Articles

Enthusiasm for Pono Player Fades Quickly

March 18, 2014
Enthusiasm for Pono Player Fades Quickly

Neil Young and his fellow investors raked in $4,000,000 during the first week of their Kickstarter campaign. The problem is that the amount of pledges and number of daily backers fell off quickly thereafter, and they struggled during the ensuing month to raise half that much, settling in with a total of $6,225,354. Now...
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Pono and “High Resolution” Audio

March 13, 2014
Pono and “High Resolution” Audio

First, this is not about the Pono player. Aside from the size and limited storage, it is well spec’ed and well priced, and the involvement of Ayre is certainly reassuring. The size is what it is. Love it or leave it. I feel strongly that the internal memory should be at least 128GB and...
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Lies, Damn Lies, and High Resolution Downloads

March 5, 2014
Lies, Damn Lies, and High Resolution Downloads

Stephen Meijas recently reviewed Beck’s Morning Phase on the Capitol label here. Here’s what John Atkinson had to say about the 96/24 download from HDTracks: “I bought this album from HDTracks last night but haven’t listened to it yet. However, I looked at a spectrogram of one of these 24/96 tracks – see www.stereophile.com/content/beck-track-11...
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The Price of DSD Downloads

December 1, 2013
The Price of DSD Downloads

I don’t know about you, but I am unwilling to pay the $50 Cookie Marenco is asking for DSD downloads at her Blue Coast Records website. Although I have enjoyed some of the selections on her samplers, and they are well recorded, the selections are scant and the artists unknown. Channel Classics now has...
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DSD Downloads: What Exactly Are You Getting?

November 21, 2013
DSD Downloads: What Exactly Are You Getting?

My hat’s off to Chad Kassum. He has negotiated a deal with Sony Music to release albums from their vault in DSD format on his SuperHiRez.com website. The first one is Santana’ Abraxas. So the question is whether it is worth $25 to repurchase this classic album, since most likely you already have it...
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The Regionalization of Audio Shows

October 18, 2013

Having just returned from RMAF 2013, where attendance was seemingly down significantly from the year before (at least that is how it felt), I was struck by just how fast the number of audio shows has expanded in such a short period of time. By my count, in addition to the industry-only CES in...
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United Record Vinyl Pressing Plant Tour

September 20, 2013
United Record Vinyl Pressing Plant Tour

I spent the morning touring the United Record Pressing vinyl pressing plant here in Nashville. I can’t believe I haven’t been down there before. It’s less than seven miles from my house! United Record Pressing is the largest of only seven remaining vinyl pressing plants in the U.S., running 39 presses 24 hours a...
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Nine Inch Nails – Audiophile Master? Are You Kidding Me?

September 6, 2013
Nine Inch Nails – Audiophile Master? Are You Kidding Me?

It has been all over the internet. Nine Inch Nails has released a new album – Hesitation Marks – in two versions: “Audiophile Mastered” and standard. Here is what Tom Baker, the mastering engineer had to say: I believe it was Trent’s idea to master the album two different ways, and to my knowledge...
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Sounds Like? An Audio Glossary

May 28, 2013
Sounds Like? An Audio Glossary

Stereophile has again posted a link to J. Gordon Holt’s comprehensive audio glossary containing over 300 terms used by audio reviewers (and audiophiles) to described the sounds they hear. I wish I could say all audio reviewers hewed to the glossary, but I have a suspicion that they don’t, leaving audiophiles reading reviews a...
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Wilson Audio – A Culture of Craftsmanship

February 21, 2013
Wilson Audio – A Culture of Craftsmanship

I recently had the pleasure of spending the day at the 50,000 square foot Wilson Audio facility in Provo, Utah, about an hour south of Salt Lake City. The modern building is located in a quiet neighborhood not far from the center of town, set back from the road and partially hidden by large...
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Migrating from Wilson Audio Alexandria X-2s to Alexandria XLFs

September 27, 2012
Migrating from Wilson Audio Alexandria X-2s to Alexandria XLFs

