BAAS Audio Gear SmackDown #2: Tweaks, Voodoo and Magic

Our next event on May 3rd, 2014 at 10:00am

at the beautiful Lundin Castle in Orinda

Step away from Psycho-Acoustics For Dummies and put your tweaks up!

Now, this should be fun.

Screenshot 2014-03-31 19.32.56

Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced that confused sinking feeling of resignation when we accept what our trained and discerning ears are telling us. Sometimes, it’s really bad – standing there dumbfounded that this ridiculous voodoo-snake oil tweak you just auditioned is having you reach for your credit card, because, dammit, it should not have worked, but, unbelievably, it did… You’re thinking, “Crap. I certainly can’t tell my spouse about this.” Well, we’re here for you. Be proud, or not – but do bring any tweak you own that worked, or you think worked (Oh boy… did I mention psycho-acoustics yet?). It doesn’t matter how much it cost or even if it’s your own prototype! The more unusual, the better… as long as you know, or believe, you heard some difference!

Many years ago, not quite when the earth was flat, but right around the time of the introduction of Audiophile Cones that drained away or turned spurious vibrations into heat and blew open walls as the soundstage widened – a product that would have engendered jeers and been quickly relegated to Voodoo scam status by knowledgable critics who never heard it. Now, of course… well, you know. The problem with being ahead of your time, even slightly, is that you’re likely to be ridiculed before your innovation is self-evident – and then those same critics will say, “…of course, it was obvious all along!” We will blind demo to the best of our ability. Our first submission is from our very own First Chair of Events and the Queen of Lundin Castle herself (Leslie, if you have yet to meet her).

Here’s the line up so far:

1. Synergistic FEQ and HFTs – Leslie

2. Synergistic Research MIGs and Big MIGs – Lynn Bailiff

3. Passive AC line filters  – Ori

4. Shakti Stone – Mike Tucker

5. Weizhi Footers, Solid-Tech Discs of Silence & Feet of Silence – Gundam (?)

6. Gajik will be doing something tweaky with an Oppo BDP-105 he’s bringing, all shrouded in mystery

7. Audio by Van Alstine ABX Comparator switch box – Alón

X. Your Tweak here (please submit)

OK, we have a fairly good assortment, but it’s time to bring out your craziest tweaks – you know, the Rice Paper Cable Wraps; or that tube thingy that hangs off your speaker’s binding post; and how about some Holographs, or Tibetan Bowls, or the CD edge shaving and coloring device you got for Christmas?

Only 2 weeks to go before our Smackdown #2, so, please, if you’re planning on coming, sign up now as it helps us coordinate the flow of the day and tweak the order of tweaks. A reminder email will go out today as well.

 

Monday, March 31st, 2014 Alón's Posts 4 Comments

2014 Schedule of Events

Screenshot 2014-03-31 16.56.20

Here are our upcoming events in California for 2014. More may be added as we move through the year. We did our best to also avoid dates that conflict with audiophile events outside California, but no promises there. More information on each will be published well before the event date:

Saturday, May 3rd: BAAS Audio Gear SmackDown #2: Tweaks, Voodoo and Magic (more crazy fun with your BAAS friends)
Friday, May 30th: THE SHOW Newport Beach (If you haven’t been, make the pilgrimage… it’s dizzying!)
Saturday, July 19th: BAAS Albert Von Schweikert (One of the most successful speaker designers in the world)
Friday, August 15th: California Audio Show Burlingame (This one is on our home turf and not to be missed!)
Saturday, September 27th: BAAS DIY Audio Cable-Making workshop (Many requests for this after SmackDown #1… and here it is)
Saturday, November 15th: BAAS Audio Gear SmackDown #2: Digital (stay tuned for details)

Put these dates in your calendars. They should be reliable, but as always, unforeseen changes are possible. Updates will all be posted here.

See you soon!

Alón

 

Monday, March 31st, 2014 Alón's Posts, Events 1 Comment

Digital Mini-Smackdown in Marin

 By Guest BAAS Blogger Dan Rubin

1009ayre.1 1Synergistic-usb

Leslie Lundin, Peter Truce and I spent a delightful few hours at Lee Mincy’s in Kentfield on Saturday, March 15. The excuse was a casual shoot-out focused on USB DACs with sidebar consideration of USB cables.

