Koss Totem Mani 2 76 Users Manual

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No. 76

ISSN 0847-1851
Canadian Publication Sales
Product Agreement
No. 40065638
Box 65085, Place Longueuil,
Longueuil, Qué., Canada J4K 5J4
Printed in Canada


LOUDSPEAKERS: Does the Totem Mani-2
still rate as one of the world’s truly great
speakers? We also look at an economy
speaker from an old friend, Castle. And an
affordable speaker with a Heil tweeter.
get out hands on the newest Squeezebox,
and find that a computer can bury many a
“high end” CD player
PLUS: Paul Bergman on speaker
impedance, and how to measure the
impedance of your own speaker

ASW Speakers


also available in silver


ASW Genius

“It has all the volume you could
ever want, its bottom end goes
down to bedrock, and its top end is
delightfully smooth.”
UHF No. 73
Audio Excellence, Toronto
(905) 881-7109
Audio Two, Windsor
(519) 979-7101



FIM Accessories
Perfect Sound
Nitty Gritty
Gradient Speakers
LAST record care

Arcadia Audio, Brampton
(416) 994-5571


Waroc Information, Bolton
(416) 937-9276

Audiophile CDs

Just May Audio
111 Zenway Blvd., Unit 9
Tel. : (905) 265-8675 • Fax : (905) 265-8595
www.justiceaudio.com • sales@justiceaudio.com

Audiophile LPs

The Listening Room

Issue No. 76

The Totem Mani-2 Signature	
It was 14 years ago that this astonishing
loudspeaker wowed us. Now the Signature version
does it again


The Elac 204 Speaker	
An inexpensive bookshelf speaker that comes with
the fabled Heil tweeter


Castle Richmond 3i Speaker	
It looks rather like the superb (bu!t no longer made)
Castle Eden, only with both dimensions and price
tag scrunched down
Headphone Amplifiers	
We slip on our cans and try some amp options: the
Lehmann Black Cube Linear, the CEC HD53R,
and the built-in phone amp of the Benchmark
DAC1 converter. We also listen to a new headphone
The Squeezebox 3	
Can you get high fidelity by getting a digital signal
from your computer to your stereo system over the
air? And if so, how? Is it better than just listening to
your iPod?
Power on the Go	
Imagine a portable charger that can adapt to all the
electronic stuff you own or ever will own

Cover story:A new look at the contemporary version
of the Totem Mani-2, which we once called one of
the world’s finest speakers. In the background: a
cloudscape of the imagination.


Speaker Impedance	
by Paul Bergman
What it means, how impedance affects
performance, and how you can measure your
speakers’ own impedance


The Totem Man 	
We used the same title last time we talked with
Vince Bruzzese…when Totem was still a startup


Is it like looking for the Unknown Soldier?


Montreal 2006	
by Gerard Rejskind
A leisurely tour of the venerable Montreal show,
now in a new venue


Touring the New/Old Show	
by Albert Simon
Another way of seeing (and hearing!) the show


Future High-Res Discs 	
Blu Ray? HD DVD? And what about the audiophile?

by Reine Lessard
Gordon Lightfoot is back after a near death
experience. Reine looks at the way he changed a
corner of the musical landscape


Software Reviews	
by Reine Lessard and Gerard Rejskind


Free Advice	
Classified Ads	
Gossip & News	
State of the Art	

ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine        

UHF Magazine No. 76 was published in May, 2006. All
contents are copyright 2006 by Broadcast Canada. They
may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording, or any information storage or retrieval system,
without written permission from the publisher.
Broadcast Canada
Box 65085, Place Longueuil
LONGUEUIL, Québec, Canada J4K 5J4
Tel.: (450) 651-5720 FAX: (450) 651-3383
E-mail: uhfmail@uhfmag.com
World Wide Web: www.uhfmag.com
PUBLISHER & EDITOR: Gerard Rejskind
EDITORIAL: Paul Bergman, Reine Lessard, Albert Simon
Québec: Reine Lessard (450) 651-5720
Alberta & BC: Derek Coates (604) 522-6168
Other: Gerard Rejskind (450) 651-5720
Stonehouse Publications
85 Chambers Drive, Unit 2, AJAX, Ont. L1Z 1E2
Tel.: (905) 428-7541 or (800) 461-1640
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In Canada sales taxes are extra.
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PRE-PRESS SERVICES: Transcontinental
PRINTING: Interglobe-Beauce

The all-digital issue
	 Until this issue, Albert was taking the widely-admired product photos
appearing in UHF with a Nikon camera on Kodak Portra 160 film. As of this
issue all his photos are digital. UHF has acquired a Sony R1 digital camera.
	 Yes, I know, that means we have in a sense dumped analog (film) for digital,
but in fact that ship sailed a long time ago. The magazine has been printed
digitally for something like a decade, which means that our nice “analog”
film negatives got digitized anyway before placement in our all-digital pages.
The difference: digitization is now taking place right in the camera instead
of a desktop digitizer.
	 Albert is delighted with the results. I think you will be too.
All color, except…
	 Issue No. 75 was UHF’s very first all-color issue, and both our readers and
our advertisers took note. Oh, except for the eight-page insert in the centre
of the magazine, the one for our Audiophile Store. That remained black and
white, and on cheaper paper besides. It has been that way for many years,
with the economy paper intended to hold costs down.
	 But was it holding costs down, or is labor even more expensive than premium paper grades? After the last issue went to press we asked our printer
rep: if we dumped the insert and just added eight more color pages, would it
be more expensive? Or cheaper? We got the answer the next day: it would
be cheaper!
	 That’s why the insert is gone. We scrambled to find color pictures of all
the accessories found in our store, and the store catalog is now on full color
pages. So now we really are all-color, except…
	 Except that audio manufacturers haven’t got the word about color. Check
out the stack of three headphone amplifiers on page 38. Can you believe that’s
a color picture? There isn’t a hint of a tint in any of them. Of course when
you plug one in you’ll probably see a tiny, barely visible blue diode glowing
its little non monochromatic note. Whoopee!
	 Even Apple, that champion of high style in consumer electronics, knows
only two colors, one of which is white and the other of which is not. Good
thing the iPod (on page 45) has a color screen. As for the tragically misnamed
iPod Hi-Fi on page 78…well, I rest my case.

