Koetsu. Kiseki. Keebler. Products from all of these firms are shrouded in at least a bit of mystery. Do I believe that Koetsu cartridges are hand-built by an octogenarian samurai swordsmith, or that Kisekis are imported from the planet Vulcan, or that Keebler's cookies are baked by elves? Not really. But it does help to liven up the domestic audio scene.
"Look, sonsee what Scottie just beamed down."
"Gee, Dad, it's big and blue with a gold spot on the front, and it kind of looks like a cartridge."
"Nice guess, son. No ordinary cartridge, this one. Let me tell you about the Vulcan analog freak in Hong Kong..."
If there's one article in Stereophile that generated more reader response than any other, it was Peter Breuninger's review of the classic Fisher 500-C tubed receiver in June 2005. Peter reviewed another classic component from the 1960s, the Bozak B-410 Concert Grand loudspeaker; my involvement in the review, in the October 2005 issue, brought home to me with a vengeance how much the science of speaker design has evolved in the 40 years since this armoire-sized model was introduced.
Instagram is the first app I check each day. What does that say about me? I certainly like pictures. I also enjoy keeping up with friends and family through images, seeing what they see each day, glimpsing a day in their lives. But, beyond that, I’m not sure.
Interestingly, more and more audio manufacturers are showing up on Instagram. I follow several, including:
Sunday, February 23, 125:30pm: Essential Audio (715 Braeside Place, Barrington, Illinois) will host an audio demonstration with Brian Zolner, president of Bricasti Design, for the grand opening of its remodeled, expanded facilities.
I've never been a mono-phile. Yes, mono is better than electronically reprocessed stereo. And yes, for some of the early stereo recordings, where the engineer smacked one of the horns in the left speaker and the other in the right, it's better to hear everyone in the center. And, finally, there are cases, most notably on many of The Beatles' albums, where the musicians supervised the mono mix and ignored the stereo, making the mono, in a sense, the authoritative version. But in general, those albums that were recorded in stereo, I prefer to hear in stereo.
But the latest excavation from the Miles Davis archive, The Original Mono Recordings, nine CDs of the nine albums made for Columbia from 195563, is an exception, a set worthy of attentionthough not so much because the discs are in mono.
Ken Shindo, the Japanese audio designer whose electronics, loudspeakers, and accessories have influenced the parallel worlds of tube audio and analog audio, and who is shown above (right) with loudspeaker designer John DeVore, died late last month after a brief illness. He was 74.
Much as we audiophiles love a good format warnothing like a dustup over the tactility of vinyl vs the convenience of downloadsnot to mention all the ever-evolving gear, the base of this pursuit is still the music. Which is why February is the month least cruel, and time again for our annual "Records To Die For."
Carla Bozulich’s new album, Boy, will be released by the great Constellation Records on March 4th. Though Bozulich may be best known for her work with The Geraldine Fibbers, or the darker, more experimental material of her Evangelista moniker, Boy will be the third full-length album released under her own name. As such, one might expect to hear a more personal, honest, and bare representation of the artist’s sound and vision; interestingly, Boy is being promoted as Bozulich’s “pop record.”
Erick Lichte's review of Benchmark's DAC2 HGC D/A converter in this issue gave me an ideal opportunity to spill some ink on the company's ADC1 USB A/D converter. The ADC1 is housed in the same small case as the DAC (one rack unit high, half the rack unit width), and is offered with a black front panel with rack ears, or a silver aluminum panel without ears, either for $1795.
In 1974, in England, Australian Reverse-Pommy pianist and recording engineer Billy Woodman founded the Acoustic Transducer Co. (ATC) as a maker of loudspeaker drive-units. That makes ATC a few years younger than Spendor (1969) and a few years older than Harbeth (1977). When I mentioned all that to a quick-witted audio buddy, he immediately came back with "Middle Child Syndrome!"