Salon Audio Montreal / Audio Fest
2019 Show Report
Show Report By Rick Becker Bad weather didn't take long to find me this year. I was still 40 miles west of Syracuse when the snow started to fall. By the time I reached Interstate 81 to head north to Canada I was already contemplating turning around. But that's not who I am. Besides, it happens every year, either coming or returning. Adventure always brushes with disaster and this year, like most, it was my own
fault. ---> Read More
Hi-Fi World May Features Reviews & Think Pieces Hi-Fi
World's May 2019 issue features your chance to win an iFi Audio xDSD DAC
Highlights of this year's Bristol hi-fi show and Hi-Fi World's annual awards! Audiophile gear reviews
include Arcam SA20 / SA10 integrated amplifiers, World Design Pre4, Naim ND5 XS 2 Streamer, Roon Nucleus+, Isotek Evo3 Nova mains conditioner, Audio Technica Disc Stabilizer / Stylus Cleaner,
and Chord Company Shawline X loudspeaker cable. Within his editorial, Noel Keywood says, "This month's lead product – the gorgeous World Design Pre4 preamplifier came up in the slow lane, even a back lane. The first one we received wasn't quite right so review was postponed. There was no space in a torrent of other products coming in on the fast lane, most of them perfectly preened. World Design Pre4 did not come with a Press Release, shiny press shot images or anything else – it crept in through a back lane I could say here. But it floated to the top, through wonderful sound quality and build quality, pushing itself onto our front cover this month, in chrome plated sparkling glory that you can see more of on p10. A very unique product in every way."
See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World
at this link.
Audioengine 512 Portable Battery Powered Speaker Audioengine has just announces their 512 Portable Speaker ($169) that features advanced Bluetooth, Aux input, and 12 hours of battery life. With fast and easy setup via Bluetooth 5.0 and
auxiliary stereo analog input via 3.5mm jack, enjoying your music is only seconds away once you take the unit out of the box. An internal battery provides approximately 12-hours of your fave tunes while custom full-range transducers matched with a passive bass radiator pump out some serious sounds. Audioengine's 512 has a warm and inspiring voice, surprising imaging and a very large soundstage
according to the company. Audioengine are true music lovers, and so they ensured things like soundstage and imaging with this little mouse speaker were also important. While there's a 3.5mm stereo input jack that works with your phone, TV and other devices, Bluetooth 5.0 brings higher level aptX-HD, aptX, and AAC codecs. Keep in mind that the capability of the source is what controls your Bluetooth experience.
An internal Class D 20 Watt RMS amplifier drives 2" full-range speakers with advanced
voice coils, while a 3" x 1.75" passive radiator helps pump out the bass. Frequency response is from 60Hz to 20kHz. Audioengine's 512 dimensions are 3" x 7.75" x 3" (HxWxD) and it weighs around 2 lbs.
03 / 26 / 19
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
March / April 2019
This issue of
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
features audio news and a special Sound Travels where JB believes SRs improve SQ!
There's also obituaries of Geoff Matthews, 53-year veteran of the Australian Hi-Fi Industry, CEO and owner of Convoy International has died, aged
68 plus Björn Erik Edvardsen who was head of the design team that created the best-selling amplifier in hi-fi history.
High-end audio gear reviews within this issue include Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500
wireless turntable, ModWright PH 9.0 tube phono stage, ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2
loudspeakers, Marantz SA-KI Ruby SACD player, Cary Audio SI-300.2d integrated
amplifier/DAC, Kennerton Thror headphones, Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 digital headphone
amplifier/DAC, and Stax SRM-D50 driver/DAC & SR-L500 Earspeakers. Within his editorial
titled Wow & Flutter: Does It Improve Sound Quality?, Greg Borrowman says "I can't say that I am surprised at the resurgence of vinyl as a playback medium. Good vinyl can be very, very good, with an extended frequency response (more extended in the high end than CD), low noise (rumble, groove noise, etc) and imperceptibly low wow and flutter. Well, I say 'imperceptibly low' but I have recently been alerted to what is potentially one of the reasons that many audiophiles prefer the sound of vinyl sound to that of CD. It's wow and flutter. Whereas I'd always thought that lack of channel separation and cross-phasing effects between the left and right stereo channels were the prime reasons for the great sound of vinyl, it's been pointed out to me that the wow and flutter that's inherent in every turntable — no matter how good — might be a reason for the great sound heard when playing back LPs."
