Ken Micallef

Ken Micallef  |  Jul 01, 2021  |  9 comments
Founded in 1995 by Uwe Bartel, Vincent Audio is owned by Sintron Distribution GmbH. Vincent launched its LS-1 preamplifier and D-150 hybrid stereo power amplifier the year the company was founded.

Vincent "offers two 'electrical concepts,'" states the Vincent website. "One side is solid state transistor products. The other is a hybrid technology featuring vacuum tubes on the input stages combined with solid state transistors in the output stage."

Ken Micallef  |  Jun 25, 2021  |  10 comments
When Pat Metheny was growing up in the small Missouri town of Lee's Summit, his family's home stood within can't-even-hear-yourself-shouting distance of the Missouri Pacific railroad. trains, tornadoes, freezing winters, hot summers, small-town isolation—all fed an imagination that (combined with plenty of practice) fed a legendary music career.
Ken Micallef  |  Jun 02, 2021  |  4 comments
My friend Courtney Grant Winston has led a storied life. A photographer by trade, Courtney has a gift for revealing his subjects' spirited personalities. He has photographed actor Morgan Freeman, Le Bernardin co-owner Maguy Le Coze, and celebrity chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Alain Ducasse, and Anthony Bourdain. Courtney took the iconic cover photo for Bourdain's 2000 breakout biography, Kitchen Confidential. Courtney's father was a Tuskegee Airman during World War II and a childhood friend of Billie Holiday. The voice of Courtney's mother, Dorothy, can be heard in Billie the recent documentary, speaking about the celebrated jazz singer's final days.
Ken Micallef  |  May 05, 2021  |  4 comments
In her reworking of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from my Friends," on the 2018 tribute album, A Day In The Life: Impressions Of Pepper (impulse records), Brooklyn guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson reinvents both her instrument and the song.

Most baby boomers can hum the tune of the Beatles' classic, from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in a handful of notes. It might take longer to recognize Halvorson's joyous, angular version. A master of jazz phrasing, guitar technique, avant-garde discourse, and effects pedals, Halvorson bends the Beatles song to her 21st century will.

Ken Micallef  |  Apr 29, 2021  |  18 comments
Big changes are afoot at Mytek. First up: The Mytek Brooklyn AMP+, the newest version of the compact, class-D Brooklyn AMP. The AMP+ is already in production.

In my 2018 review of the original Brooklyn AMP, I wrote that the class-D amplifier exuded "a consistent sense of truthfulness, striking resolution that was never analytical, spacious soundstages, superb dynamics, and some of the 'blackest' backgrounds I've ever heard...with the right recordings." I continued, "The AMP let me revel in its reproduction of the low end, with zero overhang or bloat, and profoundly impressive retrieval of micro- and macrodetail—but in doing all this, its touch was always light and never surgical."

Ken Micallef  |  Mar 03, 2021  |  10 comments
Many established audio manufacturers owe their success, at least partly, to their components' signature sound. Consider the laidback "pipe and slippers" mien of my 1978 Spendor BC-1 loudspeakers, the rich tonal palette of my Shindo Laboratory amplifiers, or the celebrated drive and timing of late-'50s era Thorens TD-124 and Garrard 301 turntables.
Ken Micallef  |  Jan 22, 2021  |  3 comments
What sort of audiophile are you?

I think of myself as a critical listener, perhaps a purist, definitely an enthusiast, of music and audio, who enjoys both the journey and the nuts and bolts. I like my hi-fi direct, simple, and personal. Also, I guess I'm a little bit old-school: tube-driven amplifiers with point-to-point wiring; vinyl, preferably early pressings; spun with belt-drive or idler-drive turntables. I listen to digital audio, too—and when I do, I prefer nonoversampling DACs. I like high-efficiency, high-sensitivity floorstanding loudspeakers and prefer them horn-loaded.

Ken Micallef  |  Jan 15, 2021  |  0 comments
Newvelle Records Season Five
Pablo Ablanedo, Dave Douglas, Sullivan Fortner, Elan Mehler, OWL Trio, Rufus Reid, Carmen Staaf, Patrick Zimmierli
Newvelle Records NV025–30 (6 LP) 2020. Reviewed from 16/44.1 AIFF files. Elan Mehler, prod.; Marc Urselli, eng.
Performance ****
Sonics ****½

If Newvelle Records is any indication, jazz's future looks bright. Since 2015, the New York label has produced four series of artist-curated, all-analog, subscription-only box sets of vinyl records with superb fidelity and top-tier musicians performing original material. Highlights included pianist (!) Jack DeJohnette's Return, guitarist Gilad Hekselman's Eyes of the World, bassist John Patitucci's Irmãos de Fé, tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger's Preminger Plays Preminger, and guitarist Lionel Loueke's Close Your Eyes.

Ken Micallef  |  Dec 24, 2020  |  20 comments
During my tenure as a Stereophile writer, I've reviewed a lot of integrated amplifiers. The mostly moderately priced integrated machines I've reviewed have included the Heed Audio Elixir ($1195), Luxman SQ-N150 ($2795) and L-509X ($9495), NAD C 328 Hybrid Digital ($549), Octave Audio V 80 SE ($10,500), Rega Brio ($995), and Schiit Ragnarok 2 ($1799 as equipped). Regardless of price, all these integrated amplifiers engaged my senses and made engaging, dynamic, colorful music from LP grooves and ones and zeros.
Ken Micallef  |  Dec 02, 2020  |  28 comments
The story behind European Audio Team (E.A.T.) is that of one woman, company owner and CEO Jozefína Lichtenegger.

While studying for her MBA at the University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia, Lichtenegger (née Krahulkova) sold vacuum tubes for her brother-in-law, Alesa Vaic, then owner of Czech Republic–based tube brand VAIC. After VAIC shuttered in 2003, Lichtenegger founded her own retail business and engaged 100-year-old tube manufacturer Tesla Vršovice to supply 300B and KT88 tubes made to her specifications. When the owner of Tesla retired, she bought the company. She christened her new endeavor E.A.T. (The original Tesla continues as TESLA ElectronTubes, s.r.o.)

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