And speaking of the iPod…
	 We’ve already mentioned that a 60 Gb iPod, the largest one available, is
FILED WITH The National Library of Canada and
part of our reference arsenal. We’ve also mentioned that we continue to reject
La Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec.
compressed music.
ISSN 0847-1851
	 A major article in this issue (High End Hi-Fi From Your Computer) explores
Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product No. 0611387
in some detail how a home computer can become your main music source, and
t we
why you don’t have to leave great sound and musicalnsensibilities
zine. BuThe
Ultra High Fidelity Magazine invites contributions. Though
full editio of the maga
a device known as a Squeezebox,let
the aforementioned
all reasonable care will be taken of materials submitted, we UHreview
see, butiPod,
great pa
F lives in
not comp e, as you’ll
this issue was created on. You’ve
cannot be responsible for their damage or loss, however oand
r theother
er eit heread
als offerthe
you can ord
d. Of coone
caused. Materials will be returned only if a stamped selfreaincludes
ery word.
addressed envelope is provided. Because our needs are are used exactlyele
specialized, it is advisable to query before submitting.
	 We figure you wouldn’t settle for less, and neither will we.
Ultra High Fidelity Magazine is completely independent of
ELECTRONIC EDITION: www.magzee.com

About this free e

all companies in the electronics industry, as are all of its
contributors, unless explicitly specified otherwise.


	 How’s this for ironic! You can pay a lot for a magazine,
or you can get it cheaper, and it’s the expensive copy
that’s likely to be tattered, torn, and… yes, dogeared.
	 We mean the newsstand copy. Where do copies sit
around unprotected? At the newsstand. Where do other
people leaf through them before you arrive, with remains of
lunch on their fingers? At the newsstand. Where do they
stick on little labels you can’t even peel off? Well…
	 Surprise! At a lot of newsstands, they do exactly that!
Our subscribers, on the other hand, get pristine copies,
protected in plastic, with the label on the plastic, not the
	 We know what you want is a perfect copy. And perhaps you’d
rather pay
a little less for the privilege of receiving it in perfect condition.
	 As if that weren’t enough, there’s the fact that with a subscription you qualify
for  a discount on one or both of our original books on hi-fi (see the offer on the
other side of this page)?
	 So what should you do?

Read it on your computer. It looks just like the printed
version. Just C$43/13 issues, tax included, worldwide!



ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY, Box 65085, Place Longueuil, LONGUEUIL, Qué., Canada J4K 5J4
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The books that explain…

The UHF Guide to
Ultra High Fidelity
The World of High Fidelity
This long-running best seller includes these topics: The basics of
amplifiers, preamplifiers, CD players, turntables and loudspeakers.
How they work, how to choose, what to expect. The history of hifi. How to compare equipment that’s not in the same store. What
accessories work, and which ones are scams. How to tell a good
connector from a rotten one. How to set up a home theatre system
that will also play music (hint: don’t do any of the things the other
magazines advise). How to plan for your dream system even if your
accountant says you can’t afford it. A precious volume with 224 pages
of essential information for the beginning or advanced audiophile!

This is our original book, which has been read
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It’s a practical manual for the discovery and exploration
of high fidelity, which will make reading other
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the hardware works, including tubes, “alternative”
loudspeakers, subwoofers, crossover networks,
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instructions for aligning a tone arm, and a gauge is
included. A complete audio lexicon makes this book
indispensable. And it costs as little as $9.95 in the US
and Canada (see the coupon).

Five dollars off each of these two books if you subscribe or renew at the same time
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See ordering information on the previous page.

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extension (if you subscribe, use the form on the other side of this page. No need to fill in the information a second time).


At last, all of Gerard Rejskind’s State
of the Art columns from the first 60
issues of UHF. With a new introduction
to each column, 258 pages in all. Check
below to get your copy!
YES! Send me a copy of State of the Art .
It costs just $18.95 (Canada) plus 7% GST (15% in NB, NS, NF), US$18.95 (USA)
CAN$32 (elsewhere, including air mail)


Box 65085, Place Longueuil
Longueuil, Québec, Canada J4K 5J4
	 I’d like to thank you for publishing
the component-by-component description and especially the photo of the
Omega system on the UHF Web site.
I have long been curious to see a photo
of any of your three systems, but since
they are working tools I had assumed
that they were, shall we say, less than
presentable. Given all the equipment and
accessories you review, I had a mental
image of ankle-deep piles of mismatched
interconnects and cables strewn about
the room.
	 It’s also reassuring to see that you
have the same aggravating room problems as your readers (what appears to be
a doorway just left of the left speaker, the
turntable sitting askew on its platform to
allow for access, etc).
	 The combination of the Omega
system photo and the similarly appreciated UHF No. 75 State of the Art article
has given me a sort of speaker positioning awakening. I had always understood
and agreed with your advocacy of
placing the speakers on either side of a
room corner (if possible), but I had not
conceived of being asymmetrical within
that placement (i.e. I had always assumed
that the corner should be exactly midway
between the two speakers). Unless
my eyes are deceiving me, the Omega
system speakers are not centred about
the corner, but are shifted rather significantly to the left. True?
	 Given such an asymmetrical corner
placement, should each speaker nevertheless be about the same distance out
from the wall (as appears in the Omega
system), or can that also be different?
	 Given a decent hi-end system and
acoustics, and a stereo image that
appears to originate midway between
the speakers from the “sweet spot”, how
far off axis should one be able to sit and
still hear that image as being centered
rather than increasingly originating
from the nearest speaker? All the way