See what's within this issue of Australian
Hi-Fi Magazine at this
RIAA: Music Community Calls For Building
A Better Digital Attribution And Credits System
This press release is via the RIAA:
Today, the Artist Rights Alliance, SAG-AFTRA, RIAA, and A2IM announce a new collaboration in support of building a
"more robust and effective system of digital attribution and credits." For the first time, the music community – including organizations representing both artists and labels – have come together to agree on the importance of attribution for everyone who makes or enjoys music and to look ahead to creating a state of the art credits system for the digital age. Together, the four major music advocacy organizations released the following statement:
"Attribution recognizes artistic achievement, helps creators connect, collaborate, and appreciate each
other's work, opens up new pathways for fans to trace artistic influences and find new music, and aids accuracy in the digital royalty economy. As music has shifted online, systems of attribution have become less robust and consistent. Where once cover art and liner notes often reflected who contributed to each specific musical recording, including producers, songwriters, and side players, attribution today is often less extensive, sometimes identifying only the featured artist or band and the track and album name. Credits are a
creator's resume. Knowing what music an artist or songwriter has made or contributed to can help them find more fans and build and sustain their careers over time. Credits are also a learning tool and
'map' to the music ecosystem for fans, creating a more educated music audience to the benefit of the music business as a whole. Digital music services are evolving and many are adding new information for fans, including lyrics and – in some cases – credits. The proliferation of new screens and listening methods from portable devices to vehicle consoles to home assistants creates new opportunities and options for greater availability of attribution, credits, and expanded liner notes for the digital age. A multi-media environment should offer new and creative ways to provide this information and context, not limit and shrink it. We welcome collaborating with everyone in the music ecosystem to develop and implement a more robust and effective system of digital attribution and credits to the benefit of creators and consumers
Hagerman Audio Labs Tuba Tubed Headphone Amplifier Hagerman Audio Labs new Tuba stereo headphone amplifier ($659) features a pair of EL84 vacuum tubes for amplification. According to the company, "The TUBA is a world-class vacuum tube headphone amplifier designed to operate with either low impedance (Grado) or high impedance (Sennheiser) headphones. The power stage is a single-ended parafeed EL84 triode into an impedance matching transformer, offering very low distortion and huge signal headroom. An internal switching power supply boosts the 15Vdc input by a factor of ten for B+, after a 30 second warm up delay. The amplifier is conveniently turned on and off by pressing the volume knob inwards." Input impedance is 10kOhm, stereo headphone output is 14 Ohm, with a rated amplification of 400mW @ 32 Ohms (6Vrms output voltage). Frequency
response is from 10Hz to 150kHz (-3dB).
03 / 22 / 19
Hi-Fi Media Features
High-End A/V Reviews Hi-Fi Media's
latest issue features AV news, gadget news, plus reviews of the Primare I15 integrated amplifier, AVM Ovation CS 6.2 streaming CD receiver, Meitner MA-1 stereo DAC, Pathos InPol Ear integrated headphone amplifier, Arcam SA20 integrated amplifier, Philips 55OLED903 OLED monitor with a built-in B&W soundbar, and Polk Audio Assist with Google Assistant-based smart speaker. Interviews in this issue feature Johnny Marr "Icon of Modern British Pop Music", Mark Knopfler "A guitar hero from the shadow", Brett Anderson "A voice that does not suffer comparisons", and Earl Sweatshirt "The ripening of hip hop wunderkind". There a jazz interview with Roy Hargrove "The artist's spirit dies when he loses curiosity". Film buffs will enjoy Stan Lee "Anyone can be a superhero" and Paul Thomas Anderson "Perfect control of the film form". Within his editorial,
Andrija Curkovic, "The growth of consumer electronics manufacturers under "one roof" has been an obvious trend in recent years and have yielded many benefits, both technological and marketing wise, for the participants. Sharing knowledge and strength is visible in the new cooperation of Philips and Bowers & Wilkins on developing speakers for the new Philips OLED TVs.
This technological symbiosis of one of the leading TV and speaker manufacturers should serve as an example and a roadmap for the future where the rationalization of new technology development costs within one company and the encouragement of sharing existing technologies among globally strong companies that specialize in certain technology areas within the consumer electronics industry will play a big role."
See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi
at this link.
03 / 21 / 19
Coming At It From Both Directions
Roger Skoff writes about music lovers and Hi-Fi. Article
By Roger Skoff Back
in the very earliest days of Hi-Fi (high fidelity), everybody had a pipe organ
record. It might have been, if the listener was into "pop" favorites,
something featuring George Wright "at the mighty Wurlitzer organ". (Slaughter
on Tenth Avenue, for example) or, if the listener was more classical music
oriented, it might have been E. Power Biggs thundering out Bach's Toccata and
Fugue in D Minor, working every key and every pedal mightily as if to prove
the validity of his name. --->
HIGH END 2019 Show Report
HIGH END 2019 show,, the industry's largest springtime event in Europe, will open their doors and welcome exhibitors and visitors from all over the world from May 9th through 12th in Munich, Germany. With exhibitor space already fully booked months in advance, this year's HIGH END show marks it's 38th time in operation, and 16th consecutive event at Munich's M.O.C. As during the past 19 years, longer than any other North American magazine,
the Music.com will once again be reporting on
the HIGH END show in Munich. This internationally renowned exhibition has firmly established itself as a global event over nearly four
decades. Outstanding British singer Steven Wilson is HIGH END's official brand ambassador for this year's event. Steven Wilson is a musical all-round talent par excellence and first became known especially as the founder and creative force behind the progressive rock
band Porcupine Tree. In the meantime, he has been pursuing a solo career under his own name and has enjoyed vast success as a solo artist, both in the charts and in concert. Most recently, Wilson delighted his audience in London, selling out three consecutive concerts at the legendary Royal Albert Hall.
