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Sweeping statements 34

Posted 3 weeks ago

Here’s a subject I am perhaps more guilty of than most. The practice of making a sweeping statement about how everything is one way or the other. This is wrong and this is right. This matters and that does not. This guy’s a liar, and this one always tells the truth. The problem with this […]
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The new SACD Transport 37

Posted 3 weeks ago

It’s here! Well, at least the pictures and description on the webpage are. You can click here to read about the new PerfectWave SACD Transport. If you’re interested in initial impressions of sound quality, you can go here and read my opening comments. We’re really excited to finally be able to show you what the […]
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Global feedback 23

Posted 3 weeks ago

When we speak of global feedback we’re referring to the practice of wrapping the output signal of a device back to its input for comparison and correction. Because the input “knows” what’s right, a simple comparison circuit between the two serves to rectify any differences. Of course, nothing in engineering is a free lunch. You […]
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Keeping perspective 16

Posted 3 weeks ago

A few days ago, in California’s appropriately named Furnace Creek, the Earth’s highest officially recorded temperature was reached—a blistering 130˚ Fahrenheit. A record temperature, to be sure, but Death Valley’s Furnace Creek routinely logs days in the upper 120˚ degree range. So, what’s an extra 5˚ of heat when it’s already hotter than blazes? An […]
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Liner notes 52

Posted 4 weeks ago

As we move forward with a limited edition vinyl release of Octave Record’s first recording, Don Grusin’s Out of Thin Air, I got to thinking about liner notes. A rush of memories flooded back. I don’t know about you, but I distinctly remember grabbing an unknown album from my collection (I had a lot of […]
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Surround ambience 32

Posted 4 weeks ago

My friend, Sandy, is having good success adding a layer of ambience with a rear-positioned second set of speakers fed from an old Audio Research SDP1. You can read the late J. Gordon Holt’s evaluation of it here. Essentially, the device extracts the difference between the left and right channels, adds a bit of delay […]
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Stuck with stereo 30

Posted 1 month ago

Are we stuck with stereo? Wouldn’t multi-channel sound be a step up when it comes to immersing ourselves in music? There are certainly advantages to 4-channel or 5-channel music recordings though rarely is realism one of their benefits. It certainly could be. In the few instances where the rear 2-channels of a 4-channel music recording […]
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We’re the same 22

Posted 1 month ago

It’s well known that our products are designed both by measurement and by ear. How close is the designer’s hearing to that of the end user? For if the two don’t match then how can we know if we’re in synch? This is a great question because it focuses on the common misconception that we […]
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More power equalled worse sound 17

Posted 1 month ago

One of my readers, Daniel, was surprised to find that a smaller powered amplifier sounded better than a bigger, more powerful version. He wondered how that could be given how many times I have waxed enthusiastically about the benefits of headroom and power. Of course, the answer lies not in the power differences but the […]
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If you didn’t know 30

Posted 1 month ago

Some of the very best recordings I love are standard resolution CD quality and the opposite is also true. Some of the worst are high resolution. This means, of course, that it’s the recording quality that really determines if something is good or bad, great or awful. A high sample rate bad recording sounds a […]
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Madman Muntz 53

Posted 1 month ago

One of our newest writers for Copper Magazine is Ray Chelstowski, the former publisher for Rolling Stone Magazine. In his latest article, Eight-Tracks: Taking The Plunge, he reminisces of 8-Track tapes which brought back memories of an earlier technology and its colorful inventor: Madman Muntz. Earl William Muntz invented the Stereo-Pack, better known as the […]
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Building your own 22

Posted 1 month ago

When I was 15 years old I built my own HiFi system. I swear it sounded better than anything else I had ever heard. I wonder how much of that was because I built it? I think that when we handcraft something there’s a certain level of customization—personal attention—that not only makes the final result […]
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Building up the chain 23

