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Herb Reichert Posted: Mar 30, 2017 31 comments
Some of our readers seem to believe that the essence of high-quality audio is disclosed primarily by science, and not by dreamy, bodice-ripping adventures that take place on plush carpets behind closed doors. Perhaps they're right. Unfortunately, I have had no personal experiences that confirm that hypothesis.
Herb Reichert Posted: Mar 24, 2017 7 comments
The soul of a loudspeaker cannot be exclusively characterized by such unmeasurable, reviewer-friendly declarations as "lush tonality," "gossamer textures," "clear-water transparency," "microdetail," or "pacey dynamic rhythmic expression." Neither can it be fully described by such measurable characteristics as anechoic frequency response, dynamic impedance, or step response. More than anything else, a loudspeaker expresses its full character in how and where it directs the listener's attention. What a loudspeaker emphasizes—what it reveals, what it obscures, what it forces the listener to notice and think about—that is a loudspeaker's soul.
Herb Reichert Posted: Feb 23, 2017 8 comments
In the United Kingdom, the first seeds of perfectionism in audio separates were sown by Goodmans Industries, founded in 1925. Then, in 1930, Garrard (est. 1722) produced its first commercial gramophone. Shortly thereafter, England experienced the Great Slump, the British name for the worldwide catastrophe known in the US as the Great Depression. Near the beginning of this economic downturn, in 1932, Gilbert Briggs founded Wharfedale Wireless Works—and the first British "high-fidelity" audio amplifiers began being manufactured by H.J. Leak & Co. Ltd., founded by Harold Joseph Leak in 1934.
Herb Reichert Posted: Jan 31, 2017 7 comments
UK, 1976: Upon its release, Rega Research's original Planar 3 turntable became the poor man's Linn Sondek LP12. It opened a gateway of affordability to the exotic world of high-quality British record players. Forty years later, the new Planar 3 turntable and its "light and rigid" engineering aesthetic, as conceived by Rega founder Roy Gandy, still occupy an admirably working-class, pro-music position in an audio world increasingly populated by gold-plated tonearms and quarter-ton turntables.
Herb Reichert Posted: Jan 18, 2017 18 comments
Right now, I swear, Schiit Audio's Mike Moffat and Jason Stoddard are sitting there in California, smugly smirking at me and John Atkinson. While JA was struggling to properly measure Schiit's Ragnarok (Fate of the Gods) integrated amplifier for my review in the May 2016 issue, I sent Moffat an e-mail: "Are you smiling?"

"Yup," he replied. He'd known in advance that the Ragnarok wouldn't look good on standard tests. But he hadn't warned us: The Ragnarok's output-stage bias program responds to music sources, not signal generators.

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Herb Reichert Posted: Jan 13, 2017 0 comments
Besides the TIA's thick copper top deck (and copper remote handset), the 280R features full point-to-point-wired, dual-mono construction with one GZ34 rectifier tube per channel…
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Herb Reichert Posted: Jan 12, 2017 0 comments
Both sides of the Atlantic are making tube products that (again) sound at least a little like actual vacuum tubes and less like high-strung solid-state racing cars. Both cultures now want genuine tube sound but demand 21st century tube longevity and reliability—and, of course, a discrete headphone amplifier.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Jan 12, 2017 4 comments
Look at that photo, with the beautiful wood-plinthed KT88 amp. What do you notice? That's not a dCS digital stack lying on the table bottom-right: It's an iPad. A fancy red cable, whose name I forgot to get, is connecting a portable music source to the line-level input of a $1850 single-ended stereo integrated headphone amplifier called the Mogwai.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Jan 12, 2017 0 comments
The one that has me the most stoked is the Rogers High Fidelity 65V-1 class-A, single-ended EL34/KT88 integrated amplifier ($3999). Not to mention: I have never seen an amp painted with industrial-black crinkle paint that I didn't love.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Jan 12, 2017 0 comments
I am an Anglophile…and a Brit-fi guy. I just am. Back in 1982 I really wanted a wood-cased A&R Cambridge A60 to drive my Rogers LS3/5a speakers. But I couldn't afford its modest price. Somewhere around then, this venerable UK company simplified their name to Arcam.

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