There are many reasons to applaud Record Store Day (RSD): it puts a marginal format at the forefront of cultural discourse and is fundamental to keeping record stores afloat. There are also many reasons to pour hate on RSD: the exploitative pricing; the pressing plants clogged up by major labels’ seemingly frivolous cash-ins; the queues; the disappointment in not scoring all that you were hoping to on the day. (Side note: surely consumer demand is robust enough to sustain a Record Store Week?).… Read the full article
The beginning is a familiar one, told a thousand times: I slide the record from its sleeve, and carefully place it on the turntable platter; I delicately pull the tonearm across so that the needle seen from above sits above (but just inside) the record’s outer edge. With the lever I lower the tonearm…
…a gentle THUNK hits the loudspeakers and we begin. Sometimes with a slow build but in the case of the Kitchens Of Distinction’s The Death of Cool, a chiming guitar and a drum fill and puts us in swift indie rock motion.… Read the full article
Kopfhörermesse = headphone show. For its fifth consecutive year, CanJam Europe has switched its location from Essen to Berlin where the nHow hotel – nestled beside the River Spree and offering spectacular views of the iconic Oberbaumbrücke – gives over three of its conference rooms (large, larger and largest) to demonstrations of some of the world’s best headphone gear.
This event’s scope and size almost rivals headphone shows of a similar name (but of no business connection) run by Head-fi.org’s mainman Jude Mansilla.… Read the full article
With KIH turning 50, I needed a memorable subject. Not that this 50th anniversary took that many years. On the actual clock, this column is a mere 4-year old infant. But with DAR main man John Darko celebrating his 1st anniversary of becoming a Berliner—talk about baby—I spotted a chance. Personally, I knew the expat thing well. As a young man, I’d moved from Germany to the US. Decades later, well after I’d launched 6moons into orbit above Taos/New Mexico, my wife and I did the Club Med dream on Cyprus.… Read the full article
Dig Lazarus dig. What do you think of when you think of a record fair? Middle-aged dudes forming early morning queues to drop three figures on a first press of Dark Side Of The Moon or Sgt. Pepper’s? Probably.
At a shade past midday on a grey Autumn Saturday, the welcome greeting new arrivals to the Berlin edition of Discogs’ Crate Diggers is warm and vocal: “Would you like a free tote bag? And maybe some stickers?” Yes, I would.… Read the full article
Up above. A pair of loudspeakers enjoy equal static demo status as a motorbike and a piano. Yamaha’s display at the Messe Berlin in 2017 is typical of IFA – “the world’s leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances”, according to its organiser.
IFA? Internationale Funkaustellung. Translating from German to English: Internationale = International; Funk = radio; Austellung = exhibition. Oh, Messe = (trade) fair.
This commentator’s twice-weekly German classes are starting to pay off. So too is bike ownership.… Read the full article
Context. Readers don’t listen to loudspeakers in a field or anechoic chamber. And neither do reviewers. When eyeballing loudspeaker assessment, or that of gear hooked into a loudspeaker system, should we not ask: how much do we know about the room in which the review took place? It’s a question every reader should ask, if only as part of his/her internal dialogue.
At one end of the hifi publication spectrum we note (manufacturer supplied) photos of the product in question sat in isolation under studio lights or in a heavily visually styled space (for lifestyle shots).… Read the full article
Studio monitors are usually tuned for near-field performance; to sit immediately behind a mixing desk or on a desktop. Extrapolating, this makes them well-suited to an apartment dweller’s smaller listening room.
Back in Sydney last year, I found Adam Audio’s AX7’s bass drive too much for my weighty work desk. Better results came once the German actives were moved to loudspeaker stands located two metres from the couch. Here were loudspeakers with an active crossover and bespoke fit amplifiers, one per driver, for just over €1000.… Read the full article
Atomisation. Strip the musical content from a digital download and we’re left with only metadata. Bits on a hard-drive – intangible and pointless. Open a CD’s jewel case and throw the shiny silver disc (and the case) into the fire – now we’re left with a 5″ square booklet. Nice enough but not conducive to wall hanging.
Vinyl’s a different proposition. The jacket that wraps the playback medium is large. Large enough to be savoured, which in turn enhances our relationship with the music itself.… Read the full article
Which ingredient most influences a hifi system’s sound quality? The instinct-driven first responder might first point to his loudspeakers. But no. For those who don’t think they all sound the same, amplification might get the nod. Nope. Source-firsters (aka flat-earthers) will probably opine that it’s the DAC and streamer or, in the analogue domain, the phono stage, turntable and cartridge that make the biggest differences. Again, close but no cigar.
A room’s size, including ceiling height, can colour more of what we hear from the listening position than the loudspeaker or its upstream electronics.… Read the full article