Ken Micallef

Ken Micallef  |  Mar 02, 2022  |  0 comments

The buzz was palpable as I stepped off the escalator onto the conference floor at the Marriot Marquis hotel, where CANJAM New York City 2022 was revving up within shouting (or at least screaming) distance of Times Square.

Ken Micallef  |  Feb 03, 2022  |  3 comments
Called "the phantom" by fellow musicians and dubbed the "bearded, goateed astronaut of the tenor sax" by a close friend, trumpeter Kenny Dorham, the enigmatic Joe Henderson recorded five albums for the Blue Note label that are uniformly regarded as jazz classics. Mosaic Records has gathered those records—Page One, Our Thing, In 'n Out, Inner Urge, Mode for Joe—plus Henderson's sideman dates and alternate takes for Blue Note for a limited-edition, five-CD box set, The Complete Joe Henderson Blue Note Studio Sessions (Mosaic Records MD5-271).
Ken Micallef  |  Feb 02, 2022  |  9 comments
In my April 2020 review of Fyne Audio's inexpensive F301 standmount loudspeakers, I wrote, "The Fyne F301s impressed with their exceptional rendering of soundstage width and depth, reasonably wide dynamic range, extended low end (for their size), and exuberant, I-can't-stop-spinning-records presentation. The Fynes presented a finely layered, spatially convincing soundstage with images that were solid, if small."
Ken Micallef  |  Dec 30, 2021  |  11 comments
I enjoy few things more than setting up a turntable. Whether it's for myself or for a friend—whether it's a budget model with a layered MDF plinth and nonadjustable tonearm, or a megabuck, state-of-the-art behemoth—I relish the ritual.

Back in the day, I used to huff and puff, scream and shake, thanks to the heebie-jeebies I'd get when attempting to raise a turntable to ultimate performance. But with experience comes wisdom. My buddy and Sound & Vision contributor Michael Trei makes turntable setup look like child's play. I've learned by watching Mike that, when a turntable setup tries your patience, the thing to do is keep calm and carry on.

Ken Micallef  |  Dec 03, 2021  |  19 comments
Technics, an arm of the Japanese giant Panasonic Corporation, has long been a major player in the hi-fi world, even if, in some recent decades, it stayed below the radar.

In the 1970s, analog-centric audiophiles particularly praised the Technics SP-10, the world's first direct drive turntable. Created by Matsushita engineer Shuichi Obata in 1969, the SP-10 and its successors became the standard in vinyl playback for American radio stations during that heyday of broadcast radio.

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 10, 2021  |  4 comments
Over a long weekend in late August 2021, DJ, broadcaster, and contemporary music scholar Gilles Peterson and his Brownswood recordings label hosted the We Out Here (WOH) festival in Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, 80 miles north of London. 20 stages. 15,000 attendees. Peterson called it "the British Jazz Woodstock."
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 09, 2021  |  4 comments

Capital Audiofest 2021 was a fantastic show. Everyone I spoke to—vendors, visitors, the helpful Hilton staff—was jazzed to be there. Everyone was in good spirits. While I didn’t see as many attendees in total as at the 2019 CAF show pre-Covid, every room I visited was full, and in many midday cases, standing-room-only.

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 09, 2021  |  11 comments

Next door to the VPI room showing Harry Weisfeld’s rock ‘em, sock ‘em JBL Everest horns, another system with a VPI source was complemented by a colossal pair of Arion Audio line-array towers and subwoofer columns. The speakers were brought to Rockville by Charlotte, North Carolina’s Arion Audio and Arion's designer/owner Mike Kalellis.

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 09, 2021  |  3 comments

Tenacious Sound had several systems at the show, including those in Room 325 and the Montrose ballroom. Sunday morning, I stumbled into the smaller room, where good sounds were being made by an Audio Hungary X200 integrated tube amplifier ($6499) powering Canton Reference 7K loudspeakers ($6995/pair). A Microsoft Surface Pro laptop streamed Qobuz to a Weiss DAC. Cables were from Audience.

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 09, 2021  |  0 comments

In the room of British Columbia’s Infigo Audio at the Capital Audiofest, CEO/founder Hans Looman was playing Michael Oldfield’s Tubular Bells II. Not quite new age, not “folk-tronica,” the music’s flowing, acoustic melodies and circular rhythms suited Looman, whose ponytail and pleasant banter recalled a taller, younger Obi-Wan Kenobi espousing wisdom and good vibrations. I quickly fell under the spell of Looman, Oldfield, and these attractive Infigo devices.

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