Lee had the new Chord Hugo on loan ($2395), I brought my Chord QuteHD ($1795) with Paul Hynes linear power supply ($550) and Leslie brought her Ayre QB-9 ($2750, not yet upgraded to latest DSD version).  We were careful to change just one variable at a time and we made a modest effort at level matching, but there was otherwise not much rigor to our method. We listened to digital files played from a Mac Mini running Amarra, playing though Lee’s DIY Randall tube linestage (2 Telefunken EF 804S) into a newly rebuilt/cap-upgraded Threshold S-500 amp feeding floorstanding Hales Transcendence 5 loudspeakers. This is a clean, high-resolution, full-range system but with minimal tweaks, fancy cables or the like.

In Lee’s system, we all generally preferred the Ayre DAC. It sounded warm and smooth with rich tone color, dimensional images and a vivid, organic quality. The Chord DACs, which sounded quite alike, were perhaps more resolving but less complementary to the system, sounding leaner and less interesting.  The Chord Hugo was disadvantaged in this comparison by not being able to use any of the upgrade USB cables (see below for why).

I will add when I was evaluating DACs a couple of years ago, I did a shoot-out between the Metric Halo ULN-8 and the original Ayre QB-9 and ended up purchasing a Metric Halo LIO-8 when it came out. I subsequently sold it when I got the Chord, which I preferred. My takeaways from this: system inter-dependencies are critical but, nevertheless, Ayre is back on my list of DACs to hear in my own system. (Lee liked the Ayre so much that he bought one after our session!)

As for the USB cables, we listened to these:

  • Mapleshade Clearlink ($95)
  • Synergistic Research Basik USB Active ($395)
  • Synergistic Research USB Active SE ($595)
  • Light Harmonic Lightspeed ($999)

No surprise, but worth mentioning that we all heard meaningful differences between these cables. The differences tended to be mainly in the areas of harmonic richness and ambient information. The better the cable, the more engaging was Lee’s system, with a greater “being there” quality. I brought both the Mapleshade, which I consider a value champ, and the Lightspeed, which has been widely and very favorably reviewed in the ne plus ultra realm. Nevertheless, the Synergistic USB Active SE won the day while the others offered varying degrees of “just okay” in this shoot-out.

The Chord Hugo, which was designed for mobile/portable use but is getting attention for other applications, could not participate in the USB cable evaluations because it only accepts a micro USB connector, not the USB B-type connector on the downstream end of all of the cables we tested.

We had a lovely time, highlighted by delicious lasagna from Comfort’s in San Anselmo and an excellent Kosta Browne Pinot Noir.  I love hanging with audiophiles who have good taste!

Personally, while I very much enjoy these shoot-out sessions, I prefer longer-term evaluations when making buying decisions. I want to balance the sonic differences between components – which are highlighted in shoot-outs –­ with how I experience and enjoy music over the longer haul. But that’s a luxury we don’t always have.

I think it would be great if, as members of BAAS, we could get a few people to bring over components for listening sessions like this one in our own systems. Not as a formal BAAS event, which needs to accommodate a lot of us, but as an informal, personal audition with a few guests bringing along components of interest.

Dan Rubin

March 30, 2014

Monday, March 31st, 2014 Alón's Posts, Member Posts, Member's Systems Comments Off

Digital Tools for Vinyl addicts

 Screenshot 2014-03-29 12.16.46Warning: Highly Opinionated Rant Ahead
 

Audiophile Streaming Music. An oxymoron if I ever heard one… at least for now. One day, the internet pipes to our homes will be fat enough to provide something more than low rez background music. That said, is there a good reason to subscribe to one of these $10 a month music streaming services? Yes. Because if you’re a avid record shopper, it can save you money. Really. A lot.

I am a bit of a fixture at my local record store. I like to wander randomly from genre to genre, just following my feet and browsing through bins and piles of albums. I can’t count the number of LPs I’ve purchased over the decades when I “took a shot” on an artist I’ve never heard of, or one I’ve heard of, but never heard… only to break the seal at home and hear marginally satisfying, poorly recorded and severely compressed crap coming out of my speakers. Same holds true for my online purchases of new vinyl, an experience that admittedly is getting better overall.

