Stephen Mejias

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Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 19, 2011  |  5 comments
During the final episode of Radio Happy Hour, held at Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge on Friday, August 12, we were treated to performances by New York five-piece, Twin Sister. The band played a selection of songs from In Heaven, an unabashed pop album full of hooks and charms, to be released by Domino on September 27.

I was drawn to this music from its earliest moments—those celestial and far-reaching chimes, old-school synth beats, and Andrea Estella’s arresting vocal delivery, a strange and glittering coo, reaching out to “Daniel”:

Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 16, 2011  |  4 comments
The Magico Q1 two-way monitor, first seen at the California Audio Show earlier this year, will make its New York debut during the Grand Opening of the new EarsNova showroom at 3 East 28th Street, in Manhattan.
Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 11, 2011  |  7 comments
It’s a beautiful day in NYC: sunny, 80 degrees, with a slight breeze and low humidity—a perfect day for an outdoor concert. Later this afternoon, I’ll head out to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, meet up with Natalie and Nicole—Kristin will be there, too—and enjoy a “Celebrate Brooklyn” event featuring Foster the People, Midnight Magic, and Cut Copy.
Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 10, 2011  |  15 comments
The September 2011 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands. On the cover, we feature Oppo’s latest universal disc player, the BDP-95: It slices, it dices, it plays everything and sounds great. In his review, Kal Rubinson installs the BDP-95 in his Manhattan apartment where he compares its two-channel output against that of the Sony SCD-XA5400ES, then he takes the Oppo to his Connecticut home and compares its analog multichannel output against that of Oppo’s earlier BDP-83SE. He comes up with some interesting conclusions.

Also in this issue:

Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 09, 2011  |  8 comments
Mirror Mirror, the third album from Glasgow band Sons & Daughters, opens with a single note from a vintage synth. Barely audible at first, it grows and grows and rises vertically in the soundstage—for 15 seconds it grows: a sharp white light in an otherwise dark room—building tension, warning of some sort of danger, as it goes. This high-pitched note is met first by stomping feet, then by clapping hands—single file and far, far off, but growing in size and intensity—before finally being joined by the voices of Adele Bethel and Scott Paterson, singing, strangely singing, barely singing at all, more chanting, intoning, repeating, casting:
Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 08, 2011  |  0 comments
Dan Schmalle and Luke Manley smile in the background, while Brian Damkroger and I sit in the engineers' seats. Photo by Philip O'Hanlon.

On the first day of the California Audio Show, I heard some of the most beautiful music in a room hosted by Acoustic Analysis, The Tape Project, and Bottlehead, featuring a system made of Focal Diablo Utopia loudspeakers, Focal SW1000 Be subwoofers, a VTL TL-6.5 Signature line preamp and MB-450 Signature III monoblock power amplifiers, Siltech cables, and a Bottlehead-modified Otari tape machine. The music had such a smooth, effortless quality to it, unlike anything else I heard at the show: The sound of tape. It was an awesome listening experience.

On the following evening, I got to visit the mastering studio where the team from The Tape Project does its work.

Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 05, 2011  |  4 comments
For awhile, we were at our wit’s end, feeling buried alive, but everything is okay now: We just finished shipping our massive October issue to pre-press. At 212 pages, it’s our largest issue since October 2008.

We’ll see the proofs on Monday. Until then, we can relax.

To help us do that, we have Cass McCombs’ “Buried Alive,” from the achingly beautiful Wit’s End.

This is one of Jaime's favorites, and Jaime is one of mine.

Cass McCombs' Wit's End is out now on Domino Records. The album is available on CD, LP, and cassette. (Yes, cassette!)

Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 04, 2011  |  4 comments
This is absolutely outstanding. Please watch and listen as sound expert Julian Treasure offers strategies for re-tuning our ears.

Via TED. (Thanks for the link, SP.)

Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 02, 2011  |  4 comments
I don’t really know what to say about this, so I’ll just quote the press release:

The role of an High End amplifier is to reproduce the music, all the music.

Amateur of beautiful often unique parts, GoldAmp is the Only One. An exceptional musical know-how. Celebrate interpreter who knows how to be forgot. A magnificent story which can be told by moments of complicity in the emotion. Reunion with classicals works henceforth dear to our hearts.

Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 02, 2011  |  10 comments
The subject of the e-mail was “boobsheadphones.” Inside, a simple question (“Can you tell me if these are real?”) was followed by a link to an interesting YouTube video.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 28, 2011  |  6 comments
I’ve listened to no album this year more than I’ve listened to Wild Beasts’ Smother. For that matter, I’ve enjoyed no album more this year than Wild Beasts’ Smother. It courses slowly and deliberately through colors and moods of pain, longing, love, and desire—all that good stuff—and it does so with such a gentle touch, a delicious smoothness, a constant, lulling pulse.

It pours from your loudspeakers and into the room.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 27, 2011  |  7 comments
I went to Other Music yesterday and picked up a few records:
Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 20, 2011  |  4 comments
I received a very kind note from Owen McCafferty, who, along with Ben Meadors, hopes to travel to Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, and New York City, meeting vinyl collectors, record store owners, and other vinyl enthusiasts, to discuss why vinyl is important. The duo will document their journey and publish a book detailing their experiences.

A week ago, when we first caught up with Owen and Ben, they were about $2000 away from the funds needed to support their Kickstarter project.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 14, 2011  |  7 comments
The August 2011 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands. On the cover, we feature the lovely Voxativ Ampeggio.

Made in Germany and imported by NYC’s newest audio salon, Audioarts (1 Astor Place), the beautiful Ampeggio uses a single proprietary 7" dual-cone driver with a large, convex surround, designed to accommodate a much greater excursion than the typical Lowther driver. The complex cabinet, designed and voiced in collaboration with Schimmel Pianos, incorporates a series of facet boards for optimal radiation resistance and houses a twice-folded horn, nearly 9-feet long from throat to mouth. The Ampeggio offered the usual Lowther traits of transient speed, spatial presence, dramatic ease, and physical impact, but added deep, well-controlled bass and excellent soundstaging. “A high-efficiency, single-driver loudspeaker for which no excuses need be made,” said AD. JA was impressed by the Voxativ’s superbly flat in-room response and genuine 98dB sensitivity.

What? Who said that? Excuse me, sorry, sorry: I’ve been writing “Recommended Components” blurbs for the upcoming October issue.

Never mind that. We’re talking about the August issue. It’s now on newsstands. This is important:

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 14, 2011  |  19 comments
Clearly, more and more people—young and old, male and female—are choosing to enjoy their favorite music on vinyl, a decidedly old-fashioned format. Every time I walk into a record store, I see more vinyl. And more people. The new record bins are growing, the used record bins are growing, LPs are taking up space previously occupied by CDs, and people are shopping enthusiastically, getting in between me and all that precious vinyl. But why?