Update: What’s New and What’s Coming

In with the new

In case you missed it, I picked up a pair of Joseph Audio Pulsars while I was in New York for the NYAV12 Show. This was most definitely not an impulse buy (for a change) as I was thrilled by them back in 2010, even if I wasn’t thrilled with the price. Okay, so it took a year’s worth of scrimping, but I finally pulled the trigger.

They’re here. They’re in. And they’re better than I remembered. I love it when that happens.

What else is new? Well, my Lampizator Level 4+ isn’t exactly new since it’s been here for a whole 3 weeks now (har har), but it’s still breaking in. Those Teflon caps will take another month or so before they’re “settled”, but it’s pretty much outstanding as it is. I opted for the volume control, which is fully analog, so I can use it as a preamp if I need to. I’ve been running it that way for the last few weeks, into the amp stage on my Luxman L-505u and, currently, into the big Plinius SA-Reference. Expensive piece of kit, but reference-quality costs what it does. Oh well.

Speaking of reference stuff, Nordost sent me a cable loom for review in my mid-tier reference system. I received a Q-Base and some Blue Heaven LS power cords to go along with it. I also got some Red Dawn LS interconnects and speaker cables. It’s a lot of wire, but so very awesome.

That’s what’s new.

What’s in the queue

I have a spiffy pair of the Audioengine A5+ speakers sitting on my desktop. In bamboo! Their mini D1 DAC is paired with them — and smokin’ Pandora all over my desk. Finally, some budget-friendly gear! I know, you’re all shocked.

So, here’s the short-term:

  • Vaughn Pinot Monitors
  • CEntrance Audiophile Desktop System
  • eFicion F300
  • (the clue)
  • Audioengine Desktop System
  • Lampizator Level 4+

Opening the window a bit farther into the future:

  • Magnepan Mini System
  • Conrad-Johnson ET3SE preamp and Classic 60 SE amplifier
  • Red Wine Audio Liliana monoblocks
  • Red Wine Audio Isabellina DAC
  • Vaughn Zinfandel
  • Nordost Red Dawn LS

And even some in-depth looks that weren’t possible before:

  • Shunyata Hydra Triton
  • WyWires speaker cables and interconnects
  • Black Cat Cables Silver 75 and Morpheus speaker cables and interconnects
  • Berkeley Audio Alpha Series 2

And all of that will be done in May.


Anyway, that’s the schedule, which I’ll attempt to roll through this summer. There might be some other stuff in there, but if so, it’s escaped me temporarily — so I reserve the right to make changes!

Show coverage

In other news, the NYAV coverage is all wrapped up. Many thanks to TONEAudio for sponsoring that trip! I had a great time and saw/heard some remarkable gear. Not everything worked, but quite a lot did — and some worked far better than that. So, while TONEAudio has since decided that live show blogging isn’t really “their bag”, I’m still planning to attend T.H.E. Show in Newport, on June 1st through the 3rd, and I’m gonna blog the living shit out of it. As usual.

Other shows on my calendar:

And that’s as far as I’m willing to plan.

Calling all sponsors

Last, but not least, we’re now actively encouraging sponsorship.

Calling dealers, distributors and manufacturers: I’ve got a limited number of slots I can fill on the page with permanent links and logos. Contact me if you’re interested in supporting the efforts of The Part-Time Audiophile!

And that’s all for now, folks. Stay tuned for audio goodness.


  1. Brad, I’ve used Agon for years and even a few times since there big f-ing transformation so it’s not my first rodeo so to speak. But YEMBD so you gotta do what you gotta do. Anyways, I actually had a short discussion with one of the sellers on the Pulsars…we just couldn’t get to “yes”. They both seemed legit…that is, some history on Agon and willing to take PayPal etc.

    For what it’s worth, I’m keeping my eye out and at some point if there’s a pair of Pulsar on Agon for the right price, I’ll likely snap them up.

    You may be too OCD to buy used; I’m to cheap to buy new.