The analog renaissance has been amazing and yet, also frustrating with all the hype about the mostly unnecessary re-mastering (often ruining) of a great LP by introducing a clandestine digital element into the re-issue chain. It is so obvious to my ears that something sounds not quite right, somewhat hollow, thin, utterly lifeless compared to the original. There are, as always, exceptions, and yes, there are a few really great re-mastering engineers, as well as really careful pressing plants as well as new studios that are getting their old tube analog recording suites operational again. The demand is high for good quality vinyl, and this is just the beginning! So what digital tools could possibly help?

Enter, Spotify (or Pandora, or iTunes, etc.). On my smartphone or iPad, I search Spotify for the exact album I’m holding in my hands, or, worst case, the same artist doing the same song on a different album… and, voilà, I put in my earbuds and I can hear a 320K stream of what I would otherwise purchase blindly. Many times now, for different reasons, I’ve put the album back because even in low-res, I can hear the general quality of the performance, recording, and any re-issue re-ruining used (don’t get me started about the last Beatles effort).

For years it’s been a lot of trial and error in finding those musical gems that can really reach us with their emotional impact. It’s been worth it, but now it’s easier.

On some shopping occasions, those times when I hit the musical jackpot (which is apparent usually in the first minute or two), discovering something new (to me) and well recorded, I get a feeling of anticipation – getting the LP home, running it through a ridiculously expensive and equally amazing ultrasonic record cleaner and sitting down for a listen.

Sometimes, when I’m really taken by the music I’ve found, I punch that artist or conductor or soloist’s name into a very visual (and free) app called Discovr Music (spelled just like that) and in a heartbeat I can see that recording artist’s influences, teachers, or collaborators, opening up a whole new world of fresh music for me. Its algorithms are based on the music genome project and it is fascinating and fun and has already saved me time, money and effort in this exciting time in analog audio’s history.

Any thoughts, challenges, ideas or questions you have – or, if you want to share your own tools, please make a comment to this post.

Cheers,

Alón

 

Saturday, March 29th, 2014 Alón's Posts Comments Off

Montreal Show

http://www.stereophile.com/content/montreal-audio-show-starts-friday-0

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Such is the story of the Montreal Audio Show akaSalon Son et Image (SSI), which takes place this coming weekend, March 28–30. The Chester Group may be sponsoring the show for the first time, and longtime show organizer Michel Plante may have ceded the reins to his partner/wife, Sarah Tremblay, but both the location (the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel) and the show structure are pretty much the same.

Tremblay expects about 80 exhibitors—the same as last year—holding forth in 80–100 rooms. To please up to 7000 attendees, <snip>

 

Friday, March 28th, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Universal Music Group’s Blu-ray/Hi-Res Initiative

http://www.stereophile.com/content/universal-music-groups-blu-rayhi-res-initiative

Part 1:
Thumbing their collective nose at pundits who predict the imminent demise of physical media, Universal Music Group has begun reissuing select back catalog and new releases in Pure Audio (audio only) Blu-Ray 24/96 and/or 24/96 download formats. The first of the classical titles appeared in February, with more rolling out all the time.

To get the skinny on UMG’s plans for Blu-ray and hi-res, I conducted two separate interviews with folks in the UK. The first, with Barry Holden, the extremely committed and highly articulate VP of Classical Catalogue at Universal Music, appears below. A second discussion with Joshua Phillips, High Fidelity Pure Audio Product Manager for UMG’s pop catalog, and Olivier Robert-Murphy of the Pure Audio Association, will follow <snip>

Part 2:

http://www.stereophile.com/content/universal-music-groups-poprockjazz-pure-audio-blu-rays

Universal Music Group (UMG) is currently fulfilling its promise to release hundreds of 24/96 High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-Ray (audio only) titles in 14 countries by the end of 2014. While many of these titles are from its rich back catalog, a few are new. These include, on the pop front, George Michael’s Symphonica, and for classical, one of my 2013 R2D4s, Jonas Kaufmann’s Wagner.