out until a speaker is directly in front of
you? Beyond even that?
	 Given the size of standard equipment
racks and the W-8, it looks as though the
inside edges of the Omega Reference
3a’s are about 2 m apart, but only about
30 cm out from the wall (that seems
really close). Given that the Omega
system is in a “large room” just how far
from the speakers is your listening position? I would imagine relatively close.
	 My Totem Mani-2’s are centered
about the narrow wall of a long, narrow
room (8.4 m x 3.5 m) having at best
mediocre acoustics. They are placed
way into the room, about 1.25 m from
the back of the speakers to the wall. I
have always assumed they needed that
much room for their prodigious depth.
In your recollection from the review
you performed (quite a few years ago
now), is that distance too great? (For
reference, my speakers are about 1.8 m
apart centre-centre, and I sit 2.8 m away
from them — and with experimentation
I think that the 2.8 m is about 0.6 m too
far away.)
	 I had rejected an Omega-like speaker
placement when I first bought my house
due to the constraints of the room, but
if the Totems can be significantly closer
to the wall (particularly in a cornercentered placement), then it’s worth a
try experimenting with such a placement to see if I can improve the width
of my currently very narrow sweet spot.
By necessity I’ll almost be in the nearfield (another great UHF article), but
that might help negate the poor room
Jeff Tennant
Jeff, for anyone who missed it, we should
mention that the photos of our Omega system
appeared on line in our ephemeral Virtual
Room, which opened the week before the
Montreal show and remained open through

mid-April. It has since closed, but we expect
to bring back new incarnations of it.
	 We should add that the Omega system
was particularly easy to photograph, but the
Alpha system is a lot closer to the way you
imagine our systems to be.
	 You are right that the speakers have
been placed asymmetrically in the room, but
then the walls on either side are not quite
identical. You noted that there is a doorway
to the left, but there is also a doorway on the
right... actually a large archway to an even
larger room. These are not necessarily bad
things. An open doorway does not reflect
sound, and thus it can be thought of as a
broadband absorber. The speakers are indeed
quite close to the rear walls, about 50 cm
out, a distance that was determined by ear.
Speakers we review are first listened to at the
same distance, then adjusted by ear as well.
The speakers are actually quite far apart,
about 4.5 metres, and we listen, typically,
from about 4 metres back.
The Signature version of the Mani-2 is
reviewed in this issue, and we found that a
distance of about 65 cm from the rear wall
was about right, though that will vary from
room to room. By the way, how far off you
can sit off-axis and still hear a stereo image
depends on speaker placement, acoustics, and
especially the speakers themselves. With our
Reference 3a speakers you can get away with
being well off-axis. The same would be true
of well-placed Totem Mani-2’s.
	 Of all the many enjoyable things on
your Web site, the tour of the Virtual
Room was the best. I would love to see
the same treatment to the other two
rooms you maintain.
	 Thanks for all the good advice.
Jay Valancy
	 First, let me say we appreciate the
opportunity to have UHF Magazine
review our speakers again after so much
time. This new range of Energy speakers is in our opinion one of the best we
have ever made and still continues to
provide Canadian audiophiles with the
best sound available for the money. We
were therefore surprised to read that
your team was unimpressed with the new
Reference Connoisseur RC-70 speakers.
This is one of our most popular speakers
and has, to date, received terrific reviews
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine        

