Acoustic Sounds

In need of a feel good story? Here it is. There's even a hi-fi system tie in. The story as told in the booklet by Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum (and author of three Armstrong biographies) begins almost a year after this BBC performance with Louis at home recuperating from two hospital stays playing for guests his new Tandberg reel to reel tape recorders his wife Lucille had installed as a surprise while he... Read More

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It's Monk's Time

Monk was born on October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Four years later his family moved to New York City, settling at the Phipps Houses at 243 West 63rd St in Manhattan, known then as the San Juan Hill area, later referred to as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts neighborhood. When he was five years old, a neighbor gave him piano lessons in the stride style of Fats Waller and James P Johnson. At ages 10-12 he had classical piano lessons from Simon... Read More

Comments: 2
Charisma Audio YYZ

I’ve been a fan of Charisma Audio for a while now. I reviewed and purchased a Charisma Audio Signature One several years back. I consider that cart to be my first high-end cartridge. Although I previously used several other MC carts, the Signature One gave me a more neutral tonality along with more resolution than I previously had. So when Bernard Li of Charisma Audio asked if I’d like to hear his new top-of-the-line YYZ cartridge (the latest evolution up from the... Read More

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Lacquer Plating at RTI

Record plating is the "secret sauce" behind great sounding records. A great lacquer cut can be sabotaged by inept plating. Only a handful of experienced experts know how best to do this, aided by the finest infrastructure. RTI's plating expert Dorin Sauerbier is one of the world's best and the infrastructure he's built at RTI over the past 20 plus years helps produce some of the world's best stampers and thus some of the world's best... Read More

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Fidelity Record Pressing

Fidelity Record Pressing, a partnership between Music Direct's Jim Davis and pressing plant veteran Rick Hashimoto and his son Edward, opened its brand new Oxnard, CA pressing plant to invited guests Friday, May 17th. I'd returned from Munich High End on the 15th after being away since the 7th of May so the idea of getting back on a plane the next day and flying cross country to attend on the 17th was out of the question. So I did something even more insane.... Read More

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YG Acoustics Talus Loudspeaker

At a press conference during last spring’s Munich High End 2024 YG Acoustics introduced its new “flagship” $498,000 XV 3 Signature loudspeaker—a four tower, limited-to-eight-pairs edition.This isn’t a review of that speaker, so there’s no point in going through all that went into its design and execution overseen by YG CEO and chief designer Matthew Webster.No doubt designing and executing this modestly priced Talus loudspeaker introduced in 2023 was at least, if not... Read More

Comments: 4
Rhino High Fidelity Does "Bad Company" and Yes "Relayer"

LOS ANGELES—Rhino High Fidelity (Rhino Hi-Fi) returns with the latest additions to its acclaimed limited-edition, high-end vinyl reissues. Bad Company’s Self-Titled(1974) debut and Yes’s Relayer (1974) are available today exclusively at and internationally at select WMG stores. Each release is limited to 5,000 individually numbered copies priced at $39.98Rhino High Fidelity has set the industry standard for sound quality and packaging, demonstrating... Read More

Comments: 15
Joni Mitchell The Asylum Years (1976-1980)

On 1974's Court and Spark Joni Mitchell cautiously dipped her musical toes into the jazz pool, adding some studio players like Milt Holland, Wilton Felder and Tom Scott to the arranging mix and capping the record with a sly, startling cover of Wardell Gray and Annie Ross's "Twisted" found originally on Lambert, Hendricks & Ross!: The Hottest New Group in Jazz (Columbia CS 8198). Cheech and Chong added some of their zany comic commentary to the... Read More

Comments: 12
Gryphon Audio Designs Diablo 333

The Gryphon Audio Designs Diablo 333 integrated amplifier is the highly anticipated, long-awaited replacement for the very successful Diablo 300, which had a remarkable 8-year run and sold thousands of units. This new design incorporates advanced technologies used in Gryphon's flagship Apex and Commander amplifier and preamp. I met Anthony Chiarella, Gryphon's Director of Sales and Marketing for the USA, at AXPONA 2024. We talked about Gryphon's... Read More

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Skip James Today! Bluesville Reissue

Series curator Scott Billington says it all in his obi strip annotation: "In the 1960s James may have startled listeners the most, because the haunting quality of his music had only deepened with time". Scott was referring to James's eerie, almost ghostly falsetto vocals that first appeared on record back in 1931 on the Paramount label.This outing recorded January 9 and 10 1966 at Vanguard's 214 West 23rd Street New York City studio, is... Read More

Comments: 5

If you click on a writer's name it will take you to a page showing a clickable link to every review by that writer! Try it! You'll like it. Read More

Comments: 5
Jason Moran Ten

It may seem odd for Blue Note to reissue Jason Moran’s Ten on two LPs as part of its Classic Vinyl series. For one thing, it was recorded in 2010, a bit recent to be deemed a classic. For another, contrary to the “hype sticker” (and unlike most titles in the series), it was not “mastered from the original analog tapes,” as the album was recorded digitally. (Blue Note has since acknowledged the error.) Nonetheless, the album fits the category. The sound quality, though... Read More

Comments: 9
MoFi Electronics SilverStudio MC

Obviously, MoFi Electronics has not gone into the cartridge making business, though it does manufacture its own turntables and phono preamp. The lineup of three cartridges appears to be manufactured per Allen Perkins' order by Audio-Technica, which has of late been doing this for a number of American companies.The $999 StudioSilver is the middle of the three cartridge line, with the MasterTracker MM below and the $1495 UltraGold MC above. A value-packed cartridge... Read More

Comments: 3
Fluance RT85

It’s no secret that with vinyl once again popular, many well-known brands eager to enter or re-enter the turntable market have them manufactured at the same well-established, highly capable Taiwanese factory using familiar looking parts. It doesn’t take an ”eagle eye” to spot the similarities. Other companies, like Canada-based, once an “upstart” but now well-established, do likewise. Most of these turntables are not “branding exercises”, in which a... Read More

Comments: 13
Phil Manzanera's memoir “Revolución to Roxy”

About 23 pages into “Revolución to Roxy”, you’ll find eight-year-old Phil Manzanera carrying a small tray of cake and Cuban coffee to a man across the road standing watch over an empty house. By way of thanks the guard gives him a “broad smile” and then, as a sort of improvised firecracker, sets off a pinch of gun powder from an empty .303 shell. That’s just one charming glimpse into the life of the Roxy Music guitarist at a time that was otherwise lit up by the... Read More

Comments: 3