To fresh your memory, the data on Red Book CDs is limited to a sample rate of 44.1kHz—44,100 samples of data per second—and has a word length of 16 digital bits per sample. This yields a range of 65,536 possible values. UMG’s High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-rays, on the other hand, are sampled at 96kHz—96,000 samples of data per second—and have a word length of 24-bits per sample, which yields 16,777,216 possible values. Among the sonic benefits of this increase are richer tonality, truer timbres, increased air and depth, and a greater sense of “you are there” reality. Utilized at their full sonic potential, Blu-rays up CD’s dynamic limit of 96 decibels to 144dB. Not that anyone who values their hearing would want to listen to 144dB

One of UMG’s slogans for its 24/96 High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray initiative is “No compression • No video • No compromise.” While there’s more than a fair amount of hype behind the claim that listening to 24/96 material, whether on High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray or via uncompressed downloads, delivers music just as the artist intended it to be heard, there is no question that, with material originally recorded and mastered without compression in 24/96 digital format, that 24/96 has the potential to get you close to what the recording and mastering engineers heard on their studio monitors or through headphones.

 

Friday, March 28th, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Good-Bye and Good Buy

Most of you know by now that one of our favorite Audio dealers, Bob Kehn, is shutting down after 20 years ion the East Bay. He will be missed – not just as the nicest guy in audio, but also for the amazing systems he put together for audio shows. He has a golden ear, maybe even two of them.

Bob  has asked for our help is letting everyone know that he’s liquidating the remainder of his inventory. Here’s a sheet of some great gear priced at his cost. Please click on the page to enlarge.

We all wish you the Best, Bob. Maybe we’ll see you at one of our fun events?

Screenshot 2014-03-28 16.59.33Screenshot 2014-03-28 16.59.56

Friday, March 28th, 2014 Equipment Comments Off

An Afternoon with Neil Gader, Associate Editor TAS

Screenshot 2014-03-25 01.15.27

Elite Audiophiles Gather in San Francisco

By Special Guest Blogger, James Forte

Two of  “my favorite things” are music and coffee.  Elite Audio Systems offered them both in an inviting and collegial atmosphere this past Saturday.  The event, jointly sponsored with BAAS was attended by perhaps twenty-five mostly BAAS members to discuss all issues audiophile.  Neil Gader from the Absolute Sound was the cordial guest speaker and we all carried on for the entire afternoon.  Many thanks to our new intrepid leader Alón for promoting this and to Elite Audio Systems owner Michael Woods for being a great host and well-tempered moderator.

Think about how many periodicals you subscribe to and which ones you most look forward to arriving in your mail box or computer.  I know the answer for me is hands down The Absolute Sound and Stereophile.  Maybe I have a problem, but then if you’re reading this, so do you.  OK so now, how often do you wish you could speak directly with the writers and reviewers, either to thank them or take them to task for what they’re presenting.  Well, we all had a full afternoon to hear about the predilections, trials and tribulations of this veteran reviewer over his long career, and to question him on the many issues we all obsess about.  Add some java juice to the mix and it made for two great afternoon sessions.

Neil took us back to the very early and formative days of TAS and its founder Harry Pearson.  (Did you know that Harry was a prolific environmental reporter prior to starting TAS?)  Do you remember back when the mag had no advertisements?  Neil took us back through some of the early designs and equipment. Neil shared with us the challenges he and his colleagues face as reviewers in a difficult industry.  He discussed how each reviewer brings to their work their own skill sets, preferences and listening environments that often dictate what and how they review.  He shared how they work to stay “fresh” and keep up with the demands made on them by their readers, manufacturers and the magazine itself.

Other topics and questions covered included recording references, generational and demographic issues facing the industry, the vagaries of the recording industry and consumer preferences.  During intermission, we were treated to some music through the Genesis 2.2 loud speaker being featured at Elite Audio.  Genesis CEO, Gary Koh was on hand to share his insights about the recording industry.  It was interesting to learn that some recording studios, making multi format releases have been putting their best productions on vinyl.

As the coffee buzz wore off, we all agreed the event or something like it was deserving of an encore.  Thanks again to Alón for putting this party together.  He whispered to me what was in the works for the next BAAS event.  So if a little bird were to “tweet” to you about what it is, promise you won’t tell.  The little birdie goes tweet-tweet-tweet…  Sounds like…;-)

Thanks to all,

James Forte

 

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 Alón's Posts 1 Comment

Local Audio Happenings

Greetings Audio Tribe,

Coming up at Audio High in the South Bay (unfortunately right on my 54th birthday, so I don’t think my wife will be OK with my coming to this event), as well as at Elite Audio in SF, is a great and rare opportunity to meet an industry legend, Bob Stewart of Meridian Audio.

