Robert Baird, Phil Brett, Ray Chelstowski  |  Jan 12, 2024  |  3 comments
Grateful Dead: Wake of the Flood, 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition; Betty Davis: Crashin' From Passion; X-Ray Spex: Conscious Consumer; Cat Power: Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert.
Thomas Conrad  |  Jan 12, 2024  |  0 comments
Adam Birnbaum: Preludes; Simón Willson: Good Company; Joshua Redman: Where Are We.
Jason Victor Serinus, Stephen Francis Vasta  |  Jan 12, 2024  |  3 comments
Weinberg: Dawn, Op.60, Symphony No.12, Op.114; Nielsen: Violin Concerto, Flute Concerto, Clarinet Concerto; Walker: Sinfonias 1–5.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Jan 11, 2024  |  47 comments
What goes into building and outfitting a listening room? One of Stereophile's reviewers found out first-hand—and almost bit off more than he could chew. A tale of white powder, a mummified dog, and various deals with the devil.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 10, 2024  |  13 comments
Three products were recently subjected to second opinions: I reviewed the revised RS250A version of HiFi Rose's RS250 streaming D/A preamplifier and the optional DC1 DAC module for Audio Research's I/50 integrated amplifier; Ken Micallef wrote about his time with the Volti Razz loudspeaker.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 05, 2024  |  4 comments
When Jim Austin offered the Plinius Reference A-150 stereo amplifier ($14,995) for review, it felt like a welcome blast from the past. Plinius has, lately, maintained a low profile in the US, likely due to several changes in US distributorship...Under the auspices of Ralph Abramo and California-based Plinius Audio Sales and Repair, Plinius's US profile seems to be rising again.
Michael Trei  |  Jan 04, 2024  |  4 comments
Photo by Himanshu Ratnaka

In prior screeds, I have discussed the category of turntable designers I like to call deep thinkers, who twist their brains to come up with fresh thinking about how to approach the task of playing a vinyl record. If there is a poster boy for deep thinkers, it's got to be Simon Brown.

Brown is based on the South Island of New Zealand. I'm thinking that being in such a far-flung part of the world must have given his head plenty of space to get creative. First, in 2011 he created The Wand tonearm, a striking unipivot design that features a fat carbon-fiber armtube nearly 1" in diameter (below). Art Dudley wrote about The Wand in 2019, and I highly recommend that you read his thoughts, especially about his struggles to set up The Wand.

Ken Micallef  |  Jan 03, 2024  |  5 comments
In the 1970s, Steely Dan produced hit records for a listening public that could care less about the band's cryptic lyrics. Those early Dan fans responded to their songs' epic choruses and glistening hooks, awarding chart-topping success and a global audience.

From 1972's Can't Buy a Thrill to 1980's closing act Gaucho, Bard sages Walter Becker (1950–2017) and Donald Fagen occupied a place in pop music as unique as their songs' references to "wild gamblers," "midnight cruisers," "bodacious cowboys," and a female protagonist who "prays like a Roman with her eyes on fire." Much later, Becker and Fagen returned to the studio, issuing Two Against Nature to an audience still hungry for their singular R&B-and jazz-based music.

Herb Reichert  |  Jan 02, 2024  |  11 comments
Recently I've been thinking a lot about the late Art Dudley and how Art worked humbly and relentlessly to get me to appreciate contemporary bluegrass, especially the work of renowned flat-picker Tony Rice. Back then, my contempt for contemporary bluegrass was equal to my contempt for contemporary country. Both seemed faux and shallow.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 29, 2023  |  126 comments
When I reviewed the Concept 50 loudspeaker from the UK's Q Acoustics in August 2022, I concluded that the Concept 50 lowers the sweet price spot for affordable tower speakers to $3000/pair. Now I have another pair of Q Acoustics loudspeakers in the house for review. Like the earlier speaker, the 5040 is a slim, elegant-looking tower with a vertical D'Appolito drive-unit array comprising a 0.9" fabric-dome tweeter positioned between the two 5" plastic-cone woofers. But the price is half that of the Concept 50: $1499/pair. Will this be a new sweet spot? We shall see.