How does a vinyl record work?
Loyal readers will have picked up by now that I believe that understanding the key principles underpinning broader knowledge is essential. It's not that I'm not pragmatic - I'm as keen as the next person for people to trust their ears and listen, but in order to get the most
An Introduction to Roon
One of the biggest problems with digital music, especially streaming, is that it deprives us of the sense of ownership. We long for the days of gatefold LPs, with stunning artwork, copious sleeve notes, lyric sheets, and special editions. We loved to hold them in our hands. Digital is just
Why Hifi Reviews Are Worthless!
Ah, the hifi reviews. Stars. Pros and cons. So much data out there, so easy to make an informed decision. Do your research, make a short list, and either pull the trigger, or visit a few dealers, play them off using price match promises, and you're done. That's how it
First Cartridge Upgrades
Frequently I encounter people who have taken the plunge, and bought themselves a decent turntable to enjoy their growing vinyl collection. Some bought them this time last year, and are now starting to think, either as a present to request, or a treat after Christmas, what the first steps would
I'm particularly interested in music which represents crossovers. I like to see musicians trying to incorporate ideas from other traditions, blending approaches, and producing a fusion of sound. My article on Jazz / Jazz Fusion touched on this. Today I'm going to talk about a specific instance of this approach -
The Three Kings: 20th Century Poet meets 21st Century Composer
The musical life of Portsmouth Cathedral [https://www.portsmouthcathedral.org.uk/] is busy, varied, and a wonderful source of ideas and inspiration. Two of my children are choristers there, and master of choristers David Price [https://twitter.com/drdavidprice] curates a fascinating blend of musical ideas. Last Christmas, one of
Sonos vs Yamaha MusicCast: Which is the best wireless home sound system?
When I started in the industry, independently selected and controlled music in every room was the preserve of the very rich. I designed and built some incredible systems (including for a certain Robbie Williams), but they were complicated and expensive. Nowadays good quality wireless home sound systems are within reach
In praise of Ultravox
Occupying pride of place in my record collection are the four studio albums released between 1980 and 1984, by 'New Wave' band Ultravox. Frequently, music from one's childhood and early adulthood dates, ferociously, and other than evoking certain sentimental memories, rarely stands up to sustained listening. In my case, Ultravox
SACD is not dead!
Super Audio CD (SACD) was jointly launched by Sony and Phillips in 1999, with the promise of offering better quality sound than CD, and multi-channel audio. Although widely considered a commercial flop, a mere audiophile curiosity, in fact for classical music lovers, the format is alive and well, and well
Just say no! Why cheap turntables destroy your records
One of the side-effects of the so-called "vinyl revival" is the proliferation of "budget" turntables from high street and online retailers. Brands such as Crosley, Steepletone, and Ion produce turntables for less than £100 (often much less), styled in a vintage manner, often including speakers, volume control, and maybe even
Advent Music Part Two
In Part One [http://https://audio-advent.ghost.io/christmas-music-ideas-part-one/] I introduced six pieces of seasonally relevant music to savour. Ranging from the slightly obscure second symphony of Krzysztof Penderecki to the glorious but obvious Bach Christmas Oratorio, I hope I gave some ideas. Today I'll introduce some more suggestions, including
Hifi Demos: Blind or Sighted?
One of my most frequently performed tasks, as the owner of a hifi shop, is to help people choose between different hifi components, or systems. In industry speak this is known as "The Dem". It's a relatively simple concept - the client listens to some music on one system, then
Thread Pulling: Jazz, Jazz Fusion and Free Jazz, via Soft Machine
One of the great things about my line of work is that I come into contact with different types of music every day. Sometimes a client will bring a record or a CD that sparks a conversation, which leads to a series of fruitful discoveries. Sometimes they'll simply drop a
An introduction to Digital to Analogue Convertors (DACs)
Earlier in this series I talked about an essential component in the analogue signal path - the phono stage or phono preamp. In this article I'm going to introduce the DAC or 'Digital to Analogue Converter'. DACs are a hotly debated subject. Spend just five minutes online and you'll find
Six of the Best: Advent Music Ideas
This time of year can be painful for a music enthusiast. The nights start to draw in, chimneys are swept, children start thinking about presents, homes and streets are bedecked with tinsel and trees, and in every blessed shop, every day, we're assaulted with Slade, and Wham!, and Paul Bleeding