In our May issue (see “The Entry Level,” page 47, or just click right here), I discussed the Music Hall USB-1 turntable ($249), Audioengine 5 powered loudspeakers ($349/pair), HiFiMan HM-602 portable music player ($439), and meatloaf (probably around $30 for all the ingredients).
I remember, fairly clearly, the events which led to this particular column. It was a chilly winter evening, late January or early February, and the girls and I had enjoyed a quiet, lazy day. We were now on our way home from a quick trip to Trader Joe’s. I was riding in the backseat of Natalie’s Honda (she’s got a motor back there, too), Nicole was in the passenger seat. The conversation turned from music to food.
In an article titled, "This Boot Was Made for Jazzin'," found in our April 2007 issue, Thomas Conrad tells us that today's most important European jazz musicians are coming from Italy. It was in that article that I was introduced to the young wonders, saxophonist Francesco Cafiso (18), and pianists, Giovanni Guidi (22) and Alessandro Lanzoni (15). These young men live within a musical landscape nurtured by guys like Gianni Basso (75) and Renato Sellani (81), who, according to Conrad, are "sounding better than ever." I'm not quite sure why, but it thrills me to know that such language, art, and life are being shared between people separated by so many years. Perhaps I see it as some evidence that time is only time. And what does that mean to me? Again, I don't know.
Back around Christmastime, when everyone around me seemed to be receiving iPods and gift certificates to the iTunes store, I thought I should give my loved ones The MP3 Talk. Now, John Atkinson, has prepared another version of The MP3 Talklive and in color with all sorts of cool graphs and stuff!
Lately, I’ve been listening almost exclusively to CDs and CD players. It hasn’t been bad at all. In our December issue, I’ll talk about the Emotiva ERC-2 CD player ($449); in January, I’ll compare the Emotiva to Michael Lavorgna’s longtime digital reference, the original Sony Playstation 1 (typically $15$75, used); and, in February, I’ll listen to NAD’s C 515BEE ($300), the disc-spinning counterpart to that company’s awesome C 316BEE integrated amplifier.
It’s been the perfect time for me to listen to CD players because my old band, The Multi-Purpose Solution, is reuniting to play a show this Friday, November 4, at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ.
Clearly, more and more peopleyoung and old, male and femaleare choosing to enjoy their favorite music on vinyl, a decidedly old-fashioned format. Every time I walk into a record store, I see more vinyl. And more people. The new record bins are growing, the used record bins are growing, LPs are taking up space previously occupied by CDs, and people are shopping enthusiastically, getting in between me and all that precious vinyl. But why?
For many, the current hot topic in the world of high-end audio is Direct-Stream Digital (DSD), a method, developed by Sony and Philips, of digitally encoding an analog signal. The irony is that DSD is nothing new. The basis of the technology dates to 1946. Stereophile described it in “Industry Update,” as early as Vol.19 Nos.1 and 5, and again in Vol.20 No.9. And, almost exactly 14 years ago, in November 1999, John Atkinson went into greater detail, contrasting DSD with the more common Pulse-Code-Modulated (PCM) encoding used on CD:
It's not all-audio all-the-time in the Stereophile forums. Every once in awhile, a fellow likes to turn down the stereo and reach for The Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, The Economist, Sports Illustrated, King, whatever.
I don’t really know what to say about this, so I’ll just quote the press release:
The role of an High End amplifier is to reproduce the music, all the music.
Amateur of beautiful often unique parts, GoldAmp is the Only One. An exceptional musical know-how. Celebrate interpreter who knows how to be forgot. A magnificent story which can be told by moments of complicity in the emotion. Reunion with classicals works henceforth dear to our hearts.