BAAS History from One of the Founders

Wanted to introduce myself. Dennis Davis and I started BAAS circa 1995 after we met at a audio show (Stereophile?) in San Francisco. We hit it off immediately and thought it would be cool to start up an audiophile society. As you know Dennis was active in the Northern CA Audiophile group that eventually faded away for lack of participation (no one wanted to organize events). We published a want-ad in the SF Chronicle and at (I wrote that piece you published in a recent BAAS note I think). There were really no officers (sort of just Dennis and myself).

Anyway the first meeting was at my house in SF and we had about 30-40 people if I recall there, including some of the current members such as Jason Serinus, Herb Cygan, Manny LaCarrubba (inventor of the cool B+O 360 degree speaker) and Manuel. Anyway, the first few years was a lot of fun and we had some excellent meetings including ones at Mobile Fidelity at their vinyl pressing plant in Petaluma, presentations of various audio products at a now-defunct high end dealer in Sausalito (Music by Design) as well as discussions about vinyl vs. digitial. A number of our get-togethers were at the Josephine Randall Museum Theater in the City. My participation waned after a few years because of personal issues. Dennis was left pretty much on his own to run the ship. Mea culpa.

Part of the difficulty at that time was lack of volunteers to organize meetings and events. System hopping was just getting started. Organizing and producing get-togethers was a lot of work and usually only a small number of people (2-3) were willing to put in the time to develop these. I believe that is why Dennis eventually also dropped out.

Fortunately people like yourself and Jason have kept BAAS alive and thriving. My hat’s off to both of you. The BAAS web site is wonderful, promotes ongoing interest and provides a way of sharing ideas and news without publishing a hard copy newsletter. I thought the High Note in its day was great but was pretty labor-intensive. I still remember stuffing envelopes! The title was “borrowed” from the name of an audio salon we found in one of the audiophile magazines. We also had a cool looking membership card that we distributed to members – I thought I still had a stack of these but couldn’t find them – maybe I gave them to Dennis.

Wilson Lem

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, News

4 Comments to BAAS History from One of the Founders

  1. Hi Wilson!

    I remember those daze well! We moved to Nashville TN in 2001 so I could return to the music biz from the film biz but I really miss you, Dennis, Herb, Jason and the whole gang.

  2. Bob Olhsson on June 27th, 2012
  3. Hi Wilson! That was great! I can’t believe it has been THAT long. I joined around ’96. I think I still have my membership card somewhere. I helped out with organizing those SysHops and hosted for a few years. As you said, a lot of work were put into organizing them. Many of the volunteers were enthusiastic to get some feedbacks from visitors to help them improve their systems. I had hosted a half dozen times, and the only comment I had received was from a guy on his way out saying that “solid state sounded just as he expected”. We tried different ideas to get people to have more discussions about their impressions of the systems they had heard, but nothing was working. (We didn’t have a site like this back then. LOL) So hats to Bob for getting a lot of these events going again. We’ve truly come a long way.

    Frank Cheng

  4. gundam91 on June 27th, 2012
  5. Hello, Wilson, nice to hear from you and have you stir old memories.
    I still fondly remember the visit to 321 and the camaraderie.

    You’ve been missed.

    If you are still in the area, please come to some events to renew and enjoy the passions.
    The last one I remember you coming to was in Fremont.


  6. herb999 on June 30th, 2012
  7. Hi Wilson,
    Nice posting. I wasn’t a member back in the beginning of BAAS, but I have fond memories of Music By Design from the 80′s. The store at which I first heard audiophile quality sound.
    IMHO, Bob and Jason have been doing a great job of running the show these past few years that I’ve been a member. I wonder if there are enough newer members that didn’t get to go to Dolby Labs, or MFSL that would be interested in going now? I certainly would.

  8. anomaly7 on July 1st, 2012