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Herb Reichert Posted: Jun 16, 2016 8 comments
My lifestyle consultant warned me not to review Zu Audio's Soul Supreme loudspeaker ($4500/pair).

"Why not?" I asked. "They're exciting and super-enjoyable."

"Zu speakers are not mainstream," he explained. "People either love them or hate them. They're for music lovers, not audiophiles."

"That's not true!" I whined like a disappointed child. "They play Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin with spooky soul and natural tone! They play big classical orchestras—especially with trumpets and timpani—with radical ease and full-tilt momentum! And . . . and . . . they project large soundstages! Isn't that what audiophiles like?"

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Herb Reichert Posted: May 31, 2016 2 comments
This Gramophone Dream is about my continuing adventures as I slowly scale the pyramid of analog audio. I'm still too close to the sandy earth to see the mythical gold tip or enjoy a six-figure super-turntable. However, in this month's episode, I do reach a level where I can relax, play some eternally beautiful music, and peer out over the vast desert of record-player mediocrity.
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Herb Reichert Posted: May 26, 2016 0 comments
This is a true story about a surprising 1W integrated amplifier—a push-pull, class-A, output-transformerless tube amp—that drove my DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93 speakers to 90dB average levels with grace, spiderweb detail, liquidity, and—unbelievably—a small degree of bass slam.
Herb Reichert Posted: Apr 28, 2016 15 comments
This is a story about vulgar words and what is likely one of the most innovative and exciting, yet self-consciously idiosyncratic, audio components of the 21st century: Schiit Audio's Ragnarok integrated amplifier ($1699).

I never use vulgar words—at least not in public. I rarely use the word shit as an adjective, a verb, or a noun. Therefore, when I first heard of an audio company founded by legendary audio engineer Mike Moffat (formally of Theta) and award-winning science-fiction author and audio polymath Jason Stoddard—a company named Schiit—I could permit myself to pronounce its name only as Shite. I thought it made me sound British instead of rude.

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Herb Reichert Posted: Apr 20, 2016 5 comments
Brian Walsh and Essential Audio of Barrington, IL put on a highly enjoyable demonstration. There was something eccentric but wonderful happening with each song. The equipment mix was eccentric and wonderful, too: What is not to like about the Kuzma Stabi S turntable ($2156 and perhaps the best bargain in contemporary hifi), the Kuzma Stogi Ref 313 CE VTA tonearm ($4640), and Kuzma CAR-30 moving-coil cartridge. The digital source components were equally impressive: Aurender N100H music player/streamer ($2699), and the Resonessence Labs Veritas DAC which was premiering at Axpona ($2850).
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Herb Reichert Posted: Apr 19, 2016 1 comments
If you don't like digital it just means you've never heard it through a good DAC like the pin-you-to-the-seat with inner detail and palpable presence Bricasti Design M1 SE ($10,000). Bricasti's Brian Zolner has a way with amps too. I have only heard them with Tidal speakers but his $30,000/pair M28 mono amplifiers appear to be equally extraordinary.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Apr 19, 2016 0 comments
Audio shows are tribal gatherings and, when they are going strong, they can become musical hoedowns. At every one of these tribal gatherings you can find Peter McGrath and Wilson Audio Specialties making the biggest campfire and singing the best songs. Why? Because they can. Decades of experience have made Wilson demos the Big Event—and this year's version, presented by dealer Paragon Sight and Sound, may have been the best ever. They introduced the new Wilson Alexx speaker($109,000/pair). Was it amazing? Of course it was. It was powered by a range of Doshi Audio tube electronics which appeared to do their jobs on some newer, higher level than I am used to.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Apr 18, 2016 1 comments
I was talking to a couple of oldster audiophiles standing outside the glass-walled Woo Audio room. They were raving about some Von Schweikert Audio speakers when I interrupted them to ask, "Have you heard the Abyss headphones?" They laughed and smirked…
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Herb Reichert Posted: Apr 17, 2016 0 comments
I always laugh at Andrew Jones's demonstrations, because every time he plays some bass-slamming blockbuster, the curtains behind the speakers start flapping in the breeze from the force and velocity of the speaker's rear port.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Apr 17, 2016 5 comments
Because the energy is so strong, I always feel drawn to these rooms, and once there, I lose time, spend money, and feel young again…

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