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December 2013
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Audiophile Holiday Gift 2013
Great Audiophile Gifts For 2013
Gift ideas to give your audiophile for the 2013 holiday season!


Picks By Rick Becker

  The V-Moda Faders should be on every audiophile's list if they value their hearing. Whether you suffer the noise of lawn mowing, leaf blowing, power tools, or even just a drive home from work, the V-Moda Faders can protect your hearing and keep it fresh for those precious moments with your high-end rig. I tested them on the drive home from the TAVES show, replacing the squishy foam barrels I normally stuff into my ear. The Faders were far superior, eliminating all but a slight din of the lowest frequencies. Priced in the neighborhood of $20 and coming with a detachable lanyard which screws into the metal shell, the Faders come with a variety of medical grade fittings. They come in a rainbow of anodized colors to suit your favorite flavor of bling and totally eliminate the stigma of being socially unacceptable. Say what? www.v-moda.com


The in-ear Perfect Sound earphones will give you the music and add bling to the lady or the pirate in your life. Affordable ear jewelry from Taiwan seen at TAVES. www.Perfect-Sound.com.tw


AmCan Audio was founded by Todd Kubon who makes prostheses in his day job. His expertise in medical grade silicone has led him to develop these stylus cleaners for the booming turntable market. Even stickier than the competition, you just lower the tonearm into the goo with the tonearm lever, and immediately raise it up. Not only does it do a better job, but it costs less at about $49. The silicone can be washed with soap and water or isopropyl alcohol to clean and re-new it. Discovered at the TAVES show. Kiss those dust bunnies goodbye! www.AmcanAudio.com


The Oriton Black Bullets are RCA anti-vibration devices that interface between your component and the RCA connecting cable. It is shown here being supported by a plastic credit card and at about $170-$180 this makes a very significant gift for most of us. Ever the skeptic and ever curious, I tried these on each end of my digital cable between the transport and $2000 DAC. After settling in, the result was rather stunning, adding about $1000 to the perceived value of my DAC…maybe more. You may find that you don't really need a new DAC after all once you've tried these. They're distributed by Robert Neill at Worldwide Wholesales. www.WorldwideWholesales.com and offered by the manufacturer at www.Oriton.co.uk


At the Home Trends Design showroom in High Point, NC, I discovered Wexel Art Displays that manufactures clear plastic “frames" that are permanently mounted, but off-set from the wall. This allows you to slide photos, art work and even LP album cover beneath the Plexiglas and affix it with magnets, thereby allowing you to change the art or album covers at any time. The “Home Trends & Design" frame seen here would be album size (14" x 14"), and retail for about $55. Very clean design. www.WexelArt.com


Picks By Phil Gold

If the Astell & Kern AK100 and AK120 are a bit too expensive for your Christmas list, The Fiio X3 ($200) may be just what you're looking for. It is a portable 192k/24 bit player capable of lossless replay of APE/FLAC/ALAC/WMA/WAV format material. It can also be used as an outboard USB DAC. Weighing only 4.3 oz and with a battery life of 10 hours this is a very desirable toy. Inside you'll find the same advanced Wolfson 8740 DAC chip used in the Astell & Kern devices and the AD8397 op amp outputting 300mA into 16Ω headphones. Analog adjustment of treble and bass is a standout feature. Outputs include a 3.5mm headphone jack, 3.5 mm Line out and 3.5 mm coax digital. The user interface is a 2.4 inch color screen with 240 x 320 resolution while the chassis is brushed aluminum with metal buttons and a plastic shell. It charges through the micro USB 2.0 port. There's an expansion port for a Micro SD card of up to 64 GB. Sadly there's no DSD capability but look at the price! www.fiio.com.cn


Usher Audio's S520 ($479) shielded two-way monitors are outstanding value at the price. There's a 1" dome tweeter and 5" polypropylene midbass inside, with a crossover approved by Dr. Joseph D'Appolito. The speakers come in Ferrari Red, Gloss Yellow, Piano White, Piano Black and Piano Silver. Efficiency is 86dB and bandwidth is 52 Hz to 20 kHz (-3dB) in a box that measures 7.1" x 10.4" x 11.8". But the best trick is to buy a second pair and place them upside down over the first. The results are simply spectacular. Try it. www.UsherAudioUSA.com


