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Requiem for an Audiophile

By March 21, 2016June 13th, 2016Anthony's Blog

In Loving Memory of Igor Pelse
June 11, 1950-March 19, 2016

I thought the call was work-related. I only wish it had been…

Lyric’s Danny Mondoro phoned Saturday evening. We had been working on a sale and I thought he had more information; instead, Danny told me that Igor Pelse hadn’t showed up for work at Lyric East and had been found dead in his NJ home. He was 65 years old.

I first met Igor in the late 1980s, when he was the buyer at Woodbridge Stereo. I was hawking my “Dynaclear” line of audio accessories and Igor was nice enough to place a few Purchase Orders, albeit after a great deal of questioning and a bit of argument. As I learned later, after I had accepted a job at Woodbridge and worked with him, that was just Igor’s way: always skeptical, always persnickety, sometimes confrontational. In this, Igor was a typical “Old School” audiophile. Like many of us, Igor didn’t start his career in High End; rather, he had worked as a perfume formulator before settling at Woodbridge Stereo, where he spent two decades. From there, he moved first to Park Avenue Audio and then to Lyric East, where he had been Lenny’s right hand man. Until Saturday….

People who didn’t know him well could be forgiven for considering Igor a grouch: a little gruff, a little impatient. His peers didn’t ignore those aspects of his personality but drew a different conclusion. Over the years, his curmudgeonliness had become one of his most endearing qualities, and among his most memorable. Those of us who knew him admired his intellect; indeed, he was one of the few remaining audio professionals with a deep understanding of the science behind the sound. A great deal of his skepticism grew from years of dealing with goofball designers who made unrealistic claims that ran counter to objective fact. Igor never shied away from challenging them. Most of the time, he was correct.

After a lifetime of Audiophilia, Igor remained an audiophile: still in love with the gear as well as the music. His love of Magnepan and Audio Research, his advocacy of their products and lifelong friendship with their executives, particularly Wendell Diller and Dave Gordon, were well known throughout the industry. His enthusiasm for great HiFi products actually intensified over the years and distinguished Igor as a superb High End salesman. His love of vintage motorcycles was also well known. He had restored several British bikes—particularly Nortons—and had a fantastic working knowledge of both these classics and their history.

Mostly, however, Igor was a devoted father, expressing levels of emotion and pride that I saw in no other aspect of his life. As a parent, his various passions happily converged, as when, a couple of weeks ago, he excitedly showed me pictures of the classic Honda two-wheeler he had just bought for his son, Ian. This was Ian’s first motorcycle and I remember asking him if he was worried about Ian riding a bike in crowded NJ. Igor told me that he had been training his son to be a safe and capable rider. Who will tutor Ian now?

Igor is survived by his son Ian and Daughter Elena. He will be missed and fondly remembered by the entire High End community.