Getting on the download bandwagon

Getting on the download bandwagon

I have to say, I’ve been having a great time downloading high resolution digital files from Naim, and others over the last few weeks.  In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve added a new section for downloads right next to our audiophile pressings section in the magazine.  With so much more music becoming available this way, it’s exciting to keep on top of it.

We’ll continue to expand this section going forward.  Any suggestions, just drop us an email…

Record store day almost here!

Record store day almost here!

In case you didn’t know, Saturday, April 17 is Record Store Day. Record stores around the country will be having a lot of special merchandise in their stores, starting Saturday, and much of it in very limited supply.

We are launching some new record reviews over the next week, so stay tuned. And we have an interview with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips as well.

Now get your butt over to your favorite record store on Saturday and show some support!

Enjoying the Apple iPad

Enjoying the Apple iPad

While I’ve barely slept in the last 36 since the iPad arrived, we’ve all been putting it through its paces.

So far, it’s a winner. While it may be a laptop substitute for some, I think this device (like other Apple products before it) will define a new category of electronics. Read the full review below in the Spotlight section and let us know what you think.

The Wi-Fi only models, available in 16-64gb capacity are on most retailers shelves right now. Even if you aren’t buying today, you should stop by and check one out. But it might be tough to resist once it’s in your hot little hands. 3G models (requiring a seperate data plan, $30/month) will be available later in the month.

CNET’s Music Awards Contest

CNET's Music Awards Contest

CNET author (and TONEAudio contributor) Steve Guttenberg is sponsoring a contest for undiscovered talent.

While you won’t win as much cool stuff as you might on American Idol, you will get a great pair of headphones
from Monster Cable and some net airplay. Who knows where that will lead? Best of all, it’s a contest based
on sound quality as well as content.

So, fire up ProTools and get to work!

Here’s the link:

Digging the Paganini

Digging the Paganini

It may sound like an exotic Italian snack treat, but it’s even better than that.

The Paganini is DCS’ latest four box digital player that consists of a CD/SACD transport, Master Clock, Upsampler and DAC. Yeah, it’s expensive, but it’s awesome. The good news is that you can build the system module by module, and if you are using computer based playback, you might not even want the transport.

But I’ll give you a hint, even with a tricked out dedicated computer for music, with all the latest greatest goodies, running Amarra, the spinning disc is still superior.

I’m off to the DCS factory on Monday to meet the brains behind the technology and it should be exciting.

More TONEAudio Magazine in 2010!

More TONEAudio Magazine in 2010!

That’s right folks, you keep asking us for more content and we deliver. Starting with the Feb. 10 issue of TONEAudio, #27, we will be going to a full 8 issue schedule, publishing every 6-7 weeks. We will also be changing our format from the square you’ve known for the last five years to a more standard, 8 1/2 x 11 inch vertical format.

Why you ask? With the proliferation of eBook readers, and most importantly, the Apple iPad, we’re formatting TONEAudio so that it’s an easier read for our mobile audience. Those of you reading TONEAudio on your laptop will now be able to have the issue fill the whole screen when you read it in two-page mode.

When the Issue #27 is released, it will be in our standard resolution and high resolution formats, with a third version in ePub format to follow shortly after. As soon as we can transfer them, we will also make our back issues available in ePub format, albeit still in their original square formats.

We hope you enjoy the new format and for those of you becoming early adopters of the iPad, will download it to your newest toy.

CES 2010 – Day 1

CES 2010 - Day 1

Spent most of the day in meetings finding new goodies for upcoming TONEAudio reviews, but the two most intriguing things I did see for the day were both small.

Naim announced their new UnitiQute (pronounced “Unity-Q”) in Vegas for the world to see and it is a brilliant product. Fashioned after the outstanding Uniti that won our product of the year award in 2009, it takes a slightly smaller power amplifier than the Uniti (30 wpc vs. 50) and eliminates the CD drive.

The remaining tiny box still provides a full function integrated amplifier, 24/96 DAC, FM tuner and internet radio access as well as being able to stream digital music from your Naim HDX or network server. All in a package about the size of a Nait 2.

And, the price is small too! $1,995 will put one of these little jewels in your living room or wherever you’d like to put it. I have no doubt that this will be one of the hottest selling products of 2010. Watch for a full review asap.

