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Everything posted by Butcher

  1. I've arrived late to this party. Would there be any chance of the 2014 Reference CD taking a 2nd run? Perhaps a 2024 10th anniversary re-issue? OR - assuming Mark would still be interested - should we do a new Reference disc list for 2024? I have some nominees if we do that, and since we've at least a few members over the preceding decade, perhaps some of them would have recommendations.
  2. Greeting Ben, and welcome to the site. Hafler amplifiers are robust and relatively simple designs, but the work was completed with passive components that were rather, shall we say... economically chosen. I've redone my share of them and had excellent results for reasonable amount of effort and cost. Whilst you've established that your Hafler 500 has been a spot of bother for you, you've not said what that bother is. Could you please elaborate?
  3. Did you find a C-1 to go with your Perreaux?
  4. Ooooh, a threadjack in progress, let me play! What is your opinion on the Amplifi/Ubiquiti mesh routers?
  5. And indeed you have. Thank you for clearing up that bit of Schiit.
  6. Oh dear, the forum appears to have gone wonky. Post send doesn't bring me to the bottom of the thread, it just sits there. So I mistakenly reposted twice more and the "its a duplicate of your last post you sodding git" message didn't come up. Have I broken the system?
  7. I spent some time looking at that and it appears to be interesting Schiit indeed. Analog as my brain is, I don't quite understand the difference between the $99 DAC and the $299 "Multibit", other than the obvious price disparity. What does the one do that the other cannot? I believe either one would be a nice addition to my gum-and-bailing-wire Airplay node.
  8. Phone support is largely the bane of mankind. The support worker claiming through their thick accent that they're speaking to you from Omaha and asking you about the weather, strict adherence to flow-chart remedies, and when they encounter something outside their limited flow chart there's the inevitable "I will have to check with my supervisor I will return please wait" followed by interminable hold music on a 30 second loop. When I was a lad the sound was kindly referred to as "lift music", meaning Muzak versions of popular songs expired at least 15 years ago. No bends in the notes, nothing less than a quarter note, bass keyboard keeping the time instead of drums. Later on this was replaced with something akin to stock music used in videos of a prurient nature, and we've now gotten to the point where the vile "dubstep" has appeared on holds, in between messages telling us to "please wait" and "have you heard about our new... " thing that I've already bought and its broken and thats why I rung you up, you treacle-laden whore. I would imagine eventually the woke will claim this hold area as their own and start broadcasting messages about race theory and feminist intersectionality or whatever this nonsense is called while we await the next person who will refuse to believe we've already rebooted the modem twelve times and insist we do that and a factory reset while they have us on the phone.
  9. Thats certainly one way to do it. Quite a hefty investment though. If I were to spend that much on music management for my home I'd have just bought a Mac Mini. It would have become a full-fledged server then, and one could plug the DAC of choice into it, should one be so inclined. For my own uses, I stay away from streaming music from the outside world. I've read some truly terrifying things about the information being compiled on paid customers of such services. And of course I like to own my music. Its not much trouble for me to rip and add the appropriate art, and at under $50 per unit for one in like-new condition, adding Airport extenders to the system here is both easy and cost-effective. Or as I call them, "Oiport!" for those rare moments when the Airplay connections drop. "Oi! What now?"
  10. Thats interesting. I've seen those implementations before but never delved into them. How do you remotely control said streamer?
  11. I had a few moments after that last post to think to myself, "Oi, what about that other system upstairs? Y'know, that one system as opposed to all the other systems? Don't you want music streams going that a way?" I had one router left, a truly ancient one that looks to all the world like a laptop power adapter, so I decided to repurpose that thingie. Plug it into the wall outlet next to my desk computer, find it with the setup utility, name it, try to update it a couple of times but its so old the firmware is rather soft and moldy so no updates, but it tests out ok. So I pull it out of the wall, run it up the stairs, stop for a moment and breathe heavily, then plug it in with all the appropriate cables and such. Cracking good music source, and this one is controlled from my iPhone. I do believe I'll sieve me a few more of these "outdated" routers from the stagnant pool that is eBay and have a go at this with the other, oh, 9 systems in the Schloss.
  12. I liked her in my youth, much less so as time passed. This song, however you feel about Carly, is probably her masterwork. I'd almost swear it was written by Greg Lake, for it has his depth of material.
