Articles

Discogs, by Larry Deniston

Dec 21, 2019

For those of you not familiar with it, Discogs is a free database for your physical media and much, much more.  I have my entire vinyl collection stored on Discogs.  It does take a little time to enter each album, but it's a pretty simple process.  Just enter the matrix number and select the appropriate release, mono/stereo, media (vinyl, CD, reel to reel, etc.).  If you like, you may also enter the condition of the media and sleeve.  Discogs keeps track of your collection and provides a minimum, medium and maximum value of your collection.  It also is a site…

Rest in Peace Roger Modjeski

Dec 18, 2019

Roger Modjeski On Wednesday morning December 11, 2019, the audio world lost a legendary designer, a teacher and most of all a friend.  Roger lost his battle with cancer and passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in San Pablo with hospice and visits from friends. Roger's career in audio spanned over 40 years including working at IBM, running an audio repair shop, teaching, working for Beveridge and finally starting his own audio business in 1984.   Roger designed a number of successful audio products including phono stages, preamps and amplifiers.  He also developed a method for testing tubes to…

Audioquest Niagra 1200 by Kevin Olson

Dec 01, 2019

Kevin's new Toy by Kevin Olson Audioquest Niagara 1200 Power Low-Z Power Noise Dissipation SystemA bit over 2 years ago I purchased a Niagara 1000 LZPNDS. Picked it up at the LA show and saved 10%.  Brought it home and hooked it up. My system already had Furutech power cables based on the SFAS power cable shootout winner. So would this 'giant glorified power strip' do anything? Well, at the very least, it organized my power cables into one spot and opened up power outlets. I am happy to report it had a positive effect. The noise floor dropped, imaging improved,…

Build an EL84 Tube Amplifier Class – San Francisco, by Ed Yang

Nov 25, 2019

Ed Yang will be teaching a build your own tube amplifier class at the Randall Museum in San Francisco. By popular demand I will be teaching a second session of the Randall IV amp for the tube audio DIY class at San Francisco’s Randall Museum. Beware that this is not your run of the mill EL84 stereo amplifier. The goals of the amp is sound as close to a live performance as possible, keep the cost down, minimize component count so that it will be easier to build, must look pleasing both inside and out. The topology of The Randall…

Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 Phono Preamp, by Grant Stoner

Nov 24, 2019

My most recent new toy (upgrade) is the Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 phono preamp, $399.   The S2 features 2 ECC83 tubes, and can handle both MM& MC cartridges. It has a wide range of adjustments: 40-63 db gain on front switches plus numerous dip switches on the underside for impedance and capacitance.  I flipped the third dips on the underside and set the gain to 43.  Too little gain wasn't enough and too much gave distortion.  I recommend just flipping them until you get the best sound with your cartridge.  It also has a subsonic switch which was so helpful…

Phonocut – Cut Your Own Vinyl Records

Oct 17, 2019

From MSN: As CD sales continue to fall, vinyl is becoming more and more popular of a music format. Some fans enjoy the bigger packaging and artwork while others claim vinyl playback produces a "warmer" tone compared to CDs and digital files. But vinyl doesn't have the flexibility of those formats. Phonocut hopes to change that with its home vinyl recorder, which launches on Kickstarter this week. The device's diamond stylus cuts the waveforms from an external source into a blank 7- or 10-inch vinyl disc so you can create records of compilations or your own music. The Phonocut sounds relatively simple…

IsoAcoustics Gaia II, by Alón Sagee

Oct 14, 2019

My experience of IsoAcoustics Gaia II vibration damping pods for floor standing speakers. By Alón Sagee   Unpacking: We’re often warned to not judge a book by its cover… but If you’ve ever unpacked an expensive new audio gizmo, you know that clever and elegant packaging manages to set one up for a good experience. The thought being that if this company takes this much care in making the packaging of their products so attractive, the contents must be something special. indeed, this is the case with IsoAccoustic’s Gaia line of products. Removing the top cover of a well-designed box,…

New Toy

Oct 02, 2019

Pass Labs XP-17 by Kevin Olson Curiosity killed the cat? Question: What makes you want something? What turns a want into a purchase? Well, for me, it is often curiosity. I read about a new product design to get improved sound. Products are produced, reviews are written and often it is out of reach financially. I hope to hear it at a show or at an SFAS event even if it is beyond my budget. Curiosity. "Miles Davis", Kevin's Curious Cat Sometimes someone makes a version of the product and it now falls within my budget. Yes! I got an…

What does “high resolution audio” mean?

Sep 30, 2019

 Here's a paper issued by NARAS... see what you think https://dsd-guide.com/naras-recommendations-for-high-resolution-audio-production-0 NARAS (National Association for Recording Arts and Sciences and the Grammy folks) created a paper in 2017 to help understand what they hope we all adopt as HRA (high resolution audio) standards. But does everyone agree? Have a read of their paper in the link above and provide a comment on that page for us to discuss. Amazon and Apple are trillion dollar companies and have announced their commitment to high resolution music streaming. This is highly significant because they may change our understanding of HRA. Just what does…

A Lost Album From John Coltrane, With Thanks To A French-Canadian Director

Aug 26, 2019

An interesting article from npr: "There is never any end," John Coltrane said sometime in the mid-1960s, at the height of his powers. "There are always new sounds to imagine; new feelings to get at." Coltrane, one of jazz's most revered saxophonists, was speaking to Nat Hentoff about an eternal quest — a compulsion to reach toward the next horizon, and the next. More than half a century after his death, that restless pronouncement also carries implications for us, the beneficiaries of Coltrane's music. Not only because his body of work represents a fathomless realm of insight, as his many admirers…