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  2. "No one thing turned more people into audiophiles than the '60s counterculture," said Bruno, arm flung over his cash register. "It opened up the doors of sonic perception. Even the great audio designers of the day were countercultural mavericks!" Bruno is the lanky, braided-beard, thirtysomething owner of a small, well-stocked record shop in Montreal, and we stood facing each other on either side of a glass case filled with vinyl paraphernalia. Bruno has made the most of his limited space. Every foot of each wall supports a shelf crammed with music-related merchandise: rock and jazz memorabilia, album covers, refurbished turntables. There's even a rack in the back for music and audio magazines, including Stereophile. Fri, 05/18/2018 View the full article
  3. Brad Mehldau: After Bach Brad Mehldau, piano Nonesuch 7559-79318-0 (CD). 2018. Robert Hurwitz, exec. prod.; Tom Korkidis, prod. coord.; Tom Lazarus, eng., mix, mastering; Brad Montgomery, mix. ADD? TT: 69:24 Performance ***** Sonics ***** That American jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has made a recording of J.S. Bach's music should come as no great surprise to anyone who's followed his extraordinarily varied career. In many ways, it seems a natural progression. Having become one of the most important jazz pianists of this century, and dabbled in classical-flavored music, film scores, and even performances of popular music (by Oasis Soundgarden and Nick Drake, to name just a few of the artists he's covered), Mehldau has finally gotten around to recording this album of five pieces by one of the greatest keyboard improvisers in history. Mehldau's method here is to play a more or less straight version of a Bach prelude or fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846–893, followed by his own "After Bach" reimagining of the same piece. Fri, 05/18/2018 View the full article
  4. The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.—Joshua Harris The sampling theory formulated by Claude Shannon in the late 1940s had a key requirement: The signal to be sampled must be band-limited—that is, it must have an absolute upper-frequency limit. With that single constraint, Shannon's work yields a remarkable result: If you sample at twice that rate—two samples per period for the highest frequency the signal contains—you can reproduce that signal perfectly. Perfectly. That result set the foundation for digital audio, right up to the present. Cue the music. Thu, 05/17/2018 View the full article
  5. I've been looking at this all wrong. My recent informal survey of ca $10,000 CD players has been based on two assumptions: that the people reading those reviews would be looking for their last-ever CD player, and that such a purchase would require Serious Money. In addition to such things as the best available design and parts, the most luxurious enclosure, and the utmost in reliability, Serious Money is presumed to buy durability of value: Any appliance that costs $10,000 today had damn well better be worth more than nothing in five or ten years. Thu, 05/17/2018 View the full article
  6. I am getting near the end of my Munich High End 2018 report and I am already feeling sad for all the rooms with hornspeakers I did not get to experience. What if I missed all the best ones? Thu, 05/17/2018 View the full article
  7. The July Stereophile will include my Follow-Up report on the Joseph Audio Pulsar loudspeakers; the same Pulsars Michael Fremer raved about in his full review. Before I submitted the review, Jana Dagdagan and I made a live binaural recording/video to accompany my written report so you, the reader at home, could experience the exact same recordings in the exact same system in the same room I used to evaluate the Pulsars. Today, therefore, I will only tell you that Jeff Joseph's floor-standing, gloss-white Perspective loudspeakers (15,990 Euros/pair) sounded fuller, deeper, bigger, and richer, than the stand-mounted Pulsars I reviewed. Wed, 05/16/2018 View the full article
  8. Look at this photo of Cessaro Horn Acoustics' beautiful-in-color 5-way "Zeta" lautsprecher. Can you imagine it sitting in your listening room? I could, and I'd be proud to own it—if only I didn't live in a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment and write reviews for a living. The Zetas are new, and cost between 320,00 and 460,000 Euros/pair, which—don't laugh—I think seems like a bargain for all the hardware and good sound a buyer would receive. Wed, 05/16/2018 View the full article
