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The Album

The Audiophile's Guide: The Stereo

The Audiophile's Guide: The Stereo

The Artist

Various Artists

The ultimate audiophile reference setup music disc and book
A perfect companion for Paul McGowan's book, The Audiophile's Guide: The Stereo, unlocking the secrets to great sound. On the disc and vinyl you'll find channel and polarity checks, depth adjustment tracks, center imaging perfection, soundstaging, tuning the bottom end, a burn-in track, and adjusting for small, medium and large groups of musicians. From subtle to fireworks, it's all here in the one remarkable Audiophile Master. Couple this disc with Paul's book (see below) and together you'll upgrade your system to new sonic heights you never thought possible.

Recorded in Pure DSD on the Sonoma system, this will be your ultimate reference disc. Comes complete with a 40-page booklet, SACD playable on any CD or DVD player, and a data disc with all the master files.

Now available on 180 gram virgin vinyl!
Regular price $29.00 USD
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The Artists

Whether you are a beginning or an advanced audiophile, once you follow the setup steps in The Audiophile’s Guide: The Stereo, you too will be able to get closer to the sound of live music on the right recordings. Even if you’re blessed with golden ears,
the difference between live and recorded music starts to vanish when you are listening on a system that has been properly set up. Between this reference disc and Paul's book, you can make magic with only a few hours
of tweaking invested on a Saturday afternoon. The specially designed burn-in track can be used every time you get a new piece of equipment.
And the last three tracks on the Reference Music Disc are alone worth the price of the disc. Whether you want to challenge your system, make certain it's working properly, spend a few hours tweaking it to perfection, The Audiophile's Guide: The Stereo is a must-have
component.This is one direct-to-master recording you don't want to miss out on. Each music track is a sonic treasure available as a direct-to-master exclusively from Octave Records.

01 - Left channel identification
02 - Right channel identification
03 - Center phantom channel identification
04 - Phase polarity check
05 - Phase check in-phase
06 - Phase check out-of-phase
07 - Room bass response
08 - Purity test - excerpt from Don Grusin's The Last Train
09 - Center channel adjustment What I Am
10 - Center channel and soundstage width What I Am
11 - Depth check 3 Dualities
12 - Depth check 6 Dualities
13 - Depth check 9 Dualities
14 - Small ensemble with voice Ain t No Going Back Home
15 - Simple detailed music - acoustic guitar improvisation
16 - Medium-sized group Old Grimes
17 - Synth composition Slow Moving Ferns
18 - Full ensemble Unsatisfied
19 - Drum solo Transmogrification
20 - The Burn-In Track


Recorded over four months, The Audiophile's Guide: The Stereo laid down tracks in Octave's Boulder studio, PS Audio's main warehouse (for BIG sound), and Lyons Colorado's Animal Lane Studio. Every effort was made to maintain not only the purity of recordings, but the accuracy of miking, distance, and purpose. The three depth tracks, for example, were recorded in PS Audio's warehouse with centimeter-precision so that when you listen at the three intervals: 3 feet, 6 feet, and 9 feet, you can be certain what you are hearing is precise. Another great example is the level of care and detail exemplified in the Drum Solo. Engineer Jay Elliott went all out to get the best from this amazing drum kit. The kit consists of a Ludwig 1970 Blue Sparkle 20” kick drum, 12” rack tom, 16x16” floor tom, 14 x 6.5” Ludwig Superphonic John Bonham LM 402 snare drum, Zildjian New Beats Hi-hat 70’s era 14”, Custom Dark Crash Kerope by Zildjian Crash 18”, and a Kerope by Zildjian 22” ride. To capture this kit, Jay employed his favorite setup for close miking: a Shure Beta 52 for the kick-in and a cardioid patterned, phantom powered, large diaphragm FET Soundelux U195 by David Bock for the kick-out. The top of the snare was handled by a Hypercardioid Beyerdynamic M201 with its phase flipped while the snare’s bottom was a Telefunken M80. The rack tom was captured by a Shure SM7B Cardioid dynamic microphone and the floor tom, an Audix D4 hypercardioid dynamic microphone. To capture the ambient room response, a careful combination of AKG C24, Grados, Sony C100s, were used for the overheads, and a Coles 4038 with flipped phase was placed twelve feet behind the drum kit for space recording. Using The Audiophile's Guide: The Stereo book and disc or vinyl, it's easy to follow the step-by-step instructions to obtain near-perfect depth, imaging, tonal balance and 3 dimensional sound where your speakers disappear and the musicians seem in the room with you.

Album Features

  • One pressing Austrian gold pressed dual-layer SACD
  • Pure DSD + PROMastered CD layers
  • Separate DVD data disc with all masters
  • 40-page book
  • Pure DSD mastered by Gus Skinas on the Sonoma mastering system
  • DSD64, DSDDirect Mastered 192kHz 24 bit, 96kHz 24 bit, 44.1kHz 16 bit PCM download
  • No compression in the mastering process
  • CD layer of SACD playable on any CD player
  • Mastering monitored through the PS Audio DirectStream DAC
  • All tracks hand curated on the Infinity IRSV in PS Audio's Music Room Two
  • Limited edition one-pressing physical media
  • Bundle with Paul's Book for the ultimate setup experience

Collector's Vinyl

There's a certain magic vinyl brings to the listening room: a magic unlike any other. Where DSD captures every nuance in the music, a vinyl release directly from the DSD master is on yet another level altogether. Octave Recordings features limited-edition collector's vinyl on most releases. Each of these albums is build to perfection on 180-gram virgin vinyl, individually numbered and exemplifying everything great in the art of producing world-class vinyl. When you strive for perfection, every detail counts. The finest pressing equipment: In order the ensure maximum quality and perfection in every numbered disc, the pressing plant we use spares no expense by employing a state-of-the-art closed-loop heating/cooling system and programmable logic controllers to precisely temperature control the vinyl molds. This attention to detail is unlike just about any plant in the world where differing temperatures and times of day can change the final discs. Materials matter: Not all records run the same way during manufacturing. In order to maximize heavy gram-weight vinyl pressings, using the highest quality vinyl grades available from Neotech. Plating is critical: An essential step in producing vinyl discs is the electroplating of the masters. Our manufacturer has an exclusive agreement with world famous NiPro Optics as an electroforming partner. This provides noticeably superior sounding masters as a result of using the best metal work from the most technologically advanced and modern electroforming facility in the world. In addition, a proprietary reverse-osmosis (RO) water system is used, verses the more traditional deionization (DI) water systems in use at other plating facilities. GrooveCoated Stampers: NiPro Optics and Gotta Groove Records also co-developed and provides the first new form of record plating technology in the past 30 years, called GrooveCoated™ stampers. This combination of superior electroplating and groove coating dramatically increases the lifespan of the stamper, and reduces high-frequency loss as pressing cycles continue over the course of manufacturing so that our short-run single pressings are perfect from number 1 to number 500. Limited edition single pressings: To ensure that every Octave Record's vinyl release is as close to perfect as the current state of the art allows, we limit our runs to 500 pressings per stamper and offer them in individually numbered albums, each hand-inspected for perfection. QA at an unprecedented level: At our vinyl pressing plant of choice, Gotta Grove Records out of Ohio, one of the reasons we chose them is they have more quality control workers than any other pressing plant in the U.S. — one quality control employee per every two pressing machines listening to approximately every 25th record off the press during every shift. If you know the magic of vinyl, then may we suggest you've yet to hear what a remarkable combination of pure DSD recording and single pressing virgin vinyl collectors’ vinyl can sound like. Available exclusively at Octave Records.