The other small but mighty surprise was in the Nagra room, where they were showing off their newest power amplifier with a pair of 300B output tubes, driving a pair of Verity Leonore speakers.

I saw these first being built on my trip to Nagra this summer and while according to US importer John Quick, they are still a year from production, if you are a fan of the 300B, this amplifier is worth the wait. Nagra has done a fantastic job here! Stay tuned….

Julian Lennon’s New EP

Julian Lennon's New EP

Julian Lennon and James Scott Cook are releasing a four song EP on December 15 entitled Lucy to honor Cook’s grandmother, Lucy Cook who has lived with lupus for years and Lucy Vodden, a childhood friend of Julian Lennon’s. They will donate a percentage of the EP’s proceeds to the Lupus Foundation of America. The EP will be on sale at major retailers and the Apple iTunes store.

Vodden recently passed away at 46 after a lifelong battle with lupus and Beatle fans may remember her as the woman who was the subject of a drawing that inspired his father John Lennon to write “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.”

We’ll be chatting with Lennon on Thursday to get some more information and will have a review of the EP in the Dec 23 issue of TONEAudio in the music section.

Red Wine Audio’s Black Lightening Redefines Quiet

Red Wine Audio's Black Lightening Redefines Quiet

I just got my hands on one of Vinnie Rossi’s new Black Lightning power supplies and it’s fantastic.

Based on the same SLA battery technology he uses in all of his other products, this is now available as an external power supply that can be used with just about anything that relies on an external, switching mode power supply. Wall warts are very dirty and give off a lot of RFI as well as dumping noise back into the power line for your gear to pick up and ultimately cloud the presentation of your system.

We’ve got a full review in the works, but the short version is buy one of these. I’m using the review sample with my Nagra VPS phono stage and the result is stunning. The RWA supply redefines “black backgrounds.”

I’ll keep you posted, but this one’s a winner.

Win Analog – BIG tube power

Win Analog - BIG tube power

If you love the sound of a great SET but want more than a few watts, so you can really rock, Win Analog is the place to get it.

I saw their new 833 based monoblocks at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and almost didn’t go in the room fearing that they were $300 thousand a pair, like WAVAC.

The good news is that they are $75 thousand a pair, and while that’s not exactly grocery money, it puts these 130 watt per channel SET monoblocks in the reach of the most demanding listeners.

I’ve spent the day at Win Analog listening today, and came away highly impressed. These beautiful amplfiers deliver the goods!

For more information, go to their website:

Rega’s Flagship CD Player The ISIS is Here!

Rega's Flagship CD Player The ISIS is Here!

Literally just off the FedEx truck about 15 minutes ago, Rega’s ISIS CD player has arrived. The retail price is $8,995 and this is a great deal for US customers as the player carries a 6,000 pound pricetag in Europe.

I had the opportunity to audition the ISIS when I visited Rega last summer and it was superb. Fans of Rega and their founder Roy Gandy know that they never jump into anything quickly and when they do, the results are always excellent.

The ISIS can also be used as a full function DAC, so this will add tremendously to its appeal. Stay tuned and we will keep you posted with more listening impressions.

A new headphone botique in Portland!

A new headphone botique in Portland!

There’s a new way to buy headphones, headphone amplifiers and associated components. The first of it’s type in the US if not the world, is right here in Portland, in the stylish Hawthorne District. ALO Audio owner Ken Ball has opened a super cool store with walls of iPods, full of music, where you can audition every major headphone there is, in both stock form and hot rodded models that have been refitted with his own cables. If you’ve followed our “Headphone Planet” column, you know we at TONEAudio are very fond of ALO’s creations.

We’ll have a full feature soon in our “Dealers that make a difference” column in a future issue of TONEAudio Magazine.

But for now, if you need anything headphone related, we highly recommend visiting 32 Ohm Audio.

Marantz 8B project…

Marantz 8B project...

I’ve been looking for one of these for years now!

The legendary Marantz 8B was one of the best sounding amplifiers of the 60’s and I
am anxious to start probing around to see what it can do. More copy to follow.

CEDIA 2009: Burmester steals the show!

CEDIA 2009:  Burmester steals the show!

As always, there was a lot of excitement to be found at the 2009 CEDIA expo in Atlanta.