  9. 2018 marks the 100th year of business for Danish cartridge manufacturer Ortofon A/S—the actual birthday is October 9th—so it came as no surprise that Ortofon's head of product development, Leif Johannsen (on the right in the photo above, next to Lou Dorio of the company's American subsidiary, Ortofon Inc.) cooked up three special, limited-edition products to celebrate the milestone: the anachronistic and ostensibly DJ-friendly moving-magnet Concorde Century; the ultra-high-end MC Century; and the cartridge that most appealed to me, the SPU Century (estimated price: €5000). Tue, 05/15/2018 View the full article
  10. Since Herb Reichert and I were booked to fly back to New York on Sunday, Saturday was to be my last day at High End 2018—which is to say, Saturday was my Sunday: a day of moving along smartly, covering as many rooms and booths as possible, and listening only briefly. Wouldn't you know it that my first stop of the day, at the room sponsored by German loudspeaker manufacturer Zellaton, was one that discouraged drive-by reporting… Tue, 05/15/2018 View the full article
  11. In the primary Living Voice room (there were two) I found the Vox Olympian & Vox Elysian loudspeakers (851,200/pair Euros in Macassar Ebony & Amboyna Burl with figured Eucalyptus wood), partnered with vintage Kondo electronics via both digital and analog sources. For analog, there was the Grand Prix Audio Monaco 2.0 turntable with a Kuzma 4-point tonearm, and a Fuuga MC cartridge (45,419 Euro total) connected via a Living Voice step-up transformer (6812 Euros) to a SJS enhanced model 3 phono-amplifier voiced for Living Voice (15,896 Euros). Tue, 05/15/2018 View the full article
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  13. Hi guys, It's been a while. Haven't done much with the gear or speaker building in the last few years. Kids, day job, and larger home improvement projects (deck, bathrooms, mudroom, kitchen) took care of that. Our great room has some DIY single driver speakers I built a long time ago. I like them, but need a center channel speaker, and could use more punch. I'm finding dialogue to be a bit muddy on them. It's casual watching/listening so I'm not looking for $1k speakers, just some small bookshelf I can mount on wall (with coordinating center channel). For reference, I've been seriously considering: B&W M-1 pair (but no center channel available with those) Gallo A'Diva's (the round speakers) Martin Logan Motion 2i and 6i speakers Amp has a 6 Ohm minimum load. Overall, I'm looking at 5" wide max (same tall for the CC speaker). I've been out of the game so long, I don't even know who's still playing :) Thanks, Anthony View the full article
  14. In an oft-viewed clip on YouTube, recorded at the 2009 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, three world-class guitarists pause during a music workshop to talk about their instruments: Danny Knicely describes his 1939 Martin D-18, Chris Eldridge talks briefly about his own 1937 Martin D-28, and Josh Williams notes that his guitar was made in 2002, by the Kentucky-based luthier Neil Kendrick. Then, with fine comic timing, Knicely remarks, "One of these days, me and Chris will be able to afford a new guitar, too!" Tue, 04/24/2018 View the full article
  15. "Phones are the gateway device," proclaimed Marc Finer, executive producer of the Hi-Res Pavilion, at the start of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. When he pointed to LG Electronics' V30 Hi-Res+MQA smartphone, which includes streaming apps for Qobuz, Tidal, and YouTube, I sensed the truth in his words. The latest stats from survey company MusicWatch confirm that at least 87% of smartphone owners use a music-streaming service, including the largest, YouTube. Twenty percent of owners said that they stream music/music-related content daily, and 39% stream five or more days per week. Tue, 04/24/2018 View the full article
  16. I am looking to get the best setup for my new TV that will be above my mantle with an 8' ceiling. There will be about 5" total difference between the height of the TV and the distance from the mantle to the ceiling. This means that I can do in-wall fronts and a low profile center on the mantle (limited selection), or I can do angled in-ceiling speakers but I don't see a lot of options. I found a "Theater Solutions TSS8A " on Amazon that look promising, but it's an off-brand that I'm not sure I really trust. The angled in-ceiling speakers seem like they would make for a really clean install, but I don't know much about them. Any insight would be appreciated. View the full article
  17. After visiting the Expo Hall with Herb Reichert, we move on to the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel's upper levels to visit a few rooms, capturing binaural sound so, on headphones, you can hear what Herb heard. Mon, 04/23/2018 View the full article
  18. "Why should I bother with yet another recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons?" you may ask. "There are already 226 entries for it at arkivmusic.com!" Because baroque violinist Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque's new, period instrument Channel Classics SACD of Le Quattro Stagioni and three other violin concertos by Vivaldi is likely the freshest, most joy-filled, and best-recorded of the bunch. Sat, 04/21/2018 View the full article
