Jana Dagdagan

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Jana Dagdagan  |  Feb 09, 2018  |  2 comments
Back in the early summer of 2017, Jack Oclee-Brown, KEF's Head of Acoustics, visited John Atkinson to set up the KEF Reference 5 loudspeakers in his listening room. JA's review of the Ref 5 was published in October 2017, and during Jack's visit JA talked to him about the design of that speaker. But they also discussed KEF's affordable "Q" line of speakers and the challenges a manufacturer faces in bringing an inexpensive loudspeaker to market, the subject of this interview.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Sep 06, 2017  |  14 comments
Last May, Jack Oclee-Brown, KEF's Head of Acoustics, visited John Atkinson's listening room to drop off and set up the KEF Reference 5 loudspeakers ($19,000/pair). (JA's review appears in the October Stereophile, which will hit newsstands and mailboxes later this week.) In this video, they discuss Jack's origins and the challenges of speaker design, as well as the genesis of the Reference 5.
Jana Dagdagan  |  May 16, 2016  |  15 comments
Photos: Brian Li

It's half past seven on a drizzly Friday night in New York City. I'm a little bit of a mess; soggy from the sporadic downpour, weakened by a full day's work, and still regretting the sub-par pork and chive dumplings I wolfed down earlier. All day long I've been fighting off the urge to inject myself with cold beers (preferably Guinness) and binge watch Wong Kar Wai films. It's one of those days.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 01, 2018  |  6 comments
From left to right: Gideon Schwartz, Ron Carter, and Stephen Mejias in the listening room at Audioarts.

I'm sitting next to Ron Carter in the listening room at Manhattan dealer Audioarts, trying not to cry. We're listening to "All Blues," the title track from Carter's 1974 CTI release—a meditative rendition of the Miles Davis masterpiece that has been slowed-down and elongated in such a way that it practically pulls tears from eyes as easily as Carter pulls notes. It's hard to believe that anyone other than Carter has ever touched this piece. Right now, it belongs entirely to him. The system through which we listen is doing a fine job of articulating Carter's distinct combination of purpose and passion. To describe his performance as mere magic would be an insult to his craft, yet to focus too heavily on his discipline would be an injustice to his art.

Jana Dagdagan  |  May 23, 2016  |  54 comments
Boy meets girl.
Boy and girl fall in love.
Boy and girl live happily ever after.

This is the traditional fairytale romance we've all been spoon-fed from birth. You know, Disney, unicorns, white picket fences, medieval castles, Ryan Gosling, etc, etc. There are many variations, but each one essentially tells the same story.

Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is, reality often falls quite short of fairytale, and very rarely is one story identical to the next. Modern romance is often more like this...

Jana Dagdagan  |  Jan 30, 2017  |  1 comments
Last week, we posted a video on AudioStream of a conversation between Juergen Reis (MBL's Chief Designer), Michael Lavorgna (AudioStream), and John Atkinson, which we filmed during CES 2017. During that same session, we also filmed a conversation between JA and Juergen that focuses more specifically on MBL's new N31 DAC, which JA will be reviewing in a future issue of Stereophile.

In this video, Juergen and JA discuss digital filters, aliasing, Nyquist ringing, USB inputs, inter-sample "overs," and many of the other arcane issues involved in DAC design.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Mar 13, 2017  |  2 comments
Last week at Seattle retailer Definitive Audio's 12th Music Matters, I got to watch one of Michael Fremer's legendary vinyl presentations. (If you have not witnessed Magic Mikey in action—he will be reprising his dem at AXPONA in April—it is truly a must-see!) In this video, Mikey demonstrates the difference between record pressings by playing three different pressings of Nina Simone's debut album Little Girl Blue: the 1958 original; a Pure Pleasure reissue; and the Analogue Productions reissue.
Jana Dagdagan  |  May 05, 2017  |  91 comments
With any large gathering of people who share a common passion, one is bound to encounter polarizing issues and the fiercely opinionated standing on either side. In the world, it's politics and religion. In our world, it's tubes vs solid-state, whether cables really matter or not, and, most recently . . . Master Quality Authenticated.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 13, 2016  |  9 comments
Photo: Kelsey Ohira

May 12, 2014. The day it all began. Three major events happened in my life on May the 12th:

1. My violent hatred towards the USPS was born.
2. I spent the most I ever have, till this very day, on a yellow cab.
3. A divine pair of Technics SL1200 Mk.II turntables entered my life.

