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KIH #62 – Isn’t it time you grew a pair?

By | October 30th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , |

Growing a set. There are, as Allen C. Guelzo quotes Gunther Schuller in his article on conductor Arturo Toscanini, “seven kinds of hearing: for harmony, intonation, dynamics, color, rhythm, balance and the architecture of a composition. Good orchestra leaders will have two or three of these ‘ears’; a great conductor will have four or five. Toscanini had all seven and even those who cursed his arrogance had to admit that they had never performed under a director who could get them to play so far above their own expectations.”

When audiophiles discuss sound, they often assume that everyone hears as they do.… Read the full article

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KIH #60 – Nurse!

By | August 29th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , |

In your strange bed, you feel like crap. That’s because the bed is in a sterile hospital room, lights biting in bright staccato neon. Just now the doctor saunters in. He is swarmed by a group of interns. A curt nod acknowledges your existence. Then he turns to the flushed acolytes. They begin discussing you in shiny but incomprehensible words of an alien language. The ‘you’ they fumble to analyse is clearly just this blob of aching flesh. Apparently, something with its neural wiring has malfunctioned.… Read the full article

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KIH #59 – Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

By | June 21st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , |

The devil’s vocabulary? That really was the header of a reader email. The contents were even more sulfuric. “A side thought on the FirstWatt SIT-3. I’ve been reading your reviews since you used wood, water etc. similes which I found helpful if a bit twee even back in the day. These last few years you’ve been refining your descriptive vocabulary to the point where it’s actually expressive of the correlations between sounds and words, e.g. the legato/staccato dichotomy and the attendant equivalents you employ in the latest SIT review.Read the full article

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KIH #54 – Baaargain basement

By | February 1st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

The silence of the lambs. Fear not. Today Hannibal Lecter won’t have your liver with fava beans. Instead let’s look over my shoulder during our recent move. Fintan of One Man And His Van plus crew sit in our kitchen. Having just delivered the last of our boxes over a two-day period of loading, unloading and then disseminating 60-some cubic metres of stuff throughout an empty two-storey house, they’re at coffee, cake and cookies before signing off. Having noticed the big number of boxes labelled ‘hifi’ –I asked them to deposit those in what the London owners had used as their dining room but which I would soon convert into my audio den– polite chitchat naturally migrates to what I do for a living.… Read the full article

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KIH #53 – Flying blind

By | January 22nd, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Location. Say it three times. Fast. Voilà, the famous real-estate mantra. My wife and I recently visited Athlone, a quite central Irish town with the mighty Shannon river through it which heavy seasonal rains had bloated. The owner of a men’s clothing shoppe right across from the old castle explained how location applied to their 70-year old business. They’re in the old part of town. It’s nearly exclusively populated by pubs and restaurants. It gets beaucoup evening but very little day-time traffic.… Read the full article

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KIH #49 – Pressure versus Pleasure

By | October 3rd, 2017|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , |

Drop my three Michelin stars; please!

Say what?

Even those of us who aren’t high-end gastrophiles know. Three Michelin stars are the very highest recognition a chef can attain; the foodie world’s best director’s Oscar if you will. Why would French chef Sebastien Bras want his triple stars removed after 20 years of enjoying their rare distinction (France only has 26 other competitors at that level)?

Read this Guardian article for the full meal. The appetizer goes like this: “You’re inspected two or three times a year, you never know when.Read the full article

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KIH #48 – Taking aim at the albatross

By | September 22nd, 2017|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , |

Birdie. Double eagle. Albatross. I recognized the emailer. The last I’d heard from him went back a good decade. At the time, Pat McGinty’s fortunes had intersected with Lady Chance in a foul mood. His relocation, of Meadowlark Audio from California to upstate New York, had–literally enroute driving East on the highway with his belongings in tow–intersected with 9/11 and its economic crash. Struggling on as long as he could, Meadowlark Audio in Watertown eventually faltered and Pat ‘disappeared’ from the scene.… Read the full article

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KIH #45 – Removing Repetitive Rooms

By | April 17th, 2017|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Repeat one. For this installment, it’s not about repeating a music track. It revisits an issue covered in an earlier KIH. Why revisit it? Because it can be a game changer. It minimizes problems with the front wall. Here I’m referring to the wall in front of you, i.e. the one behind the speaker. Some people call that the back wall. And from the speakers’ perspective, it is. Either way, now we’re clear on which wall we’re on about.

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KIH #44 – Chicken’n’egg fry

By | March 22nd, 2017|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

What came first, the chicken or the egg? With writing and reading, the answer is easy. The written word can, happily or not, exist without anyone ever reading it (author excepted). However, readers without something to read aren’t possible. For that equation, clearly the writing came and still comes first. With luck and perseverance, the second happens as well.

But when it comes to audio reviewing, something still comes firster: the gear. Without it, our kind would have nothing to write about.… Read the full article

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KIH #43: Feeling so real

By | February 14th, 2017|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , |

R-rated®. For hifi, is expecting realism realistic? After giving the dastardly n-word of neutrality a friendly grilling in the last interrogation slash instalment, today’s turn is for its R-rated cousin. When I read about people referencing symphonic music to test playback realism, I’m aghast. Your average living room converted into a hifi temple might host an actual jazz trio. Perhaps it’d do a string quartet or woodwind quintet. Regardless, you’d likely sit much closer than ideal. But a 70-head orchestra?

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