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Todd on Tour

Todd on Tour

Staff writer Jerald O’Brien and I took a quick road trip up to Seattle to check out the beginning of Todd Rundgren’s new tour to support the album “Arena”.

If you are a Todd fan, do not miss this tour. He is at his best, doing all of the Arena album live with some fun Todd oldies mixed in. Keep reading »


Getting Ready for RMAF

Getting Ready for RMAF

Getting ready for the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver next month, I was looking over the photos we took driving (ugh) to RMAF two years ago.

This one stood out.

While I can’t remember where this was, I do remember that it was very windy outside and we immediately turned on Led Zeppelin very loud when we all got back in the car. What else do you do at the Point of Rock?


The Devil Music Ensemble

The Devil Music Ensemble

Dragged Marc Phillips and our lovely art director down to the Portland Art Museum to see the Devil Music Ensemble tonight.

In the best silent film tradition, these three guys who are all Berklee graduates have composed and perform a soundtrack while the acieent Chinese KungFu movie Red Heroine plays in the background.

Because the film is the only one left of the series remaining and was pretty badly deteriorated, there was probably only about five shades of grey in the movie! The talent of the DME carried through and was very imaginative, however by the end I was ready to call it a night.

I would definitely check them out again though, especially if they can get their hands on a bit better movie. While it was admirable that they picked this classic, I don’t think the movie was up to their level of talent.

They are about half way through a 45 city tour, so if you are in the mood for the ultimate art school experience, check them out. You can get their tour information and more information about the DME here.

http://www.devilmusic.org


Tools and Stuff

Tools and Stuff

What the heck am I doing up on the roof of the TONEAudio office with power tools and no shoes? You will never know. It’s a Northwestern thing.

However, we did get something productive today.

Watch our website tomorrow for concert updates and a review of the IeGO power cord.


Lindsey Buckingham Wows Portland

Lindsey Buckingham Wows Portland

The man responsible for most of Fleetwood Mac’s commercial success showed the Portland crowd he’s still got it tonight.

With no opening act, Buckingham took the stage and left everyone screaming by the time he was done almost 2 and a half hours later.

Watch for more pictures on our website in the concert section and a full concert report and review of his new album in the October issue of TONEAudio. If you are a fan, the tour just started on the 7th. Check his website for tour details.


Volcano Tacos Rule

Volcano Tacos Rule

Always the sucker for advertising and spicy food, I had to check this one out. Watching a few TiVo’d episodes of The Jon Stewart Show back to back, I was bombarded with about 300 commercials for Taco Bell’s newest creation, The Volcano Taco.

So I gave in. Keep reading »


The Large and Small of Cedia

The Large and Small of Cedia


Just got back from the CEDIA show in Denver and back at my desk.

In addition to seeing all of the people in the industry that we work with on a regular, there was some fun stuff to see as well. While this show does not provide the listening environment that CES or RMAF does, everything is in one place, so it is very easy to navigate.

Here are two products that really caught my eye, the new compact system from McIntosh and the Utopia Be from JM Labs/Focal. All that Mac needs is a handle! It’s a serious compact though, with the internals from their 301 player and 75wpc of discrete power, no class-D here!

The new Utopia flagship speaker will come in at about $175 K and will debut for all of us to hear at the RMAF in Denver, beginning of October. It will be in the Audio Unlimited suite matched with a stellar system, so make sure you see this one if attending the show.


The REGA Elicit is Here

The REGA Elicit is Here

The new REGA Elicit integrated amplifier is here.

80 watts per channel, on board MM phono stage and very beefy.

It is part of the new series of upscale components from REGA that started with the Ios phono stage. And we all know how great that was!

Watch for a full review in the next few weeks on our website in the spotlight section.

www.rega.co.uk


Happy labor day

Happy labor day

It’s been somewhat of a lost six weeks here at TONE, but we’ve been very busy getting organized for the fall season of shows.

