Dan Laufman and "Where Do The Children Play" by Cat Stevens Page 2

My dad was an engineer and audiophile long before I even really knew what that meant. Going way back to when I was six or seven, I still remember his homemade plywood Carlson speaker enclosure, handmade tube electronics in our living room, all capped off with a giant brown Garrard turntable. I couldn't keep my hands off it! I loved stacking the albums (heresy to audiophiles, but definitely part of the appeal for a kid) and watching them drop down the spindle before that big, heavy tonearm rose up, moved to the beginning of the record and softly dropped down on the vinyl.

I just loved looking at and touching all that gear. And it played LOUD! I can still remember the smell of that tubes, cooking away in the living room.

My father also had a lot of test gear in the garage and I used to turn on the scopes and meters and sit in the dark with the glow of the instruments all around me, pretending I was flying into space with John Glenn. Those were wonderful times.

My first real musical love was the Beach Boys. "Surfer Girl" is one of my all-time favorites. I still love it. Then it was onto the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young), the Doors, Quicksilver, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Yes, ELP, The Moody Blues, and on and on. My thirst for music was endless, but I didn't really pay much attention to the fidelity until the day I rode my 10 speed to Woodland Stereo Center in Woodland Hills, walked into the store and experienced a sonic awakening. Sitting in his usual chair was the late, great [owner of the store?] Walt Lewsauder. As I walked in with my buddy, the two of us yakking away, he put his fingers to his lips indicating I should shut up. And I did!

I then heard something I will never forget. It was the Infinity Servo-Statik 1a loudspeaker system. I had never heard anything like it in my life. My mind, my eyes, and most importantly my ears were opened up and it changed me forever. Really. I heard detail, real bass, imaging, and dynamics that I never realized were possible or present in recorded music.

Walt was playing his usual classical and jazz stuff, which was amazing, but at that point in my life I didn't really relate to it musically. Then I got a chance to hear Cat Stevens' Tea for the Tillerman...  and I mean, really HEAR it for the first time.

The track was "Where Do the Children Play" and that was it. I was hooked. The acoustic guitar and close-mike vocals were transcendent. The percussion had so much power and detail. It was just amazing. That song in particular, and the entire album, became my touchstone for musical honesty in my playback systems for many years. To this day it's one of my favorite albums.

That one afternoon sent me on a path of discovery and enterprise that continues to this day. Cary Christie and Arnie Nudell at Infinity became role models, and dare I say it, idols of mine! They were bigger than life and I wanted to be like them. The work they were doing was so exciting and ahead of its time. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities of high performance audio. I feel privileged to have become friends and a professional associate of theirs later in life. They showed me real kindness, taught me a lot, and opened many doors for me professionally.

They had a great motto back then: "We get you back to what it's all about…music" That says it all for me. I just love music.