Tuesday, April 8 at 3:00pm - 8:00pm at Audio High. 165 Moffett Blvd, Mountain View, California 94043
Thursday, April 10  from 6:00 to 9:00pm, at Elite Audio, 893A Folsom St. SF 94107
A very special one-day event to let you hear the new Special Edition Digital Active Loudspeakers. Bob Stewart, CEO of Meridian, will be making a rare appearance to do a presentation on the new speakers.

Marking 25 years since Meridian Audio introduced the world’s first DSP Digital Active Loudspeaker, these Special Editions promise to be milestone products.

Enjoy and take good notes (so you can share your experience on this blog),
Alón
Audio High's photo.
Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 Alón's Posts Comments Off

Biography: Leslie Lundin – Entrepreneur, Mom, Audiophile.

If you haven’t met the delightful host of our first Smackdown, make sure you don’t miss the next one! There’s a lot more to her than can be expressed in these pixels, but here’s a humble CV directly from the desk of our First Chair of Events, Leslie Lundin:

I was born in Chicago and raised in Wisconsin: the daughter of an audiophile, whose speakers (of course) I blew out in high school at a party I had while my parents were out of the country.  We always had music playing in the house and I still have some of the old albums from my youth.  Could never let them go.  Being in Wisconsin, we used to see a lot of live blue grass.  My dad had a wonderful operatic voice and used to serenade my mother with “I’ll take you home again Kathleen”.   She’s Irish. We had instruments hanging on the walls as part of our fine art collection.  My parents force fed all of us live Chicago Symphony Orchestra performances at a young age, believing that it was a necessary part of life.

I always had a decent system, better than pretty much everyone I met and a very large music collection.  I used to have a lot of parties in high school and college and after graduating (pretty much always) so needed a big system, a house with a lot of open space and good mix tapes.  I bought/sold and renovated houses during college so had pretty nice digs.

I have three teenage sons who are also musicians and performers. Their father was in a band and also plays several instruments.   He has his living room set up for jam sessions (drum set, mic’s, etc.).  I’m in the process of building a media room for pre-recorded media so I can free up the living room for live music playing as well.  Music is a really important part of my life and always has been.

Professionally, I develop and re-develop commercial real estate.  Been in CRE since I graduated from UW-Madison in 1990.  I founded LBG Real Estate Companies, LLC with two partners, right now primarily focused on value add shopping centers in the Western US.  See www.lbgfunds.com for more.

Thank you, Leslie. We’re honored that you want to hang out with us and do audio stuff.

 

 

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 Alón's Posts 1 Comment

Smackdown #1: Preliminary Recap

Smackdown room

Well, I haven’t heard of any fatalities, so I assume all attendees survived our first (full, sold out!) Audio Smackdown! Feedback is starting to come in, and well, well… you guys actually had fun!  Just like we pictured it.

(Note: I just figured out that if you click on the image you get the full size version! Did everyone know that but me?)

This report is a preliminary post to give members who couldn’t make it to the event a sense of the general feeling of the gathering, and give attendees an opportunity to chime in with their impressions by commenting on this blog post. 

Before going any further, I believe I can speak for everyone in saying a gargantuan “Thank You” to Leslie – not just for graciously hosting and reconfiguring her home to accommodate that many members – but for being the superhero queen of cable swapping! I say that because just lifting some of the exotic cables we auditioned was hard work, let alone bending these pythons and finessing the plug into the socket!

Before the event, Leslie’s system was tweaked first by Jason and then just a day before our gathering, by Ted Denney, owner of Synergistic Research. We both would like to say how much we appreciate your efforts and the improvements they made!

Screenshot 2014-03-09 17.30.10

So, here’s a brief recap – which I’ll preface by saying it won’t do the event justice. Not that it was perfect (hardly… but the perfectionist in me did learn a lot about what not to do next time!), however, the buzz in the room was high, with lots of interaction and conversation and we kept the pace fairly brisk to keep everybody awake. It seemed to work.

My apologies in advance if any of the facts are inaccurate. If so, please submit a comment on this post with the fix or additional info you’d like to share about the event.

We auditioned 12 cables, but I’ll only focus on the top four, the ones that won the most battles before being eliminated (except for our winner, of course).

