Pursuing the Ultimate Music Experiences

Audio Federation High-Fidelity Audio Blog

Happy New Year 2021

Can we have a less crazy year this time? And with fewer crazies? Pleaseeeee…?

We have all heard about cranking it up to 11… to drown out the world outside. But we are about to need a ’12’ … 🙂

 

Happy New Year everyone!

-Mike and Neli

 

Audio Note M9 RIAA Signature Phono Stage (photos)

We have a ton (100s) of Audio Note M9 RIAA Signature Phono Stage photos. Some made it into the awesome Fred Crowder review over on Dagogo: Audio Note M9 RIAA Signature phono stage Review.

A lot didn’t…

I am going to spread them out a little. Sometimes something awesome looking gets to be overwhelming when presented all at once. At least, that is how it is for me!

 

 

Too bad the edges got cutoff – but this is the best photo that shows the inside of the two boxes side-by-side with their labels still being visible

Audio Note U.K. Belt-driven CD transport

Audio Note U.K. Belt-driven CD transports are in the works and reports are of significant improvements over the previous level 6 transport [we have the level 5 CDT-five transport, which is amazing…].

Some photos have been posted and we thought they were worth sharing here – because they show the immense lengths and out-of-the-box thinking that goes on at Audio Note [maybe this is why they sound better than what we have heard anywhere else – and cost more too :-)]

The ‘wood’ is panzerholz (which is bulletproof. You know, just in case. But seriously measurements and listening tests show that panzerholz ranks among the very best regarding its acoustical damping characteristics -see Google for more audiophile scuttlebutt). Called Permali at Audio Note because the former name is apparently trademarked.

 

Audio Note S9 Phono Step-up Transformer: the photos

Audio Note S9 Phono Step-up Transformer with integral (brown) PALLAS interconnect.

Thanksgiving is traditionally a day for over-eating… and now… over-photographing [if that is possible :-)].

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The S9 is Audio Note U.K.’s top-of-the-line step up – [it helps increase the output of those uber high-end phono cartridges enough to feed a standard full-function preamp or dedicated phono-stage].

Fred Crowder has reviewed this phono step up in comparison with more pedestrian brands on Dagogo at: Audio Note S9 Phono Step-up Transformer Review .

For my part, once I heard the S9, I would never willingly go back to anything else – not to say that the AN S4 on a small system isn’t entirely wonderful and, of course, much more appropriate – and we hear it regularly in this context.

Thinking about it now – my appetite for audiophile description of sonic differences is currently near-zero – now that I require my music to have powerful quasi-medicinal capabilities to relax and assuage a worried and angry mind.

 

 

CES 2021 complimentary registration Dec. 1- 11

The 100% digital (online) conference lives on. Although Neli tells me Ray Kimber (KimberKable) is setting up an exhibition this year – CES is certainly dead with respect to high-end audio in my opinion and what I want to get out of an audio show.

Munich – a real show for audiophiles – is scheduled for September next year as a show you-can-actually-attend – but Neli tells me there is talk that this may have to be put off again and delayed until 2022.

The Keynote speakers, below, for CES 2021 are sure – boring? I think that is too nice of a word… How about shockingly uninteresting?

I might sign up for grins – just to see what Ray’s booth looks like from my office… 🙂

New device puts music in your head

We’ve been trying to reproduce the original sound field using 2 (or more) speakers for a long time. Here is anther way… (link to AP news story) (link to RollingStone story)

LONDON (AP) — Imagine a world where you move around in your own personal sound bubble. You listen to your favorite tunes, play loud computer games, watch a movie or get navigation directions in your car — all without disturbing those around you.

That’s

the possibility presented by “sound beaming,” a new futuristic audio technology from Noveto Systems, an Israeli company. On Friday it will debut a desktop device that beams sound directly to a listener without the need for headphones.

But this is a little discouraging…

 

The listening sensation is straight out of a sci-fi movie. The 3-D sound is so close it feels like it’s inside your ears while also in front, above and behind them.

The ‘inside the head’ effect has always seemed to me to be quite ‘unreal’ and takes away from the enjoyment of headphones. The above technology, however, seems like it could put the holographic soundfield between the head and wherever we want the sound to be coming from – right?

I guess if there was wall of these transducers, we might conceivably be able to do something quite realistic…

From the Noveto Systems website [why do none of the major sites link to the source of the tech they are talking about? What a bunch of SEO cowards].

