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Latest Reviews

Soundsmith Aida Ebony Phono Cartridge: Looking For Your Last Best Cartridge? This Could Be It, At A Decent Price!

Soundsmith Aida Ebony Moving Iron Phono Cartridge“This seemed to me what Shure, with all their in-house engineering skill and experience could never quite achieve. That elusive combination of low mass, high compliance, and supertracking (a phrase they coined, I think), was accompanied by the seeming necessity of removable stylus assemblies, and cleaning brushes, which, I discovered, not only compromised the intimate groove interface, but also were quite audibly microphonic in truly revealing phono systems, adding a chatter of their own to the record-reproducing conversation.”

A Tale of Two Headphones from Canada by NAD VISO & Paradigm!

NAD Visio Headphones“Both of these Canadian companies have recently introduced quality headphone in-house designs for the audiophiile, at a price well above those of the junk that we associate with ex-rappers and tiny Chinese companies trying to cause premature deafness in young people all over the world. Thus, there is a somewhat Messianic quality about both of these products, and the cost of saving your ears (if not your soul), is perhaps higher than what many subway hangers-on might want to pay.”

HRS M3X Platform Makes Life (or at least Listening) More Stable

HRS isolation platform “The M3X Isolation Base is available in four standard sizes, with three different load ranges to optimize component matching. Our review sample was 21 x 19 x 3″ (53.3 x 48.3 x 7.6 cm), optimized for a load of up to 52 lbs (23.5 KG), a couple of inches all around more than we actually needed. This was, in fact, better than it being too small…”

Paradigm Monitor Series 7 Sub 10 Subwoofer - Extended, Clean Bass From A Tiny Box!

Paradigm Monitor Series 7 Sub 10 Subwoofer“Here we have a diminutive little sub, with quite a lot of engineering effort and trickle-down technology from previous more expensive Paradigm Signature and Reference models. The Monitor 7 Sub 10 is quite unassuming in both size and cosmetics, and there are many much less expensive seemingly comparable models out there from both reputable speaker companies and those whose products are as concomitantly compromised technically as their price is reduced.”

Origin Live Calypso Turntable and Encounter Tonearm

Origin Live Calypso Turtable“The Calypso is second from bottom in Origin Live’s stable of turntables, a belt-driven, non-suspended design with an outboard motor pod. In keeping with OL’s design philosophy (which can be read in detail here) the Calypso’s plinth and sub-chassis are a careful combination of several different materials, sized, shaped, positioned and joined together just so to minimize resonance….”

Bryston B135 SST² Integrated Amplifier/DAC

Bryston B-135 Integrated Amp“This all-purpose amplifying and control device has been at the heart of my audio system for several weeks now, first as a basic amp, replacing a 3B SST, and subsequently operating as a full preamp/amp/DAC. I won’t say that it has surprised me a lot, but it is a case where familiarity definitely does not breed contempt…”

Behringer 1002B Portable/Studio Mixer - A Remarkable Recording Tool, Especially At The Price!

Behringer 1002 B mixer“This compact battery/AC small mixer is just one part of a multitude of pro audio gear from this company, which engineers and designs its products in Germany, and manufactures them in its own facility (even Apple can’t claim THAT!) in mainland China. Their catalog, available online, a pretty good read for any budding or practicing audio engineer, offers a vast array of products, many for very targeted uses, and this little beauty turned out to be almost exactly what I was looking for at a price that astounded me!”

Audioquest DragonFly USB DAC

Audioquest DragonFly USB Dac“This is a product that may look a little like a Dragonfly, but one that soars more like a Dragon flying, as seen in various special-effects-heavy Hollywood films of late. It’s a friendly beast, too, easy to set up and use with any computer of today’s normal specs for USB digital audio output. It can be used with headphones, powered speakers or as your computer output into an audio system. I had mine going in 10 minutes through Windows 7 in my new Quad-core i7 laptop PC.

AURALiC Taurus Headphone Amplifier & Analog Preamplifier and ARK MX+ 96 kHz Coaxial/USB DAC

Auralic Taurus Preamplifier and Headphone Amplifier “AURALiC is a Hong Kong-based company that has its own very specific, and special ideas about designing audio components. With ideals based around classic professional products, such as the famous and revered designs of Rupert Neve, the company sets high standards for itself.”

TASCAM DR-680 High Resolution Digital Recorder

Tascam DR-680 Multitrack Digital Recorder“The key positive info about this recorder is that it will record 6 tracks at 96/24 resolution, and 2 at 192/24, if you’re feeling especially hair-shirt purist. This high resolution capability for 6 was what sold me on this machine. It’s just about the same size as my Edirol R-4 (now shakin’ in Shanghai, thanks to eBay), which served me well for a few years, but more versatile, not locked to a 40 GB hard disc, and allowing up to 32 GB SDHC cards, which I mainly used for outdoor recording at the cottage, along with a couple of 16 GB cards…”

Latest Articles

Audio Ideas: Open Reel Wow and Flutter? It May Be The Pinch Roller!

Teac 3300s Open Reel Recorder“Here’s a story for you that befits an aging audiophile. Some months ago, I was looking for a used 1/4-track reel-to-reel recorder, and though it wasn’t a prime requirement, the capability of handling big (10 1/2″) reels was just one criterion. That narrowed the field quite considerably, and after looking at a number of Akai, Otari, ReVox, Tandberg, TEAC and other recorders available, I finally found what I was looking for at a decent price, and more important, close enough geographically for pickup. This latter consideration is important when dealing with these large, heavy recorders, because they are very expensive to ship, that cost often exceeding the actual selling price, especially from US or overseas locations.”