Even though CEDIA is considered by most to be an AV and multichannel show, the 2
channel vendors were out in full force. But the most exciting thing I experienced at the
show was the Burmester audio system for the new Porsche Panamera.

The Burmester sound system has to be the audio bargain of the 21st century.
Burmester had a gorgeous blue metallic test sample of the Panamera on hand for everyone
to sample and it was effortless, no matter what music was being played. With a total system
output of 1000 watts, you can rock to your hearts content in the Panamera.

The system is a $5,690 upgrade in the standard and 4S model Panamera and only
a $3,990 upgrade in the Turbo model.

We also had the opportunity for a second helping of the Panamera later Friday evening
at Audio, Automation & Theater, in Atlanta. In collaboration with Porsche Cars North
America and Burmester, they brought another test car to their event (along with a few other
choice cars from their fleet) for their customers to audition. This is a dealer that knows
how to do it right, so watch for a feature on AA&T in our December issue.

Burmester has promised a test car, so that we can have a full review as soon as the Panamera
becomes available, but if you are in the process of ordering one, the Burmester system
is a MUST. As much as I love the sound of a Porsche engine revving through it’s range, this
mobile stereo system could easily make me forget about the engine!

Now you can take the enjoyment of your Burmester system on the road. Here’s to Burmester’s
success and my hopes that they will soon engineer a system for the 911 and Boxster!

And Just When You Couldn’t Get More Beatles…

And Just When You Couldn't Get More Beatles...

Picked up my Beatles’ Mono box tonight as my local record shop was closing and as part of the deal, got one of the rare 7″ singles of their Seattle interview in 1964.

While poorly recorded, it’s a fun look back into the history of the Fab Four. The interview is typical Beatles, with the press asking stupid questions, “do you ever get tired of performing?”, “are you disappointed with the low concert turnout here in Seattle?”, etc, etc.

But the guys handle it with typical aplomb, and make fun of the interviewers in such great form, that they don’t even know they are being messed with. If you can find one of these, it’s definitely worth a spin.

More fun from Montreux!

More fun from Montreux!

Now that the dust has settled, the folks at the Montreux Jazz Festival are starting to release video highlights of the show. If you didn’t get a chance to partake, this is the next best thing. Every Friday, they are releasing another concert.

This week’s feature is Kool and the Gang, check it out and the others here:

Back from Denmark!

Back from Denmark!

It was fantastic to spend the last few days in Denmark with the folks at Bang & Olufsen. We will have a full story next issue, going over the plant and their history in detail.

Though the Danes are very warm hosts, we ended our journey at the ICEBAR in Copenhagen. The interior is kept at 25 degrees F, with drinks served in solid ice, this is the by far the “coolest” place to have a drink in Copenhagen.

Pictured with me is Bailey Barnard from The Robb Report and thanks to Geoffrey Morrison from Home Entertainment Magazine for taking the photo!

How The Music Biz REALLY Works

How The Music Biz REALLY Works

Wish I could take credit for finding this bit of humor, but I tip my hat to recording engineer Eliot Mazer. Here’s a funny bit from BBC Comedy on YouTube:


Sennheiser Sound Teams on Tour This Summer

Sennheiser Sound Teams on Tour This Summer

Well known to music and headphone lovers all over the world, Sennheiser is taking to the streets of North America, exposing their wares to the public at various music related events and retailers. They’ve enlisted a team of very attractive male and female spokesmodels to demonstrate their headphones and according to their Facebook page, seem to be making great progress spreading the word.

Heck, I’d rather buy headphones from pretty girls rather than the dorks at Best Buy any day of the week. And Sennheiser does make great stuff, so you can’t go wrong.

I certainly hope this is the beginning of the new wave of hifi marketing…

Fab gear and stylish cars at TOM TOM Audio!

Fab gear and stylish cars at TOM TOM Audio!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay in the UK a couple of extra days, but here’s what I missed out on at Tom Tom Audio’s latest event, held at the St. Michaels Manor Hotel in St. Albans. In addition to the great HiFi that was set up, including a sneak peak at the new Naim standalone DAC, they had quite a few new and vintage Bentley automobiles on hand for the crowd to enjoy.

