Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018 – Write Up by Kevin Olson

Nov 29, 2018

My wife, Karen, and I attended this years’ Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver. Our first stop was at Kyron Audio. Kyron Audio hails from Australia and they make loudspeakers that are similar in design to Linkwitz Labs Orion, but very modern in look. They use active crossovers and amplify each driver. This is an open baffle design. The sound is dynamic, natural and very inviting. Sound staging is superb. Our next major stop was at Vandersteen Audio. They were showing with VTL electronics. Richard displayed the Vandersteen Model Sevens with subwoofers and as is the norm with Vandersteen rooms,…

Jana Dagdagan Pays a Visit, by David Hicks

Nov 26, 2018

Jana Dagdagan was on The West Coast.  She had asked Michael Fremer if he knew anyone out in the San Francisco Bay Area who had a “vintage system” that she could video record for her EarSpace YouTube channel (  Jana is probably most famously known from her time as a writer for Stereophile as well as the creator of the Stereophile YouTube channel.  The full story of her departure in 2018 can be found online in numerous blogs by everyone who thought her dismissal by the magazines new owners was a loss for Stereophile and the industry as a whole,…

One Reason Streaming Doesn’t Sound As Good As The Source Material

Nov 04, 2018

A very interesting article on the Roon Labs Community forum (Roon Labs) discussed a "watermark" added by Universal Music Group (UMG) and the watermark affects the sound quality of the music being streamed.  UMG makes up approximately 25% of the content in online catalogs and its labels include Interscope, The Island Def Jam, Universal Republic, Verve, GRP, Impulse!, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Geffen, etc.  UMG uses the watermark for copyright enforcement.  According to the post by Matt Montag, a software engineer at Spotify (mattmontag): "UMG uses a spread spectrum watermark, a technique explained in detail in this Microsoft research paper. The watermark scheme modulates the total energy…

QoBuz by David Hicks

Sep 28, 2018

High-resolution audio is generally defined as music files that have a higher sampling frequency and/or bit depth than that of Compact Disc Digital Audio, which is specified at 16 bit/44.1 kHz.    The directors of the SFAS have been given early access to Qobuz (pronounced Co-buz) Sublime+ service so that we could experience the World’s highest resolution streaming service.  My early listening sessions have all been positive as far as the sound quality is concerned. But then, I prefer to listen to my music played back at a higher resolution even when the music I'm listening to is being streamed. …

Copper Weights for Headshells, by Joe Hakim

Sep 20, 2018

If you are into vinyl playback, it's likely you will eventually run into the need for a headshell weight to improve the low frequency resonance point of your tonearm/cartridge combination. For those of you not familiar with this mechanism, a brief primer is presented below. In vinyl playback systems (TTs), the tonearm + cartridge acts as a sprung mechanical system with a given natural resonant frequency. The "springiness" of the system and resultant resonant frequency depends on the effective mass of the tonearm, weight of the cartridge (+ mounting hardware), and the compliance of the cartridge. The compliance of a cartridge is defined as the amount of…

Example Newsletter

Sep 06, 2018


A message from the President

Aug 20, 2017

A message from the President Greetings to all SFAS members, My life has been a bit upside down these last few months. Forgive me for dropping off the face of the earth (and big cheers to our remarkable SFAS board of Directors who picked up the ball and have been doing a fantastic job keeping it all going in my absence. I have spent many days in the hospital since my major ten pound spleen-removal surgery in March. Just having recovered from that first ordeal, last week a threesome of tiny clots were found in my brain which created three…

SFAS Cited in Audiophile Aesthetics paper

Apr 20, 2017

One of our club's surveys was cited in the American Philosophical Quarterly Volume 54, Number 2, April 2017:  "A 2014 survey by the San Francisco Audiophile Society characterized a mid-level system at $10,000 for the amp and speakers, and a high-priced system at $50,000 for amp and speakers.  Above that is cost-no-object." Abstract What little work has been done on high fidelity/audiophile aesthetics uniformly agrees that the aesthetic aim of high fidelity is to achieve maximum transparency—the degree to which the listening experience is qualitatively identical to hearing the live instruments. The present paper argues that due to modern recording…

The Art of Listening — Full Length Documentary

Mar 05, 2017

This documentary is a bit slow paced, but features very good interviews with recording engineers, producers and musicians that held my interest. It is currently free to watch online at  Let me know if you enjoyed it. Cheers, Alón.  

Recording Bloopers on Famous Albums

Feb 23, 2017

Do you listen deeply into your music? If you have one of the albums on this list, did you notice these recording anomalies  or mistakes? Listen to some cool examples of what these recording engineers missed (or was it on purpose?). I love the behind the scenes stories from the front lines of  recording studios, especially when the artist and album is in my collection. Years ago, while listening on superb headphones driven by a great headphone amp, I discovered an anomaly on one pressing of Yes's Fragile album where about a minute before my favorite solo guitar piece Mood for…