Stephen Mejias
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Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Mar 14, 2014 30 comments
The April 2014 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands. Inside, you’ll find 35 pages of “Recommended Components,” our handy guide to today’s best audio products, covering categories including: Turntables, Tonearms, Phono Cartridges, Phono Preamplifiers, Media Players, Digital Processors, Loudspeakers, Amplifiers, Preamplifiers, Integrated Amplifiers, and Headphones.

Our cover model is the extraordinary Vivid Audio Giya G3 loudspeaker. Is there room in John Atkinson’s heart for another loudspeaker? My guess is yes, but where exactly does the Giya G3 rank among the countless other contenders that have spent time in JA’s listening room? Other products reviewed in this month’s issue include:

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Feb 27, 2014 35 comments
Beck's Morning Phase is available now. I don't own it yet, but I have added it to my ever-growing list of Records to Buy. (Other Music is already sold out. Otherwise, I'd indulge my preferred method of consuming music: I'd go there immediately and buy it from a kind person.)
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Feb 14, 2014 14 comments
Here's a little something to warm your hearts: The March 2014 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands, and it's a very special issue, indeed. Inside, you'll find that our editor, John Atkinson, has fallen in love with a new pair of headphones. Has the sexy Audeze LCD-X seduced him away from his old, beloved Sennheiser HD650?

Of course, there's more.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Feb 12, 2014 5 comments
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:

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Jan 03, 2014 6 comments
Thanks to Art Dudley, Norman Blake's Old and New was one of my three major musical discoveries of 2013. What will 2014 bring? It should be an interesting year, to say the least.

Happy New Year! I hope you’re somewhere warm, like Rincon or San Clemente, taking in a ton of golden sunshine and perhaps enjoying a rum punch. In New York, New Jersey, and much of the rest of the country, the New Year came with several of inches of cold, white snow that fell from the icy sky like the confetti we happily tossed about on New Year’s Eve. This is a perfect day to stay inside and listen to that pile of records you’ve so carefully propped up against the wall.

Over the last seven years, I’ve pretty much purchased any damn record that sparked my interest.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Dec 13, 2013 16 comments
Here’s a list of my 50 favorite albums of 2013. This is by no means a definitive list. These aren’t “the best” or “the most important” records of the year. They’re simply the 50 records that, for one reason or another, managed to capture my attention, spark my imagination, excite and inspire me. They also often drove me into fits of loud song, wild dance, and happy laughter. I love these records, I’m grateful for them, and I want to share them with you. Many of these you will already know. Others will be new to you. I hope you enjoy them all as much as I do, but I will, of course, understand if you don’t. Please feel free to share your own favorites in the Comments section.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Nov 27, 2013 7 comments

Over at The Quietus, Nick Southall speaks with mastering engineer Bob Katz about how iTunes Radio may soon put an end to The Loudness Wars. I direct your attention to the article partly because it's a good read and partly because, in hi-fi circles, we tend to think that young people don't care enough about sound quality; this article is a small bit of proof that there are in fact young people who know how to listen. Nick Southall, clearly as obsessed with music and sound as anyone, is two years younger than me. (And, in hi-fi years, I'm a child.)

Here's an especially good bit from Southall's article, Bob Katz speaking:

News, Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Nov 13, 2013 0 comments
Friday, November 22–Sunday, November 24: The Hi-Fi Expo Sofia will be held at the Grand Hotel (1 Gurko Street, Sofia, Bulgaria). Over 250 high-end brands are expected to exhibit. Show manager Gergana Boeva reports that attendance has grown steadily over the show's first three years, attracting visitors from all throughout Bulgaria, as well as neighboring countries Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, and Romania. For more info, including a complete list of exhibitors, visit the show’s official website.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Nov 13, 2013 16 comments
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:
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Nov 13, 2013 3 comments
For me, and many people like me, the 365 days that comprise a calendar year are more than just a tidy representation of a brief period of life. Those 365 days mark a period of music discovery, filled with disappointments, surprises, and, if we’re lucky, one or two completely life-altering revelations.

If discovering a new artist is great, even better is discovering an entire record label of exciting new artists. It happens for me with increasing reliability:

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Nov 08, 2013 11 comments
La Luz: Marian Li Pino (drums), Abbey Blackwell (bass), Shana Cleveland (guitar), Alice Sandahl (keys)

On Tuesday night, while on their way to Seattle to play a show with Of Montreal, the four young women who make up the great new band La Luz suffered a frightening accident. Losing control of their van, they slid across black ice, and slammed into a concrete highway divider. The band managed to maneuver their van to the side of the road, where they called for help. Then, almost incredibly, while waiting for the police and a tow truck to arrive, their van was hit by a semi-trailer truck. The van, all of the band’s gear, and many of their belongings were completely destroyed.

To get a sense of the impact, see a photo of the van here. Fortunately, it was a 12-passenger van, and La Luz were using the entire back half as cargo space for their gear and belongings. The women were seated up front when their van was rear-ended by the semi-truck, sending them toppling into a ditch. Moments later, a third van slid across the freeway and collided into the semi! Aside from bruises, broken bones, and the major disappointment of having to cancel the rest of their tour, all members of La Luz are fine, as are the drivers of the other vehicles.

A message from La Luz’s official website:

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Oct 02, 2013 2 comments
Last night, AudioStream.com's Michael Lavorgna and I attended Jenny Hval's performance at the Mercury Lounge on Houston Street in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Because we first made stops to: browse LPs and chat with Daniel at Other Music, enjoy cask-conditioned ales at dba, and devour some incredibly delicious pies at Rizzo's, we were primed for a memorable evening of music.

Jenny Hval did not disappoint.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Sep 30, 2013 15 comments
In the last 15 minutes, about 25 people have sent me a link to this article, so now I'll share it with you. For better or worse, whether we're discussing velour suits or Compact Discs, any discussion regarding death is most likely premature. I call for a death to the discussion of death.

Yet, here we go again, this time discussing "the death of the home stereo system." CNN reporter Todd Leopold paints it as the classic struggle between quality and convenience, and seems to think that convenience has finally delivered the knock-out punch.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Sep 27, 2013 2 comments
Photo by Karl Edwin Scullin.

Released back in May, Jenny Hval's Innocence is Kinky, endures as one of my favorite records of 2013. I've played it countless times, and, in a few days, when Hval takes the stage at NYC's Mercury Lounge, I'll finally have the chance to see and hear the songs performed live.

Interviews, Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Sep 16, 2013 10 comments
In our September issue, I wrote about Pioneer’s excellent SP-BS22-LR loudspeaker. At just $129.99/pair (and often discounted), the SP-BS22-LR represents extraordinary value and may very well attract a wider and younger audience to true high-fidelity sound. The only thing I don’t really like about the speaker is its tongue-twister of a name. (But that’s easy to forgive. Most people can’t pronounce my name, either.)

While preparing the review, I took the opportunity to ask Andrew Jones, Pioneer’s chief engineer, a few questions about hi-fi, music, and loudspeaker design. As always, Jones was forthright and charming; his answers to my questions were often enlightening.

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