And If you will notice, there were women attending this event…

I just spent some time interviewing James for a forthcoming article in TONEAudio about “Dealers that do it right”, so look forward to hearing more about this shop that offers tremendous service, combined with an equivalent amount of passion for the gear and the music.  Watch issue 23 for the full story.  I won’t miss this one next year!

And if you are anywhere near St. Albans, book an appointment to meet James, even if you don’t need new gear just yet.

Here’s some more pictures from the event:

And a link to TOMTOM Audio:

A Great Day at Meridian Audio

A Great Day at Meridian Audio

Had a fantastic time at the Meridian factory in Cambridgeshire yesterday with Bob Stuart and his crew.

The full factory tour included every aspect of the company, including their extensive R&D facility along with their anechoic chamber where everything is measured.  Having  just been at the BBC the day before, I probably won’t ever visit two anechoic chambers in the same week again!

I was blown away by the size and scope of the facility as well as the attention to every phase of the construction of Meridian products.

The day ended with a visit to their home theatre room, featuring the outstanding 10k Meridian projector that some of you may have seen at this year’s CES show.  Thanks to new calibration techniques, they’ve taken this system to new heights of performance, and it is by far the most impressive video display system I’ve ever seen.

And, I got to see the Sooloos Music Servers being built and meet everyone involved with Sooloos design and programming.  Watch for some exciting Sooloos news in our next issue.

Hanging out at the BBC!

Hanging out at the BBC!

Yesterday, Alan Shaw of Harbeth Speakers took me to the BBC research centre at Kingswood Warren.  Just outside London, this quiet location is where many significant developments in the world of audio, TV and radio were produced, not the least of which, the legendary BBC monitors like the LS3/5a…

Here you see me in my best spokesmodel pose, holding a large pile of research and measurements that were done on the LS3/5a and other speakers in the range, complete with the engineers notes, photos and measurements.  I even got to see the first LS3/5a prototype!

Very cool stuff and a lot of history here….

Smoke on the water…

Smoke on the water...

Couldn’t resist, but this is that famous place and it certainly has its charm.  Off tonight to the Miles Davis hall (Below) to see John Scofield and the Piety Street band.  Curious to see how the lineup has changed since the Portland Jazz Festival in March.

Switzerland is awesome and I bought electronics from a very nice French lady.  Nerds always share a universal language!  More pics to follow and tomorrow we are off to the Nagra factory to see their latest offerings!

TONE visits Indy Audio…

TONE visits Indy Audio...

Staff writer Todd Sageser took a trip to Indianapolis in early June to visit Indy Audio Labs for a few days.

Indy Principal Rick Santiago introduced Todd to his partner Ted Moore and the guys spent a good deal of time listening to many of the classic Aragon and Acurus products, including a 2 channel system with the Aragon 28K pre-amp driving 8008ST and 3002 amps.  Source material included a variety of CDs and downloads from HDtracks, streamed through a Roku M1000 Soundbridge.  Todd was impressed with the openness and sheer dynamic capability of the Aragon product with a variety of speakers.

In a 2.1 studio control room system, the Aragon SoundStage Pre-Amp/Processpr drove a 8008×5 amp for the studio monitors and an Aragon Palladium monoblock easily handled a pair of Shure subwoofers.

Finally, in a home theater system, the new Aragon Stage One Pre/Amp processor fed an Acurus 125×5 5-channel Home Theater Amp.  Even with some modest Klipsch speakers, the image and sound quality blew away anything from the home theater receivers that were sitting on the shelf for comparison.

Ted and Rick in the control room with new Aragon processor.

What’s up next?  Expect to see Aragon and Acurus return to separate branding.  Also, there are some great new remote-control capabilities in development, where Rick and Ted will be getting to use their specialized engineering skills.

Todd plans to make regular visits to hear what develops and Indy Audio Labs will be sending Todd some beta product to listen to.  The guys have promised that Tone will be the first to get their new products for review!

Off to Switzerland, to tour the Nagra factory

Off to Switzerland, to tour the Nagra factory

Tomorrow morning and it’s on the road again, or rather in the air again!

Headed over to Switzerland to tour the Nagra factory and take in a few evenings of music at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Stay tuned for daily updates, this should be a very interesting trip.

