December, 2019





Stellar Phono

It’s not often the world’s most respected reviewer within a product category heaps praise on a company’s products, but when that happens, it’s time to celebrate.

Stereophile’s Michael Fremer has been at the forefront of vinyl reproduction for as many years as I care to admit to. He’s a tireless advocate of the art of turntables and record playback. So, when Mikey Fremer gets excited about a new phono stage and proclaims in the January 2020 issue of Stereophile:

“The midrange on this phono preamp is as open, uncongested, transparent, and revealing as that of any phono preamp I’ve heard at any price.”

It’s an exciting moment.

When you realize he’s referring to the PS Audio Stellar Phono that retails for $2,495, it gets even more exciting, especially because he was comparing it to units that cost 20X more.

“I spent a great deal of time listening to and enjoying this $2500 phono preamp—not enjoying it “for the price” but just enjoying listening to music, oblivious to price or that of the product it stood in for—be it the Ypsilon VP100 (silver edition) phono preamp/MC16LSUT step-up transformer combination or the CH Precision P1 phono preamp/X1 power supply combination, both of which cost 20 times as much.

I left the Stellar Phono in the system far longer than needed for me to draw conclusions because I found listening to it pleasurable, particularly its midrange clarity, transparency, textural and tonal richness, and accurate and generous spatial performance. It’s a preamp you want to listen to.”

 What a great way to start the new year.

(ht to Bob Wood for the great spoof on Nipper)



Check out Stellar Phono



Lunch with Paul

One of the great pleasures of our industry is found in the people we meet: music lovers, hifi buffs, engineers, the press and, in particular, up and coming superstars.

Little brings me more personal pleasure than to meet these smart, savvy, young people intent on changing the world and making what we do even better.

The Audio Belle is the penname for Cynthia Bishop, a delightful young lady, programmer, musician, and contributor to Steve Guttenberg’s channel. Hailing from the Lone Star State, Cynthia has a real passion for audio—and who’s not going to support that.

She now has her own YouTube channel which you can visit here, and sign up to watch her ongoing interviews with audio insiders.

There’s currently a three-part interview with moi, which you can view here, as well as interviews with Wilson Audio.

Do me a favor and subscribe to her YouTube channel and help spread the word. We need to support rising talent to keep our passion alive.



Power of recordings

Great audio systems need great recordings. It’s how we make the most of all the magic in the music. Similarily, great recording studios need the best high-end equipment.

One terrific label is Germany’s Stockfish Records, whose artists include several of my favorites: Alan Taylor, Sarah K, and Chris Jones for starters.

I am certain most audiophiles know their work and have appreciated the excellent sonics they manage out of their studios and mastering suite.

What few people appreciate is the quality of AC power feeding the Stockfish recording system. Have a look at the attached photo. Note the PS Audio P20 Power Plant at the heart of the setup.

Stockfish knows that perfect recordings start from perfected power.



Copper Magazine

In issue 101: new to these pages, Robert Heiblim gives us an insider’s perspective on the evolution of hi-res audio. John Seetoo wraps up his interview with live sound pioneer John Meyer. J.I. Agnew takes a fond look at cassette tape. Dan Schwartz tells us about a very special microphone. Alón Sagee recounts a sublime moment in music listening. Don Kaplan gives us a fascinating historical look at “Queen of the Salons” Élisabeth de Caraman-Chimay. Tom Gibbs reviews The Later Years, a monumental new post-Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd box set.

Copper is cost-free, ad-free, and committed to great articles without an attitude.

Sign up for COPPER



New Super Conductor

It’s long been known that good conductors of electricity will also be proportionally good conductors of heat, which is why things like motors and appliances get so hot when you use them regularly.

But a team in the US showed this isn’t the case for metallic vanadium dioxide (VO2) – a material that’s already well known for its strange ability to switch from a see-through insulator to a conductive metal at the temperature of 67 degrees Celsius (152 degrees Fahrenheit).

Researchers have found that metallic vanadium dioxide conducts electricity without heat! This may have big implications in a number of fields, including our own, high-end audio.

We’re keeping a close eye on this development.

Read the article



Customer Service

Over the past 45 years of business, we’ve prided ourselves on customer service. Our tongue in cheek motto is taken from an old car dealer ad that goes “we’ll stand on our heads and eat a bug to make you happy”.

I doubt any of us are capable of standing on our head and none would consciously eat bugs, but there’s not much we wouldn’t do to keep our customers happy.

It was with a great deal of pleasure, then, that we got a note from Positive Feedback Editor, David Robinson, that we were awarded the magazine’s first-ever Writer’s Choice Award for customer service! A high honor indeed.

Thanks to the staff at Positive Feedback Magazine for such a heartfelt honor.

Check out the award



Ayushi Stereo Demo

When reader Gary Leland of the UK sent this video of two comedians selling hifi equipment it sat in my inbox for a few days before I got around to watching it.

Watch as these two clowns try and explain what a graphic equalizer does in answer to an audience question. It had me laughing so hard people came into my office to see what was wrong.

I figure this is a great way to end the old year and ring in the new.

Have a happy, healthy, and safe new year in 2020.

Watch the video