It is with immense sadness that I heard of Gordon's passing, in an announcement from his long-time friend, Bob O'Neiil: "A few minutes after 12 noon mtn time, July 20, 2009, J. Gordon Holt passed away in his home in Boulder, Colorado. A memorial service will be held in a week or two. There will be, of course, martinis and the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams." According to his son Charles, Gordon had suffered a long fight with COPD/Emphysema and he died in his home with his family around him.
Blue Circle Audio, the Ontario-based company that has championed the use of "no frills" packaging and solar powered devices, recently issued the latest addition to its line of minimal cosmetics audiophile products. The BC301FY preamplifier, which looks nothing like other companies' products, dispenses with the standard aluminum or steel box, engraved logo, designer controls, and other cosmetic frills. Housed in nine ABS cansa type of heavy-duty plastic commonly encountered in drainage and sewer pipingits packaging is said to reduce consumer cost by over 40%.
NHT is back. Less than five months after the veteran speaker company, aka Now Hear This, declared that it would sell off remaining inventory, pay its bills, and spend time rethinking its future, it has regrouped and returned with a new marketing approach.
Released in July, Live at Otto's Shrunken Head (STPH020-2) is the latest Stereophile CD from reviewer Bob Reina's jazz quartet, Attention Screen. Unlike the group's first CD, Live at Merkin Hall (STPH018-2, released in 2007), which was recorded with multiple microphones, I captured the eight improvisations on Live at Otto's using a single pair of mikes.
On June 2, Stereophile reported that HDGiants.com, formerly known as MusicGiants.com, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The future of the high-quality music and video download site that had most recently begun offering "Super HD" 24-bit surround-sound downloads was unclear.
The most comprehensive seminars ever devoted to high quality computer-based playback in the home will take place at the fabled headquarters of Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA the last weekend of June. Entitled Computer Audiophile Symposium: From Performance to Playback, the two "identical" seminars are scheduled for Saturday, June 27 from 37pm, and Sunday, June 28, from noon4pm. Admission to each seminar is $279.00.
With good news to share about new downloads, let's dispense with the downer first. As reported by Twice.com, HDGiants, aka MusicGiants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in US Bankruptcy Court on May 18. Although the site, often praised by Stereophile as a leader in CD-quality and high-resolution music and video downloads, still appears to be operating, the layoff of its sales and marketing staff raises serious questions about its future.
After four years of virtual inactivity, new and updated Aragon and Acurus high-end amplifiers, preamplifiers, and processors are slated to return to the marketplace. The long-established brands, which have been the property of Klipsch since 2001, are now in the hands of two enthusiastic veteran Klipsch electronics engineers, Rick Santiago and Ted Moore of Indy Audio Labs, LLC.
Despite the recent affirmation by Stereophile's Kalman Rubinson that the Super Audio Compact Disc remains "the best available all-around physical medium for music" (May 2009, p.47), audiophiles in the US continue to declare it a dead format. Regardless, independent record producers such as Jared Sacks, founder and managing director of Holland's Channel Classics Records, continue to champion and promote SACD.
Koetsu USA, the US distributor for the $15,000 Koetsu Coralstone Platinum Mono reviewed by Michael Fremer in our May 2009 issue, has announced that several of its products will be demonstrated during a special "Audio Round-Up," hosted by Audio Limits in Colorado Springs. This free, two-day event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17, and is open to the public.
Colorado high-end retailer ListenUp has three Music Matters events scheduled next week, one for each of their locations: Tuesday, May 5, in Colorado Springs230 North Tejon Street, (719) 633-2600Wednesday, May 6, in Denver685 South Pearl Street, (303) 778-0780; Thursday, May 7, in Boulder2034 Arapahoe Avenue, (303) 444-0479.
Two unusual download sites now offer high-resolution 24-bit files for audiophiles with a taste for adventure. The first, the UK's B&W Music Club, is a one-album-per-month subscription service that premieres complete, audiophile-quality albums in a wide variety of genres chosen and recorded by "curator" Peter Gabriel. The second, HifiTrack.com, is a Hong Kong-based site that offers Chinese and Asian traditional and pop music, Zen and meditation music, and Chinese-flavored Western pop, jazz, and classical.
It's a Vinyl World, After All: Michael Fremer's Guide to Record Cleaning, Storage, Handling, Collecting, & Manufacturing in the 21st Century
MF Productions mxangle3 (DVD). 2008. Michael Fremer, prod.; Joe Shelesky, Andre Kruger, Jeff Wilerth, dirs.; Joe Shelesky, editor. $30; available from Stereophile's secure e-commerce page.
Three years ago, as the shift to downloadable media gathered momentum, Concord Music Group purchased Telarc International. The suspicion of those who then saw the handwriting on the wall were confirmed this past December, when a company-wide restructuring by CMG included the layoffs of 27 Telarc employees. Among those now on their own are the entire Telarc Production Department, as well as former classical publicist Amanda Sweet.