happy with what I have achieved so far once I recalibrated my expectations.
There are a lot of us that miss Audiofeil's irreverent, witty perspectives, a breath of fresh air on many forums in the past - it's fun to occasionally dispense with PC, as he does. Yet he followed the ethic of not pushing his own wares impeccably- something many other dealers/distributors could heed. He quit because he was judged to be at fault for a transaction that resulted in damage, claimed 3 weeks later, and left on principle.
Welcome back, Jafox!

Agree with my friend Denis' (Springbok10) statements about Bill (AudioFeil) Feil. Bill's a fantastic, warm-hearted, generous, funny, supremely intelligent / wise person. Obviously, he had little tolerance for fools or a lot of the BS that goes on in these threads with some of the manufacturers, importers / distributors, or dealers. His position, if you intend to advertise here on this site, instead of polluting the discussion forums, man up and pay for an actual ad.
Agree Springbok and Trelja regarding Audiofeil, I did a lot of business with Bill and can say he was one of the most professional and pleasurable people to deal with.
Just noticed this thread and how true the heartfelt memories of online posters can ring. I never did business with Audiofeil but would agree with many of his opinions , reminds me of my friend Enid,s quote ( When the truth comes out the offender becomes offended ) So often the good guys loose. Here,s to the good guys that just naturally do whats right . David
I must pitch in a few other names of people here who taught me so much and had a lot to do with my system's performance to grow exponentially in just a matter of a few years. Albert Porter (knowledge of Aesthetix, SoundLab and Purist Audio) and Bart Posner (tube guru extraordinaire). And I always enjoyed the contributions by Bill (audiofeil) in his constant swatting of those who clearly deserved it. Oh, the good ol' days.

It is interesting to see how many of us have scaled down from our super system to the apartment setup. You gotta love it. But our knowledge allows us to assemble a system for so much less $ and get some mighty impressive results. Still, nothing matches the all-out-assault that so many of us slowly built in 20-30+ years, one painful/costly upgrade after another. I always wanted a 911. With all the audio upgrades, I could have had one or two, and a new Audi each for the wife and kids. Oh well.

And speaking of cars, with no ambition here for me to go crazy insane expensive on the apt audio system, I picked up this cool grandpa classic 1991, MB 560 SEL. It is in impeccable condition in n out. I just replaced 4 speakers in it last week and got new wheels and tires on it yesterday. The seller took pics and posted them on his ebay site yesterday. Have a look. Go to ebay and enter 230957122134 in the search text field. Check out the pictures.....the white car is mine. Ain't she a beauty? When my wife saw it she said, "What???????????, that's an old man car". I smiled and nodded and told her to just get in. When I get back to MN, I will take JD out for a spin and get us a cheesecake for some long overdue Lucinda listening sessions.

More next time on some great (re)discoveries in classic audio pieces I have played with here and currently own. What we can get for the $ and performance can be so impressive.

Sorry to hear of Audiofeil's absence. While I never had business dealings with him, I did appreciate his posts! They were oftentimes humorous, blunt and terse; but nevertheless, usually on-point. My conjector was that Bill's main focus was to remind us not to take ourselves, or this hobby too seriously and that the interaction between components (i.e., equipment synergy) -- rather than what's the BEST component -- was a variable that should never be minimized or overlooked.
Aside from entertaining with his incisive and acerbic wit, he served as an
ethical compass for other dealers/manufacturers, as he followed only his
own impeccable sense of propriety and wasn't shy to point out when
others strayed. I think he needs to come back. Audiogon, make it happen!
You need more Bill Feils.
When the old system would allow members to message each other directly to personal email accounts, Bill and I shared a few meaningfully darn funny discourses together!!! Brevity is the soul of wit and Bill was full of it!! HA
Another member that I miss is Johnk.
I think he left because of a few zealots complaining of his speaker related postings. Are we not all here to learn from others even more experienced and enjoy fun and the camaraderie along the way?
When the old system would allow members to message each other directly to personal email accounts,

I get personal emails from members on occasion questioning me on my amp or speakers. I notice posts like yours all the time. Am I missing something?
Finally back here to answer Baranyi request.

