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ETF Listening Room Analysis Software

ETF -- Click for Review

“For audiophiles, listening rooms are a bit like the weather. We talk about them, but few of us do much about them. We might experiment with speaker placement and listening-chair position, and some ambitious souls try to tame room problems with products like ASC Tube Traps. But not many of us go beyond that….”

Sunfire Theater Grand Tuner/Preamp/Processor

Sunfire Theater Grand surround decoder

“I thought it was the prettiest thing at CES last winter, and now it’s the prettiest thing in my home theatre room. The Sunfire Theater Grand (I’ve deferred to the American spelling because it’s a product name) has essentially the same chassis and finish of all Sunfire products, a brown burnished brushed aluminum case with rounded corners, with the same recessed window at centre front, and the addition of numerous pinpoint indicator lights, many of which are also control buttons…”

AIG Back Issues: Winter 1999

Winter 1996 Issue

Highlights Include: Kimber Select KS-3035 Speaker Cable, Oracle Mentor Studio, Meadowlark Shearwater (Hot Rod), Cliffhanger CHS-2/SW-2, Paradigm Reference Active 40, Sunfire Theater Grand Surround Processor/Tuner, Myryad MI 120 Integrated Amplifier, MT 100 FM Tuner & MC 100 CD Player, Rega Mira Integrated Amplifier more….

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…”

Paradigm Active 40 Loudspeaker

Paradigm Reference Active-40

“Now something of a pioneer in consumer active speakers, Paradigm is becoming very good at it, as the listening tests showed. Engineering a speaker from a line-level input onward gives the designers control of much more of the ultimate performance than when designing a speaker to work from an amplifier output. Of course, the amplifier(s) employed must be very good, or the design will be compromised…”

Meadowlark Audio Shearwater (Hot Rod Version)

Meadowlark Shearwater Hot Rod

“Some speaker reviews are relatively short because there’s not much to say about yet another conventional or budget speaker; but others are so because the designer has done just about everything right, and has added to this synergy genuine creative intelligence. The latter is definitely the case here….”

Cliffhanger Audio CHS-2 Loudspeaker and W-2 Subwoofer

Cliffhanger CHS-2 Monitors and W-2 Subwoofer

“These monitor/subwoofer matched pairs come in a configuration that, as the width measurements suggest, stacks very neatly. And the neatness is augmented by the very nice veneered finish of the boxes, with their rounded corners and black front baffle. The subwoofer contains a high-pass filter, with an extra set of gold-plated 5-way posts to send it to the CHS-2. The speakers can also be bi-wired or amped…”

Oracle Mentor Loudspeaker

Oracle Studio System Loudspeaker

“The Oracle speaker project goes back quite a few years, and the Mentor Studio system is the culmination of that project, and its sleek finish reflects (quite literally) the tradition of craftsmanship associated with Oracle. Our review pair were finished in a shiny burgundy lacquer that looked as if it had been lovingly rubbed and polished by skilled hands…”

Kimber Select KS-3035 Speaker Cable

Kimber Select Loudspeaker cable

“In recent years more science has been applied to the design of both interconnect and speaker cables, though this has been exceeded only by the secrecy with which the science has been used. Hence, rather than a detailed description of the materials and design topography of this Select cable, we get in the brochure just a few words, followed by praise from a dealer: “All [Select] loudspeaker cables utilize our proprietary X38R core compound. This compound possesses unique acoustic damping and electrical properties….”

Rega Mira Integrated Amplifer

Rega Mira Integrated Amplifier

“If audio companies were people Rega would be something of a character. We’ve all met folks like him. He’s a purist, a quasi-Spartan, leading a simple life uncluttered with the myriad of possessions and pursuits most of us assume personify success. The entire concept of trends is completely meaningless to him, concerns about what is popular almost nonexistent. Never flashy or ostentatious he does not do things to impress others, only himself…”

Myryad MI 120 Integrated Amplifier, MC 100 CD Player and MT 100 FM Tuner

Myryad MI 120 Integrated Amplifier

“Myryad Systems came together in the partnership of Chris Short, former owner and managing director of Mordaunt-Short, Chris Evans, a founder and director of Arcam, and David Evans, a veteran of NAD. The M Series components are their upscale line, and handsome they are, as well as very competitively priced for what they are….”

