Acoustic Sounds
Steve Albini

(I conducted this interview with the great Steve Albini way back in 1993, before MP3, before the iPod, back when all but a few outspoken critics like Albini, Neil Young and a few others had anything negative to say about the digital recording revolution. Albini died today at age 61 from a heart attack at his Electrical Audio studio in Chicago. It's fascinating to read Albini's thoughts from back then today. He was right on target then and now, but of course... Read More

Comments: 17
Gryphon Apollo Turntable System

Munich, Germany, 9 May 2024:  Gryphon Audio Designs ApS, designer and manufacturer of Ultra-Luxe Audio Systems, introduces the finest analog offerings in their 40-year history. The Siren Phono Preamplifier and Apollo Turntable System will be unveiled today at HIGH END Munich, Atrium 4.1, Room E120. Gryphon’s Commander Preamp, Apex Mono Amplifiers, recently introduced PowerZone AC Optimizer and EOS 5 Loudspeakers, wired with Gryphon Vanta Cable and mounted on our StandArt Equipment Racks, complete the demonstration system.

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Comments: 4

Here's an easy way to approach using a step up transformer with a moving coil cartridge: The load that a step-up transformer presents to its primary is calculated when you divide the resistance connected to the secondary with the turns ratio squared. So for the Ypsilon MC16 for instance, it's Rin=47k/16*2=183.5ohms. To be more precise this stands for an ideal transformer with no winding resistances. So add also 450ohms secondary and 8ohms at primary coil.... Read More

Comments: 27
Wilson-Benesch GMT One Turntable

Before returning the Wilson Beseech GMT One turntable I recorded a few additional tracks including this one: "Walk on the Wild Side" from an original American pressing that I've owned and played since 1972. Mick Ronson's arranging skills played a significant role in the success of this record, musically and commercially. It was recorded at Trident in London and the sound is superbly natural. When those backup gals do their "do do do...."... Read More

Comments: 19
Westminster Lab Monologue phono preamp

Westminster Lab is relatively new to the hifi scene, but since introducing their Rei power amps and Quest preamplifier, the company has rapidly gained a reputation for excellence. There is a lot of available online information and interviews with Westminster Lab founder and CEO Angus Leung so I won’t rehash too much of it here. Mr. Lueng started as a digital-only listener and designer until a meeting with DS Audio founder and bossman Tetsuaki Aoyagi resulted in Mr.... Read More

Comments: 0

For a quick musical pick me up you can't beat War. The group was born during Vietnam war time and now with this release and others, has another lease on jazz-funk life during more war time. Has there ever been a time without it? The story behind the group is at least as interesting as the music is invigorating, so much fun and on top of it all, super-well recorded.If you're of a certain age you remember these catchy as crabs cowbell infected tunes blaring... Read More

Comments: 2
Aretai Conta 100S

Getting good sound in a hotel room is always dicey and most of the time nearly impossible, even when an experienced exhibitor has previously used the same room. Sometimes it’s the electricity, sometimes the room’s décor has been redone and sometimes, well, it’s whatever sometimes makes your system not “happening” and there’s no good reason for it that you can think of, so you just pack it in for the evening and do something else, only to return next night and it’s... Read More

Comments: 2
Bruckner Symphony Nr 4 Original Source Series

Anton Bruckner’s (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major, premiered in 1881, is the composer’s most popular “early” symphony, with numbers 7, 8, and the incomplete 9 being the usual headline works. It was also his first major success as a composer, before which Bruckner's renown was mostly as an organist and counterpoint instructor. Bruckner dedicated this work to Austro-Hungarian royal, Prince Konstantin, who was a major financier of cultural life in Vienna... Read More

Comments: 14
Origin Live Renown

At High End Munich 2024 Origin Live debuts its Renown tonearm, the company's "ultimate expression of the tonearm". According to the press release, "The company has pushed its tonearm design philosophy to the extreme in the tonearm’s noticeably extended, hollowed yoke and bearing assembly, and in the material composition and coatings of the arm tube.""Familiar elements are present, such as the dual pivot bearing, inner/outer pillar VTA... Read More

Comments: 2
Tom Waits - The Black Rider

Even for Tom Waits, The Black Rider is eccentric if not downright weird. He was already making odd records, but at least Bone Machine or Swordfishtrombones have identifiable rhythmic structures and some coherent melodies. Here, you’ve got intentionally grating train whistles and William S. Burroughs guiding you through what sounds like an early 20th century rendering of hell. More than any other Waits album, The Black Rider must be heard as a full record to even make sense; otherwise, it sounds like some raving lunatic is about to attack you.

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Comments: 9
2001 A Space Odyssey

Harry Belock blew a huge wad of cash on Everest Records, trying to "surpass" Capitol Records both in recording technology, and in quality of repertory. But, to quote John Maynard Keynes, the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent. So, here's a priceless moment in time, forever frozen in amber; or rather, frozen on 35mm magnetic film.

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Comments: 0
Record Store Day 2024 Reviews

While I’ve attended Record Store Day since 2014 (!), this was the first year since 2020 that I actually lined up. The lists in 2021 and 2022 were rather boring, and the main release I wanted last year was so heavily allocated in the US that I would’ve had to camp overnight. And really, are any newly manufactured records worth camping overnight for? I don't think so.Though this year’s UK RSD list is superior to the US list (I secured online and will soon review... Read More

Comments: 7
Joni Mitchell "The Asylum Albums (1978-1980)"

The press release: LOS ANGELES – After The Hissing Of Summer Lawns tour, Joni Mitchell retreated to Neil Young’s beach house to recover. Eager to travel but undecided about a destination, Mitchell was unexpectedly invited on a cross-country road trip with friends. It was one of three road trips she took between 1975 and 1976 and the beginning of a period defined by wanderlust, both in her physical travels and musical exploration. This transformative phase is the focal... Read More

Comments: 3
Linkin Park "Papercuts"

Collaborations by Aerosmith/Run DMC and Anthrax/Public Enemy bridged the gap between rock and rap. By the early 2000s, Linkin Park became the poster boys of the nu-metal movement. The muscle of Chester Bennington’s passionate vocals and Brad Delson’s crunchy guitar riffs juxtaposed Mike Shinoda’s rapping and Joe Hahn’s sampling/scratching, with bassist Dave Farrell and drummer Rob Bourdon gluing it all together. To say this fusion was a mild success is an... Read More

Comments: 1

As part of its 60th anniversary celebration, Nonesuch Records is reissuing several of its albums on vinyl for the first time, among them one of the greatest recordings by the Kronos Quartet, which happens to be marking its 50th year as an ensemble.The album is Black Angels, the label’s 6th Kronos album, released in 1990 and still among the most jarring and important in the entire Nonesuch catalogue and in the Kronos discography.Nonesuch and Kronos made a perfect... Read More

Comments: 9
McDuff, Reuben Wilson, Lonnie Smith

The Blue Note Classic Vinyl series has issued nearly 100 records since its inception in 2020 and put back in print many of the long acknowledged classic Miles, Monk, Rollins, Mobley, Morgan, Shorter, and Hancock LPs from the label’s incredible bop/hard bop catalog. The series has also released a substantial selection of funky jazz/R&B organ records from Blue Note’s late period, which have been ignored by fans of “Blue Note jazz” but revered and considered equally... Read More

Comments: 0