Monday, December 28, 2015

And don't forget the joker

I suppose most folks don't consider Motorhead to be audiophile approved but man, I saw the band live, missed them on a couple of cancellations too, over what now seems to be nealry 40 years of touring. Had that first album on Chiswick records too ('those swinging hips') which got lost along the way somewhere, so it's with more than a little sadness that I learned Lemmy died last night. Few people live live that hard and that full and remain polite, funny, pleasant human beings. Lemmy did. And his bio makes for good reading too. Crank up Ace of Spades and just let that music kick your ass into tomorrow. Farewell a rock start who did not tease his hair, tattoo himself for the camera or pretend to be a tough guy. He just got on with the music.

Genesis release customizable Forte speaker

The press release came in today from Genesis. I don't tend to reproduce too many of these here but I've found Gary Koh to be eminently helpful and insightful in his work so this one seems noteworthy to me. The Genesis line of speakers always appealed to me, though I've never had the opportunity to hear them outside the occasional audio show. This one looks tasty though, there's something about a tall speaker that sounds right to my ears. 

"The Genesis Fortè is the latest model in a long legacy of 6-foot-tall line-source two-tower loudspeakers dating back to 1994 with the introduction of the Genesis II.5. Other illustrious models in this series included the Genesis 350SE (2000) and the Genesis 2.2 Junior (2011). The Genesis Fortè features a 48-inch ribbon midrange, a line-array of ribbon ring-radiator tweeters and two 12-inch servo-controlled solid aluminum-cone woofers per loudspeaker. In a departure from previous Genesis models, for the first time the Fortè will be available in “any” finish and is fully customizable with various options. A custom-finish mid-specification model in fiddleback maple and high gloss black will be shown at CES 2016. Price on application.
While it looks outwardly similar to many of its predecessors, the Fortè incorporates all new design and technology. The cabinet is constructed out of a constrained-layer damped composite material to further reduce cabinet resonance. The crossover has been re-worked with the new Genesis 48-inch midrange driver. The servo-controlled 12-inch woofers ensure deep, accurate bass with improvements in the Dynamic Power Delivery System (DPDS). A revised crossover improves coherence between the midrange and the woofer. Careful selection of crossover frequencies ensure that the lobing common with many other line-source loudspeakers has been eliminated at the listening position.
The Genesis Ring-Radiator Ribbon Tweeter (GR3T) displays remarkable clarity in the upper frequencies. It is often described as “the worlds best tweeter”. The 6mm ring radiator produces excellent dispersion up to 20kHz and above. With a line-array of 12 front-firing tweeters and a single 48-inch midrange, the Genesis Fortè is almost a perfect line source from 120Hz to 40kHz.
Nothing has much has changed in theoretical acoustics since ‘The Theory of Sound’ by mathematician and physicist Lord John William Strutt, Baron Rayleigh was published in 1877. There are still only two proper ways for a transducer to propagate sound in a room: a point-source and a line-source. Anything else, or everything in between, is a compromise.
In order for all frequencies of sound from the loudspeaker to reach the listener at exactly the same time, a coherent wave front is important - not just “time-alignment” of drivers. The ideal is either an infinitely small pulsating point or a thin pulsating line with a length on the order of the room dimension.
The huge advantage a line-source loudspeaker has over a point-source loudspeaker is that there is no vertical dispersion of the sound-wave. This carries several advantages: First, the spectral content of the waveform is consistent throughout the length of the line-source. With a line-source loudspeaker, seating height does not matter. There is no need to sit with the ears of the listener aligned to the height of the point-source or to aim the speaker at the head of the listener.
The second benefit of the line-source loudspeaker is that the attenuation of sound pressure level is -3dB with a doubling of distance instead of -6dB with a point-source. Hence, the change in loudness level is much less over small changes in distance. This results in a much larger area within which the speaker can be enjoyed, and hence can be enjoyed by a much larger audience. In a large room, this also results in much more dynamic sound with an equivalent amplifier.
“The Genesis Fortè is the ultimate loudspeaker for the family in a living room or even the great room,” said Mr. Gary Leonard Koh, Genesis’ CEO and Chief Designer. “It sounds good sitting down, it sounds good even when you are standing up, and the whole family can be enjoying the music at the same time.”
 “There is already quite an improvement when you go from a conventional cone/dynamic loudspeaker to a ribbon or planar-magnetic,” said Mr. Koh. “But it can be really shocking when you go from a conventional loudspeaker to a ribbon line-source. The effortlessness of musical peaks, huge dynamic contrasts and the ability to resolve the tiniest musical details – that’s what gives many listeners a sense of euphoria. It makes listening to music a visceral experience.”
“The Fortè is the perfect loudspeaker for the family,” said Ms Carolyn Koh, Genesis’ Chief Operating Officer. “At night, when you don’t want to disturb the sleep of the rest of your family, it plays softly with no loss of detail. This, to me, is the greatest advantage of Genesis loudspeakers. Many speakers have to be played loudly before you can begin to enjoy the music. The ribbon drivers and the servo-bass technology mean that there is no loss of resolution in the mid-high, and no loss of impact in the bass even when played softly.”
“You can also sit anywhere in the room,” continued Mr. Koh. “With conventional loudspeakers, it sounds half as loud when you double the distance away from the speaker. With the Fortè, music sounds half as loud at four times the distance away.”