I have mentioned here a few times of the great discovery of the Counterpoint SA5 full-function MM-only preamp. I shared much praise here before of the SA2 head amp that I used with the Aria. But when I moved to So Cal I needed a line stage and the SA5 was a great great discovery. It has its problems of frequency extreme coverage and mediocre detail, but this unit screams musical enjoyment.

My apt system was becoming a bit too tubey and the SA5 was such a killer performer at a friend's house that I sold it to him. The newer products from Wyred4Sound and AudioHorizons were no match to the SA5 recreation of harmonics and decays. He sold both of those and runs with the SA5 now for nearly 2 years. And they were not at all what I was looking for either.

I was then on a hunt for a replacement. I could not find anything and then another SA5 became available so I jumped on it. It was great to have that back! And I still had a few special 6922 tubes from my stash. This held me over as I was looking for something else to try.

Remembering the ARC SP-10 vs CJ Premier 3 dominance in the early 80s along with the SA5, I stumbled across the CJ Motif MC7 for sale here soon after getting the second SA5. The MC7 was the "replacement" for the Premier 3 in the mid 80s. A friend in Tucson did this "upgrade" and he never looked back. I stayed with the SP-10 many years later. But with the MC7 here available, I thought I'd give it a try. It's design was for the phono lover with ability for MC and MM and a line input.

The MC7 turned out to be a great surprise. I had found a sleeper. Finally Finally I had found something that stood out! It was hard to admit but the MC7 was a nice refinement to the SA5. There was just a slight reduction in the 3D magic of the SA5 but with the MC7, the noise floor was lower and more detail throughout. Surely, the MC7 was a step in the right direction and a big one at that.

I will move back to MN in December. Once I get the CAT amps re-tubed and the basement room cleaned up to set up the system there, I will have the Aria to make a better assessment to the MC7's true abilities and weaknesses and report back then. But for a phono lover on a budget, I think the MC7 would be an awesome place to start and build the system from there.

The other incredible discovery has been a Silent Source Ref IC. I had discovered and used another SS IC years before and was greatly impressed. Michael Elliot of Counterpoint/Aria talked of SS on his website and now I know why he liked this cable line. As much as I liked the mid-level SS years back, nothing came close to the Jade Ref's combination of clarity AND 3D performance. Only that the SS was shielded and I needed this for the one phono connection. The SS Ref here was for sale at a killer price. I bought it but could not use it on my apt system as it was XLR. So I took it to MN and tried it on a friend's system. The performance of this caught us both by surprise. For the price I got it (1100), it was clearly the greatest cable find I ever had. We all talk about neutrality.

From all the cable lines I have experienced, I would have to say that the SS line "appears" to be the most tonally neutral with killer low-level resolution. For those out there who need a super quiet shielded cable, this may be the answer.

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Hey, Grant (Tvad), great to see you back here! Hope all is going well. And do enjoy the top-notch system you worked so hard to develop.
PS - I too miss AudioFeil's acerbic wit and high ethics.
Same here. As well as his wealth of knowledge and experience, and his balanced perspectives on what matters most in a system, and what matters less.

Best regards,
-- Al

>Turned on the system tonight for the first time in about a year

Does this mean that once you put your great system together, your interest waned in both Audiogon and in listening to your system? Yikes!
Tvad ,
you always struck me as some one who loves music and not just an equitment geek. I'm surprised you didn't use your system for an entire year! I hope you'll enjoy music reproduction in your home.
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I read this entire thread and very happy to see Jafox and Tvad pop up again. I was super active in these forums a few years ago, it somehow seemed more free, open and fun.

In any case, I hope you can find time to throw us a crumb every so often. I punch in several times a day but don't post nearly as often.

In fact I wish most of the old posters were back here today to keep things lively.

Here is a partial list of posters I had communication with "way
back" when Audiogon was young. Some of these folks are still
here but many have moved on.