highlighting their tremendous imaging, ultra low distortion with high power we feel, are unfounded. We think the
Energy brand and its loyal customer base
dynamics and musicality.
	 Tom Norton, of Stereophile and 	 All of us here feel the new RC-70 deserved better.
Ultimate AV fame, had a totally different surpasses the performance parameters
Scott Goodman
opinion of the RC-70 than your team. that were established by the original
Energy Speakers Brand Manager
In his review Mr. Norton is quoted as Reference Connoisseur. The RC-70 still
saying, “the RC-70 had superb overall has the captivating, immersive sound of
tonal balance” and that the “top end of the original, but has improvements in 	 Kudos and, better, bravo for a singuthe RC-70 is as open, airy and as detailed almost every area.
lar and superlative publication. I quite
as you could wish for.” Mr. Norton’s 	 In your review you mention that the eagerly digested my very first issue ever
comments regarding soundstage repro- frequency response curve “is amazingly of UHF about a week ago. I am still in a
duction and midrange accuracy are also flat, one of the best we have ever mea- very pleasant state of shock!
different from what you found. He said, sured.” Then you suggest that comes at 	 Having quite regularly sampled both
“the RC-70’s sounded neither ‘in your a cost: phase accuracy.   Flat frequency The Absolute Sound and Stereophile for
face’ forward nor recessed, and produced response of the speaker system is made about four decades, my mind set was
a detailed, well-focused soundstage… up of both magnitude and phase rela- entirely unprepared for UHF’s unique
Voices were…beautifully served by tionships of the individual drivers. raison d’être. Your guiding ethos, ethics
the RC-70, with soaring female voices Since you mention the RC-70 has flat and modus operandi are so simple in
and male vocals that were rich and full frequency response, it would suggest their fundamental elegance. To allude
that the phase relationship between the to Carly Simon’s lyrics celebrating the
	 We are not sure if your opinions individual drivers is also correct.
now mythic procreative capacity of 007
were biased due to your experience and 	 Also, another point is the place- is simply incorrect. Not only “Nobody
appreciation of the old Reference Con- ment of the microphone in trying to Does it Better” — double negative
noisseur model, or if you were looking recreate the square wave that you were intended — but no other publication does
for something else from these speakers. measuring.   In a two-way speaker, the it!
Your comparison of the original Refer- microphone distance can be at a shorter
Bob Reinach
ence Connoisseur to today's RC-70 is distance and still deliver a somewhat
like comparing a 20-year-old muscle car meaningful measurement. With a multiwith today's muscle car. They are very source speaker system like the RC-70, 	 Just noticed a spelling mistake on the
different in every sense, and making a small microphone distance from the cover of UHF No. 75…   “redicovery.”  
a direct comparison is like comparing speaker would result in a meaningless Since most of your subscribers are probapples and oranges.   While both may test, with measurements that do not ably a little more educated than most,
be good or excellent cars, they do things reflect what the speaker is truly recreat- I expectagyou’ll
azine. probably be getting a
the mof e-mails.
ic version of
very differently, and this must be taken ing.  The only wayaitod)perform
ght to the
e full (p
whiske	d riStill
just like thmeasurements,
into consideration.
love the magazine though.
nd if you
e table of co
on page 79. A
	 Today’s Reference
Jeff Malloch
names of
Click on standards
Internet you’ll
g w it h th
e you
product had more challenging
cle itse
you're such
is issue, ifknow,
to meet. Twenty years
it mwas
a microphone
site. the use of an anechoic
click on dynamics, pa
ny’s Web
about the sound. Efficiency,
Somehow one never thinks of running
m distance
urself on the co
low distortion and power handling were chamber, which negates the influence of spellcheck on a cover. Too obvious, right?
less of a concern. Today, our speakers are room boundaries when the microphone
used in a number of different configura- is placed at greater distances from the 	 I read the comment about the “open
tions, from state of the art two channel speaker. 
source” turntable in UHF No. 74. Your
systems to high-powered multichannel 	 We are still not certain why you writer said that this was not the way hi-fi
systems. The Reference Connoisseur were not able to get good results from equipment is designed.
Series must have the efficiency to be the RC-70, even though the response 	 Yet one of the top billed turntables
driven with modest-powered amplifiers, curve suggests the speaker should be around, the Teres , was designed just this
plus must have the dynamic range and excellent. Maybe the room you placed way. Interested people got together on
power handling to handle the demands the speaker in was too small for such a a newsgroup and deliberated, and this
of movie soundtracks. A three-year full range speaker system?  We do know led to a small run of parts and then a
development program was necessary to that the RC-70 is definitely suited to commercial endeavor, and some pretty
redesign every component in order to larger rooms than the previous Refer- over-the-top variations, not to mention
meet these standards. The new tweeter, ence Connoisseur model, as it has more the Redpoint brand. You can check out
midrange and woofers for the Reference extended response and output.
the process here: http://www.teresaudio.
Connoisseur Series are ground-breaking 	 As you can tell, we are very disap- com/project/index.html.
in their ability to perform to the high- pointed by the tone of your review
est musical standards, while providing and by some of the comments, which


In t e


Free Advice
Box 65085, Place Longueuil
Longueuil, Québec, Canada J4K 5J4
	 First, let me say that I bought both of
your books on high fidelity and loved them.
I also received a copy of your magazine and
have subscribed for the next two years. I also
ordered six of the most current back issues.
	 I got back into hi-fi about two years ago
after 15 or so years and find myself wondering why I ever got out. My current two channel system consists of the following: Wadia
861 standard CD player, CAT JL-2 tube
amplifier, Martin Logan Odyssey speakers,
and Audio Research PH3 phono preamp.
	 I have a small collection of vinyl recordings that have not been played in years. I
have had the itch to incorporate analog into
my system. My question to you is which
turntable you would suggest to match the
Audio Research preamp? I don’t want to
spend much more than $3500 in total for
the turntable and cartridge.
	 I have heard good things about both
Nottingham’s Spacedeck and turntables from
Pro-Ject. I purchased the Audio Research
PH3 used and plan to upgrade in a year
or so to the CAT SL1 preamp with phono
input. Any comments about this particular
preamp? I have been using an old Thorens
turntable that I had lying around, but I have
not been very happy with its performance.
I didn’t know if I should try upgrading the
cartridge first or just move on right away.
Carl Waldbillig
	 We’d move on right away, Carl. The
best argument in favor of used Thorens
turntables is that people all but give
them away. They were somewhat better
than average, and better than the Duals,
whose reputation remains a mystery to
us, but their tone arms were wretched,
and we wouldn’t overspend on a cartridge
for a Thorens arm. Incidentally, they are
unrelated to the modern Thorens tables,
which seem better designed, though we
still have problems with the arms.

	 We’ve also heard good things about
the Nottingham, with which we have
however no experience. We have listened
to several Pro-Ject turntables, and there
may be a good choice to be made from
its lineup, probably in the RPM series.
Note that Pro-Ject offers electronic
speed control as an extra-cost accessory.
In our experience, that sort of upgrade
affects more than just correct speed and
is worth including.
	 There are several cartridge brands
we like, including Benz Micro and
Clearaudio, and we hear the newest
Dynavectors are worth a detour. You
should get a moving coil pickup, or
failing that a moving magnet cartridge
with very low inductance, and certainly
a line contact stylus. Your budget won’t
let you buy the very top, but careful
shopping should score you a very good
experience. There are of course other
possible brands of turntables, including
Rega and Clearaudio, to name but two.
	 You may want to choose a model that
is available with local service, because a
top turntable that isn’t aligned properly
is not going to give you what you pay
for. And little things are going to count,
because you have a high resolution
system. We can presume that adding the
SL1 preamplifier will let you hear with
even greater clarity anything that may be
wrong with the source. On the positive
side, your system’s resolution will make
you very glad you’re listening to vinyl
	 I have a question concerning acoustics,
or more precisely treating my listening
room for low frequencies. I have a very
good sound system that reproduces highs and
the midrange marvellously well. The low
frequencies have good impact, but there’s a
sort of boominess around 80 to 100 Hz (hard
to be sure), suggesting a resonance.