AUDIO IDEAS: Not-So-Audio-Related Thoughts About Clouds, Passwords & Controlling Remotely!

Reel to Reel Remote“Cloud Computing - It’s like entrusting your candy to the babysitter, or your booze to the handyman. You’ll look up and find your cloud gone. It’s inevitable. I put my trust in USB drives (I have a 250-Gig), SDHC (XC?) cards (great for recording music these days), DVD-Rs, and now Blu-ray-Rs.”

“I guess other people worry about identity theft. I worry about identity DENIAL!”

“And the fact is, there is, as far as my extensive experience has shown, no true universal remote in existence. They all, like the rest of us humans, have obvious flaws and blind spots.”

OX BOX #11 - Sibelius, Beethoven, Respighi, Mozart, and More…

Sibelius: Symphonies, #2 in D, Op. 43 and #5 in E flat Op. 82 BIS SACD 1986“I took a considerable length of time listening to and reflecting on the Sibelius 5th. Let me write about it first, as there will be some things as a recording and performance that it shares with the rest. Let’s begin where many classical music reviews finish, with consideration of the sound. From their inception BIS have considered the way they record (with the simplest setups possible) to be as important as what they record. I would contend this is a big reason for their success…”

Hy End - Bruckner, Brahms, & Bang-Bang Lang Lang Liszt, by Hy Sarick

Lang Lang plays Liszt“Here, the showiest of pianists encounters the showiest of composers, and produces a stunning disc of great passion and virtuosity. Lang has been a devotee of Liszt’s work from the age of 2 (!!), since his first encounter with Classical music - Tom & Jerry’s version of the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.…”

Bain’s Blog - Snakes In The Brass

Serpent “Adolphe Sax, a second generation instrument maker in Brussels with a penchant for design, after developing his Saxhorn family of brass valved horns of various size and pitch, and having developed the first really workable bass clarinet, installed a bass clarinet mouthpiece on one of his firm’s ophicleides. He was aware of the tonal disparity among strings, winds, and brass, families; in which the strings and winds were generally overpowered by the brass. What he produced was, in essence, a brass clarinet, and while he thought in terms of a family of such, and would soon expand the line accordingly; the first of what he would call Saxophone, deriving from the ophicleide, was a bass instrument. This he patented in Paris in 1846…”

A Trialogue on Historical Recording Restoration by AM, JEB, & BO

“Even the process of removing recording noise that often obscures the first and second overtones ensures that they cannot be synthesized out of thin air, again, literally. In a mono recording all the noise and distortion are part and parcel of the production, and cannot be removed except at a cost…”

Audio Ideas, December 2011 - Recent SACDs, CDs, Blu-rays, & Other Confections (Or Not)!

Peter Gabriel - New Blood“These two titles couldn’t be any different from each other, I’m sure, but they share an excellence of production and execution, and each focuses on a major musical talent whose careers started more than 40 years apart. Chasing Sound is a look at the career and guitar and recording innovations of Les Paul, not to forget his spectacular musical dexterity with the electric guitar he invented. Paired with the irrepressibly pitch-perfect Mary Ford, they became a hit machine in the early 50s, his development of overdub recording the perfect way to showcase her singing and unique harmonies…”

Ox Box #10 - Music from Jimmy Cobb, Mozart, Martinu and Robert Plant

Jimmy Cobb - Jazz in the Key of Blue“Most collectors will be attracted to the Chesky discs because of great care the Chesky team takes to get the most “natural” sound they can obtain. On the end of a horizontal arm they attach a single microphone around which the musicians gather, except when Roy Hargrove is part of the group. Because of the sound stage is so clearly defined you know he likes to move around….”

Audio Ideas: Is 3D For Real, Or Just Another Gimmick? And Is It Dangerous For Some Viewers?

3D glasses“I’ve been following the recent 3D hype for over a year, wondering when all the dust will settle. As a youngster, I lived through the first 3D bubble, which like a balloon, quickly deflated as the thrill wore off. I remember ducking the arrows in Massacre At Feather River, and watched quite a few 3D movies at the Seneca Theatre In Niagara Falls with either red/blue or polarized glasses. There were a few that were in black-and-white, which kind of took the edge off the realism.”

Bain’s Blog - Indian Summer

George Lloyd“I initially hesitated to include Günter Wand in this group: for one thing, like Sergiu Celibidache and Jascha Horenstein, he was never really out of a conducting career. He had long tenures in the opera house, and led orchestras, if only as a guest, on both continents. A perfectionist who required seven to eight rehearsals, he was best suited to the German radio orchestras who could accommodate him. After an association with the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, in 1982 he became chief conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra. A contemporary of Karajan, he more closely resembled Celibidache , or Klemperer. My first and main Brahms Symphony cycle on CD was his. My choice also for Schubert 8th and 9th…”


  Outside the Speakers

    Random Thoughts on the Music Mask
    NPR on Whether Audiophiles Still Exist
    Audiophile Grade Mics?
    CDs Sales Die, LP Sales Fly
    Some High End 'Phones from CES

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