We will be attending CEDIA next week in Denver, the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and of course CES in January. So if you see us zooming around, stop and say hello. We look forward to talking with you.

And to top it off, I now have a clean desk. I’m savoring this picture because this doesn’t happen often.


140 decibels and D-Cups galore

140 decibels and D-Cups galore

Where else do you get maximum rock and roll combined with mostly naked women?

At CrueFest, of course.

Trapt, Sixx-AM, Papa Roach and Buckcherry got the party started for the legendary glam rockers, but when Motley Crue hit the stage, the fireworks went off and the sound level went up dramatically.

A good time was had by all. The Crue rocked the house, playing a good combination of their hits mixed in with most of the tunes from their newest album Saints Of Los Angeles. And it just wouldn’t be a Crue concert without Tommy Lee getting out the boob cam. Cool as this is in theory, I get the feeling that this plays a lot better in Los Angeles. Not that the Portland crowd was any less willing to take their top off for Tommy, it wasn’t necessarily in the best interest for many of them.

But hey, that’s rock and roll.


More Analog Goodness

More Analog Goodness

Finishing up the final setup on the Spiral Groove SG-2 and TriPlanar arm.

This turntable is a work of art! Initial listening impressions are fantastic. Stay tuned for more on this analog masterpiece.

You can also check out www.immediasound.com to get more information.


Martin Logan’s New Flagship

Martin Logan’s New Flagship

Took a ride up to Seattle to meet with Randy Wells and zoom over to Magnolia HiFi, where they were showing off the new CLX from Martin Logan.

This is one hell of a speaker! CLS devotees (used to be one, myself) will be thrilled with this speaker. M-L has taken everything they’ve learned in the last 25 years and created an electrostatic tour de force.

Our pal Ron Cornelius from McIntosh was their with their new coolio 300 watt tube monoblocks and a big stack of other goodies from Mac. David Allen from ML was on hand for two days to demo the speakers and answer hungry fans questions. Magnolia even had special 36 month financing on hand!

If you love ‘stats, this could be the last speaker you’ll ever need.

Hey, it took em 25 years to come up with this one.


I Drove the Green One

I Drove the Green One

Spending the day with the new Bentley Continental Spur Speed was an awesome experience, and you can read all about it in our August issue.

But, I’ll tell you this much: The Naim Audio system is the best I’ve ever heard in a factory install. I’ve heard a few car stereos that revealed a bit more music, but they were 30-50 thousand dollar installs.

The only catch with Naim is that to get such a great deal on this system, you have to buy a new Bentley. Which isn’t such a bad thing.

With a 600 hp 12 cylinder, twin turbo W-12 motor, this car can coddle you in British luxury and go into warp drive the second you put the pedal to the floor.

The old 3-series just won’t be the same.


Bentley, Tomorrow

Bentley, Tomorrow

Well folks, after a few days off from finishing issue 16, we are back in action.

Here in Boston to test drive the new Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Not just any Bentley, I might add, but one outfitted with the new Naim HiFi System made specifically for Bentley.

I’ll keep you posted with more pictures and initial sound impressions tomorrow evening.

I’m placing an advance bet that this is a winner.

For a little more information click here:
http://www.bentleymotors.com/Corporate/display.aspx?infid=1292


Why Snoop Rules

Why Snoop Rules

This is why it’s so great to be Snoop Dogg.

I took my good friend Ken Ball from ALO Audio to check out the show in Portland last night and we had a blast. Snoop did about an hour and a half set and had the whole place up and bouncing.

At the end of the show when he said “how many of you bitches want to get down with Snoop Dogg” about fifty women jumped right up on stage. Awesome.

Read the whole report with more pics on our website in the new section (to be unveiled on Tues) called concert watch, which will be presented by Music Giants.


Peter Frampton Still Has the Touch

Peter Frampton Still Has the Touch

Last night, staff writer Jerold O’Brien and I took a stroll down to Esther Short Park, here in Vancouver to grab a couple of brats, drink some beer and check out the scene. Legendary guitarist Peter Frampton was the headline act and we were very curious to see if he was just another geezer cashing in on former fame or the real deal.

