Marketplace Discoveries: M•A Recordings & Periodic Audio

By a long shot, most people who visited the marketplace immediately headed to the LP bins and rummaged away. In fact, if my photo had come out, I could show you how busy the room was at 10:15AM on Friday, a time reserved for press, when a combination of vinyl-hungry exhibitors, attendees who managed to get in early, and press people from online publications that are dedicated to serving their owners first were pouring through bins, looking for buried treasure.

Hopefully, some of those folks made it over to Todd Garfinkle's M•A Recordings booth and discovered some his fabled audiophile recordings (above). My imagination was piqued by Transcending Continents and Memories, a 176.4kHz or DSD128 hi-rez recording that became one of Herb Reichert's 2018 Records to Die For. I wonder if this interplay between pipa organetto, medieval fiddle and percussion rivals Todd's fabled Sera una noche and Llama recordings for vibrancy, color, and musical interest. Take a look at how many R2D4s we've given this label.

Don Wiggins' Periodic Audio makes a diminutive 32/384 Rhodium DAC ($49), equipped with a RealTek 5686 chip. It comes with a modern Mac/Apple/iPad-friendly USB-C (Thunderbolt) termination and USB-C to USB-B adapter. Claiming a dynamic range of 113dB and THD+N <0.007%, this little baby doesn't require any downloadable drivers, and can be paired with one of four sets of Periodic earbuds: Magnesium ($99), Titanium ($199), Beryllium ($299), and Carbon ($399). (You can use other earbuds, of course.) The booth had a simple switch that allowed painless comparison of all four earbud models. Also on display was the Periodic Audio Nickel amplifier ($299). Small products, low footprint, and reasonable prices.