    • Thanks for the replies guys.

      I’ve been an Agon user since 06, and never had any problems. I think Agon is still useable, you just have to be a bit more careful and patient with the system; and I guess I’m just refusing to use them out of protest.

      The red-ish finish on the Pulsar do look really good. But, I prefer very dark colored speakers; black, or very close to it. The black finish is very rare in the Pulsar, I’m told, so doubtful I would ever find used.

      I did actually contact JA, but found that my local dealer does not have them on display, which seems odd, because I would think that the Pulsar would be quite popular. Anyway, I’ll listen again at the next show. I heard them last year and they were quite good. One of the best there, actually. I just have some serious doubts that they can be placed close to the front wall. I’m trying to avoid that problem with my current speakers and told myself I would not use a rear-ported speaker in this set-up.

      “You may be too OCD to buy used; I’m to cheap to buy new.”

      I hear ya’ on that.

      Bill- Good luck in your hunt with the Pulsar. If you ever get them, just make sure you share the news on PTA.

      Thanks again for the replies.

      • Yeah! If any of you do bring in a pair of these gems, let me know so we can exchange the secret handshake and stuff. 😉

        BTW — did anyone catch the review in Stereophile this month?

  2. Hey PTA…a question about the picture of your lovely new Pulsars:

    What are the cool-looking chrome doo-dads that you have between the Pulsars and their black stand tops?

    Just wonderin’



    PS…to the chap who wishes Pulsars were more like $5K, he should keep a watchful eye out on Agon. There have been two pair in the past 60 days that were in the $4.8-5.4K range…the latter being with that gorgeous red-hued fine furniture finish. Patience has its rewards.

    • The doodads are Stillpoints Ultras (here for another application and appropriated temporarily). My stands are a bit wide for the Pulsars, which have a pretty slim profile, so something between them and the stand keeps the decoupling pretty clean.

    • Thanks Bill- I’m too OCD to buy used. And, I don’t trust the new Audiogon. I told them I am done with them until they get their act together. I wouldn’t be surprised if those two listing you mention were from 0 feedback members’ and money order/cashier check only. I’ve seen that a lot lately. These scammers’ on the “new” Audiogon choose popular items to list and go fishing.

      Also, when considering the price of the Pulsar, I have to wonder if they’re 2K better than speakers like the Focal 1028BE, or SF Cremona Auditor.

      • Brad — sound quality is subjective. I can’t recommend enough actually reaching out to a Joseph dealer and arranging for a demo.

  3. Very much looking forward to those upcoming reviews.

    As for the audio shows – hey, you found your passion. You will make something great from it. Those other guys get to kick themselves for being fools. It’s win-win!

  4. I did notice Stereophile’s NY show blogging (via Daily Audiophile). It was not too impressive. In fact, it down right stunk; especially for the man power you say they had there.

    It appears that you possess a rare skill. If the big guys in the industry can’t put together show content the way you have, then that’s sayin somethin. Hopefully, for you, they will realize this and snatch you up. That might be bad for us fans’ of your site, however, because they would likely want to impose rules/restrictions/limitations with your coverage and ruin what you do so well. Oh well, keep it up. You’re great at what you do.

    They’re reluctance to embrace change kind of reminds me of the whole Steve Jobs vs. the music/cable industry, situation. They’re stuck in their ways and don’t want to evolve.

    I’m sure you’re going to kick butt again, with the up-coming show in Newport. Maybe they will take note. Good luck!

    • Just to clarify above: that’s cable industry as in cable tv content providers.

  5. PTA, you inspire me. How the heck you do all of this in your spare time is beyond me. I struggle just getting 1 review a month. In any event, kudos to you!


  6. Can’t wait to read your review of the Nordost loom. I’m currently using Red Dawn LS interconnects, plus Blue Heaven LS and Brahma power cords. Would like to read a little bit more about the RD LS speaker cable before pulling the plug on those as well. Thanks for all the great work here.