Join us on Facebook chat…

If you’d like a bit more interactive experience with us and our readers, join us on Facebook chat.  Rather than subject you to the trolling of a forum, we’ve decided to set this up in more of a “salon-like” environment.  We’ll be discussing new gear, upcoming reviews, new music and whatever else is on your mind.

You can join at:

Stop by and say hello when you have time, we look forward to hearing from you.

Next stop, Rega

Next stop, Rega

After a very nice visit with the folks from Quadraspire racks  we were off to see Sir Elton John.  Full report in the next issue of TONEAudio,due out on the 26th of the month.   Now, it’s off to the REGA factory and owner, Roy Gandy’s  home to get a sneak peek at the latest gear they are soon to release.

Major announcement on Tuesday so stay tuned!

Off To The Chord Company!

Off To The Chord Company!

Had a great visit at the Chord Company, makers of excellent British cables.  These guys take their manufacturing quite seriously and build everything in house, no offshore manufacturing here!

The plant is spiffy and ther work is great.  You can’t find a bigger group of music lovers than the Chord folks and the proof is in the final result.  Watch for a review soon..

1st Stop – Stonehenge!

1st Stop - Stonehenge!

After a great morning at the Chord Company, we were takento visit stonehenge…  The most amazing thing is that it’s just off the freeway!  Either way the view is breathtaking and the folks at Chord are wonderful.

Watch for a full factory visit story soon!

Todd Rundgren to perform “A Wizard, A True Star” live in Akron this fall!

Todd Rundgren to perform "A Wizard, A True Star" live in Akron this fall!

The rumors are confirmed.  On September 6th at 8pm, at the Akron Civic Theater in Akron, Ohio, TR will perform this album in it’s entirety.  This is a first, as TR has never performed this record in its entirety live, so some of the tracks have been concert staples for years.  In addition to current bandmates Kasim Sulton, Jesse Gress and Prarie Prince, he will be joined by Greg Hawkes (The New Cars) and former Utopia bandmate Roger Powell.

Rundgren’s wife Michele told us that “The fans were just crazy for this show to happen; it’s all their doing.”

Count on major coverage in the October issue of TONE, we’ll be there before, during and after the show!

You can get more information or purchase tickets at:

We get some buzz from Neil Young…

We get some buzz from Neil Young...

We are all excited that Neil Young chose to run Bob Gendron’s article about his new box set in the news section of his website. You can check it out here:

Gorgeous beauty from Switzerland, the Dartzeel cth-8550

Gorgeous beauty from Switzerland, the Dartzeel cth-8550

Feast your eyes on this baby!

We just got Dartzeel’s latest integrated amplifier in for review and it is truly a thing of beauty.  230 watts per channel and inputs for just about everything.  It even comes with a super cool USB key to activate it.

Watch for a review soon.  This is a truly amazing amplifer.  Also available in black for those of you that aren’t crazy about gold.

Everything Bob Dylan…

If you are a big Bob Dylan fan and would like a great news feed, check out

This shoud keep you busy for a little while!

Waiting for qualifying in Monaco…

Waiting for qualifying in Monaco...

For those of you that enjoy the sound of high performance (engines, that is), Club Mix columnist Scott Tetzlaff is waiting for qualifying to start soon for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Stop by to keep track of who’s going to be where on the grid Sunday morning.

Hey, we can’t just geek out with stereos all the time!

Wrap that rascal!!

Wrap that rascal!!

If you ever doubted the value of buying a $35 case for your iPhone or iPod touch, here’s the proof.  All it takes is a nudge from an unsuspecting terrier’s nose and your iPhone is crashing to the tile floor.  This 30″ drop yielded a $200 repair.

Don’t think you’ll be headed to the Apple Store for a replacement either.  You only get ONE $199 iPhone 3G if you are an existing iPhone customer.  Perhaps the advertising is a bit misleading?  I wish the freindly guy at the Apple Store would have told me something like “guard this baby with your life, because the next one will set you back $600…”  And like other cell phones at the AT&T store, you can’t buy an insurance plan for your iPhone.

The good news: you can have it repaired from Apple for (you guessed it) $200, or if you are very technically inclined can get a kit to repair it yourself for $65.  Usually up for a challenge, I backed down on this one, as my iPhone 3G is only a few months old.

Lesson learned, be careful with your iPhone 3G.

