Friday, May 13, 2022

"No reason to make record-playing any %4#k!@ harder than it has to be.“


Never a truer word, thank you Roy Hall.   Not built for tweakers, Roy's company, Music Hall just announced the introduction of a very interesting phono stage, the Analogue A3. Both MC and MM compatible, (60db gain and 100ohms impedance for MC, like it or lump it),  12AU7 tubes, small footprint (10"x7") and it comes with its own flight case so you can travel around with it presumably too, just in case (ahem) you spot a table that could use a little improvement. But seriously, this looks very interesting, and true to the Hall philosophy, it is priced reasonably (audiophile scale that is)  at $1200. Anytime I've heard Music Hall gear I've done a double-take at the value on offer so expectations for this one are high.  More info here

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Sounds Grimm?

Pic of speaker

Grimm Audio introduces a new variant of the LS1 loudspeaker system: Nano Legs. Nano Legs  means an LS1 can be placed on top of a side table or dresser. This is an advantage in for instance small rooms where every square meter counts - the acoustic properties of the LS1 make it function great in large rooms as well as small rooms. 

The eye catcher of the LS1 Nano Legs edition is the ‘Acoustic Mat’ that sits on top of the foot plate.Eelco Grimm, Creative Director of Grimm Audio, explains: “When placing a loudspeaker on a hard surface such as a side table, reflections occur that color the sound. The Acoustic Mat absorbs the reflection and keeps the sound clean from this discoloration.” The Acoustic Mat comes in two sizes: standard and large. The picture shows the standard size. Eelco Grimm adds: “The LS1 with Nano legs is a development based upon a ‘special edition’ LS1 we designed for the Concertgebouw Amsterdam studio. Speakers in this small control room need to be placed on top of a bass trap and the ‘Nano Legs’ version facilitated that.” T

Little more yet on the Grimm site about this but if you are interested (they are priced at the same level as the regular LS, that is near 20k last time I looked)) start here:

Vladimir Lamm RIP

Sorry to learn that the talents and contributions of Vladimir Lamm will no long be with us. He death was widely announced this week though I understand he died on April 18th. Born in Ukraine, his products really were cherished by many music lovers and audiophiles. Lots of discussion and memorials online about the man and his designs, keep an eye on the Lamm site for further details.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

International Jazz Day

Who knew? April 30th is officially International Jazz Day, as officially declared by the UNESCO after some prodding by the one and only Herbie Hancock. I don't know if you celebrated or even acknowledged it but here in Austin we had a wonderful event at the Long Center. Four area jazz societies (the Austin Jazz Society, the Women in Jazz, the Texas Jazz Society and the Austin Traditional Jazz Society -- I know, your thinking there must be a society for every jazz listener round here!) pulled this event together. Every act was enjoyable but two in particula, the Pamela Hart Quintet and the Austin Jazz Royals (with Ephraim Owens, Elias Haslanger and Andre Hayward) tore the roof off the place. Three hours of music, two stages, seamless transitions, and a backdrop view of downtown Austin made it a late Saturday afternoon to savor.
Look out for this next year, I hear a 2-day event might be in the offing....Austin is getting jazzed! For updates, keep an eye on this site Austin Jazz Society

Improving your $2k speaker the Danny Richie way

Always enjoy watching these though I know he gathers the ire of some. Seeing what's inside is not always a good clue as to how something sounds but it does raise some interesting questions.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Max Townsend RIP

 Sad to read that Max has passed. Not many details but he was getting on, like the rest of us. Alan Sircom shared some reactions here.  I don't believe I ever met the man but I did see and hear his tables. Always found the idea of the damping trough on the cartridge end of the tonearm's travel to be an interesting idea. Last time I saw it was at RMAF and the dealer offered to sell me one since I seemed so taken with it. For someone so productive, he seemed more interested in the design than the sale, though I know some folks got quite worked up by his cables or super tweeters.  Despite the company having a website Max did not really promote himself online, though by all accounts he was a great conversationalist in person. Old school stuff. There are some videos of him, this one gives a flavor of the man   

Monday, October 25, 2021

NAD release something nifty

 Single box solutions just have more appeal to me these days as I view the clutter of cable and components scattered around my living space. This new integrated from NAD might be a great option for those who want to get into simplicity (though you will need to use apps to get everything it offers). $1500, 80w, 5"screen, simple knob and button design. Looks like fun:

A just-add-speakers compact and modern solution designed for the streaming age. New Classic Series features powerful HybridDigital UcD amplification, 80-watts per channel and integral BluOS app interface

PICKERING, ONTARIO, CANADA September 30, 2021– NAD Electronics, the highly regarded manufacturer of high-performance audio/video components, continues its expansion in the “just add speakers” category with the introduction of the C 700 BluOS Streaming Amplifier. The C 700 suggested retail price is $1499 USD and will ship globally in late October. 

Using the intuitive BluOS app, the ability to cue music from a digital library, or stream from internet radio and online services like Spotify, Amazon Music HD, Tidal, and Qobuz could not be easier. The C 700 delivers an experience similar to the award-winning Masters Series M10 BluOS Music Streaming Amplifier.

