Herb Reichert

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Herb Reichert Posted: Nov 07, 2014 7 comments
It was spring. I was planting kale and cabbage, wearing bib overalls, and listening to Pigboy Crabshaw (aka Elvin Bishop) on my iPhone. My girlfriend, "bb," came out, and just stood there laughing. "What's this? American Gigolo: The Alabama Years?"

Now, please, don't start worrying about your newest Stereophile reviewer. I've owned my share of Julie London and Jennifer Warnes records, but these days I'm more into Hazel Dickens and Maybelle Carter. It's summertime, fish are jumpin', and that dirt-road American music is getting me high.

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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 24, 2014 6 comments
With quiet elegance, the Sentec EQ11 phono stage and equalizer entered my expanding world of gramophone dreams. The EQ11 ($2500) is a modestly sized, tubed phono stage with the industry-standard RIAA phono equalization and five other EQ curves. These additional curves are for records pressed by companies that did not fully or promptly comply with the new, supposedly global industry standard introduced by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1954.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 18, 2014 2 comments
I have been reading and reading—all about the new Sony loudspeakers. John Atkinson rave-reviewed the Sony SS-AR2 (October 2012) and the SS-NA2ESs (September 2013)! Have I ever heard them? No. Well, finally on the last RMAF day I got to sit up close in a dem hosted by Sony's Motoyuki "Yuki" Sugiura (above) and see if I, too, thought the Sony SS-AR2s ($20,000/pair) were as neutral, lively, well-balanced, detailed, and transparent as JA said. Hmmmmm?
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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 16, 2014 1 comments
Entering the PS Audio room, I felt like a Yankee fan waiting to meet Derek Jeter. I got to speak with audio legends, Paul McGowan (PS Audio), Arnie Nudell (Infinity/Genesis), and one of my old-school engineering heroes, Bascom King (Audio magazine). And . . . I got to hear vintage audio-salon chestnuts like the Eagles' Hotel California, played through a NOS pair of Infinity IRS Beta speakers. (If they were mine, I would have got their designer Arnie Nudell to sign them right there on the spot!) Getting to hear an old song played through vintage speakers via brand new, leading-edge electronics seemed very revealing of how far we've come and where we are now—design-wise and audio aesthetic-wise.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 16, 2014 0 comments
Sometimes now, when I am walking room to room wearing my Stereophile badge, I feel a lot like "Babe in BoyToy Land"—that felt especially true in the DEQX room. I am listening to a pair of Magnepan MG1.7 loudspeakers powered by a Plinius amp (I am friendly and experienced with both of those products and can imagine what they should sound like together in a normal room), together with JL subs below 160Hz. But wait, what I am really experiencing is the result of the DEQX PreMate+ and HDP-5's digital "witches' brew" of loudspeaker/room calibrations and corrections. DEQX's latest preamp/speaker calibration technology linearizes the speaker and system in-room frequency response. And yes, this technology can and did provide the satisfying effects that flat in-room frequency response always provides. Namely, more wholeness, continuity, and increased naturalness of tone.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 14, 2014 3 comments
Many times, I've said these shows are really about people, learning—and secret club—gear-head fun! I believe visiting rooms, listening for a short while and then assigning absolute virtue and value is fool's play. But! But! But! Early the last morning of the show I got a call from Steve Guttenberg raving about the sound in the Linkwitz Lab's room. Immediately, I threw on my pants and went there to investigate.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 12, 2014 6 comments
Like all audio shows, the talk in the halls in Denver is feverish and typically centers on, "So? What have you heard that was good?" And, "Who's room do you like the most?" But, just so it doesn't get too goody goody this wild boy-toys enthusiasm is always seasoned with a bit of dodgy gossipy critique: "Do you believe so and so is showing such and such?" And, "To me it sounded like over priced crapola!" Or more commonly, "At that price it better sound good."

Let me say now, I try my best to avoid all of the above . . .

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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 11, 2014 4 comments
Friday, October 10, 11:30am: the line to enter the 11th Rocky Mountain Audio Fest stretched into the Marriott Denver Tech Center's parking lot.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 02, 2014 5 comments
My best old friend, "David Ray of Today," dropped out of school when he was 15 so that he could stock vegetables on the night shift at the IGA in a small Illinois farm town. By the time he'd turned 25, he owned five houses, 25 Cadillacs, and a barn full of knickknacks.

David chose to work nights so his days would be free to buy objets d'art at the local Salvation Army store. He bought Fiesta Ware, Bakelite radios, homemade quilts, and locally fashioned tin chicken-feeders. The quilts had to be hand-sewn and in perfect condition, with no stains. The radios had to work, have all their knobs, and their Masonite backboards had to be whole and unbroken. Most important, none of these things could cost over $5.

Herb Reichert Posted: Sep 26, 2014 3 comments
Some among us remember a time when audio was divided into rival interests. On the left side of the pond was the New World, where left-brainers believed that vanishing harmonic distortion meant that "all amplifiers sound the same," and that good loudspeakers are a high-fidelity audio system's most important components. Across the waves, so-called flat-earthers claimed that the most important part of the playback chain was the turntable. (Of secondary importance were the tonearm and cartridge, followed by the preamp and amplifier. Loudspeakers were deemed relatively unimportant.) In the 1980s, this extremist idea of the "front end first" captured the imaginations of audiophiles, mostly in the Mother Country.

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