	 I wonder whether you know of some
way — for example some sort of panel —
that could reduce this phenomenon, or better
yet eliminate it. I have already built panels
two inches thick of different shapes, using a
Masonite sheet on which I had glued with
liquid tar a very heavy black paper, all nailed
into a frame made from two-inch wood. I
had screwed the panels to the ceiling in my
former home in Repentigny and the results
had been very good. But now I live in the
Gaspé. What do you think?
Marien Desrosiers
	 Marien, if your home-built panels
gave you good results it is certainly
because the acoustical problems you
then had were in a different part of the
frequency band. From what you say
your new room has a problem in the
extreme lows. Here the solution is more
	 Why more complicated? It’s because
sounds in the range of 80 to 100 Hz
have a very long wavelength (more than
3 metres for 100 Hz!). The long wavelength will pass easily through a thin
panel and bounce off whatever is on the
other side. A panel that can deal with
such frequencies needs to be…thicker.
In the case of our Alpha room, the home
of our original reference system, behind
one wall is a bass trap nearly a metre
deep! A radical solution to be sure.
	 It’s possible to build a freestanding
bass trap with well-chosen dimensions
(it might be 1 m by 75 cm by 60 cm,
for instance, with no dimension that is
a multiple of another dimension), built
from materials that are relatively nonresonant put permeable to sound. You
would fill it with mineral wool, so that
air vibrating within the cavity would
rub against the fibres and be dissipated
as heat.
	 However certain articles of furniture
can also help absorb bass, at least to a
point. A well upholstered sofa can help,
as can a bookcase full of books. Finally,
changes in speaker placements can have
a great influence on what you hear. Since
moving speakers is free, that is where we
would start.
	 My equipment consists of a Roksan
Radius 5 turntable, a Rega Fono, a Rega
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine        

	 By the way, there is now an updated
version,  the Moon I-5.3.

Call us about the remarkable HD series
of high definition speakers for home theatre!
You hadn’t heard of SR Acoustique speakers
until now? UHF Magazine has.
Read its evaluation on our Web site.

620 rue Latour
Tel.: (450) 676-6898
Fax: (450) 676-6153
info@sracoustique.ca www.sracoustique.ca


Planet 2000, Reference 3a MM de Capo-i
speakers, a Moon I-3 amp, an Inouye line
filter, Atlas Navigator cables, GutWire
power cables, and Puresonic Competition flat
speaker cables.
	 My question is what to upgrade now?I
am thinking of trading up to a Moon I-5.
Is there a big enough difference between
these two integrated amps? The sound of
this system is very nice at low to moderate
volume, but loses something above a certain
volume. I don’t listen at extreme levels but
would like to get a little more volume before
the sound starts to harden up.
Pete Doan
	 We found pretty much the same
thing you did when we reviewed the
Moon I-3 in UHF No. 71, Pete. We liked
it a lot, but when we raised the volume
we could tell we were listening to a small
amplifier. It will perfectly suit a lot of
music lovers, but you’ll be happier with
the I-5. Ironically the I-5 is less powerful
than the I-3, but current is as important
as power, and subjectively the I-5 appears
to have four times the power.

 	 I have just come across your magazine
and am impressed. I don’t believe the local
bookstores here carry it.
	 I have four Linn LK’s Aktiv on 5140 and
5120 speakers, primarily for home theatre.
Would you recommend upgrading these amps
to something else in the Linn line, keeping
the Aktiv speakers, or blowing out the whole
thing, at no small cost?
Jay Avril
	 No small cost indeed, Jay, and a move
to be undertaken only if you have reason
to believe that you made a mistake going
with this Linn system in the first place.
And we don’t think you did. We like the
idea of biamplifying, and although this
is not a Linn invention it was Linn that
made it so simple.
	 The bad news is that the company in
January discontinued not only the whole
LK line, but also announced it was dropping the Aktiv system entirely. We don’t
approve, but the marbles belong to Ivor,
not to us.
	 If you’ll be staying with Linn, you’ll
need to move while LK products remain
in stock. Linn does make a chassis that
will power your crossover modules so
that you can use them with an amplifier
that does not have a slot for them. You
may then want to look at an amplifier
upgrade. That can be one of Linn’s
newer amps, though of course at that
point you can choose your manufacturer
and still remain active…er, Aktiv.
	 I’m in search of a quality bookshelf
speaker and have narrowed my short list
to the Reference 3a De Capo-i’s. My room
dimensions are 12’ X 10’. My system is
centred on the longest wall, so I don’t have
much choice but to place my speakers near
the back wall with the rack in between. Since
the De Capo’s are rear-ported, would this
seriously hinder sonic performance? I could
place them at about a foot from the rear wall
and not much more.
	 I haven’t heard it yet, but I would also
consider the Veena. Is it rear-ported too?
Would it be too big for my small room?  
Michel Fleury