HIGH END 2019 show will set new standards and is the most important
European rendezvous of the audio industry, both for small manufacturers and global audio brands. This is where they all come together to meet. In addition to the large, leading global players in the industry, however, there are also the smaller audio specialists who display their passion for innovation and find just the right setting at the HIGH END in
Munich's MOC. Last year, 530 exhibitors from 41 countries showcased their highlights and innovations in four exhibition halls and two atriums, with 138 prominent conference rooms. It is a feature found nowhere else in the world at a trade fair of this
kind. As we always say, in the end what really matters is that you.... enjoy
03 / 20 / 19
B.U. Mechanical Engineers Develop Acoustic Metamaterial Boston University mechanical engineers have invested a specialized synthetic structure that can reduce sound / noise by upwards of 94%. The research article's abstract says, "Recently, with advances in acoustic metamaterial science, the possibility of sound attenuation using
sub-wavelength structures, while maintaining permeability to air, has been demonstrated. However, the ongoing challenge addressed herein is the fact that among such air-permeable structures to date, the open area represents only small fraction of the overall area of the material. In the presented paper in order to address this challenge, we first demonstrate that a transversely placed
bi-layer medium with large degrees of contrast in the layers' acoustic properties exhibits an asymmetric transmission, similar to the Fano-like interference phenomenon. Next, we utilize this design methodology and propose a
deep sub-wavelength acoustic metasurface unit cell comprising nearly 60% open area for air passage, while serving as a high-performance selective sound silencer. Finally, the proposed unit-cell performance is validated experimentally, demonstrating a reduction in the transmitted acoustic energy of up to 94%. This ultra-open metamaterial design, leveraging a Fano-like interference, enables high-performance sound silencing in a design featuring a large degree of open area, which may find utility in applications in which highly efficient, air-permeable sound silencers are required, such as smart sound barriers, fan or engine noise reduction, among others." In the picture seen
above, where (a) Transverse bi-layer metamaterial. The metamaterial is shown here in which the two colored regions are composed of regions with distinct acoustic properties placed transversely with respect to the wave propagation direction. (b) Acoustic transmittance through the transverse
bi-layer metamaterial for different values of acoustic impedance contrast (Z1/Z2) when the refractive indices ratio is kept constant
(n2/n1=10). Notably, for the cases with a finite ratio between the regions' impedance (shown with the blue line, orange dashed line, and the yellow dotted line), Fano-like interference results in a destructive interference. However, in the case of infinite contrast between the regions' impedance, representing
orifice-like behavior, the destructive interference is suppressed (purple dotted dashed line). (c) Acoustic transmittance through the
bi-layer metamaterial for different ratios of the refractive indices when the acoustic impedance is kept
constant(Z2/Z1=10). For different values of refractive index, destructive interference, i.e., attenuation, occurs where
n2t=λ/2 and, consequently, silencing may be realized in the desired frequency regime by tuning the refractive indices.
03 / 19 / 19
NOVO March / April Issue
Is Free To Download Novo's
March / April issue features Tech for Long Distance Relationships, plus Why So Many Music Listeners Are Choosing Integrated Amplifiers Today.
There's also a special Phono Preamp Buyer Guide too! High-end audio equipment
reviews includes Furutech NCF Booster and Signal Booster, Synergistic Research High Frequency Transducers and Black Box Bass Tuning Device,
BIS Audio PowerBIS Maestro Power Bar with their AC-20WG power cord, plus there's
a review of Larsen's Model 6.2 loudspeakers. Within his editorial,
Suave Kajko says, "It's been a cold and snowy winter in Toronto but that's nothing that a couple of friends, a hipster pale ale in one hand and the volume controller in the other can't fix - at least for me. I don't get to see as many live music shows in the winter as I do during the warmer seasons, but I certainly more than make up for it by listening to tunes while I work and at home.
I do however have something to temporarily cure my winter chills: a couple of tickets - a Christmas gift from my family- to a show that I'm really stoked about, this March. It's called "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - In Concert', an experience that allows you to watch the epic film on the big screen while listening to John Williams' outstanding soundtrack played live by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. It's part of the "Star Wars Film Concert Series· that runs at the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto. If you're a Star Wars fan and love live music, there can be no greater treat!"
See what's within this issue of NOVO
and download the complete issue for free in PDF at this link.
Kronos Sparta 0.5 Turntable And Upgrade To Full Sparta This is where I want my music to be! Review By
Rick Becker We are all doomed
to extinction in our own little way. It's called death. And the specter of death
causes many to seek comfort in the familiar – LPs, old movies and TV re-runs,
for example. But lest I be branded with the moniker of macabre, allow me to
point out that turntables, cartridges and phono stages have made impressive
strides in quality over the past two decades-long since the reported death of
03 / 18 / 19
Raidho Premieres Their TD4.2 Floorstander
Building on the success of the D4.1, Raidho's
chief-designer Benno Baun Meldgaard and his team have made the company's D4.1 better. Raidho's TD4.8 technology has been adapted to create the new TD4.2
(€100,000 is gloss black, Walnut Burl or any custom color is €125,000). Carrying on the beautiful design of Michael Børresen, the TD4.2 introduces Raidho's acclaimed Tantalum-Diamond-drivers and updated ribbon-tweeter, which continues the legacy as one of the best tweeters in the world
according to the company. By adding the Tantalum-coating to the already excellent Diamond-drivers, they have achieved a stiffer cone material. The cone is five-layers with higher levels of inner damping. In combination with the upgraded magnet system with the new SD-cap, stronger magnets, and better voicecoil, the TD4.2 will give the qualities of the TD4.8 yet in a size that is more room friendly. Midrange drivers are two 100mm diamond and there are
four 115mm diamond bass drivers. Cabinet internals have been improved, resulting in deeper frequency response and a sound that is more natural while providing a huge soundstage.
