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Music Reviews - Debussy, Ravel and Ray Montford

Ravel

“It was all but inevitable that later ninetheenth-century French composers would become interested in the Symbolist poets. The Symbolists sought to duplicate in literature the effects of music by using vague images, elusive syntax, and fleeting ideas”, says Jonathan D. Kramer in liner notes for this recording. The famous Prelude was written as a musical equivalent of Mallarme’s poem, Afternoon of a Faun, while Nocturnes evolved from a violin concerto written for virtuoso and composer Eugene Ysaye that was never played…”

Music Reviews - Beethoven, Mozart & Mendelssohn on SACD

Beethoven Piano Concertos

“The piano is quite prominent in this 1974 recording, but what playing! I think I can forgive the Philips engineers for putting Stephen up front and miking the piano to be quite wide. The orchestra is well heard, with a big soundstage and good depth, typical Philips of the period. The string sound is excellent, with a nice texture on violins, violas, and cellos…”

Music Reviews - Bach, Stamitz and Richter on SACD

Bach

“This hybrid SACD features lovely playing, with quite brisk tempi throughout, and a lack of the kind of rubato and general tempo variety offered by my favourite interpreters of this music, the Chamber Orchestra of the Saare under Karl Ristenpart. It just seems a little preoccupied with momentum rather than musicality. But if you don’t know these Suites well, you�ll probably enjoy this recording with its excellent sound quality. The Ristenpart recordings may have been rereleased on CD, but mine are from LP…”

ISF for HDTV - Andrew Marshall on ISF calibration

ISF logo

“Some of us thought that HDTV sets would come ready to make the best of all images, and I assumed this when I acquired my 64″ Pioneer Elite PRO-710HD rear-projection TV a year or more ago. It has been superseded by newer, less expensive models in the same size, as HD prices have rapidly come down. The buzz these days is around the larger plasma sets (up to 60″), which can be hung on a wall…”

Supersounds (Fall 2003) - Classical SACD and CD

Malher Symphony #6 SACD

“This new SACD is to my ears the best Mahler recording ever. Zander’s reading has passion and impulsion, and the sound is simply amazing. The louder you play it, the better it sounds, and I didn’t have the advantage of discrete multichannel, listening through the Pioneer Elite DV-AX10, which preceded 5-channel SACD. However, I’ll take state-of-the-art 2-channel over mediocre multi any time. By the time we finally got to the “hammers of fate” in the finale, I was totally immersed in this immense symphonic conception…”

Adress to the AES - Andrew Marshall On High Resolution Digital Audio

DVD Audio Logo

“If we are to predict and perhaps guide the progress of today’s new digital audio formats, it may be useful to ourselves seek the guidance of history. And there’s lots of that when we look back at audio and video formats that have succeeded or failed, or, more likely, limped along mired in conflict and confusion for years until superseded by technology that clearly appealed more to the consumer…”

Supersounds (Fall 2001) Andrew Marshall Listens to some of the first DVD-Audio & SACD Releases

DVD Audio Logo

“After the AES Seminar in May I hunkered down with some DVDs and SACDs (I’ve been collecting the latter for over a year) and started to listen critically to both formats. Multi-channel SACD has only been demonstrated at shows, and players and discs do not yet exist for consumers, but will soon, to the dismay of those who bought 2-chennel players (myself included). DVD-Audio, meanwhile, is trying to be all things for all channels (well, 5 of them at least), and some old 70s masters are being remixed to sound fresher for the new millennium…”

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..”

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…”

AIG Talks with Film Sound Mixer Lou Solakofski

Lou Solakofski

“…a re-recording mixer hopefully gets involved in a film project at an early stage, say, just before they start shooting, just so that everyone knows what has to be delivered in the end…whether its a Dolby Digital print, or DTS, or maybe just straight to video, whatever. So, from that initial point of contact you talk about all these final format things, and if it’s a really well organized production, you would interface with the production sound mixer, and make sure they’re working in a format that would suit the dialogue editorial process later on…”

AIG Talks with Film Sound Designer Steve Munro

Steve Munro

“Sound Designer is the credit Steve receives on this film, and it is a technical and artistic activity, one that has interested AM since he first started making voice recordings on a Philips mono recorder in the late 50s. In the production of a film Steve Munro both makes original recordings (usually 6-track) and takes those already done and creates a context and meaning for them in the film…”

Tweaking the Light Fantastic - Aaron Marshall Investigates Some Effective and not so Effective Tweaks

Black Diamond Racing Cones

“High end audio gets away with murder. By the standards of the non-audiophile, most of the stuff we buy, and what we pay for it, can be explained only by a form of selective dementia affecting us in all areas having to do with reproduced sound. How many other industries cater to a demographic as fanatical, as restlessly compulsive, and as willing to suspend its collective disbelief? The answer may lie in another question: How many businesses are charged with selling something as slippery and unquantifiable as the aesthetics of sound?”

Phantom Power - When Canadiana Becomes Hip

Phantom Power

AIG Music Reviewer Marshall Butler digs deep into the ties that bind Canada, its politics, its marketing trends, and its rock and roll darlings, The Tragically Hip.

“An infinite number of marketing consultants working on an infinite number of advertising campaigns may eventually discover all that is Canada but, they would have been better off simply asking the Tragically Hip…”

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Organomics: The Making of the Sadler Selection

The Sadler Selection

“This particular recording project started a couple of years ago when I suggested to Ian, organist for the Bell’Arte Singers and resident organist at Knox Presbyterian Church where A Childe Is Born (AI-CD-003) was recorded, that we might undertake an organ project in his home church. My idea was to do it in surround sound, having been playing with various recording techniques to get true matrix front-to-rear separation…”

AIG Talks with Bob Carver

Bob Carver

“Few figures have engendered more controversy among audiophiles than Bob Carver. Virtually every product he developed at Carver Corporation, which he founded in 1978, contained an unusual feature with an impressive-sounding name. Supporters hailed these features as important innovations. Detractors dismissed them as gimmicks. Carver preamplifiers had Sonic Holography, a fancy handle for interaural crosstalk cancellation. His amplifiers had Magnetic Field power supplies. His tuners and receivers had the Asymmetrical Charge-Coupled FM detector…”


  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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