A great time was had by all, but Frampton looked like he was having the most fun. He played a tight set and proved that he’s still a legendary guitar powerhouse.

From now till the end of the year, he’s got a full calendar. If he’s in your town and you are curious, you won’t be disappointed.

www.frampton.com


Tubey Goodness

Tubey Goodness

This is just bitchin. Takes you back, doesn’t it?


Nothing Like a Good Classic or Two

Nothing Like a Good Classic or Two

Somehow, the stress at deadline is easily cured by a trip to my favorite used hifi shop, Echo Audio in Portland, Oregon

I dragged the Vinyl Anachronist out for some chow at the Thai Peacock, right down the street from Echo and after a hearty bowl of curry,, we wandered in to see what goodies lurked on Kurt’s shelves.

As usual, it was treasure time. This mint Nakamich 700 ZXL was staring me right in the face. You’ll be reading about this one in TONE one of these days. It’s a keeper.

Lew Johnson likes to say “You can never have too much Conrad-Johnson gear” and I couldn’t agree more. Echo just happened to have a mint specimen of their first amplifier, the MV-75. I’ve owned all of the EL-34 based C-J power amps at one time or another, so it was time to graduate to this one with 6550’s under the hood.

The MV-75 was C-J’s first amplifier back in 1979 and this one still sounds darn good!


Sun Back Out and There Are CDs to Sort

Sun Back Out and There Are CDs to Sort

Seems like everyone is getting out of physical media these days.

Another good friend stopped by with a few big boxes of CD’s that are now living on a music server. Being the friend of physical media that I am, his 500 CD’s found a happy home. Well, at least 400 of them. The rest are getting passed on to friends. Gotta spread the love around.

If you have a record or CD collection to get rid of, let us know!


You Can’t See It Yet

You Can’t See It Yet

Today the Spiral Groove SG-2 turntable arrived along with a black Triplanar arm.

It’s going to have to wait until the new issue is done to set up, but it is gorgeous there!

Having spent some time with the SG-1 when I went to the Immedia offices earlier this year, I know these guys are on to something really good with the SG-2. There’s also a nice new Skala from Lyra to listen to as well, so stay tuned for more analog bliss.


Rain, Rain Go Away

Rain, Rain Go Away

Sorry about the latin that was up here, not trying to be clever, just screwed up!!

With all the rain this week, it was a great time to go through the first shipment of albums that arrived last week and found some great treasures! Nothing like the smell of old albums to make your day.

Surprisingly enough almost everything was in great shape. Some of the covers were a little tattered, but the vinyl inside was good. Nothing a quick pass on my trusty Clearaudio record cleaning machine. Even found a few rarities, a pink Pink Floyd Animals album and an AA British pressing of Steely Dan’s AJA.

Too many more to list. But the sun is coming out soon.


Return to Forever Back on Tour

Return to Forever Back on Tour

If you are a fusion fan, Return to Forever was probably at the top of your playlist in the 70’s. I know it was for me. Al DiMeola, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White not only redefined the genre, but after RTF disbanded, they all went on to successful solo careers.

In a move that you rarely see with older acts today, Return to Forever is back in action with all the original members. Nothing is worse than going to see one of your favorite bands from a while ago and it’s only half (or even a fifth) of the guys you remembered and a bunch of new, no-name guys in their place.

This is the real deal folks and these guys haven’t lost an ounce of virtuosity. Matter of fact, they are like that really expensive bottle of wine that you bought before it’s proper serve date and is now perfect.

Check out the official website at www.return2forever.com to get tour dates and see a few clips of the guys rehearsing, you will see what I mean. You rarely get to see four jazz greats at the top of their game on the same stage. This is as good as it gets!


An Awesome Day!

An Awesome Day!

Nothing like coming home to 24 cartons of records waiting to be unboxed!