  7. I wish I could see a good shot of the Pulsar in the all black finish. I’ve searched the net with no luck.

    I’ve got port/wall problems as well. To make matters worse, I think that the Pulsar outputs much more port energy than maybe some others. Yes/no? I wonder if Jeff offers some type of foam port plug? Or would that have a negative effect on sound?

    And, it seems that this speaker is priced a bit too high. $5K range seems more reasonable. Seas Excel & Millenium drivers’ are fairly inexpensive.

    I love the look and color of that Lampi display.

    “So, while TONEAudio has since decided that live show blogging isn’t really “their bag”…

    Some people don’t know a good thing when they see it.

    • I’ve never seen a Joseph in all-black! I’ve also never asked about the port, port-noise, or plugging the port. Send Jeff and email and report back.

      As for pricing, that’s all kind of a dark art. For what it’s worth, the MSRP pricing on the drivers Joseph uses is actually rather high. You won’t believe how cheap some of the bits that gets put into speakers with otherwise great reputations. I mean, really, a $30 tweeter? But that’s what Merlin uses. So, a $260 for SEAS Millennium tweeter doesn’t sound so cheap anymore, does it? And that’s only half the drivers used. Double that, and then multiply that total by 6 to get the cost-to-you MSRP (gotta pay the dealers and still make some kind of livable margin), and now you start to have an idea of why the Joseph costs a bit more than the Merlin — and we haven’t even talked about the miscellaneous bits like wire and crossover, and all those cabinet costs.

      As for TONEAudio, well, what can I say. They do their thing and, I guess, I do mine.

      • I read your article “An aside about pricing” when it was posted. It was a great read and very accurate. Well, I re-read it and I guess what I should of said is, I WISH the Pulsar was in the $5k range. Decisions become a bit tougher when a bookshelf price goes over the $5k mark. And, my facts were a bit off. I thought the driver prices were a little under $200. Maybe Seas prices jumped (just like everything else these days) since I last checked.

        Regarding live show blogging; this is the future. If the mag editors don’t realize this yet, it’s too bad for them. They need to change with the times. So, they expect their readers’ to wait until they publish show info., which can take a month, or more, when the internet allows for instant distribution! By the time show coverage comes by way of hard cover, it’s old news. Live show blogging also allows those who have attended to discuss and compare notes and experiences that are fresh in their mind. Thanks to bloggers and sites like yours, I don’t really care what the magazines have to say a month later. It’s too late; old news. The next show is only a month away. New news! Thanks for bringing us all the great coverage; and so quickly.

      • Thanks, Brad.

        Re: show coverage, I think a lot of the big boys are trying to “do better”, but I think it’s really alien to them. Maybe they’ve been in the biz too long, got stuck thinking about delivery being one and only one kind of thing, done one and only one kind of way. Dunno.

        FWIW, Stereophile seems to be heading in the right way with show blogging. For the show in NYC, I think they had no less than five (!) commenters wandering through. But even with five folks at the show, each post was still about as in-depth as a Twitter post and then crippled with a single lousy pic (or two at most) — though I have to say, thank God they finally invested in a new camera, because that shit used to be terrible. Baby steps, I guess.

        I really think they’re all missing the point of these shows. And until they “get it”, they’re gonna keep fucking it up … or just miss the boat entirely.

        Better for me, I suppose.

  8. Perhaps more than partly due to your enthusiasm, I want a pair of Pulsars. Problem: They would go in my den system, in a 11 x 12 room, with the rear port only 12″ off the wall. As you have some experience with these, should I really be looking for, say, a front ported speaker? And would they be good in that size room?

    • Every foot you can get away from that wall, the sound really gets dramatically better. In an ideal world, I’d say “front ported” if you’re stuck with being that close. (the clue) is a speaker that is actually designed with that kind of placement in mind.

      • Thanks for your help. I’m going to have to listen to more front ported speakers, including the clue! I have not yet heard the B&W 805d which is front ported. I’m going to have to begin a short list. Should be a pleasant project!

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