Archive for August, 2010

Yikes! iPod sales down and music follows

As reported in theAge, iPod sales have been on the decline. This is known.

But did you know that sales if (compressed) music downloads parallel that trend?

It turns out that this is no small matter:

The music industry had looked to the iPod to drive people to buy music in download form, whether from Apple’s iTunes music store or from newer competitors such as Amazon. The problem for them is that digital music sales are only growing as fast as those of Apple’s devices.

”At a time where we’re asking if digital is a replacement for the CD, as the CD was for vinyl, we should be starting to see a hockey-stick growth in download sales,” says Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Forrester Research who specialises in music and digital media.

”Instead, we’re seeing a curve resembling that of a niche technology.”

Can Apple’s announcement this week reverse the trend?

Is high-end affected? How?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 Bob, General, Music Comments Off

BAASnotes tops Google Blog Search Results

Search Google Blogs for “audiophile.” What comes up first?

Don’t ask me how this happens…or how long it”ll last…but I like it!   ;-)


Thursday, August 26th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Humor Comments Off

More on the Beethoven Sonata Series

The entire cycle of 32 will be performed by Robert Silverman in the lovely Le Petit Trianon Main Theater, San Jose.
Dates: Various, Sep 9 – Apr 14  (9 concerts)
Sponsored by Audio High; CD’s mastered by Steve Hoffman forthcoming.
BAAS members and a guest get very special pricing to the first two – wait for my email.
Concert details here….

Thursday, August 26th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events, Music Comments Off

New DIY class next January

San Francisco audio designer, Edwin Yang, will be once again teaching a class starting in January, 2011 at the Randall Museum. For the last few years, Edwin has been teaching students how to build a tube linestage, myself included. The linestage, although not expensive, is a terrific piece of gear – I sold my other 2 tube linestages after building it.

The next project is a tube phono stage. This class will be more challenging than the linestage class, but still possible for the student that has confidence and some dexterity. It is not necessary to have built anything before but that it desirable.

The class will be for several Saturdays starting in January. Some will finish quickly while others, like myself, will take the total of 10 Saturdays to finish. The class is always entertaining and educational and I highly recommend it. Cost will be around $600 – $700.

Phono stage comparison at the Randall Museum October 9th

The Bay Area Tube Users Group will be hosting a phono stage comparison at 1pm on Saturday October 9th. I will be bringing my Nighthawk and Prism Orpheus to compare to Edwin’s phono stageIf you have a favorite phono stage you want to compare, please bring it along. So if you are on the fence as to whether it is worth the effort to build one, attend the event and decide for yourselves.

Peter Truce

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 Analog, Announcements 4 Comments

Sumiko to Hold Open House in Berkeley

See the flyer below for details of Sumiko’s Open House (9/15/2010):

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events, News 1 Comment

Home Audio Market Forecast Raised – Really!

As documented in an interesting article published by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA, think CES), sales forecasts for home audio over the next decade have been raised. Wow.

Basically, folks have all bought their flat-screen TV’s and iPods and such, and now industry analysts think they’ll turn to audio. Nice.

Of course, what this means to the ‘high end’ market remains to be seen. But I doubt if it’s bad.


A few years ago, most everyone seemed excited about the the iPod. Everyone, that is, except the majority home audio manufacturers. Their reluctance was somewhat understandable. For a while, it seemed as though the increasingly old-fashioned concept of listening to music through a set of speakers on a system powered by an amplified receiver was going the way of the raptor.


A resurgence of LPs-fueled by nostalgia as well as a reaction to the often atrocious sound quality of audio files – kept the old-fashioned fire burning….

and the punchline:

CEA’s Industry Forecast anticipates home audio revenues of $915 million by the end of this year, a 4 percent year-over-year increase and a refreshing jump from the $863 million we forecasted in January.

Great news…


Thursday, August 19th, 2010 Audiophile, General, News Comments Off

Recovering Old Vinyl – Is This the Way? (Video)

This NYtimes article and video document a historic jazz music find and recovery.

The handling of these treasured disks may make some vinyl purists (the triple-distilled water set) wince….

(Thanks, Jeffrey!)

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 Analog, Audiophile, Bob, General 1 Comment

Audio Objectivist Makes Case at AES 2009 (Video)

Most audiophiles who have frequented the forums know Ethan Winer – both as sound trap manufacturer and audiophile skeptic.

While the video below is more about the latter, I think that there are a few good learning points as well….

(Note: If the geeky video below isn’t your thing, try this one – with Mr. Winer on cello!)

Monday, August 16th, 2010 Audiophile, Bob, News, Technical 1 Comment

Jimi Hendrix: He REALLY was that good!

It’s been 40 years since Jimi left us.

Understandably, the anniversary caused a bunch of press.

Click here for the best that I’ve seen.

[Thanks, Aaron!]


Monday, August 16th, 2010 Audiophile, Bob, General Comments Off

Aaudio Demonstrates High-Value Audiophile Gear

Following the awesome California Audio Show, Brian Ackerman of distributor Aaudio Imports agreed to “export” his fine wares to Jason’s Oakland castle.

The result: lots of good listening and good learning for dozens of members.

The gear on hand included:

- Aaron no.22 preamp  -  $3,900 retail

- Aaron no.3 amp  -  $3,950 retail

- Lindemann 825 cd player  -  $12,000 retail

- Stage III Cables – $Various

- Weizhi PRS-6 Power Distributor – $3,200 retail

I found it quite interesting to hear Jason’s system powered by quality solid state amplification.

We also got to taste the Stein Harmonizers and the luscious Wavelength USB Converter.

Thanks, Brian & Jason – we enjoyed it!


Monday, August 16th, 2010 Audiophile, Bob, Events Comments Off

My Impressions of the California Audio Show


  • Smashing success
  • Advanced audio awareness in Bay Area
  • Well-organized; friendly environment

My Favorite Rooms

  • TONIAN – Nothing better for small-scale music, and can stretch to bigger things
  • EFICION – “Classic” high-end formula: great drivers, inert cab, and smart design (new F250 is great)
  • MAGICO/KINGSOUND – My fav Magico (V-2) sung; Kings needed bigger room and amps
  • GRADIENT – Innovation in loudspeakers lives…rejoice!
  • SONIST/deHavilland – Tapes! Tubes! Good economics!
  • TERESONIC – BAAS member MZ has broken the code on Lowthers (Step 1 Horns, Step 2 SET,…)
  • Trenner & Friedl – Amazing sound from small things
  • BLUE COAST – Live music, neat tech, and smart (nice) people who just want to deliver fidelity in music. Whats not to love?

Disclaimer: I own Tonian and eFicion speakers.

Best Bargain

The $4000 system by GRANT FIDELITY. Yes, it’s Chinese. So what?


I had a great time. I have also lined up six new events to round out the year.

Many thanks and congratulations to Constantine Soo and Dagogo for a temendous debut!

Interested in more?

For the most complete coverage on the web, check out Jason’s Stereophile blog.

How about you?

About 120 BAAS members attended. If you were one of them, what did you think of the show?

Just comment and let us know…

by Bob Walters

Sunday, August 1st, 2010 Audiophile, Bob, Events, General 8 Comments