The Funk Firm Houdini has added focus, lowered distortion, improved dynamics slightly but, most importantly, the music now floats out of the speakers in a way digital never really manages. This is in quite a high-end front end. Without exaggerating, I would compare the effects to a successful £2000 upgrade or 25% improvement in my set-up and I have had over 40 years of experience in getting the best out of systems. What is particularly interesting about Houdini is that I can’t think of an upgrade in any part of the Hi-Fi chain where quite that same improvement in space and perspective within the soundstage is achieved. The music sounds closer to the real event rather than just different.
Record sleeves even with specialist pressings are often made of cardboard and put fine scuffs on the records every time they are removed. This can cause surface noise. E.g. Aldous Harding – Party my most recent buy. I have had to buy plastic-lined paper inner sleeves which work well but now the original cardboard one no longer fits.
Damaging new LP records.
I LIKE THE HONESTY OF THIS ARTICLE SO I HAVE POSTED IT WITH PERMISSION FROM LAVARDIN.
What is the best rack to put under an amplifier?
A platform for audio components should firstly support the component stably and secondly be itself as neutral as possible.
For this reason, placing components on resonating materials seems like a really bad idea. Some materials which at first may not be suspected of resonating do in fact do so much more than expected: glass, marble, even granite and all minerals and metals have very poor self damping properties and allow vibrations to be stored, amplified and sent back to the component.
The ultimate material is wood. Wood is made of random fibres that conduct energy and reduce it when energy has to pass from one fibre to another. Moreover, plywood behaves much better than solid wood because of its thin crossed layers that allow a maximum dispersal of energy. Chipboard and “medite” powdered wood do not spread energy because they lose the fibrous structure of real wood.
For these reasons, avoid any stand made completely or partially with:
– Minerals, glass, marble, granite, ceramic: dry sound, too much treble, loss of nuances.
– Carbon fibre, compounds, polyester, etc: as above.
– Metal, steel, aluminium, …. loss of nuances, aggressive sound.
– Pressed wood and medite: loss of detail and nuances.
– Solid wood: expensive and not as good as plywood : simplified music, loss of nuances.
– Springs, rubbers, magnets, air chambers: loss of treble, detail and nuances.
From our point of view, combining minerals with metal, rubber and everything else, is not a demonstration of know-how…
As soon as the life of the music is killed by poor sounding audio racks, tonal balance remains the only thing to discuss, sadly…
If you have a solid, well-built, heavy piece of wood furniture supporting your equipment, it has a good chance of sounding far better than most of the Super High Tech Space or Formula One technology ( ! ) options available on the market.
Furthermore, you can add a thick board of plywood under each component for even better results….
I often get asked about this and some speaker manufacturers like to avoid stating average impedance when they quote speaker sensitivity…
In 2002, Paul Messenger described beautifully the paradox of 4 Ohm speakers.
‘Over the years, speaker makers have tended to evolve their designs to suit the typical transistor amplifier which is essentially a voltage source with a low source impedance.
Halve the speaker’s impedance from 8 to 4 Ohms and the speaker draws twice the current and power from the amplifier. This extra power gives an increase in apparent (though mythical) sensitivity. Once one manufacturer adopts the strategy, others feel obliged to follow.’
A 4 ohm speaker actually draws 2W when provided the voltage required to provide 1W into an 8 ohm speaker so a 93db 4 ohm speaker is no easier to drive than a 90db 8 ohm one!
Many years ago I used to curse the overly complex 4-5 piece RCA plugs which were often referred to as ‘SME’ plugs.
I don’t know if SME made them but they were dreadful.
Often attached to arm leads the wires would shear, come loose and cause all sorts of intermittent problems.
The screen wires were trapped by a threaded portion which would soon enough break off the filaments or develop a loose connection.
To my surprise, some Chord cables use a similar design of RCA plug with a plastic outer casing.
My Chord iChord lead has been very unreliable with the centre pins sometimes sticking in the socket and the plastic body sliding off the plug (hence the ugly glue fix) and the same issues with the screen- pinching piece needing tightening and the screen coming detached.
Now, the last straw, the earth has sheared causing a rare drive-unit to be blown…
There has been some confusion about our status. We never traded as Audioflair Ltd. We applied to be a Ltd Co to protect the Audioflair name but it remained dormant until it was voluntarily dissolved by us in 2016. I have always been a sole trader and still am.
There’s a new little star in the constellation of our cartridges: the name is Vasari, the sound is…well, just read the review by Jeff Dorgay on this month’s issue of TONE Audio if you want to find out:
“With decent cartridges in the four-figure range, what’s the new audio enthusiast to do? Four words: Gold Note Vasari Gold. And you can get one for $385.”