Well, they didn't exactly enter my life, per se. They were left on my (then) doorstep in West Harlem, which may give you some insight on #1. More on that later. I need to calm myself. (Sips Earl Grey vehemently in straightjacket.)

Jana Dagdagan  |  Aug 01, 2016  |  6 comments
Guitarist Nels Cline will make his Blue Note debut on August 5—this coming Friday as a download, with CD following on August 19 and LP on September 2—with his album Lovers. It's a beautiful, wide-ranging, 18-track, 23-person-ensemble look inside Nels's soul, and a project that's been in the making for 25 years. It contains a mix of Cline's originals as well as songs by Sonic Youth, Arto Lindsay, Jimmy Giuffre, and Great American Songbook Standards.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Dec 27, 2017  |  46 comments
L–R: NoHo Sound's Chris Petranis, Alex Roy, taxidermy bear, & Ron Kain

In an industry constantly perplexed by the absence of youth, diversity, and appreciation for the hobby, three audiophiles set out to revolutionize the industry with the opening of a new hi-fi shop in New York City that is anything but ordinary. NoHo Sound & Stereo (NoHo Sound for short) is located in a swanky loft in the lower Manhattan district NoHo—open seven days a week, by appointment only, with a second location in Chelsea. In addition to selling hi-fi, they host weekly—yes, weekly—live music events of all genres, where startups like Groupmuse and Sofar Sounds use their space for performances, with 100% of proceeds going to the musicians. They also host events in collaboration with the nearby World of McIntosh Townhouse.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Nov 07, 2016  |  12 comments
Photo of Art Dudley, Robin Wyatt, and Michael Lavorgna: John Atkinson. All other photos: Jana Dagdagan.

NYAS 2015. Rye Brook, NY.—Then, a lone capsule filled with liquid anxiety, outfitted in wobbly heels and a blanket of sweat aimlessly wandered through the halls of hotel hi-fi. She had recently interviewed for her dream job at her dream publication, Stereophile, but had not heard back yet. She desperately hoped to meet Sirs Art Dudley and Michael Lavorgna for the first time, and luckily succeeded in doing so at the 'Zen and the Art of Audio Reviewing' seminar.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Apr 03, 2017  |  9 comments
Last week, we shared a conversation between John Atkinson and Philadelphia-area audio retailer Doug White (of The Voice That Is) that centered around audio retailing. Here's the second, and final conversation from our Philly trip. In this video, JA and Doug are joined by Stereophile writer Herb Reichert as they discuss the new Akira loudspeaker from German manufacturer Tidal Audio. Doug has been a fixture at regional audio shows the past few years, demonstrating Tidal speakers. (It is important to note that the high-end manufacturer Tidal Audio has no relation to Tidal the streaming service.)
John Atkinson  |  Feb 28, 2018  |  13 comments
Earlier this week, we posted a video blog with PS Audio's founder and CEO Paul McGowan giving Jana Dagdagan and me a post-CES tour around the Boulder, Colorado company's factory. Following the tour, I sat down with Paul in Music Room One and in a wide-ranging conversation, we talked about amplifiers and loudspeakers, DACs and audio systems, and the state of high-end audio.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 25, 2018  |  12 comments
Immediately following the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, our resident videographer Jana Dagdagan and I visited PS Audio in Boulder Colorado. The company's founder, Paul McGowan, gave up his Saturday to give us a tour of the factory.

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