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  1. Last week
  2. During the years I lived in New York City and environs, I never learned my way around Brooklyn—something I now regret, given that borough's emergence as a hotbed of audio creativity: our industry's Laurel Canyon, so to speak. Such gone-but-not-forgotten brands as Futterman and Fi were manufactured there, and today Brooklyn is home to DeVore Fidelity, Lamm Industries, Mytek Digital, Grado Labs, Ohm Acoustics, and Oswalds Mill Audio. Fri, 05/29/2020 View the full article
  3. "What happens in college stays in college" might be the best policy for most undergrad-formed bands, but Snarky Puppy is an exception to that rule (and a number of others). Bassist/composer Michael League found fertile musical ground in the jazz studies program at the University of North Texas when he formed Snarky Puppy in 2003. Thu, 05/28/2020 View the full article
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  5. Designing Audio Power Amplifiers, Second Edition, by Bob Cordell, Routledge/Focal Press, 2019. 776pp. $160.00, hard cover; $97.95, paperback. I first met Bob Cordell at clinics he gave at the last audio show Stereophile organized, Home Entertainment 2007, in Manhattan. At those clinics, Bob shared his views on why amplifier measurements are not always good at predicting differences in sound quality. So when I was scheduled to host a seminar—"Amplifiers: Do Measurements Matter?"—at this year's now-canceled AXPONA, Cordell was on the short list of designers I felt would offer valuable insight. Wed, 05/27/2020 View the full article
  6. I loved New Orleans music before I even knew what it was. In the mid-1960s, I went to high school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which back then was a bleak, On the Waterfront landscape of dock workers and drifters hanging out in the pool halls along Bedford Avenue. We were warned to watch out on our way to track practice at nearby McCarren Park, because the pool halls were violent and confrontations often spilled out onto the street. Tue, 05/26/2020 View the full article
  7. Soon after I took over preparing Stereophile's biannual Recommended Components listing from the magazine's founder, J. Gordon Holt, in 1986, I ran into a problem. With so many products listed, the magazine was running out of the necessary pages to include them all. To solve this problem, I looked at how long a typical product remained on the market before being updated or replaced. The answer was 3–4 years. I therefore implemented a policy that unless one of the magazine's editors or reviewers had continued experience with a product, it would be dropped from Recommended Components after three years. Fri, 05/22/2020 View the full article
  8. Reviewing a new loudspeaker from Totem feels like destiny—as if a formative moment 30 years ago has come full circle. That's because the first genuine audiophile speaker I ever owned was Totem's now-iconic Model 1, a product whose arrival altered many audiophiles' expectations of how much great—and wide-range—sound a small speaker can deliver. It's still being made today, at least in spirit. Thu, 05/21/2020 View the full article
  9. I'm not in perfect agreement with my colleagues and friends who believe that RCA's Living Stereo LPs from the late 1950s and '60s are the best-sounding commercial classical recordings ever made. To me, the Decca SXL catalog outshines them sonically, in addition to showcasing the talents of an even greater roster of artists. But that's not to say I'm immune to their charms. The RCA catalog contains some real gems. Wed, 05/20/2020 View the full article
  10. Finally—a way to get a handle on the sound of Aavik Acoustics electronics. I'd heard the Danish-made components many times at shows, but always in the context of Ansuz Acoustics cables and Børresen Acoustics loudspeakers. As much as the threesome was inevitable—all three companies are owned by Michael Børresen, Lars Kristensen, and a third shareholder—there was no way to determine the unique sound of each component in the mix. Tue, 05/19/2020 View the full article
  11. Denver’s Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) has canceled its 2020 show. Tue, 05/19/2020 View the full article
  12. At the 2019 AXPONA, I took part in one of my first official meetings, as editor of Stereophile, with members of the manufacturing community: the German company T+A. They were presenting in the room of Texas dealer Lone Star Audio, which was owned by the late Jim Hench. They had a corner hallway to themselves: two rooms and, at the time when I arrived, a hallway table brimming with coffee and pastries. Fortuitous timing. Fri, 05/15/2020 View the full article
  13. I was well over 50 when I first heard an original copy of Charlie Parker's "Ko-Ko." It was a happy accident. I received a call from the family of a well-to-do neighbor who had recently passed away, asking if I'd be interested in having his record collection. Three minutes later, I was parked near the servants' entrance of their centuries-old brick mansion—how quickly we forget our proletariat resentment when there's vinyl to be had—loading a few cartons of LPs and 78s into my car. Thu, 04/30/2020 View the full article
  14. At 11am EDT, JD Events, the company that produces AXPONA announced its cancellation of the 2020 AXPONA in separate letters to exhibitors and sponsors, ticket holders, and the audiophile community. The show had previously been postponed from April. The announcement ends a week of industry-wide speculation stirred by an open letter sent out April 23, so far signed by at least 85 members of the hi-fi industry, demanding cancellation of the show and a refund of exhibitor investments. The letter stated that exhibitors will not receive refunds, but an unspecified amount will be rolled over to 2021. Thu, 04/30/2020 View the full article
