As far as polarizing figures go, Ethan Winer is an unlikely candidate. Now 63 years old, Winer is a former audio engineer and computer programmer who plays the cello, owns a successful acoustics business, and frequents online messageboards in his spare time.
In the most pervasive photo of him on the web, Winer is pictured wearing oversized spectacles and an oversized sweatshirt, as he holds his equally-oversized pet cat.
In person and online, he is generally pleasant and mild-mannered, with a ho-hum attitude and a genial, nerdy kind of charm. Based on the innumerable essays and videos he’s produced over the years, Winer doesn’t seem to take himself especially seriously, and tends to be exceptionally reasonable – almost to a fault.
But somehow, Ethan Winer did become a polarizing figure in pockets of the audio community – mostly for his unflagging persistence and steadfast devotion to no-nonsense empiricism. One niche audio forum has even barred him from posting, and keeps “stickies” (permanent posts glued to the top of every page) which aggressively mock him in the kind of way that would be easy grounds for a libel lawsuit (if Ethan Winer was the kind of guy who would think to sue someone for libel.)
To these hardcore “subjectivists,” Ethan Winer is like a pedantic Bond villain (which of course, would explain the cat.) But to mainstream audio scientists, Winer is just a smart, quirky man with a dry sense of humor, a tireless typing hand, and some very sensible ideas about sound.
This Spring, Focal Press published his all-new book The Audio Expert. In a sentence: It’s a painstakingly well-researched, 650-page reference guide that seeks to fill in the gaps of knowledge so prevalent in the audio community today…