Aragon making a comeback!

Aragon making a comeback!

For those of you that were fans of the Aragon and Acurus brands, they are making a comback!  Ex-Klipsch employees Rick Santiago and Ted Moore have purchased the brand and will be starting on new products ASAP.  We will be finding out shortly what, if any plans they have for repairing legacy product.

TONEAudio staff writer Todd Sageser will be taking a trip to their lab very soon and we will have a report on what the new owners are up to.  There are some rumors that they will be bringing on another big name or two in the engineering department, so we’ll let you know as soon as a decision is made.

We wish them the best of luck.

You need this car!

You need this car!

Just got back from Los Angeles and a few days behind the wheel of the Aston Martin DBS with Club Mix editor Scott Tetzlaff.  The goal was to evaluate the Bang & Olufsen stereo system for the next issue of TONEAudio, but the hidden agenda was to evaluate the thrust of the 510 horsepower, 6-litre V-12 under the hood.

Best of all, on the way home, our pilot on Southwest Flight 500 informed us that we were traveling on a brand new airplane.  New car smell and new plane smell all in one weekend!

If you would like some more information about this beauty, just click the link:

Rick Carr Benefit

Rick Carr Benefit

You probably don’t know Rick Carr…  But he could use a little help.

An employee at the MartinLogan speaker company, Rick has been recently diagnosed with small intestinal cancer.  Unfortunately, he’s in stage IV and his prognosis is that this is “treatable but not cureable” and the doctors are giving him about two years to live.

MartinLogan has donated some speakers that you can buy a $20 ticket to win.  If you are interested, please go to and buy a ticket and a chance to win a pair of MartinLogan Purity speakers or a Depth i subwoofer. (2 pairs of Purities and 2 Depth i’s will be given away)

Even if you don’t need speakers, and can spare the cost of a CD this week, we at TONE join with Rick’s family to ask for your help.  Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

We visit YG Acoustics – Impressive!

We visit YG Acoustics - Impressive!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit the YG acoustics factory in Denver, Colorado.  For those of you not familiar with YG, they have been running a series of ads in Stereophile and a few other hifi magazines with the headline “The Worlds Greatest Speakers.”  It’s a bold claim, but after two days of listening and watching them build speakers, I’d easily say that they are worthy of a spot in the top five.

Just to clarify, I’ll go as far as to say their Anat Reference 2 Professional is at the top of my top five list, but we all have our personal favorite and I have not been able to spend time with the Grand Utopia from JM/Focal yet.  So I’m happy to add YG to the list of world class contenders.

Watch for an upcoming review and interview soon.  And if you are shopping for the ultimate destination in speakers, I suggest adding YG Acoustics to your audition list.

One Revolution’s Grand Opening Party-Nashville

One Revolution's Grand Opening Party-Nashville

Several hundred guests packed the 9th floor and roof (though most stayed inside in the chilly weather) of Nashville’s ICON condo building in the Gulch Tuesday night for the launch party of One Revolution Entertainment. With a record label, publishing company and other music business interests, One Revolution is the brainchild of Dean Miller, Nashville recording artist and the son of the late country legend Roger Miller.

Nathan Barlowe, front man of the Rick Rubin-produced Luna Halo, sported a newly-dyed semi-Mohawk, while Nashville Music Guide publisher Dan Wunsch, in his ubiquitous baseball cap, worked the room looking for stories and advertisers and beer. Fine young saxman Eddie Vance brought his band up from Oxford, Mississippi to provide a night of funk, fusion and mellow pop radio covers.

The ladies looked fabulous as they always do at Nashville music industry parties, and the food from Maggiano’s was stellar. Also on hand were One Revolution Entertainment’s first two signings, Nathan Lee and Rob Blackledge, both of whom are singer/songwriters whom owe more of a nod to classic rock and Americana than country.

Indie labels popping up on every corner in Nashville, but One Revolution is a little left of center and may be just what Music City needs. The festivities were enjoyed by all, with One Revolution making its presence known in style.

– Rick Moore

Could this be the future of the SL-1200?

Could this be the future of the SL-1200?

Well, we’ve been bashing it on and off for years, but I’ve got a feeling that we are on to something good after all.