Posted 1 month ago

I think it’s instructive to visualize the components in our systems as links in a chain. But, instead of the standard model of a chain, where each link is identical to the others, we need to instead form a chain of directional flow arrows where each link feeds its neighbor. Source feeds control, which feeds […]
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What to first turn to 33

Posted 1 month ago

When evaluating a new piece of gear—perhaps that new Power Plant, DAC, cable, or speaker—what’s the first track of music you turn to? Is it always the same? Does it vary from type to type of gear? In my experience we all have a few go-to pieces of music we rely upon to evaluate equipment. […]
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Galvanic isolation 38

Posted 1 month ago

As we talk more of the virtues of galvanic isolation in digital audio, perhaps it’s of value to take a moment out of our busy day to understand just what that means. The term galvanic refers to a galvanic cell, named after its inventor, Luigi Galvani. The Galvanic Cell is technically described with a mumbo […]
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Rip or play? 30

Posted 1 month ago

As we move closer to releasing for beta this September the new SACD Transport, there comes again talk of the virtues of playing discs relative to ripping and/or streaming. Which sounds better? The plain truth of it is perhaps not what many wish to hear, but from my perspective, I think it’s worth saying anyway. […]
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Bad Friday 42

Posted 1 month ago

For those YouTube visitors keeping up with our attempts to harvest our first big crop of Colorado peaches, consider this a sad update. First, a little backstory. A few years ago Terri and I planted a small row of fruit trees alongside the garage: peach, apple, plum, and cherry. Last year we managed one apple […]
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Stepping out on a limb 39

Posted 1 month ago

While the idea of stepping out on a limb may be frightening it’s often beneficial as that’s where the fruit is. We have various names for stepping outside of our comfort zone: leaps of faith, thinking outside the box, broadening our horizons. In each case, they encourage us to try something new: a cable, a […]
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Nail biting 43

Posted 1 month ago

When we start a design process for a new product there’s always a lot of high hopes and nail biting. Investing as much in the design as we do, it’s always a bit of a crapshoot how many times you might have to redo a design until it comes out the way you hoped for. […]
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Room, speaker, recording, amp? 36

Posted 1 month ago

One of the great mysteries to me has been compression of peaks on big orchestral pieces. The louder the orchestra plays the more the character of the music changes to where it seems to stop expanding before bunching up. When I attend a live orchestral performance that never happens. The scale of loudness seems linear—the […]
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Fundamental differences 18

Posted 1 month ago

A planar ribbon is fundamentally different than an electrostat and, because of that, they sound quite different too. In both types of drivers, we start with the same sort of plastic substrates like Mylar or Kapton, but there the two radically depart. To make a ribbon driver we need to layer on a thin sheet […]
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What makes a reference track? 16

Posted 1 month ago

In yesterday’s post, I offered an extended list of my reference tracks. Some of you may have noticed that not all tracks are great recordings. What gives? Diversity. Whether you’re setting up your sound system, designing new products, or simply enjoying music, the key to great reproduction is diversity. A proper system should be able […]
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Paul’s Picks updated 37

Posted 1 month ago

For several years now, my list of favorites has made its way around the internet and shared by many. That’s great. I thought perhaps it’s time to update and extend that list for those music lovers looking for some fresh reference tunes. This task has been on my list of to-dos for some time. Recently, […]
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Panel speakers 37

Posted 1 month ago

It’s been 23 years since I owned a reference level box speaker. Back then it was a pair of Revels that I had built a room around. They were very good sounding speakers but not all that revealing. It was only after dismantling that room and changing over to panel speakers that the missing resolution […]
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I’m not convinced 79

Posted 1 month ago

Boy oh boy, my simple post about our lunchtime conversation concerning cable elevators has once again let all the worms out of the can. Of course, the controversy is to be expected. Anything involving cables, tweaks, isolation bases, fuses, and whatever manner of heresy I write about will naturally draw ridicule. And that’s alright. I […]
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