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About Wayne Garcia

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So far Wayne Garcia has created 16 blog entries.

VTL S-200 Signature Stereo Amplifier

By | February 11th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

VTL S-200 Signature Stereo Amplifier

When I was mere squirt of 18—a budding audiophile and therefore a devoted reader of this magazine—the first live opera I ever attended was Wagner’s Das Rheingold. That was here in San Francisco, and I was lucky enough to have an encouraging distant cousin purchase my aisle seat ticket somewhere roughly Row G in the front orchestra section. The evening was magical enough for me to still recall the hushed silence from which the rumble of that famed E-flat orchestral prelude swirled and swelled, as if emerging from the very depths of the earth, or at least a musically imagined …… Read the full article

Duck Times Three

By | January 22nd, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , |

Duck Times Three

Listening to Duck Baker’s jaunty, insightful interpretations of Thelonious Monk compositions on Duck Baker Plays Monk, my mind immediately conjured Bach. Meaning the way that hearing, say, a well-loved piece for solo violin transcribed to the mandolin in the hands of a Chris Thile causes us to pause and rethink music that we believe we know so well—fresh, with ears ablaze, a knowing smile on one’s face. That’s how good he is. Though quietly so. Duck Baker Plays Monk is but one of three newly released—if not necessarily recorded—LPs from this multi-dimensional and highly prolific acoustic guitar picker (they span …… Read the full article

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TAS Legacy: Vandersteen Audio Model 2 Loudspeaker

By | December 5th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

TAS Legacy: Vandersteen Audio Model 2 Loudspeaker

Although Richard Vandersteen has gone on to design far more sophisticated, expensive, and ultimately “better”-sounding loudspeakers, the original Model 2 remains the inspiration and essential research project for all that’s followed over the past four-plus decades. Upon release in 1977 the Model 2 sold for $890 the pair and featured several innovative design elements that are fundamental to every subsequent speaker that Richard Vandersteen designed. First and most obviously was Vandersteen’s discovery that by minimizing the size and curving the edges of the baffle, he was able to virtually eliminate cabinet edge and grille diffraction issues to obtain a far …… Read the full article

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Albert King: Born Under a Bad Sign

By | August 30th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Albert King: Born Under a Bad Sign

Thanks in large part to rock guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, by the late 60s a new and wider appreciation emerged for the previous generation of black American blues musicians. Prominent among them was Albert King, who had moved to Memphis, signed with the Stax label, and recorded a series of singles with the unbeatable house band of Booker T. and the MGs and the Memphis Horns. As such, 1967’s Born Under a Bad Sign is a satisfying if spotty collection.… Read the full article

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Balanced Audio Technology VK-3000SE Hybrid Integrated Amplifier

By | February 28th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Balanced Audio Technology VK-3000SE Hybrid Integrated Amplifier

Balance. As a wine merchant by day that’s a word I use with great frequency. Because what I seek in the bottles I offer my customers is a balance—harmony, if you will—between a wine’s fruit, earth, and acid elements. Too much fruit in a wine will taste dull, of one-note, like a bottom-heavy speaker. Too much acid, and you might need a trip to the dentist. Too much earth, and, well, while mineral elements are key to a wine’s complexity they need to fold into the whole, otherwise the bitterness can overwhelm.… Read the full article

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Soundtracks Series Vol. 5: Wayne Garcia’s Top 10

By | September 29th, 2017|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

Soundtracks Series Vol. 5: Wayne Garcia's Top 10

In 1970 I was a 13-year-old hippie wannabee when the Woodstock movie and soundtrack were released. Naturally, I was hooked from the start. Here was the perfect dreamed-of escape from lame suburbia—lots of great music, skinny-dipping hippie chicks, plenty of pot and acid. Plus, it was all so relatively innocent (most especially compared with the horrors that would occur just a few months after Woodstock—and an hour from where I lived—at the Altamont Speedway in Northern California’s East Bay hills). From that moment on I developed a thing for concert films that captured not only the bands and their music, …… Read the full article

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AMG Giro Turntable, 9W2 ‘Arm, and Teatro Moving-Coil Cartridge

By | August 8th, 2017|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

AMG Giro Turntable, 9W2 'Arm, and Teatro Moving-Coil Cartridge

In October 2012 my old pal and colleague Jonathan Valin waxed enthusiastically in these pages about AMG’s Viella 12 turntable and companion 12J2 tonearm, the first product releases from Bavaria’s Analog Manufaktur Germany. Jon titled his review “A Statement Product For The Rest of Us,” and explained in his usual meticulous fashion how this relatively affordable record-playing combo (roughly $16k, give or take various cosmetic options), at the time the least expensive playback components in his annoyingly green-with-envy-inducing reference system—there, I finally got that off my chest!—was consistently able to make the finest recordings, as he simply put it, sound …… Read the full article

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Gil Evans: Gil Evans & Ten

By | August 1st, 2017|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Gil Evans: Gil Evans & Ten

Part of Analogue Productions’ series of 25 of the rarest and best sounding Prestige titles recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, this important reissue dates to 1957 and presents for the first time on vinyl in stereo Gil Evans’ debut as both the leader of his own recording session as well as the pianist. As Evans wrote in the liner notes, “Orchestration is one of the elements of composition. You might say that it is the choice of sound units and their manipulation as part of expressing a musical idea.” That simple statement beautifully sums up what’s at work here: seven …… Read the full article

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Rebecca Pidgeon: The Raven

By | April 11th, 2017|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Rebecca Pidgeon: The Raven

Originally released in 1994, The Raven was the solo recording debut of actress and singer-songwriter Rebecca Pidgeon. Pidgeon would release four albums with Chesky, but it was The Raven that made her something of an overnight sensation in the audiophile community. With a pure, breathy soprano, Pidgeon is reminiscent of both early Joni Mitchell as well as Sandy Denny, and the mostly self-penned tunes on The Raven—some were co-written by her husband, David Mamet—encompass a range of pop, folk, and jazz-inflected styles.… Read the full article

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Minoru Nojima: Nojima Plays Liszt

By | April 3rd, 2017|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Minoru Nojima: Nojima Plays Liszt

One of Reference Recordings’ most beloved LPs, Nojima Plays Liszt was recorded in December, 1986. It’s been a perennial of this magazine’s Super LP List, and now RR has reissued the title as a half-speed mastered 45rpm two-LP set with original liner notes by TAS Senior Writer Robert E. Greene. These, of course, are virtuoso showpieces for the piano, brimming with Liszt’s whizzing arpeggios, technicolor tone paintings, and dynamic extremes. Minoru Nojima plays them with a rare touch that combines a mind-bendingly effortless technique with a poet’s voice.… Read the full article

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