Should I Choose a Moving Magnet or Moving Coil Phono Cartridge?

One May be Better for Your System than the Other. By Jeff Leaming    If you are new to the world of vinyl playback, getting started can be confusing and overwhelming. What turntable should I get?  What kind of receiver or amp do I need? Will I have to get a phono preamplifier? These are just a few of a multitude of questions that those just entering into vinyl playback will be faced with.    Once you’ve figure out your basic setup, then comes one of the most complicated issues to tackle.  Moving coil or moving magnet? If you attempt to find …

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Paired: Rega Planar 6 Turntable & Bryston BP-2 Phono Stage

There is something comforting about owning products made by companies who have been in business for decades, before the digital age, and who build their products in their countries of origin. Two such companies are UK based Rega Research, and the Canadian firm Bryston. Both companies have been around since the 70’s, and have much in common. Both Rega and Bryston make complete system components, from soup to nuts. That includes, turntables, CD players, speakers, amplifiers, phono preamps, and DACs. Both companies are also engineering driven, and ignore fads and trends. There a few distinct differences between them as well. …

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LP Review: Sophia Pfister’s Birdcage

Los Angeles based multi-faced artist Sophia Pfister had just released her full length debut LP, Birdcage, when we published our interview with Pfister this year. She had previously released an EP on vinyl, and as a Bandcamp download. Suffice it to say, Birdcage has been on such heavy rotation among our staff we felt a review was warranted. We feel this is one of the best albums of 2018 and is a major artistic accomplishment. Birdcage does what the very best pop records do, it transports you. Listening to both sides one is temped to call it a “song cycle”, …

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Intona Professional USB 2.0 Reference Hi Speed Cable

As of mid 2018, virtually all high resolution digital sources have USB outputs. This includes the most widely used by audiophiles, namely, network file players / streamers. There are a number of very good reasons for this. This includes the accepted technical superiority of asynchronous USB, as well as the fact the USB protocol can be used to decode all currently known file formats, including DSD. Naturally, a high end, audiophile grade USB cable market appeared several years ago, with virtually every analog signal cable manufacturer designing and selling their own USB cables. The prices of some of these cables …

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An Interview With Recording Artist Sophia Pfister

Sophia Pfister is a Los Angeles based multi-faceted artist who works in several mediums, and we were taken by her debut EP which was sold on Bandcamp as a download, and on a self financed vinyl pressing. Sophia recorded a full length LP, Birdcage, which quite frankly, blew us away. It is available for purchase directly from her website. Along with being a talented songwriter and recording artist, Sophia is visual artist, model, and writer. She graciously agreed to an interview.  1) Can you give our readers a personal history, and a bit about your early musical influences? I don’t …

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TCXO Audiophile Switch By The Linear Solution

As of mid 2018, it is clear that network streaming, whether from locally stored files, or via streaming services, has over taken optical disc playback for high end hobbyists. Don’t get us wrong, plenty of folks still open the well on their CD, DVD, or SACD players and insert discs, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. But high resolution downloads and the ability to rip SACDs easily now has made network playback all too convenient, and some would say, superior sonically, although we take no stand on that. The Ethernet pipeline as a source has matured to the …

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Record Hunting Chapter 1: Bobbie Gentry

The great, great Bobbie Gentry made 7 albums during her too short career, spanning from 1967-1971. Her incredibly unique blend of country, folk, and sophisticated pop remains under appreciated to this day.  That being said, many of her original compositions are covered often, including the iconic “Ode To Billy Joe”, and “Son Of A Preacher Man”. Interestingly, she also covered many artists her self, including The Beatles, Jimmy Webb, and Burt Bacharach. Gentry has actually been pretty well served on decent sounding CDs, but her LPs have not been reissued in high quality. Thus, record hunting is the mission. In …

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Great New LP Review Site: vinylreviews.com

Vinyl lovers have few really excellent sources for reviews and even basic information about the huge number of LP reissues hitting the shelves. Well, that has changed. Check out: Vinyl Reviews The site was founded by Shane Buettner, who just happens to be the owner of the superb reissue label called Intervention Records, which does AAA vinyl reissues, and SACDs. Speaking of AAA, Vinyl Reviews has a designation for all analog mastering, aside from notes about sound quality. Both Vinyl Reviews and Intervention Records are doing really great things for music lovers..

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Five Great Sounding Phono Stages under $500

We all know that it is easy to get carried away with spending on a vinyl set up..chasing performance by “upgrading” cartridges, cables, sub-platters, and power supplies, etc. One area where some vinylphiles often get stumped with is choosing a nice sounding phono preamp that won’t devour a big part of your bank account. This is, of course, assuming you don’t have a built in phono stage in your preamp or integrated amp, which is always an ideal solution. Here is a list of 5 really great sounding phono preamps under $500, based on panel listening, and direct experience. These …

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