  13. I must bring this thread back from the nether, for I have progress to report. I was mucking about on the Drop forum and found a thread very similar to this one. One participant had achieved some success by re-purposing an old Apple router as a music source for his stereo. I happen to have several boxes of cast-off computer bits, and I found a pair of old Airport Wifi routers in there. I took the newer of the pair, which is called the Express, or Extreme, or Exuberant, or whatever marketing superlative they used. The important part is that it is an 802.11alphabet router with an analog audio out on the back. Use the Airport setup program to set the modem up as an extender, and plug it into the preamp. I've gotten mine set up with my old office system: Adcom preamp and amplifier, Canton bookshelf speakers. My MacOS computer supplies the sound over the Music program, but you can use anything that supports Airplay. If I decided I don't want to sit at the desk but rather in the lounger over in the corner of the office, I can use my phone to control the system. Since my music is stored on a NAS drive next to my primary router, every device in the house signed into the network can make these bits work. Using the computer or phone, I can change tracks in my library or use TunedIn, and set the EQ and volume. The only thing left to do is figure out a remote power switch and then my swiftly decomposing bottom need never leave the chair. Since I'll need a power protector for the office system perhaps I'll find something that can do this.
  14. Indeed. Allow me to offer another instance that relates to yours, if merely tangentially. I recently took upon myself the burden of setting up a system for an old friend. To be more specific, we've been friends for many a year, and he's got more than a few years behind him. Still, he yearns for a good sounding stereo and I aim to steer him in a direction that's a good value and pleasing to the ears. I coached him into buying an NAD integrated, much the same as mine. Upon hearing said amp with several different speakers, I've established that the power circuit needs to be refreshed at a minimum. Without getting into audio snobbery, just take my word when I say it must be done for the good of all. He's had a few pair of my speakers at his house, along with one of my amps, and my NAD acting as preamp, to stand-in for his while I adjusted a few things on it and built an order sheet for refresh parts. He was at a loss for why he didn't like one pair of speakers, so I tried to instruct him on critical listening. I'd brought along a few of my favorite test CDs and played a bit. As I began to talk about a particular track and what to listen for (usually its the magic cowbells or marimba or whatever, which one should notice floating in space about 6-8 feet ahead), he just waved his hand and said "I don't know about any of that, I just want the speakers to sound good". So, imagine my frustration as I wanted to give him a 5 minute course in exactly what to look for out of a good system, and he just wants it to "sound good". I was at an impasse: he thought that "sounds good" was the end of it all, and here I felt he would be able to make better decisions if he just knew why the bits sounded good in the first place. Deep breath, and soldier on. I'm going to upgrade his amplifier and be done with it.
  15. Ah, Fair Warning is excellent indeed. Mean Streets comes to mind, as does Unchained. The former has this wild, galloping easiness to it that builds up into a full on riot. The latter explodes right out of the box, burns as a bright flame, and makes me wish it was at least a minute longer.
  16. McGowan went into detail on that subject. It certainly changed my perspective. The thought that all the Laurel Canyon bands were manufactured was disheartening, but discovering that the go to was Glen Campbell - oh, that was rich.
  17. No need to apologize. I think there was something wrong with the lot of them. The writer/investigator Dave McGowan found their story very interesting; the band materialized from nothing, fronted by a bloke who, despite having no musical training, happened to have quite the library of songs already written, all arranged by a film student who had little keyboard experience. Reading Mr. McGowan's perspective on all that went on in and around the Laurel Canyon crowd was quite interesting. I was an enormous fan of the Doors in my day, but the luster has worn off. If their story is true, we're listening to the crooning of a madman, if it isn't, well we're being played aren't we.
  18. Agreed. Even evil people can do good things, therefore I respect his music.
  19. Agreed, but there were certain times his nasal warbling was appropriate. For instance, he performed on the soundtrack for that peak-80s movie, Band of the Hand. The opening titles were underwritten by his track Hell Town Man, a great rambling blues wreck that kicked Link Wray up a notch, albeit slightly more polished. And of course who could forget Lay Lady Lay? For decades I'd thought that was Charlie Rich or someone of that crowd. Imagine my surprise on one fateful day, when I heard that track on the radio and stuck around long enough to hear the DJ say, "And that was the great Bob Dylan..." I nearly ran to the phone to yell at the DJ for being a prat, but then my calm demeanor returned and had me do a bit of research.
  20. If we must... https://theweek.com/articles/730219/sexual-predators-everyone-still-worships There is far more to the story than any "reputable" rag will print.