The brand new DS-1000 is our take on music streamers, we suggest to use it in pair with QNAP or Synology NAS and your favourite UPnP music server (like MinimServer) to achieve the best reproduction quality.
You can also use DS-1000 to enjoy TIDAL or Qobuz simply installing the MConnect Player app (see MConnect for iOS and MConnect for Android) on your smartphone and tablet.
Visit www.qobuz.com/goldnote to try the service for free with a 1 Month trial – please remember that Qobuz is not worldwide available yet.
Now DS-1000 is also on 6moons:
“DS-1000 fears no competition. It is a very complete versatile machine with an unusually extensive upgrade path […] From a sonic standpoint, what else can be said than mission accomplished? Elegance, vividness, resolution, transparency and great dynamics honor the essence of music.”
Dear Music Lover,
I write to share a review of the new Enterprise. The review highlights our great achievements producing compact loudspeakers that outperform loudspeakers twice their size from the standpoint of bass reproduction, soundstaging/imaging, and value.
Both the PSB T2 and the Vienna Mozart Grand SE are roughly twice the size of the Enterprise. Moreover, The PSB T2 has (3) 5.25 inch woofers. The Vienna Acoustics has (2) 6.5 inch woofers. The Enterprise has (2) 4.5 inch woofers.
The reviewer found the Vienna Mozart Grand SE is similar to the Enterprise in the overall beauty of its tonality and color, but its bass is not as extended, as taut, or as accurate as the Enterprise’s. And Vienna Mozart Grand SE doesn’t produce the large, layered soundstage that the Enterprise renders both in height and width. He noted that the “PSB Imagine T2 has very good macro-dynamics, but its overall presentation is not as silky smooth/musical as the Enterprise.”
And concluded that, The Enterprise will compete with speakers at least double their price and outperform much more expensive stand-mounted monitors both in soundstaging and bass extension.”
You can read the review here.
Look for the new review of the Tuscany Gold by Michael Fremer in this Month’s issue of Stereophile and you will not be disappointed!
“The Tuscany Gold had a fine, beautifully balanced sound”
read the review
Tuscany cartridges feature an extra-thin Micro Ridge diamond tip developed with Adamant-Namiki, the worlds most famous professional Diamond manufacturer: the special multi faced shape cut guarantees the best deep vinyl groove contact possible.
The new full-range, 3 way loudspeaker with anti-turbulence rear bass reflex and ribbon tweeter is finally here!
- TWEETER – custom AMT ribbon.MIDS – 150mm curved cone in ultra-hardened woven polypropylene with custom copper phaser.
- BASS – 2 x 180mm curved cones in ultra-hardened woven polypropylene with custom copper phaser.
- CROSSOVER – low-high dual-slope at 280Hz & 3000Hz with resistive design and triple crossover network.
XT-7 means Italian design and craftsmanship, high quality materials, the best audio grade components made in Germany by Mundorf and amazing custom drivers developed in collaboration with SEAS.
With many solutions directly derived from our flagship model XS-85, here is one of the best loudspeakers we have ever created. Handmade with passion in Italy.
Many balanced leads available in the HI-FI World are not – one earth pin is either not connected internally or bridged in a pseudo-balanced way. Glue-up plug barrel – Hey Presto!
I have had many Croft Series 7 hybrids through my hands over the years and they do not run hot. They run warm as owners will attest. Yet, when being technically measured by Stereophile, they managed to make the Croft Integrated amplifier run ‘very hot’ and considered it a fair report.
My suspicion is that a music signal is less stressing to some amp topologies than the ‘steady-state one third power signal into a simulated load’ used by the technical reviewers.
So a topology of amp which tolerates this will have a technical advantage over one that does not. Of course, if you like to listen to a single note all the time….
As mentioned I have loaned out all my Vertex gear to a customer for a 1 week trial period.
A pair of large 3 way speakers with 12 inch bass drivers are out on demonstration to another customer who has concluded that they need to be played too loudly to be at their best in his set-up. In my room, with Vertex installed and the same Croft amplification, there is no such problem and they play excellently at low volumes – interesting…
One of the first things that strikes you about the Vertex range is that it is fantastic at controlling boom levels * – my 10.5 ft wide demo room with suspended floor can now work with unfeasibly large speakers even with 15 inch bass drivers thanks to Vertex.
I have loaned out all my Vertex gear to a customer for a 1 week trial period and the boom is back and unbearable forcing me to change back to mini-monitors!
