Corey Greenberg – They Don’t Make Em Like That Anymore

June 15, 2010

Digging through the closet in search of something to read, I found my stash of old Stereophile magazines from the late 80’s and early 90’s. These oldies date back to the days when the title was still presented in a half height digest format.

I bought them off a TradeMe seller a few years back and they’ve given me hours of enjoyment. Reading all the old reviews and adverts makes for an amusing journey back in time, to the olden times – the early days of CD, the first flirtations with the demons of data compression, DAT tapes, Digital Compact Cassettes, MiniDisk, high end DAC modules and digital decoders etc. etc. It all seems so dated now.

Some of the products have aged badly, more so than seems possible even considering the two long intervening decades – for example, the Proceed CD Library was a beast of a thing, a US$13,000 CD jukebox with a 100 disc capacity standing 83cm high and 55cm wide and 55cm deep. Don’t laugh, that’s how the high-end consumer did track shuffle in the day.

At the height of those glorious days, came unto the world of the audiophile a disturbance in the force, someone who had the audacity to have serious fun with hi-fi and who wrote as if his primitive laptop had a direct link to the astral traveling spirit of Hunter S Thompson. Music first, gear second was his motto.

Corey Greenberg initially appeared in the April 1991 issue of Stereophile, where he reviewed four stereo power amps. His first review was the VTL Tiny Triode monoblocks, which started off as follows:

‘During the time of the Native-American Comanches, a young brave had to undergo many trials by fire before he earned the respect of the tribe’s adults. He was violently beaten by the men, humiliated by the women, and forced to endure physical torture such as the slow flaying of the foreskin with smoldering pine saplings drawn from the fire. Alienated from the tribe, exiled until he proved his manhood, he had to survive on wriggling cream-colored larvae and infrequent rainwater. Legend speaks of these Indian youths, dehydrated and disoriented, crawling around on their hands and knees and baying like wolves at the moon.’

When and where I ask you, in all the long history or audio scribes has such a debut paragraph been seen?

That set the tone for all his articles and of course he polarized opinions, with some loving his style (the younger set mostly, one assumes) and others hating him (everyone else). Love him or hate him, he was damn entertaining and with a background as an audio engineer, he was technically clued up as well. Someone should collect all his audio writing and publish it as a book – I’d buy a copy, so that’s at least one sale. There’s probably at least two other people who’d be interested.

Much of his work is lurking in the archives of the Stereophile site, which is a genuine treasure trove of old gold. A search at will reveal all.

The full reviews of those four power amps can be found at:

VTL Tiny Triodes

Muse Model One Hundred

Counterpoint SA-100

Sumo Polaris II

They may be for obscure and now dead products but if these reviews don’t make you laugh out loud or at least smile a little, then perhaps a download of the technician’s repair manual for a laser printer is in order. Go to it.

Also – funnily enough, guess who reviewed the aforementioned Proceed CD Washing Machine, um I mean CD Library? Yep you guessed it – Cory Greenberg.

Proceed CD Library

Come back Corey…this cold digital world needs you.


  1. The allegations that Corey was deceptive in his appearances on NBC’s Today Show are categorically unfair. Are you aware that NBC did not pay him for his appearances? It is disingenuous and cheap of NBC to build their productions on free labor.
    I knew Corey years before his Today Show gig, when he was just oout of UT and writing for Stereophile. He would never promote a product that he didn’t believe in. I once asked asked him, wading through the boxes of expensive stereo gear that various manufacturers sent him to review, if companies continued sending him gear after a bad review. The answer was, yes, the company engineers appreciated him berating bad elements that management was responsible for including.

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