	 My entry level system consists of an Atoll
CD50, Atoll IN50 amplifier and a pair of
Polk Audio RTi38 bookshelf speakers.
	 I’m considering either adding a Goldring
GR2 (or Rega P3) turntable, or getting

a pair of second-hand Totem Model One
speakers (in good condition for about $1000).
Which purchase would give me the most
significant increase in sound quality?
Bo Jiang
	 We are tempted to point out the obvious: the Totems will add immensely to
the sound of your system, but if you try
to play an LP on a loudspeaker you are
likely to be disappointed! For that you
definitely need…a turntable.
	 Consider these factors. First, can
your amplifier drive the Model One to
a level you will find satisfactory? The
IN50 is the smallest of the Atoll amplifiers, rated at 50 watts per channel into
8 ohms. What’s more, its power into a 4
ohm load is just 40% higher, at 70 watts,
which suggests that it has limited current
capacity. If you do get the Model One,
chances are the amplifier will be next on
your upgrade list.
	 Then consider how much of the
music you like is available on LP. In the
case of the classical repertoire, adding
either the Goldring or the Rega opens

up the possibilities of bargains galore.
The same is true of classic jazz (Shelly
Mann, Ray Brown, Herbie Hancock, the
Modern Jazz Quartet, etc.), but possibly
not current artists.
	 Being a rank beginner audiophile, I occasionally (all right, it’s all the time) become
quite confused, especially when it comes to
cables, power cords and power converters.
One person’s advice: power cords first! The
next: no power cords until you clean up the
juice with a power converter! The next: the
power converter will screw up everything,
don’t do it!
	 I’m lost. It seems to me that the power
converters would be a good thing. I can’t see
that the juice coming from my (upgraded)
home outlet is going to benefit my system
until it’s gone through some sort of transformation, otherwise it seems that I’m just
getting whatever level of performance is
available at the outlet, no matter how good
the power cord. I hate to waste money on the
wrong thing, so which should be first? Do I
just go all out and do both?
	 My system includes a Cary 2A3-Si,
Linn Ikemi, and Soliloquy SM-2A3’s. Then
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine        


	 Probably not, Michel, because the
Veena is not substantially larger than
the MM De Capo, and indeed its woofer
is smaller. The notable difference, of
course, is that the Veena doesn’t need a
stand. We prefer the De Capo, but since
our review Reference 3a has announced
a tweeter change.
	 Both the Veena and the MM De
Capo are rear-ported, which means you
cannot place them up against the wall.
However in a small room a distance of
a foot (30 cm) or slightly more from the
wall is likely to be adequate. Placement
close to a wall adds loading to the rear
port, and therefore moves the low frequency cutoff higher. At the same time
the “megaphone effect” of the wall-floor
boundary can emphasize the bass that
is reproduced. A distance of less than
30 cm from the rear wall would probably
not give pleasant results.


“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to
yield to it.”

Oscar Wilde

hi fi fo fum








935 Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto 416-421-7552


The Goods










there’s the question of speaker cable and the
connections between the CD/amp. Is my little
system worth the really good stuff? I don’t
want to spend more than I can afford, yet I
want to get the best results and sound I can.
Everybody I talk to has an opinion, they’re
just all different!
Arlan Sanford
	 Of course we have an opinion too,
Arlan, and one more opinion on top of
the ones you’ve already heard is possibly not what you hoped for. Still, if we
explain why we think what we do, you’ll
be in a better position to make sense of
the other advice you’ve received.
	 Perhaps we can begin with a light
bulb joke that ran in our pages some
years ago:
	 Q: How many hi-fi gurus does it take to
change a light bulb?
	 A: None, because there’s no point in
changing the bulb until you’ve installed the
right cables.
	 Sound familiar?
	 The truth is that all of these upgrades,
if they’re done right, will make your
system sound better, and if you can
afford them all, then do them all, no
question. If you can’t reasonably do that,
then spend the money in the order that
will give you the biggest audible difference for each upgrade.
	 The cheapest upgrade is not even on
your list: changing the duplex outlet in
the wall. Hardware store outlets have
been getting worse and worse with the
years because despite inflation their price
keeps dropping. The connection they
give you is dreadful. The reason hospitals don’t have those is that a poor connection can result in arcing and sparks,
and sparks are what you don’t want in a
ward where there’s oxygen flowing. You
also don’t want a dodgy connection on a
piece of medical gear that cost a couple
of million bucks. We suggest you settle
for nothing less.
	 With that done, let’s have a look at
what a better power cable can do for you.
The upscale connectors on a good cord
will, like the better outlet, give you a
tighter connection with less noise generated by the connection itself, and with
less loss of voltage too. What’s more,
a power cable that’s any good will be
shielded. That prevents it from picking


able free or almost free, then changing
it is virtually an emergency measure.

subchassis sounded better. Now here’s
where it gets interesting. One of our then
staff members, Henry See, was looking
	 I have just completed the removal of for a good turntable, and he was offered
the Valhalla board, AC motor, switch and either of the Linns at the same price.
associated cables on a Linn LP12 turntable Despite the fact he had participated
and replaced them with the Origin Live in the comparison, he chose the stock
Advanced DC motor kit.  The results are Linn.
nothing short of impressive and seem (by your 	 Now why would he do that? He
description) to be very similar in character to explained the reason for his choice:
the improvements realized with the Lingo
the upgraded LP-12 did sound audibly
	 I was wondering if you had ever heard better, but it wasn’t a Linn anymore.
the mod, and how it compares to the Lingo.  There was reason to believe that Linn
I’m sure Linn is not in favor of this type would be offering more upgrades in the
of behavior but I would guess some UHF future — indeed it already was — but if
subscribers (like me) wouldn’t mind seeing a Henry bought the modified LP-12 none
comparison of the available PSU options that of those upgrades would ever be availcan drive the LP12. Considering the cost of able to him. In retrospect he was right.
Lingo upgrades, these alternative mods start Today’s Linns, even those that have not
to look pretty good.  
had the full tilt upgrades, sound way
Nick Dudley better than the modded LP-12 Henry
PORT COQUITLAM, BC turned down.
	 To be sure, what was true then may
	 Nick, many years ago we did a direct or may not be true in 2006. Linn’s turncomparison between a stock Linn LP-12 table sales are today a tiny fraction of its
and an LP-12 that had been upgraded business, and it isn’t certain that future
with a subchassis made from a more upgrades will amount to more than
exotic material. The one with the new tinkering. A third party improvement
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    11    


