Interviews

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Jana Dagdagan  |  Feb 09, 2018  |  2 comments
Back in the early summer of 2017, Jack Oclee-Brown, KEF's Head of Acoustics, visited John Atkinson to set up the KEF Reference 5 loudspeakers in his listening room. JA's review of the Ref 5 was published in October 2017, and during Jack's visit JA talked to him about the design of that speaker. But they also discussed KEF's affordable "Q" line of speakers and the challenges a manufacturer faces in bringing an inexpensive loudspeaker to market, the subject of this interview.
Jonathan Scull  |  Feb 08, 2018  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1999  |  2 comments
Tom Jung of DMP (Digital Music Products) is known as one of digital's early adopters. He's also an outspoken proponent of Sony's Super Audio CD over DVD-Audio. As I was intending to review Sony's first SACD player, the SCD-1, I invited Tom to Kathleen's and my Manhattan loft to investigate further. Tom and son Paul, who's responsible for DMP's sales and marketing, arrived with a passel of big drives, a DSD computer controller, and electronics designed by Ed Meitner.
Ken Micallef  |  Feb 05, 2018  |  15 comments
Chances are, if you're a regular Stereophile reader, you're already a fan of tenor saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh. How so? Because our astute crew of writers, editors, and all-round trendsetters have their collective fingers on the pulse of music that matters. Stereophile Contributing Editor Fred Kaplan reviewed Sabbagh's 2015 vinyl release, The Turn, bringing his honed insight to bear on a recording he describes as "spectacular. Sabbagh's sax floats palpably between the speakers, Ted Poor's drumkit crashes and sizzles . . .Ben Monder's guitar sparkles or wails. . . and Joe Martin's bass plucks and thumps like an anchor. Everything is clear, in a wide, deep, seamless space."
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jan 26, 2018  |  17 comments
"Richard Vandersteen doesn't look like a typical loudspeaker designer," wrote Ken Kessler when he interviewed Vandersteen in the July 1988 issue of Stereophile. JA talked speakers with Richard Vandersteen at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, held January 9-12 in Las Vegas, NV.
Robert Baird  |  Jan 22, 2018  |  1 comments
Another high-quality LP reissue label catches fire...
Robert Baird  |  Jan 04, 2018  |  1 comments
Is classical music really on the ropes? Living in New York City, it's easy to think that is a myth cooked up in the provinces.

Recently, at a performance of the Metropolitan Opera's fabulous current production of Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann, directed by Bartlett Sher, I experienced Classical Music 2017 up close and personal. In the audience, multicolored sequined jackets and cheetah-print slip-on sneakers mixed with tuxedos. Merrell hiking shoes and Patagonia down jackets crossed with slim-fit outfits from Billy Reid and Hermes bags. Between bravura tenor Vittorio Grigolo in the title role and soprano Erin Morley's absolutely wonderful portrayal of the doll, Olympia (Bravo!!!), it was a performance for the ages. None of the recordings I've heard come close.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 01, 2018  |  6 comments
From left to right: Gideon Schwartz, Ron Carter, and Stephen Mejias in the listening room at Audioarts.

I'm sitting next to Ron Carter in the listening room at Manhattan dealer Audioarts, trying not to cry. We're listening to "All Blues," the title track from Carter's 1974 CTI release—a meditative rendition of the Miles Davis masterpiece that has been slowed-down and elongated in such a way that it practically pulls tears from eyes as easily as Carter pulls notes. It's hard to believe that anyone other than Carter has ever touched this piece. Right now, it belongs entirely to him. The system through which we listen is doing a fine job of articulating Carter's distinct combination of purpose and passion. To describe his performance as mere magic would be an insult to his craft, yet to focus too heavily on his discipline would be an injustice to his art.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Dec 27, 2017  |  46 comments
L–R: NoHo Sound's Chris Petranis, Alex Roy, taxidermy bear, & Ron Kain