Todd Garfinkle of M•A Recordings makes the most realistic recordings I've ever heard. He records lesser known but wonderful artists in unconventional locations – often churches – using two omnidirectional microphones fed directly into handmade and customized recording equipment made especially for him. Some recordings are made in DSD while some are 96kHz/24-bit or higher. You may enjoy Será Una Noche for example, which is available in a variety of formats including LP. Here is Todd at November's TAVES show in Toronto. My own favorite is his sampler disk MAonSA ($30). The Redbook tracks are completely different form the SACD layer, giving you over three hours of music. Go on, treat yourself. www.MARecordings.com


Picks By A. Colin Flood

Free is good. Good is better; and for commercial free enjoyment it is only $36/year so you can enjoy Pandora to its fullest. Few things are more addicting that free music. Pandora is a free internet radio service available only in the United States, Australia and New Zealand for PC and mobile devices. It is named after Greek mythology, meaning “the all-giving." Pandora has 800,000 tracks from 80,000 artists in its library, and 120 million users. After selecting an artist to listen to, Pandora gives an hour of similar and related music genres, often live tracks, mixed in with a song or two from that favorite artist and interrupted by an advertisement every dozen tracks. www.Pandora.com


Spotify also starts off free and then offers better, paid digital, online streaming music service. It has only 20 million free users and four million paid subscribers. Sign up with Facebook. Its 'Unlimited' level for $4.99/month means no advertisements. Spotify's 'Premium' level is $9.99/month. The best part of Spotify ‘Premium' is that you can use it treat it like your own music library and listen to exactly what you want, when you want. www.Spotify.com


With MOG you get over 16 million songs on your computer or mobile device plus many receivers or advanced modern web-aware audio units. Only MOG has 100% artist-only stations and you can adjust the artist's mix on each station to your liking. Of course there are playlists, the ability to discover new to you music and more. Another benefit is that MOG streams at 320kbs, whereas Spotify and Pandora are at lower, higher lossy compressed rates. MOG is free with commercials, $5/mo for Basic and $10/mo for commercial-free 'unlimited' music. www.MOG.com


Picks By Steven R. Rochlin

Don't forget about your pet this holiday season as Suck UK experiments in human/animal interaction. We all know that cats scratch furniture to mark their territory, exercise their muscles, for sheer pleasure and more. So why not give them something to scratch with? The Suck UK Cat DJ Scratching Deck ($28) comes flat packed and easily folds together into a simple structure with poseable tonearm. The top spins as your cat paws at it while you sit and giggle. Are humans imitating cats or visa versa? Who cares?!? The whole point is that everyone enjoys their holiday gifts this season. The Cat DJ Scratching Deck measures 13.75" x 15.25 x 5.75 and should bring many hours of entertainment for your cat and the vinyl DJ enthusiast in you! Buy it @ Amazon.com


When you see this poster, made famous in the Maxell TV commercial, do you immediately think of Wilhelm Richard Wagner's Flight of the Valkyries? The picture Blown Away by Steve Steigman ($14) measures 36" x 24" and is printed on thicker poster paper, not the cheaper and thinner rubbish most posters are mode from nowadays. Blown Away by Steve Steigman is digitally printed on archival photographic paper resulting in vivid, pure B&W colors and in exceptional detail. If your music lover has always wanted a great, classic poster then here is perhaps the one to get for them this holiday season. Buy it @ Amazon.com.


Of course in the end what really matters to me is that we all....

Enjoy the Music (So many kids out there, Santa must be a trillionaire...),

Steven R. Rochlin

Flying Through the snow 
Can you hear him ho ho ho 
He's so full of cheer 
Only has to work one day a year

Sees every move you make
Better be good for goodness sake
Leave him cookies and beer
He'll be back to your house first next year














































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