Monday, February 21, 2011

Used cartridges

If the vinyl resurgence is really on, why are all the used cartridges on Audiogon described as 'low hours'?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gary Moore, guitarist, dies

Blues for GreenyTo say I am saddened by this news would be an understatement but the BBC is reporting this morning that Gary Moore died last night in Spain. No cause of death has been mentioned and the official Moore website is down as I write. Hard to make too much of an audiophile case here but Moore was a really great guitarist even if he tended to overplay some of those blues (though unlike others, he never blanded out in the name of commerce). Seems he's been around all my life, from a wonderkid player in Thin Lizzy to a jazz rocker with Colliseum II,  then later a hard rock and blues player on his own and with others. Ozzy Osbourne famously described him as having 'a face like a welder's bench' but the man could play, and did play with some of the greats (Lynott, Bruce and Baker, Albert Collins, Peter Green etc). George Harrison remarked that Gary's playing made him feel 'like a skiffler' in comparison. Cue up Blues for Greeny and hear some of his tastier licks.  He was only 58. 

Bryston BDA-1 is the real deal

From not listening to a DAC for a decade I find myself spoilt with two in succession. I've been reviewing the Bryston BDA-1 DAC in my system, likely to appear in the March edition of HiFi'Zine. It's impressive and easily beats the EE MiniMax, as it should at almost three times the price. Most importantly, it breathes such life into redbook CDs that it makes SACD obsolete. The EE MiniMax remains a great product, and the one to beat for $750 but the Bryston takes the sound to another level, and partnered with almost any decent player, it produces truly great sound. Before buying a new digital front end in the $2k range, try adding the BDA-1 to your existing rig and give yourself connection options and software upgradeability. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tom Fletcher of Nottingham Audio passes almost unnoticed

Just learned this morning the sad news that the man who gave us the Space deck tables and arms, not to mention the Anna Log, and the no-switch motor, passed away last year. Long-term Nottingham dealer, Brian Kurtz of Austin's Sound Mind Audio sent the following note, so well worded that I reproduce it here:

"I just got word that Tom Fletcher, founder of Nottingham Analogue, has passed on.  Tom had backed away from Nottingham Analogue several years ago when cancer had him down; selling the company to a worthy group of individuals who agreed to maintain the company at the highest level of quality (which they have, of course, done) regardless of his condition.  

Tom’s health had improved and he had, at one point, wanted to regain control of the company, but the group to which he’d handed the reins thought it best to keep things as they were, and Tom left to start a new company, Fletcher Audio.  He and I actually spoke a few months back and he was brimming with hope for what was to come.  He was quite enthusiastic about a new turntable and tonearm lineup he was planning, and was hoping to bring them to market sometime in the future after current prototypes were completed.

At 16, Tom was machining turntable parts, and before the age of 20, had a crew of a dozen folks or more, building Nottingham Analogue turntables.  50,000 turntables and 40-plus years later, Nottingham Analogue still makes the best turntables for the money I’ve ever heard. Tom’s gone, but his legacy spins forever, with no power switch J (Tom’s tables are known for their ultra-low-torque motors that require no power switch)."

Thanks Brian, for the words. More can be found at Fletcher Audio's tribute page.