DVD Reviews - The Sweet Hereafter

The Sweet Hereafter

“If this film stops people talking about Mon Oncle Antoine and Goin’ Down The Road as great Canadian films, then it will have served a good purpose, as far as I’m concerned. The Sweet Hereafter is probably the best Canadian film ever, and so far the highest grossing one at the box office. Atom Egoyan has woven a complex web of recollections of a school bus crash by those who survived and those whose children didn’t, as they talk to a lawyer, played by Ian Holm, who is trying to get a class action lawsuit going against the bus company. Almost entirely composed of flashbacks…”

DVD Reviews - Silence of the Lambs (Criterion Edition)

Silence of the Lambs

“It used to be that the Criterion laserdiscs were the ones you paid all the extra money for to get a lot of extra special features, as well as exceptional image quality and packaging. Now this sort of thing has become common in the DVD world, with almost any release offering extra features: commentary from directors, etc. (often several), production documentaries, and other behind-the-scene insights. By such standards the Criterion Silence Of The Lambs seems almost sparse…..”

DVD Reviews - Super Speedway (IMAX)

Super Speedway

“Ever since I got this DVD I’ve been wondering why I liked it more on the small (51-inch) screen rather than on the big (60-foot) IMAX one. I think it has something to do with relating to a 40-foot-tall Mario Andretti; his easy intimacy and evident love for family, in particular, racing-driver sons and pet pig, Martini, seem to come across better on the smaller screen. Also, all the scenes shot from racing cars going 200 miles an hour, so carefully crafted and caught by the team led by director Stephen Low, seemed overly big and flat on the IMAX screen…”

DVD Reviews - Chronos

Chronos

“Ron Fricke has taken his time-lapse film camera to a variety of locations around the world,ranging from city centres in America and Europe to deserts, landmarks, and sculptures. We see familiar and unusual objects, architecture, and landscapes as the sun rises and falls, and clouds flash across the sky around them, with a musical score that underlines the greatness and futility of man’s struggle to form nature when, in fact, nature forms him…”

DVD Reviews - Dances With Wolves

Dances with Wolves

“It is very much to Kevin Costner’s credit that he could take a story without much story line to it, and make it into a long and lyrical film that sustains interest. It does so because of a combination of visual beauty, human drama on an epic scale (the survival of a race of people), and an individual love story. Strong performances by Graham Greene and Mary McDonnell, as Indian chief and love interest, respectively, hold one’s interest…..”

DVD Reviews - Backdraft and Executive Decision

Executive Decision

“I guess I’ve lumped these two films together because they both star Kurt Russell, who always looks as if he’s just swallowed a prune. Backdraft is set in Chicago and is about firemen and fires, with strong supporting performances from Scott Glenn, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro, and the usual riveting cameo by Donald Sutherland as a psychopath. The DVD transfer of this film faithfully retains its visual quality and exciting soundtrack, and I enjoy it, too, for all the Chicago locales, this being one of my favourite cities…”

DVD Reviews - Tomorrow Never Dies

Tomorrow Never Dies

“The claim is made in this DVD’s 8-page booklet that it outdoes its predecessor, GoldenEye, in special effects, and though it undoubtedly does, the earlier movie was a lot more fun, a lot of this in the antics of “the next girl”, Xenia Onatopp, not to forget Robbie Coltrane’s hilarious cameo as a Russian mobster. Somehow, the mood of Tomorrow Never Dies is more sombre, though the action never stops as Bond and his Chinese sidekick ride motorcycles and leap off tall buildings…”

DVD Reviews - The Spy Who Loved Me

The Spy Who Loved me

“This is the film that introduced Richard Kiel as the chrome-toothed giant assassin, Jaws, who went on to become a much more sympathetic character in Moonraker. It also features the delectable Barbara Bach as a Russian agent who teams up with Bond to defeat villain Karl Stromberg, played with appropriate menace by Curt Jurgens. Many Bond fans could never see anyone but Sean Connery in the role, but I always liked the dapper rogue that Roger Moore made of Bond, a little seamier and more of an opportunist than the heroic Connery version…”


  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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