  15. I hope you can tell how grateful I am to be writing a column every month. A column makes me feel like a reporter or raconteur, both of which I aspire to become. In a column, I can be more me. I can evolve, think out loud, and speculate, right in front of you. I can pass on crazy stories from a lifetime of audio. When I write about products in a Dream, I try not to form it as a review, per se, but rather as an informal chronicle of discovery. Wed, 04/29/2020 View the full article
  16. When I was growing up, calling Dad to dinner required a trip down carpeted stairs to the basement, an audiophile man cave in a time before the term had been invented. I'd open the door from the kitchen, and a great wall of sound would emerge—and nearly blow me back before I descended the stairs. Tue, 04/28/2020 View the full article
  17. This unique device is a solution to a problem that previously couldn't be solved. There are, of course, any number of little boxes that can extract audio from the HDMI video bitstream; they began to appear on the market to fill a need for a way to route audio from a player's HDMI output In the recent past, you could buy a good-quality—even audiophile-grade—universal player and listen to SACDs via its good-sounding analog outputs. But good-sounding universal players are becoming scarce. Mon, 04/27/2020 View the full article
  18. On Tuesday, April 21, 20 major high-end audio manufacturers sent an open letter to Joel Davis, founder and CEO of JD Events, urging him to immediately cancel AXPONA 2020 or offer "the option of withdrawal and an immediate refund." The letter argues that the COVID-19 pandemic "has clearly altered [the audio] landscape out of all recognition" and disputes the viability of the show's rescheduled dates from April to August 9-11. Thu, 04/23/2020 View the full article
  19. Specific Live Streams (Scroll down for ongoing series): Opera Philadelphia Digital Streaming Festival with four world premieres: Denis & Ktya (May 1) We Shall Not be Moved (May 10) Barber of Seville (May 15) Sky on Swings (May 22 Breaking the Waves (May 29.) All opera premiere 8pm EDT. Available on-demand for various lengths of time through August 31. Operaphila.org and YouTube (address unspecified). More... Wed, 03/25/2020 View the full article
  20. My writing desk looks out over a large garden with chickens, bees, and feral cats. My chair sits only six feet from loudspeakers, playing softly on my left. Between the speakers sits whatever painting I am working on. That painting hangs no more than 10 feet from the oscilloscope and drill press in my kitchen. Best of all, my desk is only six feet from squadrons of ravenous sparrows attacking the suet cage on the fence outside my window. Thu, 04/23/2020 View the full article
  21. Back in the Dark Ages, loudspeaker design was commonly based on semi-enlightened experimentation, with new enclosure configurations appearing almost monthly in professional and consumer journals. One of those, published in Wireless World in October of 1965, was A.R. Bailey's transmission line, a long, selectively resistive, folded-and-sometimes-tapered tube that loaded the back of the (woofer) driver for low-bass reinforcement. Wed, 04/22/2020 View the full article
  22. It may come as no surprise that the two Recommended Components issues we publish every year, in April and October, are Stereophile's most popular. Both go hand-in-hand with increases in single-copy sales and subscription requests, and it's worth noting that equipment and record suppliers line up to get their ads into those issues. Tue, 04/21/2020 View the full article
  23. The coronavirus pandemic is offering mixed news and new challenges for gaming companies, both independent and corporate. View the full article
  24. The High End 2020 show, scheduled to take place in Munich in mid-May, was canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus. The California Audio Show, which usually takes place in late July, is also off, although the reason for its cancelation isn't clear. And as we've just learned earlier AXPONA, the biggest show in the Western Hemisphere, has been postponed from its original dates (around the time this issue hits mailboxes and newsstands) to the second weekend of August. The reason, of course, is concern about the spread of COVID-19. Mon, 04/20/2020 View the full article
  25. Frank Zappa: The Hot Rats Sessions Zappa Records/UMe ZR20032 (6 CDs). 1969–2019. Frank Zappa, prod.; Joe Travers, Craig Parker Adams, Jack Hunt, others, engs. Performance ***** Sonics **** Frank Zappa's first real solo album (he conducted but did not play on Lumpy Gravy) is probably his greatest recording and perhaps his most uncharacteristic in that his singing voice is nowhere to be heard. The one vocal, "Willie the Pimp," is sung by Captain Beefheart, whose Zappa-produced pinnacle Trout Mask Replica was released the same year (1969). Mon, 04/20/2020 View the full article
  26. Video games are surging in popularity in the pandemic. So Facebook is rolling out an app designed for creating and watching live gameplay. View the full article
  27. The technology giants said they would embed a feature in iPhones and Android devices to enable users to track infected people they’d come close to. View the full article
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