The kind folks at Sound HiFi in the UK ( have sent us their power supply upgrade and adaptor plate to mount an SME tonearm to the workhorse SL-1200.  I’ve always felt the arm (and its dreadfully dark wiring) was the weak link in this table, combined with the relatively primitive power supply.  The Sound HiFi mods promise to fix this, and from looking at the goodies in the box, I’m confident.  The armboard is a work of beauty!

Most importantly, the directions for installing the power supply upgrade are concise, well photographed and in color!  Impressive.

Proprietor Dave Cawley is a cool cat that did not make outlandish claims either.  When we spoke, he said, “Look, it’s not a world beater, but I think you will find the Technics deck with the SME arm very interesting.  I made the first one for a customer that had an older SME arm.  I had no idea he would mount a current 309 on the 1200, but it works very well.”

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted. (Photo courtesy of Sound HiFi)

Eastwind Imports now featuring vinyl!

Eastwind Imports now featuring vinyl!

If you are a jazz lover and haven’t heard of Eastwind Imports, that’s reason number one to head over to their website.  The proprietor Hajime Sato is one of the friendliest guys in the business and he specializes in nearly impossible to find Japanese import CD’s that were originally recorded in Japan.  We’ve reviewed a few of their discs over the last year and every one I’ve had the pleasure to listen to has been of exquisite quality.

Reason number two to zip over to Eastwind Imports, they are now starting to carry LP’s!  When Hajime first opened his shop, I asked him if he would be carrying vinyl and he told me, “as my business improves, I will do my best to stock some vinyl; I love it!”

Keep your eyes on our music reviews, as we have about ten new titles from Eastwind that we will review shortly.  In the meantime, head over to Eastwind Imports and grab a few LP’s!

Slug alert!

Slug alert!

Slugs are a way of life in the Pacific Northwest and here’s our way of sharing a little bit of our culture with you.  To keep the slug mood rolling right along, it’s time to spin John Hiatt’s Slug Line.  Hey, what else could we play after seeing this little monster?  Just so you know, this one is about 9 inches long!

Sunday Morning 8-Track…

Sunday Morning 8-Track...

What a better way to start Easter morning than cranking up the 8-track deck?  There’s plenty more where this came from!

MartinLogan Summit X in for review

MartinLogan Summit X in for review

Finally getting down to some serious listening with the new MartinLogan Summit X.  You can cruise over to the MartinLogan website ( for all the techie bits and some sexier photos, but suffice to say that even after a brief listen, there’s definitely more magic in the newest version of the Summit.  How much?  We’ll see as the hours rack up.

Watch for a review soon and some sexier photos!

And for what it’s worth, I really dig the back and bottom lighting!  I do wish it was blue though…



Want to see what 4500 CD’s looks like?

Yes, they are all loaded in the Sooloos and tucked away neatly.  It’s a wonderful feeling.

No April Fools Jokes Here!

No April Fools Jokes Here!

It’s April 1 and hopefully none of your PC’s have been doing anything crazy.

Working away on the new issue and still ripping CD’s to the Sooloos!  Hope you all had an uneventful April Fools Day…

Unplugged and Unwigged!

Unplugged and Unwigged!

If you are a fan of Spinal Tap or The Folksmen, two of the greatest bands that never existed, you need to catch the boys on their “Unplugged and Unwigged” tour.  I’ll be there with my Stonehenge shirt on.

Here’s a link for the site  with clever blog posts, tour dates and ticket information:

Wood is Good!

Wood is Good!

Watch for the review in issue 21, but I can let the cat out of the bag to tell you the PBN Montana Groove Master turntable is a winner.  Making use of a unique wooden plinth and armboard and the SME 312S tonearm, this table is full of analog magic.

For more information go to:

Neil Young Archives Finally A Reality In June

After nearly two decades of delays and multiple format changes, the first
volume Neil Young’s long-awaited Archives series of box sets will be
released June 2 on Blu-Ray disc, DVD, and CD.

While we’re ecstatic, we’re leaving the details to Mr. Young’s Web site,
which provides everything you need to know about the set–including track
listings and why you should invest the extra $100 for the Blu-Ray edition.

That said, we do think it’s a bit lame that two of the discs in the set have
already been released as part of the NYA Performance Series. It’s not like
Young is hurting for material, so why the repeat?

Happy browsing!