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PS Audio Sprout100 Integrated Amplifier

By | May 17th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|


In February of 2015, I reviewed the original PS Audio Sprout, the brainchild of Scott McGowan. It was a powerful, small, simple to use stereo integrated amplifier with DAC, analog preamplifier, headphone amp, phono stage, Bluetooth receiver and more; I was dazzled by its performance at $799. Now we step forward 3 years to the second generation for review here: the Sprout100—at only $599.

I ran into McGowan recently at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in October 2017, where he pulled out a prototype of the Sprout100 from his backpack at the hotel restaurant for my perusal; my eyes lit up at what I saw—and hoped to hear soon after.… Read the full article

SEI SOLO: Bach’s Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Alone—Thomas Bowes, violin

By | May 11th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|


I first heard British violinist Thomas Bowes on a Signum Records release. It was a recording of the Walton and Barber Violin Concertos conducted by the wonderful violinist, Joseph Swensen, with the equally wonderful Malmo Opera Orchestra. Both performance and recording were superb. 

If you know that recording, you will appreciate the art of a very special violinist. Bowes has the technical gifts of many of the virtuosos seen before the public, but he brings much more to his performances than many fiddlers spinning yet another Mendelssohn.… Read the full article

Venture—Life Cycle

By | May 9th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|


Venture is a group made up of jazz luminaries and young lions. Always an exciting mix. Seasoned players Mark Sherman (vibes/piano) and Mike Clark (drummer) and young guns Felix Pastorious (bass)—yes, son of the great one—and Chase Baird (Tenor). I was alerted to the CD by Ropeadope, Venture’s record company. Polite emails and gentle follow ups work. With so many PR companies peppering the inbox, it’s nice to discover gems. And Venture is a gem of a group. 

It’s straight ahead jazz, no nonsense, no squeaking in the altissimo registers, no ten minute drum solos.… Read the full article

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Sutherland Engineering DUO Phono Preamplifier

By | May 4th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|


I’ve been an audio acquaintance of Ron Sutherland, head of Sutherland Engineering, from my earliest days visiting audio shows. Seems, charming, friendly Ron attends them all. He’s a great supporter of our industry. Although a staple in high end audio for two decades, Sutherland gear flies under the glitzy marketing radar, but is very well known to discerning and knowledgable audiophiles looking for great sound tagged with some value.

I reviewed his very popular and inexpensive entry level PH-1 phono stage many years ago (under the brand name AcousTech).… Read the full article

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Phasemation PP-2000 MC Phono Pickup Cartridge

By | April 20th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|


A reexamination of my Phasemation PP-300 cartridge review will be helpful in learning about Phasemation as a company, its info/philosophy, etc. I spent a few very pleasurable months listening to and writing about the gorgeous little nugget from the Japanese high end company. 

Spring has been a bumper cartridge season here at Audiophilia—I reviewed Shelter’s Model 501 III MC Phono Cartridge (another Japanese gem), as well as the 300. Now, Phasemation’s top of the line, $6000 PP-2000. 

The much cheaper ($1799) PP-300’s sound was ultra dynamic, very refined, but not as ‘lush’ as the colourful (not coloured) similarly priced 501 III.… Read the full article

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Bruckner Symphony No. 7—Andris Nelsons

By | April 11th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|


This April 2018 DGG release begins with a fine performance of Wagner’s Funeral March from Siegfried, full of gorgeous sonorities and German style from Andris Nelsons’ ‘other’ orchestra, the wonderful Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. As I mentioned in a recent review of Nelsons’ Bruckner 4th with this orchestra, the sonorities are just right, the playing very beautiful. The playing, though, for all its beauty lacked a little of the drama that Bruckner legends like Walter, Jochum, Bohm and Klemperer bring to the great composer.… Read the full article

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Mahler Symphony No. 5—François-Xavier Roth

By | April 11th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|


A friend in a European orchestra Facebook Messaged me about the qualities of French flutist turned conductor, François-Xavier Roth. The orchestra loved the well-dressed musician’s approach and generally pleasant nature. This coupled with expectations of the highest musical standards.

Because of the the FB heads up, I checked out his recent live show with the LSO on YouTube (played on my 55″ Sony Bravia 4K TV with a full SONOS system—almost like being there). Wonderful Debussy, Bartok and a superb Bruckner 4th.… Read the full article

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Vinyl you may not know that should be in your collection.

By | April 6th, 2018|Categories: Audiophillia|


If you visit the top vinyl sales websites such as Elusive Disc, Soundstage Direct, Acoustic Sounds among others, the quality vinyl lists are fairly similar. All the familiar suspects—RCAs, Lyritas, EMIs, Mercurys, Blue Notes, Argos, Deccas—populate the must haves. And many fabulous reissues also are cross referenced (Testament, Speakers Corner, Classic Records, etc). 

I’ve been reviewing lots of cartridges and phono stages lately and have been deep diving into my vinyl collection to add a little more spice to the reviewing process. 

Finding the following LPs in their original form may be difficult or expensive (vinyl as an inexpensive medium is long gone).… Read the full article

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The Soundsmith Paua II Fixed Coil Phono Cartridge

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


Serendipity plays a role in discovering new equipment. Lately my vinyl setup wasn’t sounding the way it should so I started to examine my components to see if there were any obvious problems. I then decided to do a little house cleaning and rearranging of my system. During this move there occurred a few rough interludes where equipment and bodies made unintentional contact. It became clear that my Shelter 9000 cartridge was badly damaged.

I called a few buds and they recommended I check with Peter Ledermann of Soundsmith.… Read the full article

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DeVore Fidelity Monkeyhaus Event: Newvelle Records

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


John DeVore, ‘Top Banana’ at DeVore Fidelity, known for their outstanding speakers that have names of Monkeys (such as Gibbon, Orangutan) occasionally holds ‘Monkeyhaus’ events at the DeVore Fidelity factory located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City, right across from Manhattan on the East River.

Monkeyhaus is DeVore’s pet name for the factory. A large and sprawling area going back to 1801 and very active during WWII, it is now a commercial space with 200+ businesses; from audio to film and even distilleries.… Read the full article

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