Miscellaneous

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 05, 2022  |  89 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.
Anthony H. Cordesman  |  Jan 13, 2022  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1986  |  4 comments
Photo: "Still Life with Tiptoes"—John Atkinson

Memorandum:
To: Steve McCormack, Chief Designer, The Mod Squad

Dear Steve:

I cannot question the general value of Tiptoes in many specific applications. There are a great many areas where I, many other audiophiles, and a number of leading manufacturers have found that Tiptoes can improve any audio system in which the components are subject to. mechanical or acoustic vibration from speaker sound—that is, virtually any audio system.

J. Gordon Holt  |  Jul 08, 2021  |  First Published: May 01, 1985  |  4 comments
Prologue: The context for this review is that back in the 1980s, preamplifiers and integrated amplifiers with remote controls didn't exist. In early 1985 I borrowed a sample of Acoustic Research's Stereo Remote Control, which I believe was designed by Ken Kantor (later to find fame with NHT) and set it up in my bedroom. It drove a pair of powered loudspeakers with auto turn-on, and I very quickly grew to appreciate, not just the sound quality, but the convenience of being able to control the system from the comfort of my bed. So what did JGH think of the SRC?—John Atkinson
John Atkinson  |  Jun 17, 2021  |  0 comments
Chairman at the Board: Recording the Soundtrack of a Generation, by Bill Schnee. Backbeat Books, 2021. 219pp. $24.49, hard cover; $21.49, Kindle e-book.

It was September 2012, and Sasha Matson and I were in Los Angeles to record the singers for his jazz opera, Cooperstown. We had already recorded the instrumental backing with engineer Mike Marciano at Brooklyn's Systems Two studio, and the venue for the vocal tracking sessions was Bill Schnee's studio in North Hollywood.

Herb Reichert  |  Apr 14, 2021  |  6 comments
Book Review: Audio Research: Making the Music Glow
Written by Ken Kessler, designed by Henry Nolan. 220pp. $150. Available at Audio Research dealers and online at audioresearch.com.

I never met Audio Research Corporation founder William Zane Johnson, who died in 2011. But when he founded his now-legendary company in 1970, I and my ragged troupe of Dynaco modifiers were in the trenches, fighting the sand-warrior hordes during the first transistor onslaught.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 30, 2021  |  14 comments
I'm waiting for a bypass.

My heart did not attack me. My arteries aren't clogged. I'm awaiting an electrical bypass to save my audio system's life.

John Atkinson  |  Sep 14, 2020  |  2 comments
When Stereophile publishes followup reviews of various kinds in the print magazine, we add the followup as a "child page" to the full review. That means that they don't appear on the website's home page and might get missed. The October 2020 issue included three followups: of the Boulder 2108 phono preamplifier, the Weiss DAC502 D/A processor, and the IsoAcoustics Gaia loudspeaker isolation feet.
Julie Mullins  |  Sep 02, 2020  |  7 comments
Apart from the Beatles and Hendrix I heard in my audiophile father's basement, one of my earliest rock'n'roll memories involved a multipurpose record player at school. In third grade, six of us were moved as a separate group to a round table to watch a filmstrip in a darker part of a large, open-plan classroom. A clunky old record player in a self-contained carrying case with a half-dozen headphone jacks sat on the table.
Allen Edelstein  |  Jun 10, 2020  |  First Published: May 01, 1982  |  39 comments
The VPI Magic Brick is an 8lb block of steel laminations, about 5" by 3" by 2", encased in a nicely-finished oak box for aesthetic appeal and for protecting whatever the brick is sitting on from scratches. Placing the Brick over the power transformer of a piece of electronic gear is supposed to improve the sound of your stereo system.
Jim Austin  |  Jan 30, 2020  |  7 comments
Hi-Fi: The History of High-End Audio Design, by Gideon Schwartz, Phaidon Press, 2019. 272pp. $84.97, hard cover.

The ongoing evolution of hi-fi can be measured in any number of ways. Most obviously, we see that evolution in the technologies associated with our industry: in big breakthroughs—mono to stereo, tubes to transistors, analog to digital—as well as incremental improvements in materials and manufacturing techniques.

J. Gordon Holt  |  Dec 12, 2019  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1998  |  4 comments
Editor's Note: Published in 1998, this was the final review written by Stereophile's founder, the late J. Gordon Holt in the 37 years he was associated with the magazine. In it he expounds on his passion for experiencing recorded music in surround sound. Our continuing focus on two-channel products and recordings was one of the reasons Gordon eventually resigned, in August 1999.—John Atkinson
J. Gordon Holt  |  Nov 06, 2019  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1970  |  1 comments
The Revox A-77 has extremely good speed regulation, vanishingly low wow and flutter, very low noise, superb tape handling, and the smoothest, widest-range frequency response of any recorder we have ever tested.

The portable version, with built-in monitor amps and speakers, is very compact for a machine with 10½ reel capacity, and is easily carried by one person. Now that the later version is equipped with a flutter-filtering tension arm, our only criticism of the A-77 is its use of three-circuit jacks for the micro phone inputs instead of the XLR-type receptacles that are considered to be "standard" in the US for on-location audio recording.

John Atkinson  |  Oct 08, 2019  |  18 comments
1019psbbok.promo99% True: Almost a National Bestseller, by Paul McGowan. Lioncrest Publishing, 2019. 364pp. $25.00, hard cover; $15.99, paperback; $9.99, Kindle e-book.

To many audiophiles, high-end audio manufacturers must seem like monolithic entities, enduring for what seems like forever, like cliffs beside a familiar path. But as Paul McGowan explains in this unputdownable autobiography (footnote 1), behind the facade of stability things can be in financial turmoil, with success equally as risky as failure.

Art Dudley  |  May 21, 2019  |  35 comments
It's a toss-up: The house where my family and I lived for 15 years was bigger than the one we have now, and had a much nicer view. On the other hand, we now live in a less economically depressed region, as suggested by the relative scarcity of inflatable lawn decorations. During the last year I saw in my neighborhood far fewer leprechauns, reindeer, Easter Bunnies, purple-and-green Draculas, and turkeys wearing pilgrim hats (which makes about as much sense as Russian soldiers wearing lederhosen). I find those things unspeakably sad, because they're horrible, cheap, gaudy wastes of money.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 19, 2019  |  9 comments
High Performance Loudspeakers: Optimising High Fidelity Loudspeaker Systems, Seventh Edition, by Martin Colloms. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2018. Paperback, 696 pp., $95. Available as an eBook, $79.99.

"Listen to that—that's what I mean by 'cone cry!'"

It was 1979. I'd been taking part in a blind listening test of loudspeakers organized by Martin Colloms (footnote 1) for the British magazine Hi-Fi Choice and, after the formal sessions had ended, had asked Martin to explain something I'd heard. A drive-unit's diaphragm produces cone cry when it resonates at a frequency unconnected with the musical signal it is being asked to produce; we had been using an anechoic recording of a xylophone, and one of the loudspeakers we'd been listening to was blurring the pitches of some of the instrument's notes.

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