up radio-frequency noise and feeding
it into the system through the ground,
and it also prevents certain components,
particularly digital components, from
radiating digital noise where it can get
into places it shouldn’t. Though some
power cables have price tags that can
induce cardiac arrest (another reason
they use hospital grade connectors,
perhaps), some affordable ones offer both
shielding and good connectors.
	 Shielded power cables, by the way,
have generally more capacitance than
the cheap cables that no doubt came
with your gear, and that is already
enough to filter out a little of the high
frequency hash that comes from the
power company. To finish the job it’s
useful to add a good power filter, but as
you already know good ones don’t come
cheap. Some of them, what’s more, can
actually make your system sound worse,
hence the warning from some experts. In
particular, filters that limit current can
adversely affect power amplifiers.
	 And we haven’t yet gotten to the
speaker cables and interconnects. If
you’re using the cheap junk that is avail-

to find there have a power rating of a
quarter watt, and we’re being optimistic. Put any amount of power into one,
and…poof! Followed by possibly another
poof from a tube in your amplifier.
	 You’ll need a power resistor from an
electronics supply house, and you may
have to put several resistors together to
get the rating you need. When we made
up the dummy load we use in amplifier
tests, we purchased three large precision
24 ohm resistors and connected them in
parallel (24 divided by 3 is 8). If we had
found 2 ohm resistors, we could have
wired four of them in series (four times
2 ohms is 8).

having both properly adjusted by someone who didn’t have a vested interest in
the outcome. It’s not the sort of demo
any store is likely to offer.


	 I recently wrote to you questioning if I
needed to have my speakers connected to my
tube amp even if I was listening to it via the
headphones. You expected that my headphones
would provide sufficient load on the amp, and
that the speakers did not need to be connected.
But I expect that one day I will turn on the
amp and will have forgotten to either attach
the speakers or the headphones, and then…
	 So, I would like to make a pair of 8 ohm
resistors. Can this be done easily from a pair
of speaker binding post soldered up to a 8 ohm
resistors, or is it more complicated than that?
If it is a DIY project, how do I do it? I don’t
trust the guy at The Source.
Tim Leeney

may now, therefore, make sense. Or it
may not. It’s your choice which horse to
bet on.
	 A true test would require having two
LP-12’s that are absolutely identical,
getting one of them modified, and then

	 We’re not sure why you want those 8
ohm resistors, Tim. You can’t leave them
connected all the time, and the danger
remains that you might turn on the
amplifier when none of the loads is connected: speakers, phones or resistors.
	 That said, we can understand why
you’re wary of the people at The Source
(full name, for the benefit of non-Canadians, is The Source by Circuit City, the
sign affixed to what used to be Radio
Shack stores). The resistors you’re likely

	 I just replaced my aging Dual turntable
with a Goldring GR2. I also replaced my
Rotel RQ970 with an ASL Phono LUX
DT. The Dual had a Grado Green cartridge
with a 5 mV output. The GR2 uses the
Goldring 1012GX, with a 6.5 mV output.
The ASL phono stage has 41 dB of gain. Is
this combination too much gain? I don’t know
the gain on the Rotel, but with my old combo
I had to turn up the volume much more to
get an equivalent output level (as CD). The
current Goldring/ASL combo is at least the
same, but probably slightly more than what
I get from most CD’s.
	 What are the drawbacks of this combo?
Should I be looking for a lower gain phono
preamp, or should I stop worrying and enjoy
the music?
Tim Leeney
	 We suggest enjoying the music, Tim.
It’s normal to hear some hiss when you
turn up the volume on a phono stage. A
worse sign would be hum that is louder
than the hiss. The output voltage from
even a moving magnet phono pickup is
a thousand times lower than that from a
CD player or other component. What’s
important is that the noise not be noticeable from listening position even in a
quiet room.
	 The output difference between the
Grado and Goldring cartridges is not
significant, a mere 2.3 dB. Even so, it
could be accounted for merely by differences in testing methods of the two
companies. Those figures are what are
called “nominal output.” Translation:
well, we had to say something.

	 Derek, this issue includes a review of
the Slim Devices Squeezebox, which may
be one key to getting the best possible
sound from your computer. The Squeezebox connects by Ethernet or Wi-Fi,
and it can feed a digital signal into a
genuine hi-fi system. Using the Apple
Lossless codec is the right choice in our
view. Anyone not able to use iTunes
can download the Free Lossless Audio
Codec (FLAC), available for all computer platforms including Linux, Unix,
Solaris, plus some we’ve never heard of.
It’s at http://flac.sourceforge.net. Actually, if your computer is near your music
system and it has a digital output, you
don’t even need the Squeezebox.
	 The idea of getting a digital signal
from the computer or the accessory box


	 I just picked up your magazine for the
first time and love it. I especially enjoyed
The High Fidelity Digital Jukebox (in
UHF No.74) and looked up your previous
articles on the CEC DA53 and the iPod.
	 I would like to know what would be
necessary to make a “hi-fi” system with this
technique. I would start fresh and abandon
all my mid-fi and at this point would use a
CD or DVD player and stream music via
Wi-Fi or LAN. Thus I am most interested
in playing music from digital sources. I would
like to start building my system, so could you
list the components in order of necessity? I
already have a computer, iTunes (I use Apple
Lossless) and a network.
Derek Sou

is to avoid letting cheap computer gear
handle the digital-to-analog conversion.
That means you’ll need a good quality
external converter, which could turn
out to be your most expensive single
component. If you want to be able to play
CDs directly, look for a good CD player
which also has a digital input.