Yep, I live for days like this. One of our writers decided to get out of LP’s for good and wanted to make sure they would have a good home.

The only bad news is that I’m on deadline and I pretty much have to stare at these for about 10 more days till the issue is done. But I did crack open a few boxes and there are some definite treasures lurking.

Got LP’s you want to get rid of, let me know!


New Website is Done!

New Website is Done!

And that’s how I found them, asleep in the office.

After a grueling week of finishing the new website, I found our chief designer asleep in her office with the company mascot.

But it’s done!

The new site has some new features that we hope you will find compelling. Now, along with every cover, there is a complete table of contents that you can open up for every issue. We’ve added more music and links for you to purchase said music.

And we have more goodies coming later this summer, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!


Announcing the Audiophile Wiki

Announcing the Audiophile Wiki

Audiophile PR person extraordinaire, Paul McGowan from PS Audio has a new project that will benefit all of us in the high end audio community and hopefully help the new arrivals to our world as well.

He has gone to great lengths to launch the Audiophile version of Wikipedia, called appropriately the “Audiophile Wiki”. This project just started, but should become a virtual repository for all things related to audio.

Already, yours truly is joining the likes of Michael Fremer, our pal Chris Connaker from Computer Audiophile and others to help explain what makes our hobby so exciting to those less informed.

You can find this fledgling project at:
audiophilewiki.org

Stay tuned, it should be fun!


Makana in Oregon

Makana in Oregon

If you read my feature on slack key guitarist Makana in the April issue and are curious about hearing more, now’s your chance. Wildly popular in his native Oahu, Makana has started his tour of the United States to spread his slack rock message to us malihinis (newcomers). We got to check out his live show last night at the WoW Hall in Eugene, Oregon, and I have to admit that everything I’ve heard about the energy at his live shows is true.

While the crowd was probably small compared to what Makana is used to back home, one audience member said it best when he shouted, “Promise to come back, and we’ll each bring five people to show them how great you are!” After the show, we got to meet Makana, and he’s as warm and genuine as his songs. He even dedicated one of his songs to Jeff’s daughter Monique, who was celebrating her 14th birthday.

Check out makanamusic.com to see if he’ll be coming to your town soon. And tell him your brahs at TONEAudio sent you!


More POWER!

More POWER!

Just got the new Running Springs Dimitri off the UPS truck an hour ago!

From the guys who make the award winning Haley, Duke, Danielle and Jaco, this takes everything they’ve learned at RSA to the next level. Along with more goodies on the inside, the Dimitri has a cool carbon fiber face plate, which will look more at home on your rack.

As I own at least one each of all the other RSA boxes, I am anxious to see how much of an improvement the Dimitri will be. I’ll keep you posted and expect to see a review in TONE online in about a month.

The Dimitri is $4000 USD without power cord, $4500 with a RSA Mongoose power cord and $5800 with their new top of the line cord. (don’t know what they are calling it yet!)

You can get more information at:
www.runningspringsaudio.com


Blast from the Past

Blast from the Past

Sorting through some past family pics, I came across this shot from 1983.

While things have come a long way since then, things were pretty good back in the early 80s.  It’s a bit hard to tell from this small picture, but next to my trusty Conrad Johnson PV-2a, is my complete CD collection!  Only 10 little shiny discs.

Who knew?


Back Online at Last!

Back Online at Last!

Arrgh!

No internet service for a few days can really bring you to your knees!

I have no idea what the magician at Comcast did, but when he got over to my house the other day, he made a few measurements, muttered something under his breath and called someone.

A little more muttering on the phone and pow!  Everything worked again.

Stay tuned, we’ll be back to our (almost) daily posts starting tomorrow.


New Speakers from ACI

New Speakers from ACI

It’s just speakerama here at TONEAudio.

The ML Spires are breaking in rather nicely, Wilson is sending us a pair of Sophia 2′s to review in the near future and I came home to a package from ACI, makers of the TONE Exceptional Value Award winning Sapphire XL.