03 / 15 / 19
Apple Addresses Spotify's Recent
Apple, in response to Spotify claims of having an unleveled
paying field in operating cost advantages Apple has for iTunes and in keeping Apple devices closed to other
competing music services, Apple released a statement. Here's the last bit of Apple statement: "What does that have to do with music? A lot. We share Spotify's love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world. Where we differ is how you achieve that goal. Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify's aim is to make more money off others' work. And it's not just the App Store that they're trying to squeeze — it's also artists, musicians and songwriters.
Just this week, Spotify sued music creators after a decision by the US Copyright Royalty Board required Spotify to increase its royalty payments. This isn't just wrong, it represents a real, meaningful and damaging step backwards for the music industry.
Apple's approach has always been to grow the pie. By creating new marketplaces, we can create more
opportunities not just for our business, but for artists, creators, entrepreneurs and every
"crazy one" with a big idea. That's in our DNA, it's the right model to grow the next big app ideas and, ultimately, it's better for customers. We're proud of the work we've done to help Spotify build a successful business reaching hundreds of millions of music lovers, and we wish them continued success — after all, that was the whole point of creating the App Store in the first place."
Read Apple's full
statement at this link. We at Enjoy the Music.com ask once again,
how much does Apple pay to an outside entity to have iTunes on the Apple APP
store? How does this affect the pricing of products that directly compete with Apple iTunes?
Dan D'Agostino M.A.S. Momentum HD Preamplifier Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems just announced their Momentum HD Preamplifier ($40,000), a major upgrade to the Momentum Preamplifier. The Momentum HD Preamplifier builds on the award-winning platform to represent the high dynamic and high definition improvements that have been achieved by the company. The new Momentum HD Preamplifier incorporates advancements in the power supply, audio circuitry, and control sections. Housed in a separate chassis for maximum isolation, the Momentum HD main power transformer is 33% larger as compared to the original Momentum Preamplifier. A unique winding technology, first employed in the Momentum M400 amplifier, delivers greater power output from the same footprint. Internal circuitry filters RF noise from the AC powerline, and compensates for asymmetric power waveforms and DC on the mains. A completely new discrete differential FET input stage features two current sources per leg and an input impedance greater than 1 MOhm. This ultra-high input impedance isolates the input stage and thus the entire audio signal path from external variables. Taking advantage of the increased power supply capability, the output stages are now operating at a 36% percent higher voltage. Also new is the Bluetooth technology featured in the included remote control. The Bluetooth backbone extends the range of the remote by a factor of five and eliminates line of sight limitations that are inherent in IR remote controls. Newly designed tone and volume control circuitry increases range and precision in both circuits. Aesthetics have also been updated with the signature copper elements being reshaped to better match the Momentum M400 and S250 amplifiers. Existing Momentum Preamplifier owners will be able to upgrade ($7500) to the new Momentum HD Preamplifier electronics enhancements preserving value in their initial purchases. Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum HD Preamplifier is available in Standard finishes include silver or black.
03 / 14 / 19
Krell SACD Standard CD And SACD Player Can One Player Do Both Formats
By Alvin Gold Krell Industries announced its first high-resolution disc player, the SACD Standard, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2003, and it is now in full serial production. It is a dedicated SACD player of some sophistication, but it is far from representing the limits of
Krell's ambitions in high-resolution disc replay. A universal player is currently in development, which will bring DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, SACD and CD replay under one
roof. ---> Read More
McIntosh Announces Eleven Products As Roon Tested McIntosh is proud to announce that 11 of their products have received Roon Tested designation. Roon is a rich and engaging way to browse, organize, and listen to music. Artist photos, credits, bios, reviews, lyrics, tour dates, and composers are located automatically, then interconnected by links to build a surfable digital magazine. Roon is also a multi-room, multi-user networked audio platform, it offers features such as bit-perfect playback, DSD and PCM upsampling,
multi-channel support, and Signal Path display. The McIntosh products receiving Roon Tested designation are: C47, C52, C2600 and D1100 Preamplifiers; MA5300, MA7200, MA8900 and MA9000 Integrated Amplifiers; MAC7200 Receiver; MHA150 Headphone Amplifier; and MXA80 Integrated Audio System. All of these models utilize a powerful 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) used in Quad Balanced mode. Their S/PDIF coax and optical TosLink inputs will decode music up to 24-bit/192kHz; their USB inputs accept even higher PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and support up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz. Products designated as Roon Tested have been profiled and tested by both Roon and McIntosh for maximum compatibility.
03 / 13 / 19
Spotify Seeks "Leveling The Playing
Field" With Apple
Apple. Sure you may love their devices and how they all work together, yet keep in mind Apple also holds all the keys to the
proverbial locked doors of their app store. Spotify's
new site Leveling The Playing Field seeks legal remedy to what appears to be an anti-competitive nature by Apple for using their app store.