Smackdown Lively

The “Sudden-Death” style of instant elimination A/B comparison is not always fair to all contenders, but life just isn’t always fair… even if you’re a cable. However, it sure works to keep the energy up in the room – and if we didn’t pull that part off, it wouldn’t have felt much like a Smackdown, now would it?

Smackdown Virtual Dynam Genesis

Pictured above is a Virtual Dynamics Genesis power cable that was bought used for $2000 by member Paul, who shared that it was actually a good deal, since the retail is around $10K! This cable won 2 battles, which earns it a 3rd place ranking.

Smackdown Elrod Silver Statement

This, above, is an Elrod Silver Statement, a huge heavy monster that costs $3000, and I’m not sure whether that was used or new! Its owner, (or should I say Snake Charmer?) is Tracy S. This cable won 2 battles, which also earns a tie for 3rd place.

Speltz AC PC Level 3

Apologies to whomever brought this cable above… wait, that was me! OK, apologies to myself that somehow in the commotion I didn’t get an on-site action shot of this Paul Speltz designed Anti-Cables Level 3 Power Cord, so I pulled this photo off his website. Retail cost: $330 for 5 ft. This cable won 5 of its battles, which earns it Second Place in our take-no-prisoners elimination Smackdown.

 

Screenshot 2014-03-09 20.00.47

And Now, the big question: What cable won? Well, it seems to be more mysterious (and embarrassing) than expected. We finished auditioning and had our Smackdown winner… We were wrapping up the event by revealing the identity and price of each power cord by asking its owner to talk about their cable… but, the winner wasn’t there. He had to leave early, and not only do we not have photo of our winner, we’re not exactly sure who it is because the cable doesn’t match up with anything on our list.

We did have some people/cable no-shows, but we had extra cables so we swapped in some of those on the fly, but there wasn’t an opportunity to find out much about them. We expected to get the full details at the unveiling of all the cables and their owners.

So please, if you belong to this last minute winning cable, step forward and I’ll be happy to adjust this post and give you the kudos your cable deserves… especially because, get this, people – it’s HOME MADE! Doesn’t even have a name. I remember a brief discussion early in the event about the cord being silver and copper, but only $0.77 a foot (that can’t be right, can it?) and that it had decent Furutech plugs, but that’s about it.

This DIY cable won 3 of its battles (the last three rounds). Cost:?

We would have loved to have a playoff between these top four cables, but we didn’t have time.

So, that’s it for now. Now you know what I mean by preliminary (yeah, Alón, you can’t even tell us what cable won. Good job, new guy!). Obviously, I need help. Please post a comment on this blog and let’s juice up a conversation and get some answers!

Thank you for appreciating this imperfect first effort. A lot of work went into this event before its debut, and we’re pretty happy about how it turned out. Remember, this should be the beginning of the conversation about the event, not the end. We really want to hear from you! Post that comment while it’s fresh in your mind.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Note: instead of writing over this last section (with all its attendant mystery and intrigue), I’ve decided to continue on this same post with the new information. Thank you to all for posting your thoughts and excitement about the event. This is just the beginning! Much more fun and thought provoking stuff to come. Here are the photos of the winning cable, from its owner and builder, Larry Deniston, who reveals his secret tweak, below:

DSC_0031

 

Hi Alon,

Attached find a couple of pictures of the cable – kept the shoot out cable number label on for posterity!  A funny note is that when I was looking at the label on the cable to let David know what it was and I noticed that it had directional indicator that I hadn’t seen before and then noted it was hooked up backwards – there’s the secret to the sound quality!
Thanks again for setting up the shoot out, it was great fun and I apologize for having to leave early.  Am looking forward to events in the future.
Best, Larry
DSC_0034

So, for our winner, it seems the wrong way was the right way. Congratulations Larry!

We’ll do another cable Smackdown soon and have a playoff between the cables that placed in this first event. We’ll schedule fewer contestants and spend more time listening to different music genres for every cable in every battle. By then, chances are, a few of us will probably have built a cable based on the same successful design. Maybe someone will build two of them, one in each direction! Thanks everyone for making this a great first event.

