DVD Reviews - Love And Basketball and The Cider House Rules

The Cider House Rules

“I guess I’ve grouped these two films because they have a lot in common, including length, romanticism, and the struggles of young people and black people. The Cider House Rules is a simplified version of John Irving’s novel, for which he wrote the script, and won an Oscar for it. Also so honoured was Michael Caine’s wonderful portrayal of Dr. Larch, who runs an orphanage and abortion clinic, and teaches his medical skills to young Homer Wells, played by Tobey Maguire…”

DVD Reviews - Dr. T and the Women

Dr. T and the Women

“This film makes me think about an old Q&A joke: “What Happens when you play a country song backwards?” “Yer wife comes home, ya git yer truck back, the dawg comes back…” Well, Dr. T & The Women is a little like the country song played frontwards. We see the perfect life of the perfect upscale Dallas family unravel around Dr. T, a popular doctor. First his wife lapses into a child-like state, and then the planning of his daughter’s wedding goes awry, and more personal disasters follow, which I won’t reveal to spoil the film for you…”

Music Reviews - Gord Downie: Coke Machine Glow

“I always thought if Gord ever made an album outside of the [Tragically] Hip machine he would go country, smoothing out the band’s rough edges. Instead he delivers a mixed bag of treats, some familiar, some fantastic, but each satisfying. The minimalist production values and understated musicianship push Downie’s vocals to the forefront, which I imagine was the point of the exercise. His lyrics have always been personal, but Coke Machine Glow feels more direct. Instead of telling stories, these songs take on the illusion of conversation…”

Music Reviews - Ella and Oscar

Ella and Oscar

“During the 1970’s this Los Angeles based label made countless recordings with ageing jazz legends. Spin through the jazz bins at a well stocked used record store and you’ll probably find more than a few Pablos with their distinctive black and white artwork. There’s also a distinctive Pablo sound, usually characterized by excellent, albeit dry, studio damped, sonics. Some might argue that these records were on the sterile side, capturing performances by artists well past their prime, legends just going through the motions. In some cases I think that’s probably true…”

Music Reviews - Hollow Bamboo: Ronu Majumdar, Ry Cooder and Jon Hassell

Hollow Bamboo

“If you’re a fan of what is almost certainly Water Lily’s most popular release, the Grammy winning A Meeting By The River, than this 2000 release from the small Santa Barbara label is something of a no-brainer. Similar in approach to Meeting, Hollow Bamboo pairs eastern musical masters with western ones, this time pairing Ry Cooder (guitar and Turkish Oud), Rick Cox (guitar), and Jon Hassell (trumpet) with Bamboo Flute virtuoso Ronu Majumdar, and Abhijit Banerjee on Tabla. As he did on Meeting, Ry Cooder’s son Joachim adds percussion on several tracks as well…”

Seleco SIM2 Multimedia HT 200 DLP Projector

Seleco HT-200

“A single-chip DLP display device, the HT-200 is specified at 800 X 600 pixels, or 480,000 overall, about half the normally agreed threshold for high definition performance. The more expensive HT-250 claims 1024 X 768 for 786,432 total pixels, getting closer to HD resolution. Both are single-chip DLP (Digital Light Processing) projectors, and this means that the primary colours are separated by a colour wheel, which turns at high speed…”

AIG Back Issues: Spring 2001

Spring 2001 Issue

Highlights Include:Audio Request ARQ1 MP3 Storage Device & Player, RCA Lyra MP3 Portable Player, B&W CDM9NT, Monitor Audio Silver 8i, Paradigm Monitor 7 v2, Bryston 14B ST Power Amp , Chord CPM 3300 Integrated Amp , Anthem Pre 2L Preamp , Musical Fidelity A3CR Preamp and Power Amp, Seleco HT 200 DLP Projector, Bryston SP 1 Surround Processor, Arcam Diva AVR100 HT Receiver & DV88 DVD Player, Is MP3 the Death Knell of high end digital audio?

Anthem Pre 2L Preamplifier

Anthem Pre 2L

“After having worked through reviews of Anthem’s Pre 1L phono stage and Amp 2 hybrid power amplifier, I’m finally getting around to writing about their Pre 2L line level preamp. Like the other separates in the Anthem line, the Pre 2L is a big, stylish, slightly retro looking, silver faced piece of gear (also available in black) with tubes at its heart and value on its mind…”

Chord CPM 3300 Integrated Amplifier

Chord SPM 3300

“The new Chord CPM 3300 integrated amplifier from Britain is one of the most expensive in our experience, even dearer (to use the English phrase) than the Rowland Concentra (Almanac 2000) with full MC phono section. It’s a beautiful component in its silver machined aluminum case, the top having a sculpted circle with crescent cutouts on either side through which you can see a full circle of blue LEDs glowing under the circuitry and a metal protective screen…”

Bryston 14B ST Stereo Power Amplifier

Bryston 14BST Power Amplifier

“If power corupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then I guess I’d better watch myself as long as I have the 14B ST in my system. The traditional Bryston spec sheet (measured specs) shows on the left channel 573 watts at 8 ohms and 560 on the right, all distortion figures under .005%, and noise at 114 and 112 dB, left and right, respectively. And all this power is in one 85-pound chassis with a bright silver faceplate. …”