Developers know that Apple may imposes a 30% 'tax' on music services such as Spotify who use Apple's App Store. Face it, where else are you getting your app from? As a possible
scenario, Apple gets 30% while the developer (Spotify, Pandora, Qobuz, Tidal, Netflix etc) gets 70%. Can you image if 30% came off the top of your services just for having it
within an app store? Perhaps now you can see why the margins are so very slim for many streaming media companies. We wonder if Apple charges Apple a 30% fee for
appearing within the iTunes store? Wait, what? Can you smell a bit of that possible anti-competitive nature, or should we say advantages Apple has over their competition. Furthermore, according to Spotify,
Apple "won't let us market to our customers who use our app on iOS. So that deal we had for you last month to upgrade to our premium service that would have saved your family a lot of money? Sorry, we
weren't allowed to tell you about it. We aren't even allowed to tell you something as simple as how and where to upgrade to premium via the app. Apple uses compliance with their restrictions as a pretext to block our app updates – whether they are bug fixes or enhancements, making it challenging, and in some cases impossible, to bring you our latest and greatest innovations." But wait, there's more! Spotify continues by saying, "Add to that, Apple ignores
users' preferred choice of music service and instead steers them to use Apple Music exclusively. So can you ask Siri to play your favorite playlist from Spotify? No, not even if you actively want Spotify to be your default streaming service. Or can you listen to Spotify through your Apple HomePod? Sorry, no luck with that either. And by the way, Spotify is available on pretty much every other speaker device out there." Also, "We
don't want a free ride, we just want a fair ride. We aren't seeking special treatment, but the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. And,
let's be clear. The App Store is the success it is today in large part because of third-party apps such as Spotify. We helped drive consumers to the App Store and kept them on their iPhones for longer and longer stretches. It started out as a win-win for both Apple and Spotify, but Apple soon tilted the playing field to its own advantage."
Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors AXPONA 2019 Industry
Mixer And All Seminars Enjoy the Music.com, a leader in CE audio equipment reviews, news and show reports, are joining AXPONA in celebrating their ten years of providing high-end audio events within North America by sponsoring their
Industry Welcome Mixer and Seminar Room.
AXPONA's three-day experience features multiple hotel floors featuring
fascinating listening rooms, The Expo Hall's Record Fair, a dedicated Ear Gear Expo, seminars, and live musical performances. To kick off the AXPONA experience, all manufacturers, dealers, distributors and press are invited to an exclusive
Industry Welcome Mixer to network, make connections, and set meetings for the event. All seminars,
open to AXPONA attendees and the industry, highlight experts within their field to both inform and educate
their audience about the many developing technologies within the CE
industry's inspiring high-end audio sector. ---> Read More
03 / 12 / 19
Pro-Ject Releases Ringo Starr Peace & Love Turntable Pro-Ject
has partnered again with The Universal Music Group to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Pro-Ject's special Peace & Love turntable (€499) was handpicked by Ringo; at its base lies an Essential III, upgraded with an acryl platter. It features high quality audiophile components such as an Ortofon OM10
cartridge, a precision diamond cut aluminum pulley, top notch MDF chassis and a built-in motor control for optimal speed stability. The acryl platter is not just a sound enhancement that makes the turntable sound richer and more natural by eliminating unwanted resonances caused by the platter, it also allows you to view the underlying, stunning artwork. The artwork itself is designed by Ringo Starr and was carefully created and developed by him over the course of many years.
Is Vinyl The New Heroin For Dyed-In-The-Wool Hard-Core Audiophiles?
IRL: I've seen the needle and the damage done. Article
By Steven R. Rochlin Last month's Enjoy the Music.com
review of the VPI Nomad is but one example of the many new turntables, vinyl LPs
and associated equipment making their way into the home of many music lovers
worldwide. Once again the record album is experiencing double-digit growth over
the previous year as consumers, and bands, can't seem to get enough of what
they desire. ---> Read
Legendary Drummer Hal Blaine Has Passed Away
Hal Blaine (Harold Simon Belsky) was perhaps the most famous American drummer and session musician of all time. To try and mention only a handful of hits would do him an injustice to the truly immense amount of recordings he has played on. The list of
musicians he has worked with reads like a shopping list of your favorite (aural) foods, especially from the 1960s to early 1970s. "Blaine was a prolific session player and by his estimation played on over 6,000 recordings. He is widely regarded as one of the most in-demand drummers in rock and roll history, having 'certainly played on more hit records than any drummer in the rock
era'," says Wiki. He was part of the famous Wrecking Crew, a group of musicians who recorded in LA. A post on his Facebook page says, "Hal Blaine - loving father of Michelle Blaine; grandfather of Anthony, Josh, Aaron, Whitney, Tempest, Ever and Lyryk; and inspiration to countless friends, fans and musicians - has passed on today, March 11th, 2019 at the age of 90. May he rest forever on 2 and 4. The family appreciates your outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Hal from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning. No further details will be released at this time." Here's
his main Wiki page and here's a Wiki of just 'a few' of the
probably recognize that he played on.
03 / 11 / 19
MQA Available For iOS Phones And Android Too
Hot on the heels of MQA
(Master Quality Authenticated) being available for all Android devices, we can now add
TIDAL on iOS phone to the ranks of devices that can decode MQA. This continues
optimizing the smartphone listening experience and delivering guaranteed master quality recordings direct from the source. With TIDAL Masters playback now accessible on iPhones and Android smartphones, as well as desktop and connected devices, you can experience studio quality sound wherever you choose to listen. Using a process called 'music origami', MQA's award-winning technology folds master files into smaller files that can be streamed on the go. The MQA decoder in the app recovers all the direct music-related information and also authenticates the source of the original master recording. "From our ongoing work with engineers and artists, we know the importance creators place on delivering the original sound they created all the way to the music fan," said Mike Jbara, MQA CEO. "Through our global partnership with TIDAL, this becomes a reality wherever you're enjoying your music." Lior Tibon, TIDAL COO, said "Bringing music to life, just as the artist intended, is a core value of the TIDAL platform and we couldn't be more excited to finally bring master quality music to both major mobile operating systems." MQA has partnerships with all three major record labels, as well as with Merlin, representing the independent label community, and the TIDAL Masters catalogue continues to grow rapidly, covering new releases and catalogue recordings.
