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On a carousel 25

Posted 3 weeks ago

Remember the old Hollie’s hit, On a Carousel? They were one of my favorite groups and, when Graham Nash left the Hollies to join Steven Stills and David Crosby, I was at first bummed but later fell in love with CS&N. Being on a carousel, or as we Yanks might call it, a merry-go-round, can […]
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Tweaking vs. tuning 30

Posted 3 weeks ago

There comes a point in our stereo journey where we have to decide whether it’s best to tweak or tune. By that I mean we can embellish upon what we have or we can rethink that which isn’t working for us. Much, I suppose, is dependent on whether or not we’re happy with the status […]
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Which is it? 18

Posted 3 weeks ago

I am guessing most of you have seen this optical illusion before. Viewed with one set of eyes it’s a duck, but stared at long enough it becomes a rabbit. Which is it? A rabbit that becomes a duck or a duck that becomes a rabbit? Most have figured out it is neither and both […]
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Adjusting your reference 24

Posted 3 weeks ago

I suppose we’re all different but, for me, when I walk into a room where music is playing on an unfamiliar system I can instantly tell whether or not it fits my model of right and wrong—instruments and voices sound like themselves. Then there are the times that everything sounds wrong. I wind up scratching […]
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Synthetic music 40

Posted 3 weeks ago

Before the advent of home music reproduction systems, the only way to listen to music was live. In fact, just about any form of entertainment—reading, theater, and music—was live. People only knew what live music sounded like and thus were all experts at it. Move forward a few centuries and, of course, the opposite is […]
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The unremarkable 31

Posted 4 weeks ago

With all of today’s ballyhoo about miracle cures, vaccines, wonder drugs, and whatever amazing things they’re cooking up for us next, sometimes it’s the littlest unmentioned things that really make the difference. Take for example one of the most important miracle compounds in the world. This amazing invention has literally saved millions of lives. It […]
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Telephones to symphonies 17

Posted 4 weeks ago

We take for granted our ability to bring an entire symphony orchestra into our living room. We’re not arguing over whether we can or cannot invite the CSO over to give us their rendition of Beethoven’s 9th, instead, today’s debates are more about how close we can get to the real thing. 144 years ago, […]
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Little Mozart 21

Posted 1 month ago

When 6-year-old Wolfgang Mozart performed at the court of Bavaria in Munich, he was an instant hit—a child prodigy who could tickle the ivories better than many adults. Of course, Mozart could also write music and that is what we remember him most for. When 3 1/2 year old Russian born Elisey Mysin began playing […]
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Rethinking what’s normal 20

Posted 1 month ago

For all of my life, I have never thought of restaurants as anything but places you go to get served and have someone else cook your meal and wash the dishes. Simple. Normal. Only, now I think of them very differently because I have come to realize their focus is on gathering crowds. My focus […]
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How to buy a speaker 33

Posted 1 month ago

I cannot keep track of how many times we’re asked—begged sometimes—for help choosing which speaker to match with our equipment. And often, not even our equipment, just “how do I get great sound?” My advice is going to be rather simple and straightforward. Choose the company, its people, and its mission, not the speaker. Do […]
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The taste scale 16

Posted 1 month ago

You’ve been to the supermarket and stared at row upon row of packaged foods. Each announces how good it is and how much you’re going to enjoy it. Kind of like audio equipment, right? No manufacturer makes what they consider to be bad sounding audio goods just as no food manufacturer makes products they think […]
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Is clean better? 19

Posted 1 month ago

Just because something is cleaner doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. You can certainly clean the paint off something and have it look worse. One of my first aha! moments with this came from a passive power conditioner. Cleaner, yes, but suddenly the life had been scrubbed off the system. It was a classic one step […]
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I liked you right up and until… 53

