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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…”

Bain’s Blog, June 2010, The Jazz Loft

The Jazz Loft Project (small)“Those jam sessions encompassed a “Who’s-Who” of Jazz at that period. The loft, where Hall Overton had installed pianos and drum kit, became an after-hours magnet for local and touring musicians. Regulars included: Zoot Sims, Charles Mingus, Roland Kirk, Jim Hall, Bill Evans, Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Giuffre, and Steve Reich. Visitors: Doris Duke, Norman Mailer, Salvador Dali, Bob Dylan, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Smith recorded and photographed everything until 1965…”

Bain’s Blog, April 2010

Train (small)“I rode my first train in 1950, give or take a year. Harry Patterson was taking his two sons, Jim and Will—childhood friends— and me, fishing on the “Little Mississippi” just north of Kingston. This was a half-hour or less by car, but as he did not drive, we took the Canadian Pacific train from the downtown Kingston station.This was in fact the old Kingston-Pembroke Railway: what was affectionately—or otherwise— known as “The Old Kick and Push”…

Hy End, April 2010 - The Guarneri Quartet: Music by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Dvorak, Kodaly, and Dohnanyi

guarhung-small.jpg“The Guarneri String Quartet (so named because of the instruments they play - Guarneri was a rival of Stradivarius in 17th Century Italy) were for many years the “house” quartet of RCA/BMG/Sony in its various iterations over the years. They were responsible for recording a substantial chunk of the conventional string quartet repertoire. Now, 45 years after their founding, they have decided to retire, and Sony has done them proud by re-releasing a great deal of the music they recorded over their long career…”

Bain’s Blog, by John Edward Bain

Lute“John Edward Bain is a photographer, music lover, and guitarist, and a frequent correspondent to yours truly about these matters and others of mutual interest. Our paths first crossed in Kingston Ontario as part of the folk scene there in the mid 60s. He plays, in his own words, “folk and blues: what John Fahey coined ‘American primitive Guitar’”. He now lives in Halifax with his wife Colette, “in quiet and somewhat reclusive retirement, surrounded by books, records, musical instruments, and cameras.” This is his first blog for AIG, combining music and book reviews, insights into the lute, and interesting related links…”

OxBox, January 2010: Pro-Ject, Furutech, Ortofon and music by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and more

Tallis Singers - The Flemish Masters (small)In my original review of this turntable cartridge combination I said the results were pleasing but, but I thought that going for the more costly Ortofon Kontrapunkt B cartridge would offer better value for money. In the event, I was dead wrong. I tried to like the 2Xperience-Rondo Blue. It was so nice to spin some vinyl and hear some old favourites again. But, the longer I listened the closer I came to realizing that the sound just wasn’t as good as it should be…”

Audio Ideas: AM On New Blu-ray Releases - Montreux To Monty From Eagle Rock

Monty Python on Blu-ray (thn)“What a feast for Python fans! Starting with a contextual look at the Python origins, and followed by interviews with members, this series is utterly riveting, even going right back to my undergraduate idols, The Goons, led by Peter Sellers. It was the wild and surreal radio antics of The Goon Show that inspired the first Pythons. They bridged the gap from the unseen and imagined to the visual craziness that amazed and entertained British viewers while mystifying and enraging BBC programming executives…”

OxBox, October 2009 - Interconnects, Connectors & Music Reviews

Joshua Bell SmallA couple of experiments with interconnects has led me to a discovery. The connectors at either end of the IC have a “sound”. I will explain but first, let us agree that interconnects have an effect on overall sound and that different ones can change the way a system sounds. Usually it is a slight change, but a change nonetheless. As obvious as this seems now, there was a time when I didn’t believe such a thing was really important and that paying hundreds of dollars for a pair of interconnects was outrageous. I still think that the price asked for some interconnects is outrageous…”

AM’s Top 10 Pop/Rock/Folk Surround Discs - SACD, DVD-A, DTS, etc., Part 2

Brothers in Arms“You ain’t heard Money For Nothing until you’ve heard it in 5-channel bedlam! There’s so much going on in the mix that it just picks you up and grabs you by the balls…it’s loud, it’s rude, it’s fantastic! And it’s my favourite crank-the-system song! Of course, it’s the full-length version, not the censored short single…”

OxBox, May 2009 - 2Xperience Followup & More Music

Bruce Cockbrun - Slice O Life“In my most recent column I reviewed the ProJect 2Xperience belt drive turntable with the supplied carbon fibre arm and an Ortofon Rondo Blue cartridge. I can report that the sound from it continues to delight. Although the financial outlay involved is far from chump change, it would be hard to think of a more worthwhile investment if you are at all inclined towards vinyl…”

OxBox, April 2009 - Xperience with Rondo Blue

Pro-Ject Xperience (Small)“Part of the reason for the lapse is there hasn’t been much to write about until now except the music; and let me say I have heard some wonderful music as the year has progressed. My inspiration to share now can be spelled out in one word: v-i-n-y-l. I have a new turntable and cartridge. I had been listening, on a very occasional basis, to LPs on my Kenwood direct drive with a Fidelity Research FR64 arm and an Ortofon Kontrapunkt b cartridge. The sound I was getting from it was far from perfect, and I felt it should be replaced…”


  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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