  21. Indeed. Shock jocks detracted from people who had actual talent and a rapport with their audience. In the 70s and 80s FM in the west was blessed by the likes of John "Records" Landecker and Russ Albums, people who developed long-lasting fans who followed them through their career. Albums in particular has the most distinctive baritone you will ever hear, and he always seemed to know exactly what to say, no wasted words. On the more commercial side of things one could partake of Wolfman Jack and Casey Kasem (one of the most comforting and engaging voices to ever work a pop-shield). This all gave way to reedy-voiced scoundrels, marinating in the basest of prurient interests, and lowering the collective IQ of the listeners. Perhaps its just me, and when I arrived on the scene here, but I feel that 70s FM radio was peak America. Everything since appears to be either ever-divisible narrowcasting, or highly-moderated groupthink. And with that spoken, I hereby yield the floor.
  22. I recall Dahl's demolition night, as it made it on the news far and wide, even where I was. I believe it reflected the growing frustration in the country at all of the more complex forms of music that were being pushed aside in favor of this new flavor of bubblegum. Disco may have been responsible in part for the demise of prog rock, which was a definite loss to the collective musical ear of the western world. It also helped give rise to the Dadaist punk rock movement. I'm on the fence about that, as without punk we'd never have seen the New Wave of the late Seventies. No Blondie, Devo, no Gary Numan. Nor would we have heard the New Romantics of the Eighties. Tony Carey, Madness, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics. Disco also pushed the folk rock movement into the utter doldrums, while also helping defuse arena rock - though rising ticket prices, drugs busts, and the unfortunate festival seating disaster in Cincinnati offered nary a whiff of help. I think it also helped the corporate takeover of the arena, as an organized response to the disco fluff. We started the decade with Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple but by 1977 it was KISS and the like. Of course we got Queen out of it, the lone band carrying the tatters of the prog banner, so there is that. As to whom the biggest bunghole in rock would be, that question is a rather large boil just begging to be lanced. I would have to say, at the top of the list would be Don Arden, manager, agent, and father-in-law to Ozzy Osbourne. He was an absolute monster and there isn't enough time in this day to tell of all he did, nor do I feel comfortable even discussing him. Suffice it to say that when your own daughter has to take you to law and practically threaten your life to make you go away, you're not at all right with the Lord. The rather long list of festering sphincters would continue with Don Henley, Phil Spector, Madonna, Lou Pearlman, and it keeps going. Drugs, pedophilia, artist exploitation, rape and murder are just some of the wonderful things that goes on in the music business. When people are worshipped by an adoring public they lose all sight of reality, and when there's money to be made from it, the root of all evil gives forth branches. I'm starting to believe that the satanic panic of the Eighties, led by none other than the future ex-Mrs. Gore, was nothing more than a deflection to move the public eye from the absolute carnality of the business and over to that thin charade. The saddest part of this is that what is known is not as bad as what remains hidden.
  23. Another question for you lot, regarding the capabilities of the Oppo 103D. I've recently wanted to watch a few Blu-ray movies and I've always been thwarted by the Sonos bar, which can't handle anything but Dolby Digital. I'm of the understanding that there are a couple of Samsung Blu-ray players that will convert DTS to DD on the fly, as they say in the vernacular. My stellar Oppo player seems to do everything from upscaling to pure audio output to mixing a passable Harvey Wallbanger. Can the Oppo 103D transcode audio ? (For the record, I did RTFM, saw lots of arcane settings, but nothing about transcoding)
  24. I still have my LPs. I'd like to hear the difference between an original pressing of Women and Children First and the remastered CD(s). As an aside, this was my first VH album and also my favorite. Although there was only the one charting song off that LP, I think that overall it represents VH at full flower. Exemplary arrangements, David's voice was flawless and full of character (and before he'd become a caricature of himself), and each instrument came through brilliantly.