I wrote at length about the William Ralston Listening Library and Archive at the University of the South in my review of the VPI Scout turntable. If you have not yet read my review, I encourage you to do so. For those in a hurry, the Ralston facility is comprised of a state of...
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YG Acoustics – A Passion for Precision

July 28, 2012
YG Acoustics – A Passion for Precision

Twenty years ago I owned Thiel speakers. Being a typical obsessive-compulsive audiophile, I thought I heard something wrong with one of the speakers. Thiel’s manufacturing’s facility is located in Lexington, Kentucky, about 200 miles from my home in Nashville, so I called them and asked if I could bring my speakers up to have...
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The Sound of One Hand Clapping

June 15, 2012
The Sound of One Hand Clapping

Jonathan Valin articulates that there are three types of audiophiles: 1) those who are interested in the absolute sound, 2) those who are interested in fidelity to the master tapes, and 3) those who are interested in what sounds best to them, regardless of its fidelity to the absolute sound or the master tapes....
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Magnepan – Thinking Outside the Box

June 3, 2012
Magnepan – Thinking Outside the Box

Other than Kimber, Magnepan was the only manufacturer at T.H.E. Show offering music demonstrations with more than two speakers. Kimber was streaming native four-channel DSD ISO-Mike recordings from a Sonoma workstation, through an EMM Labs converter and multi-channel preamp, and monstrous Pass Labs amplifiers, to a quad of Sony SS-AR1 loudspeakers in a huge...
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Audioquest Demo: Legit or Slick Marketing?

April 18, 2012
Audioquest Demo: Legit or Slick Marketing?

Chen Fifely has posted an interesting analysis at Audioholics of a demo conducted by Audioquest purporting to show the superiority of Audioquest cables on even an inexpensive system. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum regarding the efficacy of audiophile cables, it is worth a read. By the way, his conclusion: “Although this...
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Are 96/24 Downloads Better Than CDs?

March 24, 2012
Are 96/24 Downloads Better Than CDs?

Shown below are the waveform and frequency response graphs for the CD version of Hotel California by the Eagles.  Note that the peak level is -2.84dB. For comparison sake, I have “normalized” the gain of the CD version, increasing the overall gain by 2.84dB so that the peak level is 0.00dB, just like that...
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Welcome to the Ultra High-End Audio and Home Theater Review

March 1, 2012
Welcome to the Ultra High-End Audio and Home Theater Review

Welcome to the Ultra High-End Audio and Home Theater Review Originally founded as a discussion forum, the Ultra High End Audio and Home Theater Review is among the best sources on the web for product announcements, industry news, product reviews, manufacturer interviews, commentary and other information relating to all aspects of high performance audio...
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The Ralston Listening Library – An Expert Appraisal

February 20, 2012
The Ralston Listening Library – An Expert Appraisal

Over the past three years, classical-music record producer John Marks has served as an advisor to the William Ralston Listening Library, the new state-of-the-art music-listening complex in duPont Library. Marks is a senior contributing editor and columnist for Stereophile magazine, audio editor of Listen magazine, and a contributor to Early Music America. Sewanee magazine...
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Do CDs and SACDs Sound Better Than Computer Audio Files?

February 15, 2012
Do CDs and SACDs Sound Better Than Computer Audio Files?

In a recent issue of Hi-Fi+, its editor, Alan Sircom, had this to say on the subject: Beneath the calm surface of the audio world, there are dark stirrings. The backlash is beginning. It’s starting slow, and starting at the very top of the top-end of hi-fi, but there are people in high-end audio...
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Ultimate Power Cord Upgrade

January 26, 2012
Ultimate Power Cord Upgrade

Well, it’s not exactly a power cord upgrade; it’s a service line upgrade.  That’s the cable from the transformer to the meter drop down on your roof or the side of your house.  It’s a three conductor cable: two insulated 120 volt hots and an uninsulated neutral.  Each conductor is 0 gauge (also known...
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