Posted 1 month ago

People are a funny, fickle lot sometimes. We can turn on and off others in our community as if they had a switch. I had to smile after receiving a terse note from one of our HiFi Family members deriding me for my observations that fuses made a difference in sound. “I liked you and […]
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Attention does not equal worth 24

Posted 1 month ago

It used to be that when we read about some new thing in the papers or heard about it on the news it actually was newsworthy. A new miracle drug, a news event, an invention, a new discovery, even a new product that might capture our notice. Over time, marketers came to understand that they […]
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Adjusting to new worlds 27

Posted 1 month ago

I have now been on this planet for 72 years and in that time I have seen some radical shifts: the Cuban missile standoff, the assassination of our president and his brother, men walking on the moon, commercial jet travel, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Beatles, hippies, Vietnam, Nixon, the internet, home computers, […]
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The potentiometer preamp 34

Posted 1 month ago

A preamplifier is, as its name implies, an amplifier before an amplifier. Preamps are typically placed between the source and the power amplifier. They select inputs, control volume, and amplify the signal to a level acceptable to a power amplifier. Simple, right? Then comes along the idea of a passive preamplifier which is an absolutely […]
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Friend and foe 24

Posted 1 month ago

It’s a beautiful sunny day outside, a good day for those of us sequestered at home for an experiment. Take a small pair of bookshelf speakers and plop them down on the backyard lawn—not literally, of course, because you’re going to want to elevate them to a seated ear height. A bench, a chair, a […]
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Up notes 19

Posted 1 month ago

We certainly don’t want to end on a sour note. In fact, we’d much rather end on an up note. Sound familiar? It is endlessly fascinating to me how we tie our emotional states, our goals, hopes, and aspirations to music. If an idea resonates we’re in harmony with each other and discordant when in […]
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Emotional technology 37

Posted 1 month ago

For my 72nd birthday Terri surprised me with a present she said would be the greatest present I will have ever received. She was right. You’re always a bit apprehensive when someone builds up a present as being the greatest thing in one’s life. What if it isn’t? How do you gently let someone down […]
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Blocking capacitors 18

Posted 1 month ago

For many, many years we blocked unwanted signals and voltages with capacitors in the signal path. These were appropriately named, blocking capacitors, bits and bobs of circuitry designed to keep everything from DC to turntable rumble out of our stereo reproduction chains. And then one day we focused all our efforts on removing them from […]
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Umami 30

Posted 1 month ago

Umami is a word first coined in 1908 by Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda to describe the taste of glutamates and nucleotides. It is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness). In simpler terms, we can describe Umami as a savory, “brothy” or “meaty” tasting element with a long-lasting, mouthwatering, […]
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Unique sounds 14

Posted 1 month ago

I am continually in awe of how personal is the world. Look into the sky with the knowledge that only you—not any other human in history—has ever witnessed that combination of blue and clouds. That no one has ever stood on that spot, at that moment, to enjoy that sky, smelled that air, felt that […]
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High-end ketchup 46

Posted 1 month ago

Tomato ketchup is a worldwide staple. It’s a sauce that’s more often used as a condiment to enhance (some would say cover-up) greasy foods like French fries or hamburgers. Original recipes used egg whites, mushrooms, oysters, grapes, mussels, or walnuts, among other ingredients, but the unmodified modern recipe refers to tomato-based ketchup made from tomatoes, […]
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Seeing is believing 61

Posted 1 month ago

Power Plant regenerators make a noticeable improvement to video screens and projectors. It’s a fact we almost never mention to folks because we’re 2-channel audio people—but it’s a fact, none the less. We’re used to getting eye rolls when we tell those who have never heard the improvements a Power Plant can make to their […]
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Same length cables 44

Posted 1 month ago

One of the often asked questions concerns speaker cable lengths. Should they be identical? For some reason, we rarely ask the same question about interconnects. Interconnects feel like a pair and I have never seen anyone use them otherwise. But, speaker cables? All the time I see speaker cables of differing lengths. I succumbed to […]
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