Vermouth Audio Expands Their Reference Series Vermouth Audio's
new Reference series marks their pinnacle achievement and redefines the company's presence in the audiophile industry. This prestigious line already offers an RCA interconnect, an XLR interconnect and a power cord. This summer, Vermouth Audio will introduce a brand new loudspeaker cable to join the Reference family. The Reference series represents the company's past nine years of research and development, altogether combining what they have learned to be able to give birth to their state-of-the-art cable. Their current Reference XLR features multi-size OCC copper blended with rectangular OCC copper. Double PTFE tape protection is combined with Cu Mylar wrapped, with the wire being surrounded by braided OCC copper shield to avoid unwanted RFI and EMI interference. Other features include airtube spacer and suspension. A high quality and flexible jacket wraps the entire cable assembly for protection. Vermouth uses full Tellurium copper direct rhodium plated XLR plug conductors that feature
Teflon insulation of the XLR plug, which also has a carbon fiber shell. Vermouth's Reference Speaker cable is made from 39
multi-size strands with two groups for, in total, 10AWG UP-OCC copper conductor. Loudspeaker connectors are Furutech FI-28 Rhodium with special carbon fiber shell.
03 / 08 / 19
Aavik C-150 Preamplifier And U-150 Integrated
Amplifier Aavik integrated U-150 combines a well-designed preamplifier section with optional DAC/MC modules plus two
channels @ 300 Watt per power amplifier. Aavik's C-150 preamplifier is build with many of the same topology as their reference Preamp C-300. It uses the special Aavik microprocessor controlled resistor-ladder volume control and the inverted, virtual GND amplifier technique. In comparison with the U-150, Aavik gave the C-150 more and better separate power supplies, which is said to bring the dynamics and details to a higher level. Aavik's C-150 uses the same DAC and MC phono sections that are available for the integrated U-150 but with the better power supplies behind them, they to perform significantly better. For the Aavik U-150 integrated power amplifier, a 300 Watt @ 8 Ohm Class D power module (600 Watt @ 4 Ohm) was designed with better and stronger power supplies. Internal wiring is top-of-the-line Ansuz cable technology. Inputs
include three unbalanced RCA stereo pair, two RCA S/P-DIF inputs (32-bit/192kHz), two two optical TosLink S/PDIF (32-bit/96kHz), USB galvanically isolated asynchronous (32-bit/192kHz, DSD64 and DSD128).
03 / 07 / 19
VAC Avatar Integrated Amplifier You get what you pay for... and
sometimes you get more! Review By
Steven R. Rochlin I first saw the Valve
Amplification Company (VAC) Avatar at the 1999 CES. The Avatar is a very interesting
amplifier indeed. With quite a few integrated amplifier having visited my
own stable fairly recently such as the cj CAV-50, Audio Note Meishu, Manley
Labs Stingray, 47 Labs Gaincard and Linn Classik (review forthcoming), one
could come to the conclusion that either i love integrated units or i am
truly insane. As the case may be, odds are I am a little of both. You see,
the advantages of buying an integrated amplifier is in not just the
elimination of the interconnect going from the preamplifier to the
amplifier, but you are also getting a properly matched system. ---> Read More
MrSpeakers ÆON Closed Back Over-The-Ear Stereo Headphones
The ÆON is very possibly
MrSpeaker's headphone masterpiece. Review By Dave Hanson How many over-ear headphones can you name priced between $499
and $999? You would think there would be more, but there really aren't many
these days. While there has been a flood of flagship-level megabuck headphones
over the past couple of years (to go with the usual selection of sub-$500 fare),
it seems many manufacturers somehow forgot about the middle. So like many other
personal audio enthusiasts, I was extremely interested when the venerable
MrSpeakers announced they would be filling the vacuum with their
attractively-priced $799 ÆON over-ear headphone. --->
03 / 06 / 19
HIFICRITIC Celebrates 10 Year Partnership With
Enjoy the Music.com Enjoy the Music.com,
a leader in CE audio equipment reviews, news and show reports, are celebrating
their ten year partnership with HIFICRITIC
audio review magazine. This marks the eighth print publication joining what has
been referred to as the Internet's leading site for high-end audio consumer
electronics reviews and information. HIFICRITIC's Editor In Chief Martin Colloms and Senior
Contributing Editor Andrew Everard see this as a mark of increasing
recognition for their professionally produced print publication directed at
serious stereo enthusiasts. ---> Read More
Bonus Pics From Florida Audio
Expo Florida Audio Expo
2019 show in Tampa, Florida. Here are some special bonus photos from Florida Audio
Expo 2019. --->
Nordost System Solution Set-Up & Tuning Discs Nordost is excited to introduce their System Solution Set-Up & Tuning Discs ($39.99.). Nordost's System Solution is an invaluable tool for the installation, maintenance, and fine-tuning of any
hi-fi audio system. This newly upgraded, two-disc set offers a unique mix of diagnostic tracks, calibration tools, and system conditioning aids, in the form of channel and phase checks, LEDR tests, timed frequency sweeps, repeated drum beats, degauss, and burn-in signal tracks. Our sound engineers have even incorporated specially designed tracks to facilitate loudspeaker positioning and the integration of subwoofers. As an exciting new feature,
Nordost's System Solution Set-Up and Tuning Discs now include musical selections from albums recorded using Nordost cables. These carefully curated tracks highlight specific aspects of system performance and will help you to further explore the subtleties of your newly-tuned system. This also means that Nordost users will have the ability to experience performances wired with Nordost from beginning to end.
