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.

 

Not ready to open – but readier

It is unclear how much of the regulations are Santa Clara county and how much are Californian. But these signs are what we needed to have displayed – to remind us and our store visitors what every rational [insert any of a thousand L.A. jokes here – except now not so funny] person already knows about keeping safe and healthy.

In the meantime, Audio Federation is doing well. Mike and Neli are doing well. The rest of the world… the rest of the world needs to crank up the tunes and remember what these short years we are alive are all about.

We have been playing lately with using 3 different DACs for streaming audio using Roon: Audio Note’s DAC Five Signature and Audio Note’s 2-block Fifth Element DAC and Fifth Force power supply and EMM Lab’s DV2 DAC/Pre. A write-up will be forthcoming…

Stay safe. Stay healthy!

 

The Holy Grail of High-end Audio

From my point of view the Holy Grail of High-end Audio is

  • not about technology
  • not about sound and resolution and dynamics [though they are so much fun!]
  • not even really about the music [though I have my preferences]
  • It is about the experience: how it makes me feel and the ‘places’ it takes me.

Haven’t been posting a lot lately. A lot of this is because we have kind of been stuck travelling around the solar system and out among the stars.

See, it just so happened that we got the big Acapella Apollon loudspeakers, the Audio Note flagship Gaku-on amplifiers and the flagship Harmonic Resolution Systems equipment rack AND Roon all at more or less the same time.

Didn’t plan it this way. Would have tried to avoid it if we could do it over again. But here we are.

The OVERWHELMING improvement in the quality and depth of the experience, over what was already one of if not THE best in the Bay Area [my apologies to those who are burnt out on the all the lying superlatives tinged with righteous indignation that the poor internet in drowning in these days – but how else am I to describe this experience?], has been so significant that my ability to focus and report on what we are hearing is extremely difficult.

Let’s come back to Earth and talk about Roon.

Our audacious goal had been to make Roon sound as good as or better than other most other systems when they play vinyl or CD.

We lucked out in that the Audio Note level 5 DACs are a great match for streaming music. Their design has always been great for making average redbook CDs sound like they are supposed to [as opposed to the majority of other DACs that emphasize the flaws and only sound good on ‘audiophile-grade recordings’]. And this has translated perfectly to making streaming music sound like it is supposed to.

When the industry went from vinyl to CD, all we got was a little more convenience. Going from CD to streaming, we got literally 1000s of times more music. For old timers like me this is like Christmas over and over and over again.

I thought I had all of Frisell’s albums. Nope. And Jarre’s and Floyd’s and Neil’s. Nope. So many [new to me] albums of my favorite artists to be played. And more or less for free. [ And I can find them when I want to 🙂 ]

And they sound GREAT.

I mean, what can I say? [I can say the EMM Labs NS1 is a big step up over the old Auralic streamer. More detail, flatter response, less grunge. There you do, standard audiophile stuff]

This whole thing has been almost a religious experience [and I wonder about that ‘almost’]. The experience is ongoing …and I will write more about the Experience until I am better able to write about the nitty gritty audiophile details.

The cover photo is from the 10 hour long video [it gets boring after like a minute, IMO, but cool idea]: