Ariel Bitran
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Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Nov 19, 2012 8 comments
Three weeks ago, I published my top five guitar solos, a subjective list based entirely on the guitarists’ ability to move my soul through their combination of note selection and technical wizardry. These self-imposed standards led to many obvious guitarists being left off the list in favor of some less-spoken for guitar heroes with a penchant for inspiration and resourcefulness. Now I’m putting the power in your hands. Using my original list plus your suggestions in the comments section, I created a collaborative Spotify playlist titled “Stereophile - Greatest Guitar Solos Ever”. You are all invited to add songs to this list and share what you feel are the most important leads of all time. It’s a guitar solo potluck where you can hear what other playlist subscribers have to offer as well as showcase your own tastes. Open the playlist in Spotify via this link or in your web browser here. Drag songs from different artists and albums to the playlist on the left-panel of the Spotify interface to add your choices to the list. Have fun!
Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Nov 12, 2012 86 comments
CMJ in New York City is a clusterfuck. Too many bands billed at each venue for them to handle with ease in one night. Too many shows to choose from all within a 2-block radius with about fifty bands you have never heard of and only nine you have. And too many people who are there for the “CMJ” experience rather than to witness the bands. Nevertheless, this CMJ was a good one.
Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Nov 12, 2012 3 comments
Bill Graham: holocaust survivor, legendary concert promoter, and all-around badass.
Photo by Mark Sarfati

Please. One more hit. Just one. That’s all I need. Another song, another act. It won’t hurt. It can’t hurt. I promise this will be the last place we go. Four hours later, we wake up on a subway train in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Live music can be a dangerous thing. The thrills of a live show, the blending lightshow, the stomach-shaking bass, the spit and the sweat, are irreplaceable, but the life of the live music junkie can drain one’s energy and bank account. Fortunately, thanks to the folks at Concert Vault, you can get your live music fix on daily basis for just $2.99 a month.

Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Nov 07, 2012 5 comments
In X-Men in High Fidelity we are introduced to the Beast, an audiophile, and the uncanny X-Men who listen to his hi-fi and get involved in his crazy tweaks and projects. Here Beast gets a hold of Cyclops...
Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Nov 06, 2012 0 comments
The Palo Alto Main Library

Saturday, November 10, 11am–3pm: Audio High (165 Moffett Boulevard, Mountain View, CA) hosts another vinyl sale to benefit the Friends of Palo Alto Library. Last year’s sale generated more than $1700 to benefit the Palo Alto Library, a cultural pillar to Santa Clara County community.

Some LPs that will be hallmarked for this sale include a Zappa collection, an assortment of French pop and avant-garde LPs, and as the “usual selection of hard-to-find rock and jazz titles.” Musical Surroundings and Clearaudio representatives will be at the benefit to answer turntable related questions and showcase their products.

Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Nov 03, 2012 35 comments
In this list, I give you my top five guitar solos of all time. Various characteristics were considered for placement on this list: technical skill, melodic composition and framework, pop sensibility, harmonization, but no value was considered more important than ‘does it move me?’

There are no numbers indicating whether one is first or fifth. If the solo is listed here, it is simply one of the best.

Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Oct 25, 2012 48 comments
After filling my speaker stands with kitty litter, the bass warble tones on Stereophile’s Editor’s Choice CD were less boomy from start to finish with greater depth within each warble tone and lower frequencies not heard previously were now audible thanks to a quieter noise floor, but after weeks of warble tones, I needed some real music.

First on the platter was Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding which features 3-piece band orchestrations, punchy yet meandering bass lines, and anguished harmonica playing from Mr. Zimmerman. While listening, the bass player’s melodic fills on “All Along the Watchtower” muddied the mix and masked Dylan’s vocals. One week later, my problems of unruly bass had returned.

Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Oct 24, 2012 2 comments
It’s like that t-shirt you were always jealous of your friend for having. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one that said “Famous Guitars”, and it had drawings of Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein or Rick Nielsen’s multi-necked Hamer. There was also a “Famous Drumkits” one with Kreutzmann and Hart’s two-man kit or Terry Bozzio’s tom-tom explosion. Gosh, those were cool.

Well now you can be that guy but with the famous hi-fis.

Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Oct 05, 2012 0 comments
So where were we? Ah yes, I had just nailed loudspeaker positioning in my tiny bedroom by switching the left and right speakers placing the tweeters on the outside of my array. This change widened the soundstage and stabilized the central image but sacrificed some pinpoint high-end articulation I had with the tweeters inside the widths of the speakers. Yet, excessive bass resonances remained as evidenced through Paul McCartney’s bass runs on “Something” from my Abbey Road LP. Though a touch vaudeville, Paul is still a reserved and classy English gent, and there’s no way his bass guitar would demand such a boisterous presence. I had to get him under control.
Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Oct 04, 2012 4 comments
Last night at top floor of the Trump Soho Hotel (New York, NY), the design-oriented firm B&O announced the release of the BeoPlay A9 as part of their new B&O PLAY lineup of products. The BeoPlay A9 is a single active speaker system designed for seamless integration into home environments. The A9 streams music wirelessly from the customers iPhone, iPad or Android device using AirPlay or your DLNA network.

During their presentation to the press, B&O suggested that this product was not necessarily made for the audiophile but instead those interested in design and feeling enriched by one’s surroundings. Apparently, this message did not sink through to the other geeky writers. During the Q&A, reporters continued to prod whether the BeoPlay A9 could be used in stereo mode with two BeoPlays, to which B&O representatives affirmed that it could, but it was not designed for that intent. While the BeoPlay A9 was designed to sound good, more importantly it was designed to look good.

Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Oct 03, 2012 1 comments

In this video, Stereophile columnist and Analog Planet Editor Michael Fremer and Gary Dell'Abate (aka Baba Booey), producer of the Howard Stern Show, compare the virtues of analog playback to MP3, discuss the release of Nirvana's Nevermind on the spinning black circle, and Mikey coins the phrase 'the viral spread of vinyl.'

Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Sep 28, 2012 0 comments
In late September 2012 from their headquarters in Bergen County’s own Mahwah, New Jersey, Denon Electronics announced the launch of their interactive visYOUalize Yourself website and mobile app as an accompaniment to their four headphone lines released in the summer of 2012. These four headphone divisions target offer clearly positioned models unified through product image and technological goals targeting four different sects of customers. Denon wants to know: which one are you?
Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Sep 26, 2012 1 comments
Somewhere in Budapest, something very scary is happening. Somewhere in Budapest, something very beautiful is blooming. Stereophile forum user vencel has reposted images of his rebuild of a Koetsu Rosewood cartridge starting at its grim and crud-crusted beginnings leading to its careful reconstruction and finishing with a gorgeously refurbished cartridge glowing in the light. The gruesome details of death and deconstruction are told through haunting images, and then hope is reborn through the hard work of vencel and his team’s delicate re-coiling and cleanup. The story can be seen here in our forums. I’m sure vencel would be happy to answer any questions. Congrats to you and your team!
Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Sep 19, 2012 3 comments
Larry listens to the Usher S-520s with the tweeters on the inside first.

After an exhausting but educational day at NYC’s In Living Stereo setting up my new Rega RB101 tonearm with the Audio Technica AT95E phono cartridge, I hailed a taxi while balancing the turntable on one hand. Thirty minutes later, the yellow cab stopped at the doorstep of my quaint Brooklyn duplex, which I share with three other roommates, a Chartreux cat named Larry, and three friendly Pakistani families.

Upon my return home with the P1, the roommates were ecstatic. Jared analyzed, “I dig its minimalist design.” Leeor cheered, “I can’t wait to play the new Animal Collective record on this!” Darryl insisted, “Yo, you need to bring some bitties back now.” Larry the Cat ignored our excitement and cuddled with my phono preamp’s glowing tube. After listening to some records together, I kicked the roommates out for some alone time with my system. No bitties yet, but I did have a mug of green tea, some LPs, and Larry.

Ariel Bitran
Ariel Bitran Sep 12, 2012 3 comments
I’ll be honest, when Klipsch invited me to see the B-52s on Thursday, August 9th, all I really wanted was for Peter Griffin to stroll across the Irving Plaza stage oblivious to the swirling lights and drifting artificial fog, whip out an acoustic guitar, and play that jangly lead from “Rock Lobster”. A bearded lobster donning a turban would then prance to the front of the stage and everyone would scream “Death to America / And butter sauce!” This never happened. However, I did successfully ignore the opening band Love Funk, had my mind blown by the B-52s, but most importantly, I discovered a bunch of new products from the Klipsch family.

“Iraq Lobstah!”

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