Herb Reichert

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Herb Reichert  |  Aug 23, 2018  |  15 comments
The trouble with a classicist he looks at the sky
He doesn't ask why, he just paints a sky
—John Cale and Lou Reed, "Trouble with Classicists," from Songs for Drella

Left brain/right brain, yin/yang, male/female, Apollonian/Dionysian, classical/romantic, painterly/linear, dark/light, hard/soft, warm/cool...I use these contrasting adjectives in my reviews because I feel some confidence in their ability to convey the nature of what I experience while listening to recordings with whatever new audio box sits before me in the listening studio.

I also use: accurate (I hate that word), neutral (what's that?), colored, clean, transparent, open, musical. Sadly, I have little confidence in their ability to describe my experiences.

Herb Reichert  |  Jul 24, 2018  |  31 comments
Before I spin this 23rd edition of "Gramophone Dreams," I must ask: How many of you are using zip-cord as your speaker cables? RadioShack interconnects? Those black universal 18/3 power cords that come standard with virtually every audio amplifier?

AudioQuest Storm Tornado/High-Current power cord
A few months after I wrote about AudioQuest's Niagara 1000 power-line conditioner ($1000), my friend Sphere asked if I'd ever then removed the Niagara from my system, listened, and still thought it improved the sound.

Herb Reichert  |  Jul 19, 2018  |  31 comments
"It was not subtle. The [$2000/pair] Tekton Impact Monitors were doing it all: singing, drumming, shaking the air, drawing me in, and making every CD or LP pure pleasure to listen to. A little soft . . . but not too soft. Imagine a gentle but guiding touch with a most perfect sparkle—and then firm and impactful when necessary."

I wrote that last October, after hearing Tekton Design's new Impact Monitor speakers at the 2017 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. I repeat it here because, as I listened to the Impact Monitors, I thought, Yeah, these speakers sound pretty damn good, but those seven tweeters are a gimmick if ever there was one.

Herb Reichert  |  Jun 14, 2018  |  10 comments
An e-mail from an old audiophile pal: "Herb, my buddy owns a recording studio, and he told me one of his $10k reference amplifiers stopped working and the manufacturer said it would take months to be repaired. So he went online and bought this 60W AkitikA solid-state amplifier to use while his big amp was being repaired. The trouble is, the kit cost only $314. (The studio guy bought his assembled and tested for $488.) Now, he likes the AkitikA more than his broke-down reference amp."
Herb Reichert  |  May 31, 2018  |  35 comments
"Okay, all you high-rolling audiophile know-it-alls—what is the argument against amplifiers that operate in high-bias, class-A, single-ended mode, with the lowest possible parts count? Is there a better strategy for beauty, rhythm, color, texture, and easy-flowing musical verity? I think not. And please explain: Why has mainstream audio gone to such ridiculous and expensive lengths to avoid building and selling precisely these sorts of amps?"
Herb Reichert  |  May 31, 2018  |  9 comments
Brooklyn, 1979: Fridays were fierce. After a week of doing construction, I would gobble Wild Turkey at the Spring Lounge, then fall asleep on the F train with a fold of cash and a Sony Walkman stuffed in a chest pocket of my paint-spattered Belstaff Trialmaster jacket. Usually I missed my York Street stop by only a few stations, but occasionally I'd wake up at sunrise on Saturday at the last stop: Coney Island. I didn't mind. It was restorative to shuffle the deserted boardwalk, listening to the Ramones' Road to Ruin or Television's Marquee Moon.
Herb Reichert  |  May 17, 2018  |  7 comments
I am getting near the end of my Munich High End 2018 report and I am already feeling sad for all the rooms with hornspeakers I did not get to experience. What if I missed all the best ones?
Herb Reichert  |  May 16, 2018  |  11 comments
The July Stereophile will include my Follow-Up report on the Joseph Audio Pulsar loudspeakers; the same Pulsars Michael Fremer raved about in his full review. Before I submitted the review, Jana Dagdagan and I made a live binaural recording/video to accompany my written report so you, the reader at home, could experience the exact same recordings in the exact same system in the same room I used to evaluate the Pulsars. Today, therefore, I will only tell you that Jeff Joseph's floor-standing, gloss-white Perspective loudspeakers (15,990 Euros/pair) sounded fuller, deeper, bigger, and richer, than the stand-mounted Pulsars I reviewed.
Herb Reichert  |  May 16, 2018  |  7 comments
Look at this photo of Cessaro Horn Acoustics' beautiful-in-color 5-way "Zeta" lautsprecher. Can you imagine it sitting in your listening room? I could, and I'd be proud to own it—if only I didn't live in a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment and write reviews for a living. The Zetas are new, and cost between 320,00 and 460,000 Euros/pair, which—don't laugh—I think seems like a bargain for all the hardware and good sound a buyer would receive.
Herb Reichert  |  May 15, 2018  |  11 comments
In the primary Living Voice room (there were two) I found the Vox Olympian & Vox Elysian loudspeakers (851,200/pair Euros in Macassar Ebony & Amboyna Burl with figured Eucalyptus wood), partnered with vintage Kondo electronics via both digital and analog sources. For analog, there was the Grand Prix Audio Monaco 2.0 turntable with a Kuzma 4-point tonearm, and a Fuuga MC cartridge (45,419 Euro total) connected via a Living Voice step-up transformer (6812 Euros) to a SJS enhanced model 3 phono-amplifier voiced for Living Voice (15,896 Euros).

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