Musical Fidelity A3CR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier

Musical Fidelity A3 CR Power Amplifier

“If you’ve been keeping an eye on the British and American audio press lately, you’ve probably already heard about Musical Fidelity’s much hyped A3CR and Nu-Vista lines. The more exotic and expensive Nu-Vista power amp, preamp and integrated make use of a rare and tiny tube called the nuvistor, which is noteworthy for its extremely long life and metal, rather than glass, casing. Introduced by RCA in the 60’s the nuvistor was designed mainly for military applications and was intended to compete with solid state designs…”

Grant Green - An Introduction

Grant Green:  The Complete Quartets

“Grant Green was a jazz guitarist who recorded as band leader and side man with the majority of musicians who passed through the Blue Note doors during those special years between 1960 and 1965 (see footnote below). His name appears on over one hundred albums, including thirty under his own name, making him Blue Note’s most recorded artist. Later in the sixties and early seventies he created some of the coolest and hottest rare-groove and small ensemble jazz-funk there is. Some critics even elevate him to the status of forefather of acid jazz…”

Codec Considerations - The Nuts and Bolts of MP3 Compression

Jazz Documentary Series

“In 1987 a large German research and development organization called the Fraunhofer Institut started work on a perceptual coding scheme for use with Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB). The most powerful algorithm they developed eventually became standardized as ISO-MPEG Audio Layer-3, or, as now abbreviated, MP3 (Layers 1 and 2 are essentially less efficient versions of the same algorithm). The goal of the algorithm was to drastically shrink the data size of digital audio with a minimum subjective loss of sound quality; something which could not be done by merely reducing sample rate and bit depth..”

DVD Reviews - American Beauty

American Beauty

“If Love And Basketball is about upwardly mobile slam dunking by black families, American Beauty is a heart-chillingly funny look at totally dysfunctional white ones. Kevin is definitely Spacey, as he angsts his way through mid-life, and Annette Bening even moreso as his wife Carolyn, a dissociated real estate dealer. And to set off the degeneration of this marriage even more, a series of events occurs throughout the film to lead to the inevitable tragedy at the end…”

DVD Reviews - Being John Malkovich and High Fidelity

High Fidelity

“Malkovich may be set up as the great actor, and Cusack as the schmuck here, but in High Fidelity we see the range of the latter actor, who carries this film that’s also full of wierd, obsessive characters. This time they’re running a vinyl record store, Cusack the failing owner, Rob, with a pair of rock trivia nut employees. Music buffs will recognize the guy played deliciously by Jack Black, who spends his time protecting the store’s past pop treasures, often finding customers unworthy of acquiring them…”

MP3: The Death Knell of High End Audio?

Jazz Documentary Series

“… For those of us hoping and waiting for a high-resolution replacement for the CD, however, the situation has recently become even more complicated. While the electronics behemoths were striking committees and issuing press releases about DVD Audio and SACD, the masses have gone right ahead and chosen the next major audio format all by themselves. If the success of DVD-A or SACD was a dubious proposition before the meteoric rise of MP3, it seems like a serious long shot now…”

Burns Backlash — Chuck Israels Responds to the Documentary Series ‘Jazz’

Jazz Documentary Series

“…Well, I didn’t see all of it, and I certainly liked a lot of the things I saw and heard. I also have reservations, though I’m not as irritated and angry at Burns as some seem to be. I don’t think he knows a lot about the subject matter, but he knows how to create a series of interesting images and some good conversation on a rudimentary level. Comparison with Leonard Bernstein’s Norton lectures, which were later turned into TV lectures (mostly about Beethoven), is ludicrous…”

Monitor Audio Silver 8i Loudspeaker

Monitor Audio Silver 8i

“Since coming under new ownership and management in recent years, Monitor Audio has embarked upon an extensive program of research that has resulted in redesign of all of their speaker models. The newest in the Silver series is the 8i, which pretty much sums up their design brief, which was outlined in a recent white paper: “to combine knockout dynamics, loudness capability and power handling with superb subtlety and finesse…”

Paradigm Monitor 7 v2 Loudspeaker

Paradigm Monitor 7

“Having updated its Reference series of speakers, Paradigm has now turned to the Monitor series, and the Monitor 7 v2 is perhaps the most popular result. It’s a floorstanding slim tower featuring a pair of 6 1/2″ poly-coned woofers with an improved aluminum alloy dome tweeter. The grey baffle remains, but finish around it in our review pair was an attractive cherry laminate that is very veneer-like, and much nicer than most vinyls in its softer sheen…”

B&W CDM9 NT Loudspeaker


“The latest CDM iteration adds tweeters from the Nautilus series, and the 9NT is a completely new top of the range, using 2 paper/Kevlar bass drivers, a woven Kevlar FST (Fixed Surround Technology) midrange, and the aforementioned NT alloy dome tweeter. The cabinet is front ported, and a plug for the port of cylindrical foam is supplied. In the manual this plug is described as a “bung”, so I guess we’d have to describe the port as a ‘bunghole’….”

  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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