Inside the box a pair of their newest small speaker, The Emerald XL.  For 700 a pair, these look to be pretty exciting.  Watch our website for a review in about 6 weeks!

www.audioc.com


Stopping By ZU

Stopping By ZU

Next on the list, while in the Salt Lake City area was a trip over to the guys at ZU Audio.

While their approach is a bit different than the folks at Wilson, their passion for music and commitment to quality is just as strong.  Adam Decaria and Sean Casey were in the middle of expansion and remodling, but had enough time to give me a full tour, grab some lunch and give me a great demo of their flagship speakers, The Definition at Adam’s house.  Playing through some 300B amplifiers from Melody, the sound was killer and Adam sent me home with a list of cool records that I need to pick up. Keep reading »


Visit to Wilson Audio

Visit to Wilson Audio

Sorry about the blog updates, was out of the office in the beautiful state of Utah for the last couple of days.

First stop, Wilson Audio.

By many considered to be the number one company in high end audio, a tour of the plant shows why this reputation is well deserved; these guys are very dedicated to excellence!  With 50 full time employees and a facility clean enough to assemble formula 1 engines, the Wilson plant is a model of efficiency and technology. Keep reading »


No Worries About VTA

No Worries About VTA

Yep, this guy’s not thinking about VTA, or system synergy at all. Just chilling out in the neighbors lawn.  He does this EVERY day.

I do believe there is a lesson to be learned here. Keep reading »


Elvis Spotted in Portland Oregon

Elvis Spotted in Portland Oregon

I whipped out my iPhone camera, shot a picture and when I turned around, he was gone.

You tell me.


Discover Mutlu

Discover Mutlu

After waiting for the doors to open at the Aladdin Theater for 5 hours, (yep, I was FIRST in line) I got the pleasure of seeing Mutlu, the opening act for Joe Jackson.  Think a big dose of originality along with a few parts Hall and Oates (Abandoned Luncheonette period), and perhaps a bit of early James Taylor as well.

But make no mistake Mutlu has his own sound.

A great singer-songwriter in the Philly tradition, he played a short acoustic set and announced that his new CD would be out in June.

I invite you to peruse his website at: www.mutlusounds.com

This guy is awesome!

-JD


New Elbow Album

New Elbow Album

I bought the new Elbow album, The Seldom Seen Kid, a couple of days ago, but I didn’t get a review done in time for Issue 15.  Needless to say, I’m really hooked on this album.  Elbow is one of those bands that releases an album every 3 or 4 years, enough time to almost forget they exist.  And then when a new album does arrive, you get excited about them all over again. Keep reading »


Doing Windows in a Mac World

Doing Windows in a Mac World

The short solutions to this situation are:

  1. Forget it
  2. Run Parallels on your Mac
  3. Get a separate Windows only machine

    I’m not a Windows hater, so #1 isn’t a good option, but I have to tell you that #2 Suuuuuuks.

    After throwing a day of my life away trying to get Parallels to work on my shiny new Power Book Pro with 4gb of RAM, I gave up.  Turns out those in the know said that the only way it will work is with Windows XP.  Hmmm.  Vista users, forget it.  Save yourself the stroke and just get a dedicated Windows box.

    I suggest a Mac Mini!  That’s what I’m using and it’s awesome!


    The Spires Are Here, Woo Hoo!

    The Spires Are Here, Woo Hoo!

    The friendly neighborhood freight guy had a surprise for me a day early;

    “I’ve got two big cartons for you that aren’t very heavy…”
    “Are they from Martin Logan?”
    “Yup” Keep reading »


    More Analog Insanity

    More Analog Insanity

    No I haven’t become fed up with losing cartridge screws!

    I’m a bit of a packrat and feel that everything will have a use SOMEDAY.  Sure enough, just when I was going to throw out that cheapie cartridge that came with my Audio Technica PL-120D, I figured there would come a time to put it to use. Keep reading »


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