Stereolab / Black Cat Cable ACME Subdivision Stereolab (Black Cat Cable) announces the formation of their ACME subdivision and their first product. Å19 ($10 per foot) can be used as internal hookup wire for loudspeakers and electronic components. It also works as a system-ground cable in concert with existing grounding components. As loudspeaker cables, Å19 can be employed in twisted pairs (or multiple, parallel lines to sum to higher gauges), and even as interconnect cables in twisted pairs. Overall OD is 5mm. "ACME is the name for the compartment within which I'll be producing 'bulk' (unterminated) cable for use by hobbyists and colleagues," stated Chris Sommovigo, owner and operator of Stereolab, LLC, the parent company for the Black Cat Cable and ACME brand. "My first product is an elegant little hookup wire that I call A19, A for ACME and 19 for the sum AWG of the thirty-two fine, tin-plated copper conductors braided around a 3mm cotton cord from Japan. The overall jacket is a black nylon multifilament yarn, although I can run various colors for custom orders."
03 / 04 / 19
AXPONA 2019 Welcomes 50+ First-Time Exhibitors AXPONA (Audio Expo North America)
2019, the largest consumer audio show in North America, will take place April 12th through 14th at The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center and Hotel. To join the hundreds of other products being
shown, there are over 50 new first-time exhibitors making their debut. AXPONA is known for featuring world-renowned companies and manufacturers, showcasing the most innovative products and services in the high-end audio industry. It is the place where manufacturers and dealers unveil their latest offerings, in a wide variety of price points and mediums. Over 50 NEW and innovative exhibitors will gather at AXPONA 2019 to introduce their newest offerings, many making their global debut. At AXPONA 2019
will be a new exhibitors hail from across the globe including Canada, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Scotland, Italy, France, and New Zealand. A very special (optional) Gold Pass Package provides admission to all three days of AXPONA along with some extra perks! The AXPONA Gold Experience Pass includes: collector's Badge, official AXPONA T-shirt, access to the AXPONA Gold Lounge with VIP check-in, coat check, refreshments and
Wi-Fi, and an exclusive reception for Gold pass holders on Saturday, April 13 from 6:00 – 7:00 PM with special guests. There are only a limited number of passes available, so order soon! Discounted Student Day passes are also available. General passes are $25 per day in advance ($50 for all three days with advanced
purchase). Learn more about AXPONA 2019 and our
show report at this link.
Angel City Audio: ACA and Melody Valve HiFi Florida Audio Expo
2019 show in Tampa, Florida. Vacuum tube amplification is alive and well here at
the Florida Audio Expo 2019. Angel City Audio was showcasing the Melody P2688 preamplifier
($9399) that feed their M845 monoblock amplifier ($8999 per pair). While the DAC was Onix OC103, the speakers
were ACA's lovely Seraphim Prime ($25,000 per pair. --->
Only Creative's Stylish Oltre Stereo Amplifier Only Creative
has announced their new Oltre amplifier (€8000) that produces 300 Watts @ 8 Ohms per channel stereo. This very stylish new amplifier from Italy boasts 500 Watts @ 4 Ohms with a frequency response from 10Hz to 30kHz with a
signal-to-noise ration of > 115dB. Crosstalk is a bit high at 85dB @ 1 kHz. Input impedance is 10kOhm balanced with an input
sensitivity of 11 dBu / gain of 26dB. Damping factor is > 10000 @ 100 Hz. There's an available 4 version that produces 2kWatts @ 4 Ohm to one
channel 500 Watts @ 4 Ohm for stereo, and four channel at 600 Watts @ 4 Ohm. The main chassis is made from aircraft aluminum and measures 398 x 398 x 115 mm. Weight is 16 kgs.
Hi-Fi World April Features Reviews & Think Pieces Hi-Fi
World's April 2019 issue features a competition with your chance to win a Quad Artera Play+ CD player worth £1,195. Audiophile gear reviews include KEF R5 loudspeakers, Acoustic Energy AE300 stand-mounts, Samsung AKG VL5 wireless smart speaker, Chord Electronics Hugo TT2 DAC, Chord Electronics Hugo M Scaler, Musical Fidelity M2SCD CD player / M2si integrated amplifier, Atlas Asimi cables, Roon music software, Prism DAC, Dual CS 460 turntable, and Pro-Ject Phono Box S2
Ultra. Within his editorial, Noel Keywood says, "Loudspeakers have a hole in the middle – and it's not a port. It is the gap between low frequencies and high frequencies where the two cone drive units have difficulty meeting up in decent fashion. This always was the justification for a three-way loudspeaker – one with a midrange unit that best covers the region where the ear and brain together are most alert. And KEF's new R5 has an aluminum cone midrange unit of impeccable pedigree. That's why it threw so much information at me – see our review on p10. Such a well-developed loudspeaker is almost challenging; you need to feed it decent digital or lovely LP. Get this bit right however and the R5s sing."