Friday, December 25, 2015

Columbia House makes a comeback....with vinyl

Who'd have thought....I used Columbia House to start getting cheap CDs when I eventually decided to break down and go digital in the mid 90s (I was a reticent late adopter). Even visited their HQ once when doing some tech work in late 90s. Never a fan of their shipping model and sort of auto-enrollment in 'selections of the month', a practice for defaulting new customers that online folks now seem to have adopted wholesale, but I didn't realize they'd actually gone out of business a couple of years ago. Well, they're coming back.....selling records it seems. Read more HERE

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Legacy introduce new high power amp for $1600

New press announcement from Legacy. I used to run a pair of their Legacy IIIs which were great and I've enjoyed the Studio HDs I had in for review a couple of years back. Good people - this one looks very interesting and priced competitively.

LEGACY Audio Introduces Powerbloc2 Dual Mono Amplifier 

(Springfield, IL) Legacy Audio introduces the Powerbloc
² dual mono amplifier featuring 325 watts per channel x 2 @ 8 ohms and 650 watts per channel x 2 @ 4 ohms.
elgacy PowerBloc2 Amplifier for release
Audiophiles will appreciate the detail and resolution from the ultra-wide 1.5Hz to 70kHz bandwidth. Professionals will love the abundance of effortless power. Characterized by solid and taut low end with fully developed shimmer in the top extremes, Powerbloc
² is one of the most versatile reference grade amplifiers today.

Featuring the latest high efficiency Class D ICEpower® design, the Powerbloc
²features short circuit protection. Far less power is wasted both in use and at idle, and unit life is extended by the lack of heat buildup. With up to 30 amps of peak current available per channel, the cool running design can drive a wide range of speaker loads.

The Powerbloc
² can be used in pairs with Legacy Audio's DSP based processors/crossovers, such as the Wavelaunch or Wavelet, to raise system performance to a new level.

The Powerbloc
² is currently available for order and will begin shipping January 2016. For a full list of Legacy dealers & international distributors, please visit:

Introductory MSRP: $1,600
Inputs: 2 balanced XLR, 2 unbalanced RCA
Outputs: 2 pair gold plated safety approved five-way binding posts
Damping factor: 1,000 < 1kHz
Voltage Gain: 27.4 dB
Dynamic Range: 117 dB
Peak Current: 30 amps/channel
THD: 0.005% at rated output
TIM: 0.0045% at rated output
Dimensions: 3" H x 17" W x 14" D
Weight: 20 lbs
Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 Inside Look

Legacy Powerbloc2 Amplifier

Friday, December 18, 2015

Raven Blackhawk LE review now live

I've spent a most enjoyable 6 months with Raven Audio's limited edition version of their original Nighthawk integrated amp, the Blackhawk. You can find the review live now in Hifi'Zine.

To say I think this amp is enjoyable would be an understatement but it's a product that's as lovely to use as it is to hear, and it put smiles on my face over multiple listening sessions. The original model is wonderful, this upgraded version just a tad better all round. Ah, tubes...what can I say?

Have a few more items in the works. Been keen to try a few new phono stages with tubes but it's proved a bit more problematic than I had imagined. Between backlogs in requests for samples (yes, I really do want to hear the Rogers PA-1A), the requirement to actually purchase an Allnic 1201 with return rights, and the silence in response to my effort to get Luxman's new tubed phono stage in, I've had to return a couple of samples of from ATA when buyers wanted their hands on them or they proved noisy in my rig so nothing happening there now. But stay tuned -- am having some fun with BenQ's TreVolo, a sort of small panel Bluetooth speaker and I have (or think I have) an Artisan Fidelity table on the way, though that is proving to require patience -- my plan to document the build as it occurred seems to have hit a brick wall as the build has stalled over two months with little to show other than a veneer selection. Now if only Raven would develop a phono stage.....

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

BBC gives vinyl a spin

Interesting article on the BBC homepage today about Soulines turntables in the UK. "I think every home should have a turntable," says Igor Gligorov. "The world would be a better place."  I can't embed their video items outside the UK apparently -- but check them out here: