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>> Breadcrumb ://Audiophillia

My new reference loudspeaker—Alta Audio Celesta FRM-2

By | August 1st, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

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Several years ago, I experienced Mike Levy’s original loudspeaker design, the FRM-1s, at a well attended CES. The sound was wonderful but the design was hamstrung somewhat, needing four channels of amplification and DEQX room calibration.  Score one for the sound, but zero for the needs of everyday audiophiles. 

For more than a few years after the show, Levy received requests to modify the speaker to a standard two channel amplification design so the beautiful sound could be enjoyed by all. Well, maybe not all, at $15,000 (plus stands), but the thoughts were pure. 

A little history

For context, I’ll quote from Martin Appel’s Audiophilia review of the FRM-2s for the start of the story.… Read the full article

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Brahms: The Symphonies—Daniel Barenboim

By | July 25th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

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I began this review period disliking much of what I heard from the first, casual run through of this new set of Brahms Symphonies by Daniel Barenboim and his Staatskapelle Berlin. My ears were perked, but the style was not what I was used to.  

A few weeks later, with many cycles heard under my belt, I felt far more comfortable with Barenboim’s very Romantic and ‘urtext’  approach.  

Some of my initial reservations were clouded by my reverence for the Brahms of Karajan and Joachim—full bodied and played with a Ferrari orchestra, the Berlin Phil. 

Over the ‘wall’ from the Philharmonie, the 500 year old Staatskapelle has weathered tyrants and kings, and worst, GDR bureaucrats.… Read the full article

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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11 “The Year 1905”

By | July 24th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

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This July 2018 release is the third of Andris Nelsons’ DG Shostakovich Symphony cycle and contains live performances of the 4th [1936, but withdrawn ’till 1961] and 11th [1957] Symphonies. Nelsons is performing his Shostakovich cycle with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The first two instalments were remarkable successes, with definitive performances of the 5th and 10th Symphonies.  The 5th was paired with the 8th and 9th, the 10th stood alone. To be fair, not much could follow the 10th, what I consider the greatest symphony of the 20th Century.… Read the full article

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Mojo Audio Deja Vu Music Server with Linux, Roon, Tidal, and HQPlayer Software

By | July 19th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

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Five years ago I began using a music server and DAC in lieu of a compact disc player, thus starting my journey into digital audio streaming. Keeping in mind that music servers are in fact computers, my main motivation came from discovering Mojo Audio, a company which at the time modified Mac mini computers to be serious music servers by (among other changes) replacing their internal power supplies with Mojo’s own high-end external linear power supplies. Over the last 5 years I have kept the Mac mini as my reference, only upgrading it by changing player software from JRiver to the revolutionary Roon Labs, subscribing to Tidal, and swapping out its power supply by a series of better ones—all made by Mojo Audio, too; currently I use their Illuminati V2—it is a ‘choke input’ power supply and is my favorite [my review of the V1 may be found here].… Read the full article

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Denver in Autumn (visiting Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)

By | July 16th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

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Unless knee deep in a surprise Rocky Mountain snowstorm, Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit Denver, CO, one of the coolest, most progressive cities in the USA. It’s a place that reveres craft beer (there’s even a museum in the airport about it), has many fine restaurants, and where you can get high. Legally. 

In addition, the local audiophiles run what has become one of the finest high end audio shows in the nation. And my favourite. Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF).… Read the full article

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Apple HomePod—Six months in

By | June 29th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

 Photo credit: ZDNet

Photo credit: ZDNet

I’ve had a cute girl in my house talking up a storm for the past six months. She tells me the weather, changes my music selections, turns on repeat when I want more of one album, changes my lighting from bright white to lavender, depending on my mood. She has a lovely voice, is always cheery and tells me a joke now and then. But, that’s about it. Her casing looks good, way better than others I’ve used, and she can sound quite divine when playing music.… Read the full article

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Paradox Phono 70

By | June 29th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

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This is the second piece of Paradox gear reviewed by Audiophilia. Paradox is based in Victorville, CA, in the high desert east of Los Angeles. Owner and designer Terence Robinson has been in the audio business for many years, beginning as a hobbyist, then a modifier, and for the past three decades a designer and manufacturer. The first Audiophilia review featured Paradox’s beautifully finished mono block amplifiers. Not only did they look intriguing, they were very powerful and helped my system produce refined sounds that remained musical and rich whether played quietly or very loud.… Read the full article

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Erica Morini—Milestones of a Legend (13 CD box set)

By | June 18th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

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The violinist Erica Morini was born in Vienna and made her debut in 1916 with both the Berlin Philharmonic and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestras under the baton of the legendary Arthur Nikisch. The critics hailed her as one of the best players before the public and she enjoyed a fifty year career appearing all over the world with every major orchestra and conductor of her day.

Morini retired from playing in 1975 and is reported to have never played the violin again.… Read the full article

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André Cluytens—The Complete Orchestral and Concerto Recordings (65 CD box set)

By | June 18th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

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The Belgian-naturalized, French conductor André Cluytens occupies an interesting position in the pantheon of French maestros. He was the first French conductor to sell a million records and was also the first conductor after the war to record a Beethoven cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic. In 1957 when Cluytens commenced his performances, the Berlin orchestra was still very much under the influence of Furtwängler, who had died fours years before. Yet today it is Pierre Monteux and Charles Munch who are remembered as the great French conductors despite Cluytens making some very fine recordings and dominating the opera houses of Bayrueth and Paris for many seasons until his untimely death in 1967 at the age of sixty two.… Read the full article

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Andy Zimmerman—Half Light; 180g vinyl limited edition, Newvelle Records

By | June 15th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|

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Newvelle Records is a relatively new label (started in 2016) devoted to producing top-tier jazz recordings exclusively on 180g translucent blue vinyl, from newly recorded music, and with jazz musicians of the highest caliber. Including beautiful artistic album covers, poetry and stories—these are luxury products.

The founders are jazz pianist and composer Elan Mehler and Parisian business executive Jean-Christophe Morisseau. It is a subscription based model only ($400 per ‘Season’ (year)), delivering 6 records over a year; one every two months—and the number of pressings of each LP is small, only 1000; no digital versions are made available.… Read the full article

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