In an industry constantly perplexed by the absence of youth, diversity, and appreciation for the hobby, three audiophiles set out to revolutionize the industry with the opening of a new hi-fi shop in New York City that is anything but ordinary. NoHo Sound & Stereo (NoHo Sound for short) is located in a swanky loft in the lower Manhattan district NoHo—open seven days a week, by appointment only, with a second location in Chelsea. In addition to selling hi-fi, they host weekly—yes, weekly—live music events of all genres, where startups like Groupmuse and Sofar Sounds use their space for performances, with 100% of proceeds going to the musicians. They also host events in collaboration with the nearby World of McIntosh Townhouse.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Dec 04, 2017  |  16 comments
The January 2018 issue of Stereophile, which will hit newsstands at the end of this week, features GoldenEar Technology's flagship Triton Reference loudspeaker on its cover, with a review inside from John Atkinson. When GoldenEar's co-founder and president Sandy Gross visited JA last July to set the speakers up in his Brooklyn listening room, John asked Sandy about his loudspeaker design goals, his preferences in sound quality, his tastes in audio, and the state of the high-end audio market.
Robert Baird  |  Oct 05, 2017  |  0 comments
Seeing your album in a record store's cutout bin meant one thing. Despite the label execs' wide smiles, warm handshakes, and earnest promises to the contrary, once the record jacket had a hole punched in it, or its corner clipped, it meant your record label had lost faith and moved on.

Record collectors felt differently. The prices of cutouts were right—usually, from 99õ to a penny under two bucks. And cutouts were better than digging through crates because the records were still sealed . . . even if the jackets were a bit mangled. The beauty of cutouts was that they were so cheap, you could afford to be lavish, and go home with anything that caught your fancy.

Ken Micallef  |  Oct 01, 2017  |  11 comments
Starting with Musicians As Audiophiles subject #1, jazz drummer extraordinaire Billy Drummond, one thing soon became clear: New York City and its environs are a veritable smorgasbord of musicians who value high-end audio authenticity as much as any longtime reader of Stereophile.

"A fellow drummer and friend, Aaron Kimmel, got me into audio via Billy Drummond," notes MAA #7, drummer Paul Wells. "We call Billy 'the Pusherman.' He's got a lot of musicians in New York into high-end audio.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 28, 2017  |  0 comments
To accompany my review of the Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Progression monoblock amplifier elsewhere in this issue, I talked to Dan D'Agostino about the amplifier's design. I started by asking him what were some of the major differences between the Momentum and the Progression monoblocks?

Dan D'Agostino: I took the best parts of the Momentum's more sophisticated and complex circuitry and put them in the Progression, without using the same high parts count. Each stage of the Momentum's gain amplifier is separate, with input stage and driver stages on separate rails. All of the Momentum's devices are designed for maximum performance in a small package, which requires a lot more of them, and a significantly bigger input card than the Progression's. These differences create subtleties, because I'm able to run much higher current in the Momentum's front end.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Sep 06, 2017  |  14 comments
Last May, Jack Oclee-Brown, KEF's Head of Acoustics, visited John Atkinson's listening room to drop off and set up the KEF Reference 5 loudspeakers ($19,000/pair). (JA's review appears in the October Stereophile, which will hit newsstands and mailboxes later this week.) In this video, they discuss Jack's origins and the challenges of speaker design, as well as the genesis of the Reference 5.
Jim Austin  |  Aug 29, 2017  |  65 comments
Nelson Pass is a consummate engineer, but he got his start in physics, earning a bachelor's degree from UC Davis. As he worked on his degree, he was already an audio designer, focusing on loudspeakers—great training for a designer of audio amplifiers. Soon, in 1974, he cofounded Threshold Audio with René Besne, of audio and folk-dancing fame; their goal was to build electronics, partly because the field is less competitive—it's harder than building speakers.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jul 26, 2017  |  10 comments
Last month, our sister site AnalogPlanet.com published a brief post about one of Koeppel Design's recent releases: the LP Block ($76; engraved or stenciled, above). The majority of the comments on the blog criticized the LP Block and few of Kate Koeppel's other products purely for being too expensive. When I read these comments, I felt that the value of her products weren't being appropriately considered. I believe it's because there isn't currently a huge market for record dividers, record stands, and casual record-carrying totes. Consumers have little to compare and therefore lack perspective.

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