Key Features of the NAD C 700 BluOS Streaming Amplifier

  • HybridDigital UcD Amplifier
  • Continuous Power: 80 Watts per channel into 8/4 ohms
  • Instantaneous Power: 120 Watts per channel
  • 5” high-definition colour information display shows album art, track progress, and system settings
  • Solid aluminum body and glass front panel
  • Works with intuitive BluOS Controller app forAndroid, iOS, macOS, and Windows
  • BluOS multi-room streaming to 63 zones
  • High-resolution audio to 24-bit/192Hz
  • MQA decoding and rendering
  • Lossless and high-resolution streaming from Amazon Music HD, Deezer, Idagio, Qobuz, and Tidal
  • Support for Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect
  • Voice control via Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant
  • Optical and coaxial digital inputs
  • HDMI eARC port
  • Two-way aptX HD Bluetooth
  • 12V Trigger output

Full details:  NAD press release


Friday, September 3, 2021

The end of the road for RMAF

Clearly the pandemic has many victims but it seems the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest might be the latest. Sad news today that the show is no more, after 17 years or so. I attended 5-6 of these, always enjoyed the people and the sense of community, exhausting as it could be to try hear so much stuff in a weekend. More info here:

Am sure we'll learn more in the coming days but having already seen myself attending the next one,  I have to say this is not welcome news.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Uberlight Flex improves sight and mood

The Reliable Uberlight Flex 3100TL is a godsend for those of us who spend time bending over to check a stylus or cartridge alignment. Its 26" flexible gooseneck can be clamped to a shelf and manipulated easily into any position you need where it remains firmly until you move it again. It offers multiple light settings and three power options to suit the environment and can be powered via wall plug or USB. 

The looks are attractive enough to leave it in place but you'll be most appreciative when you come to use it. The powerful light settings and manipulability of the neck will certainly help you examine your stylus and make all the fiddling needed for cartridge alignment a little easier than perching a flashlight on the deck or trying to get a desk lamp angled into position. For that alone, this lamp would be worthwhile.

However, in regular use, not only does it cast a pleasing glow at lower color temperatures, allowing you to turn down the lights in your listening room, but it is particularly helpful when checking records for dust. When you brush your records you might think or hope you are getting the surface clean but the light from this lamp is, to use an audiophile cliché, ruthlessly revealing. What looks clean in normal lighting might prove less so under the Uberlight.  Dead wax reading is always a challenge for me but this light makes it much easier. 

So it's just a lamp, it's $50, but once you try one, you'll wonder how you managed without it. Find out more at

Thursday, July 8, 2021

If we want to borrow music, maybe music's on borrowed time

 Hard to argue with Ted here -- give this a few minutes of your time. The weakness lies in just urging us to reconsider,  that's not quite an actionable response and who are the 'we' that should do this? Doubt active streamers will change their views as a result. My son is 20, he sees little reason to own media and has few fears of any music he loves disappearing so a more persuasive argument than 'preservation' is going to be required one suspects. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

New Tone issue out now

I still enjoy every issue of Tone.  Yeah, lots of ads but it's free.  You can ogle the great photographs, enjoy a range of coverage that is not too serious, it covers music well and throws in some vintage gear too, reminding us that there are many paths in this pursuit. On top of that, it's supposes to be fun right? Treat yourself by downloading the latest issue here:

Saturday, May 1, 2021

MQA - just what is going on here?

The MQA 'thing' always makes me uncomfortable -- the technical explanation seems implausible (the whole less is more thing? I'm with Yngwie on this....'it's impossible; more is more') and then the sense that you have no real ownership of the music you purchase. It all makes me uneasy. I get that some love it, feel it sounds superior, but I've learned to take a lot of claims from the audio review world with a pinch of salt. Anyway, we all make our own minds up, right? Good, as long as we have choices and I can keep spinning my records and own the music I buy forever. Now, have a look at this:


Friday, April 30, 2021

John McLaughlin: Liberation Time (Abstract Logix, July 16, 2021)

Not to sure about the handling and playing of the record in this video but it's always nice to learn of new music from John McLaughlin. I saw him a couple of years back on his farewell tour of the US, he still mesmerizes on the guitar. I'm in.  


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Covid strikes Peter Lederman of Soundsmith

 I just learned that Peter Lederman, the man behind Soundsmith cartridges and mainstay of analog excellence, has been stricken with Covid-19 for the second time in year. This has had a devastating effect on his health but he is apparently making a solid recovery. Amazingly, he's been updating folks by posting on Audiogon where there's an active thread -- find it here

I've been an interest admirer of the Soundsmith line for years, at least since calling them once about a repair on a very expensive Clearaudio that I accidentally wrecked (the memory is still painful), and having the phone answered by the man himself who talked me down from the ledge and explained my options. In the end Clearaudio (or rather their importer, Musical Surroundings) stepped in to help but I decided then that a Soundsmith cartridge was in my future. Well, it has not happened yet and I realized when reading the news that if we wait too long, we risk losing the chance if talent like this disappears. Peter seems on the mend, thankfully, but it's made me prioritize my next analog purchase come cartridge-replacement time. In the meantime, spin an album, and send the man a note via A'gon. We're all in this together.  

Monday, April 12, 2021

Gauntlet thrown....Synergistic invites Audioholics to walk the talk

 Or is it that Synergistic is offering to show Audioholics that it will walk the talk...either way, this could be interesting

Unfortunately Audioholics seem to have taken issue with this video and it's been pulled, though I wonder if their case might be stronger if it stayed up. Essentially it was Ted from Synergistic expressing his view of Audioholics and inviting them to come visit for some cordial and constructive listening sessions.   And then there's the other side: Audioholics account of the Synergistic situation

This stuff is nuts of course. But that's the audiophile world.