Articles

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…

33 1/3 Questions with Andrew Cartmel, author of The Vinyl Detective Mysteries

Jul 24, 2019

   33 1/3 Questions with Andrew Cartmel, author of The Vinyl Detective Mysteries. By David Hicks           Andrew Cartmel is no Johnny-come-lately putting plot to paper.  Among other things, he was the script editor of Doctor Who during the final three seasons of its original run on BBC One; has worked as a magazine editor, a comics writer, a film studies lecturer, and has written for audiophile magazines and has several other novels published outside the domain of The Vinyl Detective. While reading the first book in the series I was pleased to discover that I…

Thousands of Master Recordings Lost in 2008 Fire

Jun 22, 2019

A New York Times investigation has revealed that decades of Universal Music Group treasures burned in 2008. Firefighters helped remove canisters from a burning vault at Universal Studios in Universal City, Calif., on June 1, 2008.CreditCreditJuan Guerra/Associated Press By Niraj Chokshi June 11, 2019 Eleven years ago this month, a fire ripped through a part of Universal Studios Hollywood. At the time, the company said that the blaze had destroyed the theme park’s “King Kong” attraction and a video vault that contained only copies of old works. But, according to an article published on Tuesday by The New York Times Magazine, the…

UNDERSTANDING, FINDING, &ELIMINATING GROUND LOOPS, by Bill Whitlock

May 27, 2019

Thanks to member Bill Robinson for passing along this interesting article by Bill Whitlock(1): 0 - INTRODUCTION “A cable is a source of potential trouble connecting two other sources of potential trouble.” This joke among electronic system engineers is worth keeping in mind. Any signal accumulates noise as it flows through the equipment and cables in a system. Once noise contaminates a signal, it's essentially impossible to remove it without altering or degrading the original signal. For this reason, no system can be quieter than its noisiest link. Noise and interference must be prevented along the entire signal path. Delivering…