Cheers,

Alón

Sunday, March 9th, 2014 Alón's Posts, Events 13 Comments

Everest Records Rebirth

http://www.stereophile.com/content/everest-records-returns-all-its-glory

Over half a century after the creation of the prized Everest Records catalog, most of whose 78 classical titles were recorded between 1958 and 1961 on 35mm magnetic tape in three-channel stereo, 61 titles have now been remastered and released in multiple formats. In addition to physical CD and downloadable Mastered for iTunes versions, a still-expanding, luscious hi-res treasure trove of Everest titles may be downloaded from HDTracks’s Everest Records pages. All HDTracks titles, remastered from the master tapes in 24/192, are available in both 24/192 and 24/96 versions.Among the gems of the Everest catalog are the very first recording of Aaron Copland conducted of his own work, <snip>

 

Friday, March 7th, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Save The Stereo!

— Save The Stereo Project: News Report #1 —
MUST READ LINK: Save The Stereo Project Feedback200+ feedback comments have now been posted on SaveTheStereo.com.If you submitted feedback for Save The Stereo Project, it has been published in one of six pages in the Feedback section.  You will not believe the quality and quantity of feedback we have received.

400 Participants, 700 Facebook Fans, 6,300 Visits, and Counting!

We are very excited to announce some stunning participation numbers for Save The Stereo Project – especially considering the project is only eight weeks old.  Thank you!

Stereophile.com Article Brought 1,925 Visits to SaveTheStereo.com

Jason Victor Serinus’ February 16th Stereophile.com article, “You Really Can Help Save The Stereo” has sent 1,925 visits to SaveTheStereo.com.  Thank you Jason and the Stereophile team for supporting the project.

THE FIRST VOTE WILL BE HELD MID-MARCH

Save The Stereo Project will hold its first vote on starting Monday, March 17th.  You will be notified via email.

To keep up the momentum, please forward this email to your industry colleagues, music lovers, and audiophiles.  Ask them to check out SaveTheStereo.com, and complete the survey – today!

Thank You!

Thank you for your time and feedback for Save The Stereo Project.

Sincerely,

Gordon White, Founder
Save The Stereo Project

Monday, March 3rd, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Genesis and Linn at Elite Audio Systems San Francisco

http://www.stereophile.com/content/genesis-and-linn-elite-audio-systems-san-francisco 

How often have you encountered someone reciting your obituary? That’s what happened when he of the living dead visited Michael Woods’ aesthetically sensational Elite Audio Systems showroom in San Francisco on February 22, only to discover Gary Leonard Koh, CEO of and chief designer for Genesis Advanced Technologies, declaring, “The days when people sat in one sole sweet spot listening to music are over.
Dismayed to learn that my purportedly dying breed has already died off, I perked up when Gary posited his imposing Genesis 2jr line-source loudspeakers ($85,000/pair) as being far more listener-friendly than Wilson Audio loudspeakers. And that was but one of two audacious statements uttered at Elite Audio Systems from the CEOs of Genesis and, six days later, Linn. <snip>

Jason Victor Serinus • http://www.jasonserinus.com
Music and audiophile critic, and Whistler Extraordinaire.
**The Voice of Woodstock • The Pavarotti of Pucker**
Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 Jason Comments Off

The Power of the Human Voice

Screenshot 2014-02-27 08.06.19Brace Yourselves…

The power of the human voice to stir emotion is wildly apparent in this video of a 10-month old. This is priceless.

Click on the photo to see this kid in action! Enjoy.

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 Alón's Posts Comments Off

In Memorium

 

Screenshot 2014-02-24 15.55.54

Michael Raynor Merlino 1941-2014

BAAS Member Michael Merlino passed away on January 26, 2014 due to complications from a long illness.  A pyrotechnics expert and businessman, Michael was born in NYC and moved to California in 1979. His sensitivity, warmth and humor will be sorely missed by family and friends. If you knew Michael, his wife Debbie and son Michael E. will announce funeral arraignments in the spring.

Monday, February 24th, 2014 Alón's Posts Comments Off

Jared Sacks: DSD Present and Future

sacks.promo__0

http://www.stereophile.com/content/jared-sacks-dsd-present-and-future

Some months back, SACD and DSD champion Jared Sacks, founder of Channel Classics, stopped by Casa Bellecci-Serinus in Oakland for an extended chat about the history of his label, recording in DSD, and his new NativeDSD.com download site. I started our conversation by asking Jared to share his history with music and the industry with Stereophile:
Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 Jason Comments Off

Local Audio Happenings

Elite Audio

This Saturday, Feb 22, Gary Koh, designer and CEO for Genesis Advanced Technologies will be presenting the new Genesis 2.2 & G2jr line source speaker.  Discussion to include product design, setup techniques and lots of listening to music.