  25. Ah, a topic with which I am infinitely familiar... Snobbery is one way your new audio approach can be viewed, but unless the "snob" looks down upon everyone who doesn't achieve the same height I'd rather take that word as the response a limited mind has to stimulus that it can't yet grasp. Pardon me, lads, as I embark on one of my usual lengthy tales. Imagine if you will, you're a teenager, its 1978, and your only exposure to audio is the Kenwood receiver that your family has, along with some file cabinet-sized speakers, and some arcane Garrard or BIC record changer with the lengthy chrome skewer that holds half a dozen LPs in a stack waiting to be put into service during a night's listening. Your friends are in awe of this assemblage of gear. Its loud, its clear, and it looks joyful in its display of knobs and switches and flashy brushed metal bits. In short, its the dog's bollocks. Back in that era stereo stores had interesting names. You might come across Mad Marks or Stereo Stevens, or some other alliterative appellation. Or they had some very ambitious name like UK Power Company or TV & Stereo Towne, or what have you, something that indicated This Place Means Business. Generally, they were all identical with wall-mounted shelves full of the big four- Kenwood, JVC, Pioneer, Sony. You might occasionally wander into what passed for "high end", which meant Marantz or McIntosh. And then one fateful day you happen to be hopping stereo shops, and you happen upon a proper "hifi" shop. You walk in and see the usual receivers from lesser-known but good brands like Aiwa, Sansui, and Harman Kardon. But then the hand beckons you behind the curtain to the back "sound room" where you find out about these things called "separates", also known as "components". There also happens to be a wall of speakers from half a dozen brands you've never heard of. And the cost! A Perreaux amplifier for $1800... a four foot tall pair of JBL speakers for $1500... and the most amazing looking cassette deck ever, from some Japanese manufacturer called "Nakamichi" for the price of... well, that car you drove up to the store in would be a nice start. This "Dragon" appears to be something from the future, and its not easily passed by. There's a record player that looks like it was carved from a solid piece of walnut, with a straight arm on it, when all of the famous brands had these s-curved scimitars assaulting the vinyl, and it has precisely one control - an on/off rocker. For $900 it can only load and play one record at a time and you have to move the tonearm yourself! Who are all these companies? Polk, NAD, Robertson, Carver, dbx, Proton? If they were any good, where's the ads on the telly? Why are there no print ads proclaiming their greatness in Omni? Ah... KEF - I recognize that logo, those blokes in Tovil, but I thought that was just a simple foundry? They make speakers - I'm sorry, LOUDSPEAKERS - that look like furniture? And those in turn are absolutely embarrassed by the looks of these amazing ones from some company called "Canton"? I must hear these for myself, for I am amazed and overwhelmed. And a bit combative, as I'm not used to being taken by surprise. Guard up, healthy scepticism in place, on we go. "Of course you can have a demonstration. Do you have any music with you? Perhaps that cassette we see in your shirt pocket?" "Yes, certainly. Here you go - its Fastway's debut album," and I proudly hand the case over to the salesman. I look forward to hearing Fast Eddie Clarke galloping out of those allegedly fine speakers. He looks askance at it, then me, then proceeds to launch into a healthy diatribe against production cassettes... "Are you aware that these are mass-produced on machines that copy an entire cassette in a matter of seconds, at very high speed?" "No. Why is that a problem?" "Because the tape spends less time under the heads, and you miss a lot of important information. And the tape base is very low quality to begin with. And you see the shell edges? Compare them to this high quality Denon cassette - note the differences in the molding. The Denon cassette is very precise, the factory cassette looks like a prisoner carved it out of a bar of soap. The Denon shell will hold the tape material in a precise relationship to the heads. This thing... this white, plastic... thing... is garbage." Not knowing what to say, I suggest, "Well then what do you have to show me?" "Sit down there," he says, pointing to a pair of chairs in the center of the room, of which I choose one and place my bottom upon it, the rest of me following suit. He reaches for a favorite: Dark Side of the Moon. This is one of the best-produced albums of its era, or the era in which I sat upon that chair, or this era where we're talking about the quality of a recording. Whether one likes the Floyds or not, that album should be up for a Grammy nomination for engineering, perennially, and it should simply win. Or failing that, name the engineering award after that album and move on, and everyone who receives that award thereafter should be honored to have it and also feel a slight sting knowing that they'll never achieve that height. Whereas the rest of the rock world was trying to outdo the Phil Spector Wall of Sound, these gents from out of nowhere come up with this brilliant, restrained, detailed production. Everything had its place, nothing extraneous. Alan Parsons conquers the world, in one perfect album. He places that LP - which came in a slightly unusual sleeve which looked like the standard album cover but with a bright gold band across the top of it proclaiming that it was "Half Speed Mastered" or some similarly arcane term - upon said record player (henceforth to be known as a "turntable" lest you appear to be a complete Philistine), which oddly has been on and platter rotating this entire time, despite not having any vinyl upon it. And then, rather than simply placing the needle