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Julian Hirsch, 1922-2003

Julian Hirsch effectively invented the field of testing commercial audio products.

Julian Hirsch effectively invented the field of testing commercialaudio products. For more than four-and-a-half decades, he wrote some4,000 reviews and test reports for many magazines, most notablyHiFi/Stereo Review (later just Stereo Review and nowcalled Sound & Vision).

He was fanatical about accurate lab reports, but he didn’t justmeasure stuff: He explained why he was making the measurements and whatthey meant to anyone who was going to be using the thing to listen tomusic. While he was a strict adherent to the scientific method, he alsoexplored in his reviews more subjective areas like construction qualityand usability, the area that has since evolved into the fashionableacademic subject known as “human factors.” His monthlycolumn, “Technical Talk,” was a shining example to anyoneconsidering technical writing as a career of how engineers should talkto non-engineers.

When Hirsch retired in 1998, his publisher established a scholarshipin his name at his alma mater, the Cooper Union School ofEngineering.

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