If you're new to hi-fi, you might not be aware of the fiercely controversial and seemingly endless argument regarding the importance of blind listening in determining a component's worth. Essentially, there are those who believe that if differences in sound cannot be perceived while listening blindfolded, or under similarly exhausting, stressful, and inhumane conditions, then differences do not exist, and we're all just full of shit when we tell you that the $30,000 Musical Fidelity Titan sounds nothing at all like the $159 Sonic Impact Super T, that, in fact, they're basically the same amp, so you might as well buy the cheaper one.
On our way home last night, at your request, we found shelter from the relentless rain near a bit of dancing fire. White candles melted into soft wings and waves and fingertips, beckoning us closer. We sat at the fun table beneath so many beaded chandeliers, and ordered the best drinks in all of Manhattanpineapple coconut mojitos and razzle dazzleswhich were far too strong, but perfect, nontheless. The older woman in the strange hat offered us one of her piggyback datesstuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon, sprinkled with Cabrales bleu cheesebut we, of course, declined, and decided instead to order some of our own.
Your enthusiastic response has inspired Kristina to come out of blog-retirement. She could only stay away for an evening. Ladies and gentlemen, it seems she may be hooked. Any suggestions for an amp and CD player?
From time to time, I’ve written about my interest in cassettes. While I still haven’t purchased a Nakamichi cassette deckthe decks are out there, I’m just waiting for the right time and the right deckI’ve nevertheless kept an eye on cassette trends. For a long while, I saw very specific, very underground labels releasing tapes; and, though new cassette-only labels seemed to pop up regularly, those, too, were extremely underground and extremely independent.
Dan Schmalle and Luke Manley smile in the background, while Brian Damkroger and I sit in the engineers' seats. Photo by Philip O'Hanlon.
On the first day of the California Audio Show, I heard some of the most beautiful music in a room hosted by Acoustic Analysis, The Tape Project, and Bottlehead, featuring a system made of Focal Diablo Utopia loudspeakers, Focal SW1000 Be subwoofers, a VTL TL-6.5 Signature line preamp and MB-450 Signature III monoblock power amplifiers, Siltech cables, and a Bottlehead-modified Otari tape machine. The music had such a smooth, effortless quality to it, unlike anything else I heard at the show: The sound of tape. It was an awesome listening experience.
On the following evening, I got to visit the mastering studio where the team from The Tape Project does its work.
When people ask me if I miss it, I'm quick to make a face. My left eye might scrunch up tight, while the right shoots out like a feathered arrow, raising its brow like an exclamation mark. My nose and lips tighten, become wrinkled. Everything about this face expresses some sort of pain, maybe even disgust. Like I've been slapped, like I've just downed a mouthful of sour milk. Do I miss it? Are you out of your mind? What is there to miss: Late nights?; Heavy gear?; Bad crowds?; No crowd?
I’ve told you a bit about my favorite cassette label, Al Bjornaa’s Scotch Tapes, out of Batchawana Bay, Ontario, Canada. In this Impose article, Al goes into more detail, explaining how he built the label, and revealing some of his big plans for the remainder of the year, which include 60-70 new tapes, 4-5 vinyl releases, approximately 20 lathe cuts, a dozen zines, a couple of 8-tracks, and a monster summer compilation. (You can also download a Scotch sampler.)