Herb Reichert

Herb Reichert  |  Apr 13, 2019  |  1 comments
In front of the room sponsored by GoldenEar Technology and PrimaLuna USA, I saw tube maven Kevin Deal (above)—the latter company's Primary Dude—displaying the insides of a PrimaLuna amplifier. PR man extraordinaire Anthony Chiarella was sitting next to him saying, "Its built like a Fabergé egg." Which indeed it was.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 13, 2019  |  6 comments
I'm a little old to be a fan (but I am), and some say singer-songwriter Billie Eilish is a little young (just turned 17) to be as famous and successful as she is. But hey, what's-his-name from the Jackson Five was only five years old when he was that famous . . .
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  3 comments
I am not a bot. I measure my own DIY audio gear. But as an audio-show reporter, I'm only interested in those biologically significant sounds that connect my mind as directly as possible to the music being played. I want to see and feel some inkling of a real orchestra floating between the speakers. I found that connection right away in the room sponsored by retailer-distributor Refined Audio.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 11, 2019  |  0 comments
Last year, American audio shows felled more than ten million 100'-tall trees—just for their ink-on-paper floor plans. They had to reopen two nuclear power plants just to keep the elevators running in Las Vegas. The Chicago River backed up like a toilet—clogged by discarded show guides. This year, all you need is a smart phone, the the AXPONA app—and the stamina to visit almost two hundred rooms filled with some of the world's finest, most exciting, new audio products. Are you ready?
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 04, 2019  |  17 comments
I will never forget.

In 1988 I had my first experience with Western Electric 300B tubes. It took place on a quiet, streetlights-and-snow night at my friend Ryoichi's apartment on Riverside Drive, in Manhattan.

I had never heard of the late Japanese amplifier designer Ken Shindo, of Shindo Laboratory. But that evening, Ryo's audio system was all Shindo: a hammertone gray Shindo-restored, grease-bearing Garrard 301 turntable sitting on a Shindo plinth of glossy wood, with a Shindo-modified Ortofon tonearm and SPU cartridge, a Shindo moving-coil step-up transformer, and a Shindo preamplifier with a moving-magnet phono stage.

Herb Reichert  |  Mar 21, 2019  |  13 comments
If you've ever dipped your toe into some form of high-performance motor sport, you know: The best race-car engines spin torque and exhale horsepower—with intoxicating ease. They're engineered to be responsive. Depress the clutch, toe the throttle, and watch the tachometer instantly pin itself. Engage the clutch—your chest contracts and your head gets light. Then later . . .

Back in your Ford Fiesta, its revving engine sounds distant, muffled. Your body can't feel the powerplant's power. In gear, the Ford feels soft and hesitant, not responsive.

Herb Reichert  |  Feb 21, 2019  |  26 comments
You know I'm a lucky guy. I maintain two separate audio reviewing systems.

The core component of my beloved, daily-driver desktop system is a Mytek Brooklyn DAC-preamp-headphone amp. Through this system I play high-resolution files and Internet sources (Tidal, Qobuz, Netflix, and YouTube). One of the Brooklyn's two line-level inputs delivers NPR news and baseball from my Kenwood KT-990D FM/AM tuner. I mostly use this system with headphones, but currently, the Brooklyn's line-out feeds a pair of Bel Canto Design's compact e.One REF600M monoblocks driving the shelf-mounted Dynaudio Excite X14 speakers I use to play movies and videos.

Herb Reichert  |  Jan 29, 2019  |  20 comments
Every time I fly to California, my brain gets stuck on the lyrics of that Arlo Guthrie song: "Coming into Los Angeles / bringing in a couple of keys . . ." Even landing in San Francisco, I'm always smiling, because I've never been busted in California.

Which means that I'm a lucky guy. In this life I have acquired nothing of material value, but I did see Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter in Chicago in 1962, at Theresa's. I spent the whole Summer of Love (1967) in San Francisco listening to music. And because I lived only a few blocks away, I witnessed the Ramones' first gig at CBGB, in 1974.

Herb Reichert  |  Jan 22, 2019  |  11 comments
I am obliged to begin this review of First Watt's new stereo power amplifier, the SIT-3, with an explanation of how I believe a power amplifier should be reviewed. Why? Because the 18Wpc SIT-3 is a unique and historically important design that can't be wired up to just any loudspeaker and then critiqued on the basis of its bass power, treble brightness, or midrange acuity.
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 03, 2019  |  52 comments
On the first page of the owner's manual for iFi Audio's Pro iDSD tubed/solid-state multibit DAC and headphone amplifier, the British company unabashedly describes it as "a 'state of the art' reference digital to analog converter" and "a wireless hi-res network player or the central DAC in an expensive high-end home system." As if in an afterthought, it continues: "The on-board balanced headphone section means high-end headphones can also be directly connected to it." The manual doesn't describe the headphone "section" as "state of the art," so I'm deducing that the Pro iDSD is really more a fancy-pants DAC than a high-tone headphone amp.

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