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  1. Last week
  2. How many times have I asked myself what the purpose of music is? And what music really is, and what exactly I am trying to convey. What feelings? What ideas? How can I explain something that I myself cannot fathom?—Gabriel Fauré, letter to his wife, August 31, 1903 In writing reviews for Stereophile, I face a challenge. Whether I'm evaluating an audio component, a recording, or a live performance, I'm confronted by the fact that, when all is said and done, no one fully understands why or how the sound of a particular component, composition, or artist can affect us as powerfully as so many of them do. How and why music and sound moves us remains, fundamentally, a mystery. Tue, 10/17/2017 View the full article
  3. Ahmad Jamal: Marseille Ahmad Jamal, piano; James Cammack, double bass; Herlin Riley, drums; Manolo Badrena, percussion; Abd Al Malik (track 4), Mina Agossi (track 8), vocals Jazz Book/Jazz Village [PIAS] JV 33570142.43 (2 LPs). 2017. Ahmad Jamal, Seydou Barry, Catherine Vallon-Barry, prods.; Vincent Mahey, eng. ADA? TT: 59:33 Performance ***** Sonics ***** While cities like New York, Detroit, and Philly all get more press for their jazz history and connections, Pittsburgh has a rich history as the birthplace of many notable swing and bebop jazz players. Bassist Ray Brown, drummers Art Blakey and Jeff "Tain" Watts, tenor saxman Stanley Turrentine, trumpeter Roy Eldridge, and the one and only Billy Strayhorn, famed collaborator of Duke Ellington and composer of "Take The 'A' Train," all came from The Burgh. Tue, 10/17/2017 View the full article
  4. With no fewer than 42 pages of audio equipment coverage! Astell&Kern's Ultimate potable player is featured on the cover and gets a workout from Mikey Fremer on multiple road trips. On the domestic front, we have reviews of digital products from Naim, Oppo, and Benchmark, Reed's Muse 3C turntable, and amplification from Rogue and Margules, while Jim Austin lives with Devialet's groundbreaking Phantom Gold wireless speakers. Mon, 10/16/2017 View the full article
  5. There may be US shows with greater attendance, but there is a special energy about the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest that sets it apart from the rest, and keeps exhibitors and dedicated audiophiles returning year after year. Thus was it fitting that, at the end of the Rocky Mountain International HiFi Press Awards (RIHPA) on the first night of the show, Gabi Rijnveld of Crystal Cable (left above) presented show organizer Marjorie Baumert (right) with a crystal rose pendant in honor of her dedication to the industry members and consumers who make high-end audio what it is. Sun, 10/15/2017 View the full article
  6. Sunday afternoons at audio shows are when the good sound is just kicking in. The rooms' components have recovered from the trauma of travel and are starting to purr. Unfortunately, that's when the toys go back in the boxes. That is also when this humble reporter looks like he's been dragged behind a car. And this Sunday, just when I thought I was done being dragged, I get this mad call from an out-of-breath Jason Victor Serinus, saying, "Herb! Get your ass up to room 1125 (the Parasound-Tekton room). The sound is amazing, and you must listen to this speaker. Hurry up!" Sun, 10/15/2017 View the full article
  7. Vana Ltd. had two rooms at RMAF. Both rooms had stereo systems set-up, but the first room I entered was filled by a hoard of standing, chattering people of all sexes. It looked like they were making big business deals so I decided to not eavesdrop or interrupt. However, the sound of music coming from the Vana room next door was inviting. I slipped in and was greeted warmly by Nancy Weiner and Audio Physic's Manfred Diestertich. Sun, 10/15/2017 View the full article
  8. Day three began with me feeling sick and beaten down. I needed to pay a visit to the doctor. Dr. Vinyl. (But also probably a real doctor, too.) Jose Ramirez (aka Dr. Vinyl) always knows how to make his listeners feel at ease. Sat, 10/14/2017 View the full article
  9. Last year, Vaughn Loudspeakers' flagship Plasma Signature towers ($20,000/pair), featuring eight midrange drivers in a bipolar configuration (four front and four rear), a 12" powered subwoofer, and their signature plasma tweeter, were my BIG best-in-show discovery… Fri, 10/13/2017 View the full article
  10. Everything matters. Everything is not always necessary, but everything does make a difference…. Fri, 10/13/2017 View the full article
  11. For those who have been thinking it's time for the people in white coats to carry me away—they actually did. Fri, 10/13/2017 View the full article
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  13. The highlight of an incomparable career, reissued on LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab . . . Fri, 10/06/2017 View the full article
  14. A place in the country: everyone's ideal.—Bryan Ferry, "Mother of Pearl" Even at full strength, my family didn't need 3000-plus square feet of living space, let alone four acres of outdoor frolicking space, much of it wooded. But in 2003 that's precisely what we bought, partly because our deal fell through on another, very different house, partly because living next to a dairy farm was an appealing novelty, and partly because the hill on which the house is poised seemed defensible. On our very first morning in our new home—a Saturday in early June—we awoke to gunfire and puffs of smoke coming from the field below our hill. Thu, 10/05/2017 View the full article
  15. Seeing your album in a record store's cutout bin meant one thing. Despite the label execs' wide smiles, warm handshakes, and earnest promises to the contrary, once the record jacket had a hole punched in it, or its corner clipped, it meant your record label had lost faith and moved on. Record collectors felt differently. The prices of cutouts were right—usually, from 99õ to a penny under two bucks. And cutouts were better than digging through crates because the records were still sealed . . . even if the jackets were a bit mangled. The beauty of cutouts was that they were so cheap, you could afford to be lavish, and go home with anything that caught your fancy. Thu, 10/05/2017 View the full article
