LATEST ADDITIONS

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 05, 2022  |  2 comments
"A switch? Why do I need a switch?" That was my response to Meredith Gabor, head of marketing and PR for cable and accessories manufacturer Nordost, after she dropped the news. She had just arranged with Jim Austin for me to write a shorter, "ancillary" review of the new Nordost QNet Network Switch ($3199.99) with its optional QSource linear power supply ($2749.99) and premium QSource DC umbilical interface cables ($339.99 for 1m). Why did I need an expensive QNet switch when my router was functioning reliably? Good question.
Ken Micallef  |  Oct 04, 2022  |  0 comments
As an aspiring teenage illustrator, I was fascinated by the work of outlaw cartoonist Robert Crumb. His beautifully drawn images offered escape from the redneck southern city where I grew up. I was especially enchanted by Crumb's caricatures of blues and jazz musicians, which were assembled in his "Heroes of the Blues" and "Early Jazz Greats" trading-card collections.
Ken Micallef  |  Sep 30, 2022  |  16 comments
Founded in 1926 by Guy R. Fountain in London as the Tulsemere Manufacturing Company, Tannoy—a portmanteau (footnote 1) of "tantalum" and "alloy," after a tantalum-lead alloy used in rectifiers—took on its current commercial identity in 1928. Through the war years and beyond, the company specialized in public-address (PA) systems. Indeed, today, "tannoy" is a widely recognized generic term for a PA system in the UK; there's an entry for "tannoy" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Herb Reichert  |  Sep 29, 2022  |  4 comments
The earliest direct-drive record player I've discovered is Garrard's Model 201 from 1930. It only played 78s. In their advertising, Garrard claimed the 201 was the world's first "transcription turntable." It employed Garrard's latest in a line of what they called "prestige" motors: an AC-induction "Super Motor." Garrard described the 201's platter as "plush covered" and said it was "popular with HiFi enthusiasts and used by the BBC." The 201 was superseded by the 201A, which rotated at both 78 and 33 1/3 rpm. The venerable Garrard 301 that followed was an idler-drive design.
John Atkinson  |  Sep 28, 2022  |  9 comments
My late father-in-law used to say that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the quicker it passes. I was reminded of that when I was asked to review Bel Canto's new e1X DAC/Control Preamplifier ($6800). It didn't seem that long ago that I favorably reviewed the Minnesota company's e.One DAC3, but Google told me that it was 15 years ago! "Other than the jitter performance via its USB input, the Bel Canto e.One DAC3 is the best-measuring digital component I have encountered," I wrote in November 2007 (footnote 1), adding that it "offers some impressive audio engineering in both the digital and analog domains."
Roger Skoff  |  Sep 27, 2022  |  51 comments
I remember the exact moment I became an audiophile. It was 1954. I was 12 years old. My father's friend, Mitch Rose, wanted to buy a "hi-fi set," which was what they called them in those days. Mitch asked my father to go with him to help pick one out. My father asked if I wanted to go along for the ride.

I did, and we went to Emmons Audio in Studio City, California, for what turned out to be one of the formative moments of my life.

Robert Schryer  |  Sep 23, 2022  |  17 comments
Has it ever crossed your mind that the reason you like your system more than your friend's or the store's is not because yours is better, even if you think it is, but because you're used to the sound of yours and not of theirs? Welcome to product habituation.

Some people, including some audiophiles, believe that product habituation is what's really behind what some people refer to as product break-in. It's not a mechanical or electronic phenomenon, they contend, but a mental one. Assuming the sound of the new gear is of adequate quality, it's the listener that breaks in to the product, as the product's sound, which was initially strange, grows more familiar and, so, right.

Rogier van Bakel  |  Sep 22, 2022  |  8 comments
I like to think that my musical tastes are pretty eclectic: jazz, pop, blues, Americana, metal, world music, ambient, prog rock, more. Operatic music and classical singing, though? Thanks, I'll pass.

There are exceptions. I find tear-tugging beauty in "Ebben? Ne Andrò Lontana" from Alfredo Catalani's La Wally, whether sung by Donij van Doorn or Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez (footnote 1). The German Lieder of Kurt Weill, as interpreted by soprano Teresa Stratas, produce gladness in my heart but confusion in my uncomprehending wife and children. Maybe it's because the often sarcastic, gruff songs about the travails of the lumpenproletariat contrast with the purity of Stratas's classically trained voice. That clash is precisely what I love about it.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 21, 2022  |  21 comments
The text, from Gary Bruestle, a speaker-positioning wizard at Definitive Audio in Seattle, left my mouth watering: "Have you heard the Apex version of a Rossini or Vivaldi yet? It's stunningly good. Addictive, even. ... I usually have a hard time relaxing and listening to music in the showroom, but the Rossini Apex DAC had me in its thrall for a few hours yesterday."
Herb Reichert  |  Sep 20, 2022  |  9 comments
If I hear it, is it real?

If your ears see,
And your eyes hear,
Not a doubt you'll cherish—How naturally the rain drips
From the eyes!
Bujutsu Sosho

The more audio gear I review, the more fascinated I become by the fact that as I listen to recorded music, I can close my eyes and see musicians on the stage at Carnegie Hall, or djembe drummers in a desert by a tent, or a bass note penetrating the Milky Way. What a gift of consciousness. And what a great hobby it is that focuses my attentions in this manner.

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