Archive for May, 2008

New Release on Blu-Ray and Hires Downloads

bluray.jpgThe net is atwitter with talk of the first musical release on Blu-Ray (click here for an example.

But these articles fail to let us know how to get it.

So it was time for Google….

I found not only where to buy, but also a very cool website full of high-resolution downloads.

All this from freedom-loving Norway. (If you haven’t sampled the Scandinavian music scene, you’re missing some great music.)


Saturday, May 31st, 2008 Bob, General 1 Comment

Event: Focus on Single-drivers

teresonic.jpgOur BAAS event this Saturday will focus on high-efficiency, single-driver speakers partnered with “flea-powered” amps.

For those who have not had the pleasure of listening to these minimalist systems, ‘first contact’ can be a revelation. To begin with, you’ve probably not heard speed and dynamics in this combination. And then there’s the coherence, which is pretty much as good as it gets.

But there are always tradeoffs. For speakers sporting 100dB+ sensitivities, noise just can’t be tolerated. Next is bandwidth. How can we ask a single driver to produce all ten audio octaves? How about eight of them? And we might also mention coloration. Not only do we demand (at least) 8 octaves, but we want flat response through all eight. Flat impedance would be nice too (preferably >8 ohms). Finally, low distortion (e.g., no ‘shouting’ allowed).

Mighty tall order!

› Continue reading

Monday, May 26th, 2008 Bob, Events Comments Off

Say Goodbye to the ‘Audiophile’

perfect-storm.jpgWell, the CNET Blogs recently published yet-another article describing the extinction of the high fidelity audio industry (click here).

In that article and its comments, many reasons for the imminent demise were cited – with the iPod portrayed as the #1 assassin.

FWIW, here’s my version of the decline:

  • It begins with the record companies and RIAA joining Microsoft in “missing the internet boom.” Response to downloads = lawsuits & DRM. Opinion on jewel-boxed (yuck) CD’s = perfect forever. Huh?
  • The next gremlin was the poor broadband coverage in America (and the world). This makes downloading SLOOOOWWW. The market’s response was massive ripping to MP3. Would it surprise you to learn that many 30-year-olds have never purchased a CD?
  • And finally came the final ingredient of the perfect storm: the mighty iPod. It’s limited memory made compression even more vital. And its hyper-mobility meant that listening was done primarily in distracted staes (during workouts) and/or noisy environments (city streets).

Put all of these together and stir for a generation or so, and we have a listening public where 128kbps is ‘good enough.’

And how about the dastardly contribution of the vendors? After all, aren’t $6K cables a sign of Caligulic excess? Come on. Who cares? There’s plenty of great hi fi gear that’s affordable, fun, and 44kbps or better. Think Oppo, t-amps, and HornShoppes/Ushers/JohnBlue’s/etc….

Monday, May 26th, 2008 Bob, General Comments Off

Is SET superior? Prove it…

There’s an interesting dialog running on – and another provocative topic!

Here’s an excerpt:

Excuse me for sounding a little like a heritic [sic] but I figure that if the statement “the crushing superiority of SE triode amplifiers with no feedback” were so obviously true, then it is would also be possible to define “why” in engineering terms.

wild-set.jpgClick here to read the thread.

The current edition of UK mag Hi-fi News (HFN) has a great article on the audible effects of clipping. Two key conclusions:

  • Clipping at 3dB is largely inaudible, but 6dB is audible, and 9dB and above is intolerable.
  • For speakers of average sensitivity, at least 300 wpc is needed to avoid the audible effects of clipping (if you listen at ‘realistic’ levels).

This type of discussion will be quite relevant to our meeting on the 31st. (Details to follow shortly.)


Saturday, May 17th, 2008 Bob, General Comments Off

Robot Conducts Detroit Symphony

asimo.jpgHere’s something you don’t see every day – a Honda robot conducting a live symphony (click here for the story and here for the video).

The details:

  • ASIMO is a 4-foot 3-inch tall robot designed by Honda Motor Co.
  • The robot perfectly mimicked the actions of a conductor to the Detroit Symphony
  • Honda spokeswoman: this may be the first time a robot has conducted a live show
  • Honda brought ASIMO to Detroit to highlight its recent $1 million gift to the orchestra
Thursday, May 15th, 2008 Bob, Music Comments Off

FrankC’s System

system-2008.jpgFrankC’s system:


Digital Source:

  • Mark Levinson #37
  • Sonic Frontier SFD2 Mk II (Amperex 6DJ8s)
  • I2Digital DX-60 digital cable
  • Synergistic Research Absolute Reference X2 XLR interconnect

Analog Source:

  • Michell Orbe SE
  • SME V
  • Shelter 901
  • Graham IC-70 phono cable
  • Kimber KCAG interconnect


  • ARC PH3 SE (Amperex white label 6DJ8s)
  • ARC LS25 Mk I w/ GNSC Reference mod (Amperex white label 6DJ8s)
  • Pass X350.5/Aleph Os
  • Synergistic Designer’s Reference X2 XLR interconnect


  • Verity Parsifal Encores
  • Synergistic Resolution Reference X2 speaker cable


  • Dedicated lines
  • PS300
  • Ultimate Outlets
  • Audio Prism
  • Various powercords from BMI, Electraglide, and VH Audio


  • SolidTech Rack of Silence Reference

Digital Source:

  • Sonic Frontier SFT-1
  • Genesis Digital Lens
  • Mark Levinson #36
  • Illuminatti X-60 digital cables
  • Cardas Neutral Reference interconnects

Headphone amps:

  • Consonance Cyber 20 (EL84 based SET)
  • Consonance Cyber 30 (2A3 based SET)
  • Rudistor RP5.1cav
  • Sennheiser HD600 (Cardas cable)
  • Sennheiser HD650 (Zu Mobius cable)

Next upgrade: building a dedicated listening room from the ground up with the house remodel. Scheduled to be completed in late Fall, 2009.

Yes, members can visit. My current house is fairly small, and I have a young boy that likes to run around crazy mad. I work from home, so afternoons work best.

Sunnyvale, near 280 and 85 intersection.

Thursday, May 15th, 2008 Member's Systems Comments Off

Voodoo and Snake Oil – Or Just Plain Expensive?

snake-oil.jpegIt seems like every month an article or blog post is made about the extreme prices and questionable science that pervade high-end audio. And with good reason. Most audiophiles have also forced a snicker at the ultra-high-end, wondering what a $100K+ turntable or “miracle” chip or stone (at any price) can possibly bring to the party to justify the high entrance fee.

Click here for the latest such article (and my response).

Thursday, May 15th, 2008 Bob Comments Off

432 Hz Anyone?

a-freq2.jpgTrivia question: Which famous leader imposed a law changing the “A” tone from 440 Hz to 432 Hz?

Answer: The Nazi Joseph Goebbels.

For more on this fascinating (and very sad) saga, click here for the website dedicated to the topic.

For a broader discussion of the history of pitch, try this or this.

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 Bob, Uncategorized Comments Off

Audiophiliac – Another Great Audiophile Blog

crave.jpgIf you’re like me, you crave information about all things audiophile.

I’ve run across an interesting source for such info – Steve Guttenberg’s “Audiophiliac” blog (click here) on CNET. Check out his latest piece – “Shattering Audiophile Stereotypes.”

Note the reference the Wadia’s 170i Digital Transport – the best (IMO) way to hook an iPod to a high-end system.

And speaking of craving, Steve writes for the Crave website too.

These sites join the excellent Stereophile web offering (with contributions from our own Jason Serinus) on my “must read” list.

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 Bob Comments Off