  16. It's get-ting bet-ter all the time (it can't get no worse)—John Lennon & Paul McCartney Remasterings of recordings make me angry—they mess with my memories of the songs I love, especially songs from the 1960s that I played in my bedroom on a cheap Garrard turntable through Lafayette speakers. Like my first girlfriend, these songs permanently entered my psyche and modified my DNA. Tue, 10/03/2017 View the full article
  17. This is more to my liking than the other records I review this month! Side 1 is devoted entirely to a real humdinger of a thunderstorm, replete with rain, thimble-sized hailstones, and five minutes of someone diddling with a set of wind chimes. Side 2 is four sequences in the saga of Steam Locomotive 4449, which was refurbished from rusty decrepitude to haul the bicentennial Freedom Train 28,000 miles around the continent. Sat, 04/01/1978 View the full article
  18. Another Rock Legend gone... Tue, 10/03/2017 View the full article
  19. A revitalized Rocky Mountain Audio Fest begins this Friday, October 6, in the completely renovated Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel. The three-day show, which opens to the public at noon on Friday, promises 143 active exhibit rooms that will host 358 exhibitors from 27 countries and 36 states. In addition, the show's widely lauded Canjam will host an additional 64 exhibitors within its walls, and seven more large exhibits in the lobby. Mon, 10/02/2017 View the full article
  20. My crown I-tech 4x3500HD amp is installed in a server rack in my living room and its too noisy. The fans on this amp run constantly (this is normal on these amps) and spool up and down as needed (no error with their operation) The amp has two fans, the one that cools the amplifier modules is a 70x70x35mm, 12v 1.1A, Nidec UltraFlo fan (model T70E12BUA5) capable of running up to 10,000 RPM. The other fan cools the power supply and is a San Ace 60, 24v 0.85A fan. Both fans are regular 4pin PWM fans. Adding a resistor to the fan power does slow the fan but the amp goes into “protect” mode. Changing the fan with a slower fan also makes the amp go into “protect” mode. The amp is too smart, it monitors the fan speed and knows how fast the fans should be running when it detects a lower RPM than it is expecting the amp goes into “protect” mode. The crown manual states “variable-speed fans with tachometer feedback. Microprocessor monitors fans, and signals an error via System Architect if fans are not operating” Does anyone know how to disable or trick the amps protection system? Max View the full article
  21. Starting with Musicians As Audiophiles subject #1, jazz drummer extraordinaire Billy Drummond, one thing soon became clear: New York City and its environs are a veritable smorgasbord of musicians who value high-end audio authenticity as much as any longtime reader of Stereophile. "A fellow drummer and friend, Aaron Kimmel, got me into audio via Billy Drummond," notes MAA #7, drummer Paul Wells. "We call Billy 'the Pusherman.' He's got a lot of musicians in New York into high-end audio. Sun, 10/01/2017 View the full article
  22. Hugh Hefner relentlessly promoted Hi-Fi gear in the pages of Playboy because it was hip and cool and part of living the good life. Fri, 09/29/2017 View the full article
  23. It was almost exactly a year ago that I first heard Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Village Vanguard. I came home and wrote a blog for this space, wondering how I could have missed her ascent (she'd already won a Grammy and other prizes) and deeming her the best jazz singer around, standing among the greats of all time. I went back to see her, dragging along my wife and two friends, the following Sunday—the late set, the final set of his week-long stint—and she was better still . . . Fri, 09/29/2017 View the full article
  24. For as long as I've known about high-end audio, I've put Dan D'Agostino, co-founder of Krell, on the same pedestal reserved for the likes of Frank McIntosh, Saul Marantz, Avery Fisher, H.H. Scott, and Sidney Harman. The reason is simple: Dan's the man whose achievements at Krell led me from the harsh sound of my first high-end amp into another dimension, one of truly musical sound reproduction. Thu, 09/28/2017 View the full article
  25. To accompany my review of the Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Progression monoblock amplifier elsewhere in this issue, I talked to Dan D'Agostino about the amplifier's design. I started by asking him what were some of the major differences between the Momentum and the Progression monoblocks? Dan D'Agostino: I took the best parts of the Momentum's more sophisticated and complex circuitry and put them in the Progression, without using the same high parts count. Each stage of the Momentum's gain amplifier is separate, with input stage and driver stages on separate rails. All of the Momentum's devices are designed for maximum performance in a small package, which requires a lot more of them, and a significantly bigger input card than the Progression's. These differences create subtleties, because I'm able to run much higher current in the Momentum's front end. Thu, 09/28/2017 View the full article
  26. Wisdom Audio has unveiled at CEDIA 2017 its second generation of system controllers for their advanced planar magnetic speakers, those system controllers manage their digital active crossovering, EQ profiles and subwoofers. The SC-2 and SC-3 adopt Dirac Live digital room correction, more details here: https://www.dirac.com/news/2017/8/30...ing-dirac-live :) Flavio View the full article
  27. I have always been fascinated by audio power amplifiers. I even tried building about a hundred of them. My best friend in high school, Bill Brier, taught me the basics of soldering, wire management, and reading schematics. He loaned me his Dynaco Stereo 70, and gave me a hot-running, 20W, class-A transistor amp that he'd built on his mother's kitchen table. Bill took me to concerts, and taught me about classical and jazz music. He had perfect pitch, tuned pianos for money, played every instrument in the orchestra, and had memorized the complete keyboard works of J.S. Bach before he turned 16. And this stuff was all on the side—mainly, we built drag race cars together. Tue, 09/26/2017 View the full article
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