I remember this being a big issue before discovering this brand.
(* Actually, the first thing that strikes most people trying the Vertex gear is the better image placement/separation and lower noise floor. But each system is different and my main issue had been boom levels and the need to demonstrate various speakers of all sizes. )
EX-DEM IN VENDITA EURO 3000.
The new PH-11 is Gold Note’s flagship reference MM/MC phono preamplifier featuring a high current battery power supply with automatic temperature stabilizer to produce the best audio performance.
It is a fully-balanced three-chassis unit with four batteries and an intelligent charging power supply.
(A sophisticated system automatically recharges all four batteries exactly when needed without interrupting the unit’s operation.)
This fabulous Gold Note deck is available ex-dem with the Tuscany Gold cartridge and the PH-11 phono stage.
The sculpted, solid walnut lower plinth adds an authority to the sound and the new pulse-width modulating Fiorino TSC speed control/power supply gives great pitch and dynamics offering the advantages of AC set-ups which major on torque together with the detail-enhancing silent background DC set-ups are renowned for.
DEMONSTRATOR AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT EX-DEM PRICE – please e-mail me for details.
See link for more details: http://www.goldnote.it/wordpress/mediterraneo/
If you want to make the most of your async audio DAC, put together a powerful computer which runs silently. You can leave out the graphics card which has no positive affect on the Music at all.
A PC running Windows 7 and JRiver Media Player will work just fine. You can tweak these further by adding a program such as JPlay which optimises the processes on the computer ensuring that priority threads are available for music playing.
Better still you can have the convenience of your smart phone as the remote control – this truly is so very handy to use. Not forgetting also the amazing amount of musical material for you to explore now that you are running from a Computer connected to the Internet. You don’t get a shabby performance from Spotify (though variable from track to track) – it certainly allows you to browse thousands of musical catalogues where you will get to hear music you enjoy that you never had the chance to explore so instantly before.
Its gets more complicated – but in short – the more processor and memory you have in your PC the better. It would not seem logical to worry about CPU power for just music making – but it affects the musical timing! If you can push through those musical bits with `muscle` then timing will improve – and timing makes a significant difference when it comes to toe-tapping musicality. Funnily enough, it also really enhances and solidifies the bass! Quality bass really does underpin the music!
Our Gold Note audio DACs respond well to this, they already sound superb as they are a truly asynchronous USB device – using XMOS technology along with NOS (no oversampling). Many strive to modify CD players so that they do not over-sample and just leave the bits alone without toying with them. Gold Note have realised this in their audio DAC range right the way down to their budget DAC-7 which you must listen to fully appreciate if you get the chance!
The DAC used in the Gold Note range is known as the ‘Miracle DAC’, which is in effect the AKM AK4396, using AKM’s multibit architecture for its modulator. Furthermore, according to Gold Note: “we are the only one on the market I know to have the USB Pin1 V-BUS 5Volt isolated using the proper power supply to avoid interferences with the audio signal” – however with the DAC-7 you need to add the external power supply to achieve this isolation.
No standard digital filters are used either, Gold Note uses an FIR implemented by themselves.
All Gold Note DACs are asynchronous and deploy high speed USB 2.0 which can handle any streaming up to 24bit resolution and 192KHz natively.
But overall there are a large number of reasons for why something sounds good. Asynchronous technology is one, but Latency is another even more important one.
The master clock of the converter works in the Gold Note designs at 27MHz, 24,576MHz and 16,934MHz. There are three separate master clocks using three different high precision oscillators with 7ppm precision to guarantee a very low jitter.
Anyway enough of the technical mumbo jumbo, some may be interested to know the underlying technology which may help to understand the value behind the product range, but all will want to appreciate the music – in the end I believe you should let your ears be the judge.
Contact me for more information – and auditions of course.
Role Audio recently presented the Sampans, Sampan FTLs, Skiffs and the new NSMT 100M at the Audio Axpona Show driven by Logitec Squeezebox Touch and Peachtree iNova. No bass traps, no props. They simply placed the speakers in the middle of one of the worst sounding rooms. Some people said the room was the best sound of the show, some said the room was among the best six, and some said the combinations Role Audio displayed were the best value at the show.
We have the fantastic Gold Note DAC7 and streamers from Blacknote that sing on the end of a Squeezebox Touch or a Computer using the Asynchronous USB implementation that Gold Note are proud of.
Come to us for an alternative to the Arcam rDAC, Musical Fidelity DAC, Rega DAC etc – find out what our Italian DACs are capable of!