Bye bye 2020

Gosh. I never thought I’d get a chance to write those words. Let’s do it again. Bye, bye, 2020.

It’s been one hell of a crazy year, one we likely all would rather look at in the rearview mirror instead of being blinded by yet another oh sh!t!. 2021 has to be better. Right? We’ve certainly got a low enough bar to compare it to.

The vaccines are on their way. The light at the end of the tunnel appears not to be a train. Life’s about to get a lot better. Perhaps within months the burdens of the pandemic and a nation divided will begin to lift off our weary shoulders. I, for one, choose to believe 2021 is going to be a wonderful year with plenty to look forward to.

Here’s to you, our HiFi Family. May the coming new year find you and yours in good health and spirits. And may 2021 be the best year of your life.

*Thanks to cartoonists James Whitworth and Bob D’Amico



More fun than…

“I don’t know of an amp I have had more fun with or one that has put a smile on my face as many times as the Stellar M1200s did. When I take off my audiophile reviewer hat and sit down and crank up the music, they succeed in providing hours of pleasure. I normally keep 2 or 3 amps around to rotate in my systems, and you can be sure the M1200s will continue to be there.”

What a great quote from Ken Redmond, the Audio Beatnick. And yes, it’s about fun but sometimes even more important, it’s about performance. 

Stereophile’s Michael Fremer just wrote:

“The M1200’s ability to couple with, control, and drive the woofers of my Wilson Alexx loudspeakers matched that of any amplifier I’ve had here, including my reference darTZeel NHB-468 and Boulder’s 2150, both of which are way more costly.”

Have you taken a look at the cost of Fremer’s reference darTZeel NHB-468 or Boulder’s 2150? They’re the price of a small house or a few expensive cars.

The Stellar M1200 that comes so close in performance to these expensive beasts prompted Michael to write “…what these amps did so well was so much damn fun and what they didn’t do so well had to be tracked down with a sonic microscope.”

Considering the M1200s are 1/20th the cost….Need we say more?



…and speaking of fun

I haven’t had this big of a smile on my face since Terri turned me on to Trader Joe’s Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip cookies.

The Blob opera is an amazing feat of programming using virtual learning and artificial intelligence in service of music and fun. You control the little animated blobs as they sing their hearts out to your bidding.

This is fun for kids but particularly for adults into music. Stretchhhhhhhh out the singer’s highest note until a proper resolve is met. Ohhhhh, goodness, it feels like you can actually write and perform music. Which, of course, you are (sans the years of practice).

This is definitely one worth pursuing if you have a spare few minutes at home and….these days….who doesn’t?

Enjoy.

Start composing music



Copper Magazine

 Larry SchenbeckRay Chelstowski and Cliff Chenfeld reveal their best of 2020. Anne E. Johnson digs into the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and pathbreaking trumpeter Toshinori Kondo. Rich Isaacs concludes his interview with Genesis in the 1970s. John Seetoo looks into the making of the Elvis recording Where No One Stands Alone. Ken Sander reflects on the end of a Hollywood era. Tom Gibbs covers new releases from Booker T & the M.G.’s, Steven Wilson, Tori Amos, and Kacy & Clayton and Marlon Williams.

J.I. Agnew wants a tube amp during a lockdown. I wonder if an audio system can be too good. Adrian Wu continues his series on testing in audio with tips on doing it yourself. Steven Bryan Bieler ends his war on LPs. Don Lindich interviews Mark Mawhinney of record cleaner company Spin-Clean. Peter Xeni visits analog aliens. We wrap up the year and the issue with cutting-edge technology, hipster music and a welcoming robot.

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

Sign up for COPPER



Three wonderful guitarists

If you’re like me, you’re into electric guitars. For this former flower child, the electric guitar has always symbolized the essence of rock and roll music. From Chuck Berry to George Harrison to Mike Bloomfield, the guitar epitomizes everything good about rock and roll.

Reader Neil Rosenblum sent me a link to one of the coolest guitar sites I have seen. Watch as three outstanding guitarists go at it in ways perhaps you hadn’t yet seen.

Watch the video



Rupert Neve

In the world of recording few people are as famous as England’s Rupert Neve. Neve was one of the pioneers of the high-performance recording console and, over the years, has built some extraordinary sounding recording gear (The late Beatle’s producer, Sir George Martin ordered 3 of Neve’s boards).

When, in May of 1985, Dire Strait’s seminal recording, Brothers in Arms, was released, it was the Neve board that had much to do with its sound quality. According to the album’s engineer, Neil Dorfsman, “the main room itself was nothing to write home about. The sound of that studio was the desk,” referring to the Neve 8078 board. Also a first for Brothers in Arms was its pioneering recording technique called…wait for it…digital.

Yup, the award winning Brothers in Arms was one of the very first digital recordings and the first major CD release. Again, Neve was at the forefront. When Knopfler didn’t like the way the recording sounded (too digital) it was Neve analog equipment they ran the sound through time and again to “analog” it.

Rupert Neve is a legend. He, like we at Octave Records, are in love with DSD. If you’re interested in his thoughts on DSD—how it makes people actually feel better when listening—here’s part of a long interview you can watch to help your understanding.

Maybe it’ll make more sense why we insist on recording everything at Octave first in DSD.

Watch the video

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4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

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