  19. The Internet of Things, or IOT, is an extremely hackable network that connects everything from household appliances to cars. To me, it's the ultimate example of technology that, once created, just doesn't need us—and I fear that the more tasks that are routinely, magically performed for us puny humans at the touch of a button by "smart" devices, the less capable we become. Fri, 04/20/2018 View the full article
  20. Monteverdi: Vespers 1610 Joanne Lunn, Esther Brazil, sopranos; Amy Lyddon, Rory McCleery, altos; Joshua Ellicott, Matthew Long, Nicholas Mulroy, Peter Harris, tenors; Peter Harvey, William Gaunt, bass; Dunedin Consort, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts; John Butt Linn CKD 569 (2 CDs). 2017. Phil Hobbs, prod.; Robert Cammidge, eng. DDD. TT: 94:00 Performance ****½ Sonics ***** As the old joke does not go, How do you get to the Papal Chapel? Audition, audition, audition. There you are, gifted and, for the early 1600s, relatively famous. You practically invented opera. You've worked for years at what seems a cushy job as the court composer to the Dukes of Gonzaga in Mantua, but you're underpaid, and feeling as if you need and deserve more. And so you self-publish, under the title Vespers 1610, a 90-minute collection—psalm settings, a motet, a hymn, a Magnificat—that highlights all of your compositional gifts. Fri, 04/20/2018 View the full article
  21. The remarkably relaxed, smiling faces of AXPONA Tradeshow Coordinator Jordan Brereton (left) and VP/Event Director Liz Miller (right) say it all. Photographed after show's close, Jordan and Liz were poised to announce that under the leadership of JD Events Founder and CEO Joel Davis, their team of 8 had sold 8134 tickets—up 21% from 2017—and welcomed 5718 unique visitors to the largest consumer audio show in the United States. The number of tickets sold to students ages 15-25 increased by 27%. This to a show with 165 active exhibit rooms and an over-15,000 square foot exhibit hall that hosted booths from 96 companies, half of which were part of the Ear Gear Expo. Fri, 04/20/2018 View the full article
  22. In the first of the videos we shot at AXPONA 2018, Herb Reichert takes you along with him in a brief exploration of the Expo Hall, featuring Gayle Sanders' Lamborghini, Todd Garfinkle of M•A Recordings, a crowd of headphone wearers, and a mysterious abundance of lab coats. Fri, 04/20/2018 View the full article
  23. Lunch? A quick donut and a Tall Café Mocha at the Renaissance Hotel's Starbucks and I was ready to hit the remaining floors on the 16th floor. "These are not your father's Ohms!" read the poster in the HHR Exotic Speakers room. Looked like 'em to me, but I was quickly enlightened. Fri, 04/20/2018 View the full article
  24. Is there a reason not to use a 3 way tower as a sub? The tower has a built in sub, with dual 10" drivers. The bass response is better than most subs available today. It's a VMPS Mini Tower IIA. It would be cut off at 150 hz and above. Will it blow up? View the full article
  25. In an article published in the March 2018 Stereophile, I wrote that critics have been attacking MQA, the audio codec developed by J. Robert Stuart and Peter Craven, by accusing it of being lossy. The critics are right: MQA is, in fact, a lossy codec—that is, not all of the data in the original recording are recovered when played back via MQA—though in a clever and innocuous way. For MQA's critics, though, that's not the point: They use lossy mainly for its negative emotional associations: When audiophiles hear lossy, they think MP3. Thu, 04/19/2018 View the full article
  26. Most readers don't know this, but I am measurer. I own oscilloscopes and distortion analyzers and have been measuring amps and speakers for nigh on 30 years. But when I hear some audiophiles say that all cables—and especially AC power cords—sound the same, it makes me reach for the Tequila and pistols. Folks, ya gotta relax, breath air, and listen—the effects are not subtle. And that's what I did in the MoFi Distribution room, where Jonathan Derda (the nicest guy in audio) was demonstrating two power conditioners from IsoTek, the $995 Corvus and the $4995 Titan, and one IsoTek AC cord, the $995 Sequel C15 Link. Sun, 04/15/2018 View the full article
  27. "What are you doing here?" MartinLogan founder Gayle Sanders has been long gone from the audio industry but there he was in the corridor of the Schaumburg Renaissance hotel's 7th floor. "I love the industry and I wanted to come back and play," Gayle laughed as he introduced me to his Eikon Image1 digital active loudspeaker ($24,500/system). Sun, 04/15/2018 View the full article
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