Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 29, 2022  |  5 comments
What a great way to start a show. I don't know what impelled me to choose my CD of Patricia Barber's Higher, but the combination of Constellation's smooth-talking Pictor line stage with DC blocker ($24,500) and DC filter ($8000) with the company's Centaur II 500 amplifier ($80,000) and Magico S5 MkII loudspeakers ($45,500/pair) was perfect for Barber's cool, no-nonsense presentation. This was one smooth, toned-down, ultra-clean system that all but guaranteed non-fatiguing listening for hours and hours upon end.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 29, 2022  |  5 comments
Stop the presses! The wittiest of Stereophile's legacy posters, our very own Anton, has returned to the audio show realm. Once again ensconced in his unique NFS room—NFS stands for "Not for Sale"—Anton has rented a penthouse suite at PAF in which to seduce showgoers with mood lighting, a vintage/homebrewed system, and lots and lots of hard brew (as in alcohol).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 29, 2022  |  0 comments
Spied in the hallway the night before the show opened was Lou Hinkley, PAF co-organizer (with Gary Gill of the Capital Audio fest). Since Lou also owns/designs WA State-based Daedalus Audio's speakers and will be running that room, who knows what shape he'll be in by end of Day 3. But when I discovered him at 6:30pm, he let on that assisting/troubleshooting/and reassuring exhibitors on the day before was one of the most humbling experiences of his life.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 29, 2022  |  1 comments
The first high-end audio show in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), the Pacific Audio Fest, runs Friday–Sunday, July 28–30, in the Doubletree Hilton near SEATAC airport. Opening times are 10am–6pm Friday and Saturday, 10am–4pm Sunday.
Julie Mullins  |  Jul 28, 2022  |  6 comments
Like many fans of music on vinyl, I've grown accustomed to waiting for preordered records. For several years, record-pressing plants have been oversubscribed; there just aren't enough presses to keep up with demand. When vinyl declined in the 1980s—replaced first by cassette tape and then by CD—old presses were abandoned, falling to rust and disrepair before the vinyl revival, leaving the industry with limited capacity.
Alex Halberstadt  |  Jul 27, 2022  |  13 comments
My little corner of Brooklyn happens to have a terrific little record shop. I like it for the usual reasons: well-chosen merchandise, fair prices, fun music on the speakers while you browse. But I like it just as much because great record stores tend to resemble one another in more idiosyncratic ways, and this one has the earmarks of the great record stores of my youth.
Michael Fremer  |  Jul 26, 2022  |  7 comments
Whenever I do turntable-setup seminars, I complain to the participants about the lack of cartridge-pin diameter and clip-opening standards. Anyone who does their own setup has experienced it: The connection is too tight or too loose. Forcing the clip onto the pin usually results in a broken-off clip that most end users don't have the soldering skills needed to repair; in the worst case, it can even result in damage to the cartridge when you try to remove the clip from the pin.
John Atkinson  |  Jul 22, 2022  |  4 comments
Characteristically, the email from Kal Rubinson got straight to the point: "I have a WiiM Mini that I have played with, but I am not the right one to review this as I am not sufficiently interested in or knowledgeable about wireless streaming. It ... can handle uncompressed PCM via its DACs." "I'll review it," I replied, intrigued by a $99 D/A processor that can stream hi-rez audio via Wi-Fi and that also has an analog input so it can act as a preamplifier.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 21, 2022  |  3 comments
Wilco: Cruel Country
dBpm (24/96 stream, Qobuz; also available as 2CD, 2LP). 2022. Jeff Tweedy, Tom Schick, prods.; Tom Schick, eng.
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½

The cover art for Wilco's finely hewn double album Cruel Country resembles a hand-stitched doily or the kind of patch you might have seen sewn onto the back pocket of a pair of vintage faded jeans circa 1978. It's appropriate: Wilco's music has long been a patchwork, piecing together the scope and potential of American music for the band's nearly 30 years.

Herb Reichert  |  Jul 20, 2022  |  22 comments
My review samples of Genelec's G Three powered loudspeaker came with a little hand-sized green and tan cardboard card featuring a poem in bold black letters dated 1898:

At the cottage window a little bird sang.
And the light of the window did flicker.
And look. The roof up it sprang and the cottage became a house bigger.
Look. Into a world the cottage grew and the vast and wide too and filled with song was the air and like new was the sun's flare.