SoundBeaming works using ultrasonic waves and beamforming to place sound just outside the ears. The waves are generated using Noveto-developed proprietary DSP algorithms and pushed into the air via a custom-designed transducer array. From the inside it may look like a small speaker, but you won’t hear anything coming out.

 

The Israeli company ‘patented’ the tech, so we’ll see what happens with it, if anything [besides beaming ads directly into our head why we are out and about – scary thought. Hey, a dystopian world gives rise to dystopian thoughts].

Resistor Mag added to the Audiophile’s Guide

Rafe Arnott of Part-Time Audiophile fame, and Managing Editor in charge of AudioStream, and InnerFidelity fame, has started his own magazine: Resistor Mag.

Rafe is one of the powerhouses of energy in our business and hopefully has some of that energy left [ unlike the rest of us, 🙂 ] for his new endeavor.

Not that new, apparently started this April and launched July. It has been added to the, now venerable,  Audiophile’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Magazines section.

On the about page:

“Resistor Mag favors cultural over commercial impact; handbuilt craftsmanship over effective branding. We will remain fairly indifferent about measurements and specifications, while placing a premium on the more enduring aspects of arts, culture and the musicality of playback from hi-fi.

We realize that design and architecture are about more than just aesthetics. We are more inclined to venerate the things we love than to disparage those we do not.

More specifically, think of Resistor Mag as the tape on a reel-to-reel for laying down the tracks of writers, photographers, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs who are resisting the temptation to be basic and will work towards a shared goal of being interesting, inspiring and humorous.”

Neli and I wish Rafe the best of luck.

Check it out if you get the chance…!

Judy Garland… looking for some upbeat music and…

[Oh, yes, black humor is the best humor at times like these…]

Forget your troubles c’mon get happy,
you better chase all your cares away.
Shout hallejulah c’mon get happy
get ready for the judgement day.

 

 

#CommissionsEarned [yep, with all these links to Amazon we thought.. why not? 🙂 So now we’re Amazon Affiliates]

The Girl From Ipanema is a far weirder song than …

The Girl from Ipanema by Joao Gilberto was one of the first songs, [along with Miles’ Kind of Blue], that we heard on a high-fidelity audio system. [Von Schweikert VR4 speakers, Mark Levison 20.6 monoblocks and several other systems at the time – but this is the one I think both Neli and I think of this as our first major audiophile *rush*. We soon bought the 20.6’s (and separately Dunlavy 4 speakers)]

We’ve played Ipanema 1000s of times since [close to 1000 anyway] including many wonderful variations.

Ran across this video [recommended by YouTube (they *used* to have the BEST recommender system) along with fascinating videos from MIT and Ted Talks and, of course, the awful hate and conspiracy B.S. because what would poor old big tech do if it wasn’t spending most of its time pandering to the barbarians at the gates? [yeah, I can think of a lot of things, too. But apparently they can’t]].

The video talks primarily about the music composition –  which is a nice alternative to the ‘backgrounder’ ‘human interest’ perspective that has been popular for several decades now. Kinda over my head but in an enjoyable way that made me come away with a better understanding of the skills that went into creating such a ‘simple’ song as this.

 

DAC Reviews: Audio Note and EMM Labs from Dagogo and SoundStageUltra

Couple o’ great reviews out there on the good parts of the Internet…

Constantine Soo at Dagogo posted a nice review of the Audio Note Fifth Element/Fifth Force DAC. At some point we will post some extra photos from that review as well.

Aron Garrecht at Sound Stage Ultra posed a nice review of the EMM Labs DV2 DAC-Preamplifier. Although our associated gear here is almost the polar opposite of Aron’s we have more or less the same opinion of the sonic signature of the DV2 [how cool is that?!].

[As I post here and elsewhere and read posts from everywhere – I am so often amazed at how people can write such large amounts of content – and similarly how people have the patience to read it. Rarely can I do either].

The DV2 has as it’s forte the ability to render music with subtleties and musicality that no other solid-state DAC approaches [weird, huh? most seem to focus on sonic fireworks and extensive feature-sets] but is a little less dynamic than some [careful vibration control helps].

The Fifth Element + Fifth Force doesn’t sound like a ‘DAC’ at all – can take on mid-price [$30K-50K, say] turntables and is comparable enough [but different! but in a OKAY way] that the only reason to play vinyl anymore is the ‘nostalgic experience’ of it – and makes one take a good hard look at the ‘slacker components’ in the rest of the system and wonder… .

In other words: It is the F*** You DAC.

Stay safe and stay healthy, everyone!