“He was a fiddler, and consequently a rogue.” — Jonathan Swift
Mark O’Brien is a tall, striking and rather unassuming figure at most audio shows. He seems almost bemused by all the fuss and bother audiophiles make over his gear, but the fact is that his PA-based Rogue Audio makes some terrific audio equipment and routinely does so at prices that really ought to make his competitors blush. Continue reading
Filed under: Looks Nifty
Indiegogo is stuffed to the gills with nifty little projects. I’ve been tracking the LH Labs adventures with their Desktop Headphone Awesomifier, the Geek Pulse, with more than a little interest. Crowd funding, at least for LH Labs, seems to be working out … ah … pretty well. Ahem.
Well, I found something else interesting on Indiegogo the other day. But lemme take a step back.
I like watches. Continue reading
Posted in Random
Audiophilia, as a hobby (whether head-fi or hi-fi), isn’t really known for being … ah … affordable. In fact, I think there may be a Mystical Law somewhere that says when these two Realms collide, it’ll be the surest sign that the End Times are upon us.
Anyway, assume for a moment that maybe a couple hundred bucks is legit for your budget and that you’re okay wrapping items that cost that much up in paper and swinging them in a sock, suspended over a fire. Okay? Perfect.
So, with that said, the Audio360 kids have put up their (our?) annual Stocking Stuffers Guide. Not that you really needed an excuse to spend money, but there’s quite a few relatively affordable items on that list that might please — though none of them will roast particularly well, so keep that in mind. And yes, Yours Truly threw a couple of ideas into that stocking, too.
One thing I forgot: most record stores offer gift certificates. Yes, Virginia, there are still record stores! Happily, I find that gift cards almost always fit inside my socks. But then, I do have absurdly large feet.
– by John Richardson
It’s not easy being green, or so says Kermit the Frog. I suppose that he means being different can be tough, but then again, Kermit is also famous (and presumably wealthy, as least as frogs go). Whatever the case, it takes guts to deviate from the norm and do something differently, whether it’s marching to the beat of one’s own drum, being the yin to everyone else’s yang, or whatever. I believe most of us have a bit of that rebel-with-a-cause mentality. I remember as a kid preferring mustard to ketchup on my sandwiches only because everyone else liked ketchup.
So it goes with Anthony Gallo, head of Gallo Acoustics, who designs and builds a decidedly different kind of speaker. I recall years ago seeing advertisements for Anthony’s “eyeball” speakers and being intrigued as they looked so different from anything else out there at the time. When we think of normal speakers, we tend to think of drivers organized on the front baffle of a wooden box. Or maybe the large, flat panels associated with electrostatic designs. Either way, such approaches more or less define the norm for what speaker design means to most of us. Continue reading
Thanksgiving and Black Friday were off-days for me, so it was fun to check in on the madness after the feeding frenzy yesterday. And guess what? The LH Labs team has now blown past their second “stretch goal” of $350k — so — your new Geek Pulse desktop “Awesomifier” will now include a two year warranty. Not a bad deal.
Current pricing has the amp/DAC combo at 30% off of retail, or $299. But those “in the know” (i.e., those that have registered on LHLabs.com) have found a way to get a second one quite a bit cheaper. Hint: catch a clue – head over and see what they’re cooking up for you.
Ready to commit? Dive in? Get on the band wagon? Join the thronging zombie army? Then you need to go to Indiegogo to get your name on the list.
Filed Under: Why The Hell Not.
Wild hair? Yeah, maybe. Two over-achieving and “moderately priced” transducers fell into my Magical Hand of Loudspeakers – the Magnepan 3.7s and the Tekton Designs SEAS Pendragon — so naturally, I shuffled, dealt, played a hand, shuffled again, and well, I just repeated until I was done.
The result? Entertainment! Continue reading
Scott Dalzell of Viva Hifi, out in NoVA, was very kind to accommodate my schedule and invited me to visit with a pair Lou Hinkley’s new speakers, the Daedalus Audio Pan. And by “visit with”, I mean just that — it was a happy afternoon jamming with Scott. All I’m doing is offering up that time, so, call this a preview, an un-review, an experiential slipstream event, but whatever you do, don’t call it Shirley.
The Pan is a stand-mount loudspeaker built to master craftsman standards — it’s absolutely gorgeous to the eye and the hand. The solid-wood cabinets are just that, solid wood. No veneers. Lou doesn’t do veneer. As with a fine instrument, Lou believes that natural wood has a significant and positive contribution to make to the sound of his loudspeakers, and removing that aspect would not only destroy the potential for greatness, but might also be a mortal sin. Better safe than sorry, right? Right. With proper design and adequate bracing, the Daedalus Audio cabinets are very robust, nearly inert to the knock (my knuckle thuds more than raps), and boy-howdy, they sing. Continue reading
Looks like the LH Labs kids have broken another milestone, this one marking $300,000 in pledges on their Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign.
Some news on that front — there’s now a “fully balanced” version called the Pulse X offered at the introductory price of $489 (30% off retail of $699). If you’re intereste and already invested in the Pulse, the upgrade on your initial pledge will be $140. But, here’s a hint:
Since we haven’t sold out of the $299 Geek Pulse Perks, you can get Geek Pulse X for less money than $489 if you’re really crafty. It require two separate contributions, but you can get it for $50 less by contributing to an Early Bird Geek Pulse and then contributing to a Geek Pulse X Upgrade. Pretty sneaky, huh?
Remember, space is limited. You want in on the goods? Better move.
Part One: Sinking into the Sounds of the ALO Island
by Michael Mercer
ALO Audio carved out a healthy slice of the high-end portable audio market years ago through their continued innovation, consistency in sonic integrity, and contemporary design aesthetics. Last year they made a bold transition into reference-level tube gear with their amazing Studio Six headphone amplifier (my full review here). The Studio Six, a sleek-looking single-ended triode design, can drive up to four low impedance headphones at once without loss of signal strength. It’s one of my top references at home for testing various headphones. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of their products. So when they introduce something new my curiosity is always piqued. As so it was with their brand new Island: A portable, balanced USB DAC/headphone amp combo for your computer. Two of the cool-factor features are its sample-rate capabilities (up to 192k/24-bit) and its RSA balanced output (as well as 3.5mm). ALO utilizes this particular type of balanced outputs often; I love it — it’s not nearly as big and clunky as the larger XLRs.
I wanted to hear the Island the moment I saw it on their website. The look is slickly modern and industrial, a tidy rectangular aluminum extrusion with straight lines broken by the volume knob on top that is slightly wider than the chassis. The whole of it is an eye-catcher. Everything counts, and ALO seem keenly aware of this; the Island is a knock out, aesthetically and musically. Continue reading
Wow. What a show!
Before anything else, a doff of the cap to the fine folks that put this paroxysm of audio joy together. Marjorie, what a way to celebrate 10 years!
In case you missed it, this year, RMAF had over 160 rooms stuffed full of gear. That is … a lot. A lot to see. A lot to hear. A lot to learn about, visit with, catch up on, and try and open a window onto.
It is, quite simply, pretty much impossible to do. Such is life. I did what I could, went where I had time to go, and generally had a ball. A ball, I tell you. It’s been a month, and I’m still reeling.
All in all? This was easily my favorite RMAF yet. It was huge, yes. CanJam was a happy zoo. Sound quality was way up. People were clearly having a great time. Continue reading
Posted in RMAF 2013
Tagged abyss, alo audio, alpha dog, audeze, auralic, border patrol, borderpatrol, joseph audio, odyssey, schiit, sony, trenner & friedl, vaughn