Scheduled for March 22 at Elite, Neil Gader, Associate Editor for the Absolute Sound will share his evaluation process and conduct a question and answer session with attendees.  This event is limited to 50 people.  Beer, wine and food will be provided.  RSVP tickets will soon be available on Eventbrite.

Elite Audio Systems, Inc.
893-A Folsom Street
San Francisco, California 94107
Phone: (415) 795-1149
URL:   www.eliteaudiosf.com

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 Alón's Posts 1 Comment

Alón’s Video Vault

Screenshot 2014-02-19 11.26.16One of my all-time favorite music videos. It boggles my mind that someone (anonymous so far) actually envisioned this! I’m not saying anything else. Just turn up your volume and click on the image to watch.

Enjoy.

Alón

 

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 Alón's Posts Comments Off

Audio Gear Smack-Down #1: Power Cables

 A BAAS MEMBER EVENT – Saturday, March 8, 2014         ))))) EVENT IS SOLD OUT (((((

power tangle

Yes, this is the longest invitation sent by anyone, to anything, ever.

This being the first event I’m coordinating for BAAS, I thought that making it easy, participatory, educational and fun would be a good start. So, I kept on thinking… hmmmm, how can we tap into the enormous experience and massive number of man-hours our collective membership has invested in researching, auditioning and breaking in a piece of gear?  And what do most of our audiophiles already have that is very personal, may have taken them forever to decide upon, are easily transportable, easy to get in and out of their systems, and make a HUGE impact on the sound coming out of their speakers? Of course, Power Cables!

Because A/B-ing Power cables is so simple and relatively immediate, what could be better than having a whole bunch to audition from many different companies, different philosophies, different architecture, and yes – from price points that range from reasonable to astronomical? Without any manufacturers taking the stage to present their products (which is important and we will do that at another time), I invite all participants to bring their own power cords to the event to see how they fare against everyone else’s!

This Power Cable Smack-Down should be fairly fast-paced and lively. To make it also sane, we’ll keep the variables low – swapping only the cable that powers the source component, which in this case is a DAC. Please bring paper and pen to take notes on what you hear. Cables will by graded by you, first and foremost for overall sound pleasure factor (SPF), and optionally, for specific nuances such as imaging, dynamics, tonality, transparency, speed, etc.  And… we’ll do all auditions blind!  As a group, we’ll rate each one, find out which sound best, reveal their identities, and publish the results in this blog. We’ll give special recognition to anyone who can identify their own cable when it’s being auditioned! Cool, huh?

Yes, I know that cables are very system-dependent, and nothing ever sounds exactly the same on your rig at home, but this event should definitely give you some idea of which cables you just might want to audition in your own system. Maybe the cable you are most impressed by will be attached to a new friend who would even bring it over to your place for a listen?

I remember the moment I heard a high-end power cord in my system for the first time… the difference was unbelievable. Whether you’ve had many such epiphanies, or you’re still skeptical, this event should be very enlightening and a lot of fun.

Some details: We’ll be meeting on Saturday, March 8th at 10:00am-12:00pm at the beautiful home of BAAS member Leslie Lundin, in Orinda, only 10 minutes from Jason’s soon-to-be-sold Casa Bellecci-Serinus. Leslie is an avid audiophile with a great CJ tube-amplified digital rig feeding a pair of Vandersteen full-rangers, flanked by two matching subs. The sound should be wonderful and very revealing for our purposes.

Here is a list of Power Cables we have for audition:

  1. Synergistic T3 SE with the Galileo mpc
  2. Speltz Audio Lab Level 3 Power Cord
  3. Verastarr Grand Illusion PC
  4. PS Audio AC3
  5. Triode Shunyata Cobra Zitron
  6. Hoveland PC
  7. Synergistic Research Element Copper 
  8. Audio Note PC
  9. Virtual Dynamics Genesis PC
  10. Pangea AC-14 SE
  11. DH Labs Encore power cable
  12. Lessloss DFPC Ref power cord

EVENT IS SOLD OUT.

Alón

Sunday, February 16th, 2014 Alón's Posts, Announcements 9 Comments
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