Audiophile 9

Bring back memories for any of you?
Gunbei stopped by my place to say hello about seven years ago when he was attending an event in my neighborhood. It was a pleasure to meet him.
Did Audiofeil finally leave Clarence NY and head to Arizona?
last I talked with him that was his plan;he we always a straight shooter and you knew where he was coming from for sure.
Albert helped me out when I bought my first pair of expensive speakers (soundlabs M2)with great insight and advice as they have just been replaced with a pair of Brodmann VC-2's.
Tvad come on back I always thought you were one of the contributors here on audiogon along with Ralph (atmasphere), Jafox, Almarg, Jmcgrogan2, and Duke(audiokinesis).
Yes and no. Reading Audiogon forums last night for 15 minutes pretty much reinforced my decision to leave the party.

Depressing. I hope you change your mind.
Jafox has moved back to Minnesota after a few years in southern California. Last I talked to him he was trying to transfer his engineering knowledge from So. Cal. to it's new owner in Minneapolis, and now to Ireland, where America has lost another company to a tax sheltering country.

On the other Jafox front, he is dealing with some health issues which are taking a lot of his time and energy. He was last talking about bring two dedicated circuits to his living room so he can set up those massive amps and speakers.

I miss the old days at Audiogon, I look back on the early years of A'gon as our combined learning platform. So many of us learned from each other in an environment that allowed out of the box thinking. I think of where power cords have come in the past 15 years, a lot of this was from each of us sharing our experiences and trying things. The negative members existed, but it seems the majority won out and just ignored the trouble makes.

It seems that we did our system building together, and stopped experimenting and began listening. Today the trouble makers own the sight, and I have little energy for the same old fights. I read the forums every day, but rarely contribute. We did have fun back then...

As for the greed of the commercial side of this site, they can have it. I left a year ago and never looked back.
Hi Tvad,
I bought some Wright 2a3 mono amps that I still use along with another set of tube amps. Good to see you post.
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Nice to hear that all is well, Grant. And good to hear from other voices from past. Interesting that Albertporter fondly remembers communicating w himself back when Audiogon was young. Either Texas has legalized recreational pot, or Albert apparently sampled too much at RMAF? To all the old (and young) farts who don't know it, jadem6 has also been through more than his share of health challenges over the 15 or 20 years that this site has been up, but his strength and good spirit (I almost said heart...) kept him going and now it seems as he is truly on the mend w his new heart.

I, too, lurk more than post but then my technical knowledge is limited and my appetite for chocolate vs. vanilla debates has waned. Maybe age does bring wisdom, or at least less likelihood to waste our precious time on unresolvable arguments. I've got no quarrel with the commercial side of the site (other than that the transaction system is way too complicated). I only use it to acquire gear for trial. My system is pretty stable these days and luckily walking swamps pays pretty good if you're willing to put in 60 hour weeks when required. The moderation of the forums (fora) does seem a bit heavy-handed but not having seen it from the owner's/moderator's side I can't say for sure.
Tvad, good to hear from you again, always appreciated your posts & perspective.
I also miss the good old days of the original Audiogon.
Had some good times learning here. Still learning as an on going thing...
Just harder to do under the new system of controlling communication :-(
Could we recreate this learning arena? I mean, with all these knowledgeable, friendly and helpful people still around? Many participants give a lot of help without getting much credit for it. People like Jafox, Albert, Ralph, Tvad, Charles and others. I think that the sense of community is very important. Together with respect and appreciation of difference.

I live across the Atlantic. Here in Oslo (Norway) we have a music listening group that meets now and then, in the home of each participant - with the clear rule that we are NOT grading audio components. What interests us, beside the music, is how the sound can be improved in that room, without much added cost. This works well, and has made us listen more for what a system does well rather than the problems. The "my system is better than yours" attitude is not allowed in!

For me, community and music overlaps. I feel much better, listening to a system, when I know about other members' experiences. Now, I smile a bit extra, listening to the amazing guitar work of Ritchie Blackmore on the new LP box (Rockpalast 95), knowing that thanks to advice from people like Jafox, Albert and Charles (in another thread here at the forum), I can stretch my preamp to the limit, using the best tubes.

For me, the value of these discussions often lie in going the extra mile, trying some tweaks and modifications, testing out and reporting back. It becomes more interesting and valuable, when others do so too.