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Herb Reichert Posted: Jul 23, 2015 13 comments
When all you've ever heard are wooden boxes that shout, it's difficult to recognize their highly accented "voice." Few of us actually notice how miserably distorted all loudspeakers are. Don't believe me? Try listening to a recording of your child's voice, the sounds of rattling keys, or an audience applauding.
Herb Reichert Posted: Jul 02, 2015 5 comments
As an audio scribe, the fiercest demons I wrestle are beliefs—yours and mine; those of my friends, my editors, my fellow reviewers; and those of the engineers and promoters of the products I write about. Sometimes the force of these rabidly held and (mostly) conflicting beliefs paralyzes me with self-doubt: What do I know? What makes me qualified to listen and judge?
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Herb Reichert Posted: Jun 28, 2015 4 comments
Left to right at the "Vinyl Resurrection" seminar: Nina Palmer (Ross Ellis Printing), Steve Sheldon (Rainbo Records), Michael Kurtz (Record Store Day), Bryan Burkert (The Sound Garden), Matthew Johnson (Fat Possum Records), and Mark Piro (Spark/Razor & Tie).

The New Music Seminar 2015 was a three-day (June 21,22, and 23) conference held in New York that invited music industry insiders to dialog on the current state and potential future of the music delivery business. Right away I knew I wasn't at CES...

Herb Reichert Posted: Jun 05, 2015 5 comments
For decades, I read all the British and American audio magazines, and I pretty much believed everything written therein—with one exception. The equipment reviews published in Stereo Review had an off-puttingly disingenuous quality. I learned a lot from the magazine's reviews of recordings and loudspeakers, but every time senior editor Julian Hirsch wrote that any amp with sufficiently high power, low measured distortion, and high damping factor would sound the same as any other with similar qualifications, I felt estranged from my favorite hobby. Stereo Review's arrogance came off as duplicitous and self-serving. The magazine seemed committed to stamping out all forms of individualized audio connoisseurship.
Herb Reichert Posted: Jun 03, 2015 4 comments
Photo: Jason Victor Serinus

During THE Show, the Woo Audio/M•A Recordings room became my restful oasis. I am an extreme fan of M•A Recordings and its most worldly proprietor, Todd Garfinkle (right above in Jason's photo). Todd makes perfect-sounding recordings of real in-the-world music. Not audiophile recordings of some faux chanteuse in clown makeup singing songs she doesn't understand for an audience that cares more about sonics than poetic expression. In contrast, Todd Garfinkle picks up gypsies in the Paris Metro and brings them home. He shares his best food and wine with them—and finally, when they are properly "prepared," he turns on his recorder and gets them to chant, shout and play wedding songs—with tubas, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, accordions, drums and fierce stomping boots!

Herb Reichert Posted: Jun 01, 2015 4 comments
I am having my second morning coffee in the LAOCAS hospitality lounge and a man walks in and announces loudly, "I am officially blown away!" Everyone looks. Ok? So what did you hear? He stands there grinning. "Have you been to the Elac room?"
Herb Reichert Posted: May 30, 2015 1 comments
First morning of the first day, jet-lagged, don't recognize anybody, forgot every name and, worse still: I broke every rule I made for myself on the way to Newport Beach. Mostly, I have attended these shows as a distributor-exhibitor so I never forget how much it costs in money and psychic energy to do any show—let alone the whole US-World circuit. Many of these exhibitors just finished a big, wallet-crushing, jet-lagging show in Munich, and now they are here in California (how many miles and time zones is that?), still staggering and punch drunk from dancing on that big stage—trying to smile and impress everybody. So my kind and gentle spirit tells me to understand and try to comfort them...
Herb Reichert Posted: May 29, 2015 1 comments
High-end audio is mostly about songs blaring from boxes. Occasionally, you can be sitting near some of these wailing boxes and think: Wow, these songs are sounding pretty darn good! If you’re an audiophile that means you’ve found a home. Today, on my first day in Newport Beach, California I am sitting in the lobby of the Irvine Hotel (home of The Home Entertainment Show Newport) getting myself psyched for room after room of blaring boxes and stacks of brochures, sproutin’ like cotton from every horizontal surface...
Herb Reichert Posted: May 27, 2015 3 comments
So, audiophiles, riddle me this: What does a DAC actually look like? I don't mean the box it hides in—I mean the little doodad that does the actual converting from digital to analog. Is it bigger than a phono cartridge? Is it made of rain-forest wood, gemstone, or porcelain? Do people show it to their friends, who gawk in awe and envy? Does it have an exotic, geisha-sounding name like Jasmine Tiger, Koetsu Onyx, or Miyajima Takumi? When it breaks, does a watchmaker type rebuild it for a not-insubstantial fee? Do people hoard them in vaults, like NOS tubes? Can you trade a DAC for a rose-gold Rolex Oyster Bubbleback ca 1945?
Herb Reichert Posted: Apr 23, 2015 5 comments
I find small humans more beguiling than big people. My favorites are the two-footers—those little two-year-old boys with a kind of wobbly, bent-kneed stride that dips like a blues song every fourth step as they stagger ahead of their watchful parents. I like three-footers too—sprightly three-year-old girls who dress better than their moms and never need a lifestyle consultation. Whenever we see one of these cheerful, bouncing young'uns coming toward us on the sidewalk, I smile and my dog's tail wags. Their bright faces and excited voices make me think, You go, little sprouts! These miniature humans' special beauty is that they still possess their full force de vie.

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