See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World
at this link.
03 / 02 / 19
Third Man Records' White Stripes 3" Vinyl + Turntable
A new vinyl LP niche has hit the streets, with Asia being a popular location for such interesting oddities. It has been reported that for
Record Store Day 2019 Third Man Records will be offering Jack
White's reissue of six White Stripes singles on 3" vinyl LP format. To play these singles, a special edition
Crosley turntable called Triple Inchophone record player is
included with the new box set. These 3" vinyl LPs, also called 8ban, handles
about four minutes of music and are produced in Japan by
Toyokasei. Singles within this Record Store Day release include "Conquest", "Hello Operator", "Lafayette Blues",
"Let's Shake Hands", "Lord, Send Me an Angel", and "The Big Three Killed My Baby". As for the turntable itself, it can be powered by USB or by using a few batteries. It comes with an Audio-Technica cartridge, plus has a headphone jack, built-in loudspeaker, and of interesting note there's a pitch controller too. As an added nice touch, a dust cover
is included too. As best we can tell, only Third Man's Detroit and Nashville stores will have this very special box
set available on Record Store Day 2019, which is set for Saturday April 13th.
RIAA 2018: Digital Music Downloads Floundering
Vinyl Sales More Profitable Than Lossy Digital Downloads
With our modern world of Hi-Res Music lossless streaming, it should come as no surprise that purchasing lossy compressed music has taken a back seat to vinyl LP sales.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) 2018 Year-End Music Industry Revenue Report, "In 2018, revenues from recorded music in the United States grew 12% to $9.8 billion at estimated retail value. For the third year in a row, double-digit growth was driven primarily by increased revenues from paid subscription services including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon and others, which reached more than 50 million subscriptions in the United States for the first time. Revenues measured at wholesale value also grew 12% to $6.6 billion. Revenue growth from streaming formats continued to be offset by decreases from unit-based sales, including both digital downloads and physical goods.... Revenues from streaming music platforms grew 30% year-over-year to reach $7.4 billion, contributing 75% of total revenues for 2018, and accounting for virtually all the revenue growth for the year.... Subscriptions to on-demand streaming services remained the biggest driver of increasing revenues for the music business, and for the first time accounted for more than half of total revenues for the year." The high profit margins of physical media such and vinyl LPs is an interesting note, as the RIAA says, "Revenues from shipments of physical products decreased to $1.15 billion, down 23% from 2017. At estimated retail value, CDs fell 34% to $698 million, the first time revenues from CDs were less than one billion dollars since 1986. Vinyl records continued to be the exception to the decline of unit-based formats. Revenues from vinyl albums in 2018 totaled $419 million, an increase of 8% versus last year, and the highest level since 1988. By value, vinyl made up more than one-third of revenues from physical formats." During 2018, vinyl LPs/EPs accounted for 16,700,000 units with a total revenue of $419,200,000, which is a 7.9%
increase over 2017. Digital music downloads only accounted for 11% of revenue, whereas physical sales
during 2018 were 12%. Streaming music accounts for 75% of revenue in 2018
according to the RIAA's year end report. Not surprisingly, CD sales revenue are at a 32-year low as they fell a staggering 34% in 2018 as compared to 2017.
In related news, recently the United States of America legal system has disallowed the sales of 'used' digital music downloads that you legally purchase, yet you can sell vinyl LPs.
Unlike buying music in the past such as cassette tape, 8-track, CDs, vinyl LPs,
etc, digital music downloads are money spent without any legal opportunity to sell unwanted music titles in the future once you no longer desire them. You can
download the entire RIAA 2018 report in PDF at this link
Tortuga Audio And Triode Wire Lab
Setting up on the long wall here at the Florida Audio Expo had challenges. With Tortuga Audio and Triode Wire teaming up, the soundscape was very encompassing. Want to be completely fair, as always, and the sound was perhaps not the most refined system at this show. Something in the upper midrange seemed a bit
out-of-phase or ???? --->
Reports, Gear Reviews & More! Enjoy the
Music.com's March Review
Magazine features two show reports, a few think pieces and a special
in-depth review of the much-anticipated JBL L100 Classic loudspeaker!
Senior Editor Tom Lyle says, "Not only does JBL's reputation precede them, but these speakers will bring back pleasant memories to many music lovers of a certain age."
We also have reviews of the Furutech NCF Cable
Booster-Signal, KEF LSX Wireless Music System, Black Cat 3200 Series of cables, and Manley Labs Absolute Headphone Amplifier. Vinyl
enthusiasts rejoice as Dwayne Carter re-enters analog and assembles a system with
Pro-Ject turntables, Parasound JC 3 Jr. plus Okki Nokki's Record Cleaning Machine MK II. Giving the nod to today being Throwback Thursday,
enjoy HIFICRITIC's Phil Ward as he checks out the legendary Yamaha NS-10 recording studio monitor and writes how
it is like Avantone Pro's new CLA-10.