upon the vinyl and proceeding thusly, the salesman takes out a hand-sized tube covered in what appears to be velvet or microcloth, sprays it with some clear chemical, and then he places it lightly against the record surface, radially, and rotates the tube as the vinyl passes by underneath it. He shows me the surface of the tube, which now has a line of dusty lint upon it. "How often do you clean your LPs when you play them? You're supposed to do it before every listening session." "Um..." Then he grabs something that looks vaguely like a mustache trimmer, points it at the spindle and pushes a button, and then slowly draws his hand to the outside edge of the record. "Nagaoka static killer. It eliminates a lot of the pops you might hear." Then he says, "Choose a pair of speakers," so I point at the largest pair, from the aforementioned Polk. He makes some adjustments to a selector board, and sound begins to come out of the speakers. Its not the usual pops and crackles I was used to hearing from my home system, but rather this very quiet feeling that there was something coming through those speakers. And then, the first track "Speak to Me" began, leading into "Breathe". I was astounded. Where before I might have just acknowledged 'Yes, Pink Floyd is playing. Great stuff. Louder please!' now I noticed it wasn't just this monolithic sound. My home receiver could play it loud and it could also play it clear at the same time, but nothing like this. I could distinguish the instruments from each other, and the vocals were bright and lively. It was like leaving a small room for a larger one. When the album side ended, the salesman played a few other things on a new thing called a compact disc player. He chose a disc titled "Tricycle" from the group "Flim & the BBs". Not yet in stores, they had gotten it from a new studio - DMP - at the most recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Listening to this album I could hear not just individual instruments, but the actual work each band member was doing: the gliss of a pick hitting a string, the attack of the sticks upon the skins, the resonance of each drum cavity. Cymbals were so realistic I felt they were in my head. It seemed like I could even hear the room that each song was recorded in. And the whole thing appeared before me, with my eyes closed, in three glorious dimensions. I could point in space at where each instrument was located. I could note how far away from my chair those instruments were. Mentally, I had just walked out of the large room and left the house, and I was now experiencing the wild for the first time. My mind expanded further. I opened my eyes and began to focus on the equipment arrayed upon the shelves like jewelry. NAD, Hafler, Denon, Carver. I must have it. So I began showing up at the audio store every day. I began helping out. Eventually I began representing these products to people who walked in the store. One fine day I brought home a complete stack of Hafler components. A Denon CD player and turntable. A Nakamichi cassette deck. Monster cables. Those bizarre Nagaoka products. I was most likely the only person in their mid-teens who could have contemplated and achieved such a system in that day, in my entire area. So now that I've authored that little narrative, I come to my point. After hearing that system, that first day, I'd say I wouldn't want to go back to listening to anything from Kenwood or Sony or Pioneer. Yes they all made excellent equipment for the time, very solidly built. It played loud and clear, and there were no complaints, but once you hear precise detail in three dimensions, at volume levels ranging from quiet to comfortable to garment-rustling, there's no chance of going back to mass market audio. Well, there's a slim chance, perhaps if thats all there was to listen to, but I'd say there was a better chance of a snake making it across a busy highway on a frigid winter's day. And even less chance that I'd have a Sanyo car stereo (there's a story there for another time). One cannot achieve sonic bliss and then go back to dreck. There was a very talented American science fiction author who used to relate a story of something called "Chandresekhar's Other Limit". Apparently a scientist who drafted the first specification of the limit of mass on a stable white dwarf star, Chandresekhar also got into a bit of philosophy when he tried to explain how there are barriers one can cross where one finds it impossible to impart understanding to those one leaves behind. In his example, Chanresekhar told of a dragonfly larva, born into a stream or pond or other body of water. The surface of the water was a barrier to them, and the water was their entire existence. They had no idea what was beyond the barrier. As the larvae matured, occasionally one would approach that barrier, pass through, and never be seen again. Did they die? Well, one of the larvae, a strong bold fellow, announced that he would be the one who would return and let them all know what lay beyond the barrier. As the time passed he felt drawn to it, and one fateful day he pierced that barrier and moved beyond it. His newly-found wings unfurled, he launched into the open air, and he suddenly knew his purpose. He looked down at the water, determined to return and fulfill his promise, yet he couldn't. If he landed in the water he was at risk of death, and if he tried to swim below the surface he would drown. Forlornly, he took off into the sky, hoping that everyone he left behind would soon be along. And so, after some time listening to high fidelity equipment, with well-recorded source material - something basically unknown in popular music - you find yourself unable to return. Its not snobbery, its just that you've grown, and you simply can't go back. Did this make sense? I'd like to think so, otherwise I'm just being a pretentious prat. Carry on, lads.
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