	 Then add what you can afford in
the way of an integrated amplifier and
loudspeakers. Both should be made by
companies that also make the products
you wish you could afford.
	 First of all I want to tell you how much
I love reading your magazine. I am very
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    13    


most DACs wont bother about this..
	 Does the above DIY make any sense,
or is the transformer to match impedance
absolutely necessary, if not advisable?
James Tay

familiar with many of the audiophile magazines, and I think yours is the most objective
and informative of all of them. It makes me
proud to know that such a great magazine
comes from Canada.
	 Now on to the CEC DA53 converter.
After reading your review in UHF No. 72,
I purchased a DA53 and it is very good. As
you noted in your review, it certainly adds
punch to CDs. Like you, I was most interested
in its versatility and particularly its ability
to be used with an iPod.
	 The only problem is that I haven’t been
able to figure out how to connect it to the
iPod. I would still like to know how you guys
connected an iPod to the DA 53.
John Lorito
	 In fact, John, we jumped the gun on
the question of connecting the iPod to a
DAC. We had no difficulty connecting
our computer to the DA53, and we made
the assumption that, since the iPod can
connect to a USB network, the two were
made to go together. That doesn’t appear
to be true.

	 But we haven’t given up. We have
talked with two accessory companies
(one of them Griffin, which brings out
clever iPod accessories almost daily)
about making an adapter to get pure
digital from the iPod. We know the
signal’s in there, and it appears that
there’s at least one device, Apple’s penny
dreadful “iPod Hi-Fi,” that can get
access to it. We hope to crack the secret,
and we’ll let you know how we do.
	 If the Cambridge DiscMagic/DACMagic
are a matching pair, why is the DAC input
limited to coax BNC, when the transport has
an XLR output?
	 Furthermore: this may be relevant (it’s
from Audio Asylum):
	 Join the two “hot” wires from the AES
plug side into the single “hot” on the RCA
side. Keep ground on AES to ground on the
RCA side. It works but is not ideal, as an
AES cable needs to be 110 ohm impedance
and an SPDIF (coax) is 75 ohms. Be aware
that the SPDIF digital signal is a +0.5 v to
-0.5 v signal and an AES signal is +5.0 v to
-5.0 v, but this should not be an issue, because

	 The Audio Asylum instructions you
quote for matching a balanced output to
an unbalanced input won’t work, James,
and it’s obvious on the face of it. Mix
together a positive voltage and a negative voltage of the same value, and what
do you get? Zilch. Whoever posted this
hasn’t tried it, or else loves the sound of
	 If you want to try a more rational
method for adapting balanced to unbalanced, these are the pin readouts: pin 1
is ground, pin 2 is “hot” or positive and
pin 3 is negative (it’s the inverted version
of the signal on pin 2). However there is
absolutely no point in using the balanced
input or output on one component unless
the other component is also balanced.
We should also add that a lot of “balanced” components are not balanced at
all, because the goofs who designed them
don’t understand what balancing is or
what it’s for. And if “balancing” has been
accomplished by adding an extra circuit,
perhaps an op amp chip, you can guess
what the result will be.
	 I have been reading your reviews on two
integrated amplifiers, the Copland CTA405 and the Audiomat Opéra, and they both
seem like they offer a lot of refinement for the
money. Could you please guide me towards
the best sounding of the two regardless of their
price difference?
	 I also noted that in both your reviews on
these amplifiers there was a moment where
they seemed to sound more enjoyable than
the reference system, and on that particular
note it seems that the Copland definitely had
the edge over the Opéra at sounding better
than the reference system. Is it possible that
the Copland 405 is better than the Opéra?
Please help me buy either of these as to the
best sounding amplifier of the two.  
Laurent Shriqui
	 You aren’t the first to ask this, Laurent. We should explain that the two
amplifiers were not reviewed on the same

system. The Audiomat Opéra, with its
much larger power supply, was listened
to on the Omega system, because we
thought (correctly as it turned out) that it
could handle our Reference 3a Supremas,
with their push-pull passive subwoofers.
The Copland CTA-405 would no doubt
have had a more difficult time delivering the current needed, and so we made
the decision to listen to it in the Alpha
system, with our Living Voice Avatar
speakers. The Copland’s excellent performance pointed up what we had been
suspecting: that an upgrade of the Alpha
system might be in order. That has since
been done.
	 I have the following eight-year old
system: Linn Classik, Linn LK100 and
Linn Keileigh  speakers. I have a budget of
about £2000. Could you suggest what the
best upgrade route would be?
Darren Gibson

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ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    15    


	 We wish we could make all of this
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than the RCA or Banana plug
you presently use.


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“The Energizer bunny in speaker form”
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ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    17    


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in velenibh eugiat lum dunt loboreetum

Speaker Impedance



hat is the impedance of
your loudspeakers? Is
it 8 ohms? Or 4 ohms?
Perhaps you know that
it is not just a single number, but what
difference does it make anyway?
	 At the very least you are no doubt
aware that a speaker with a very low
impedance can present a problem for an
amplifier, and potentially can damage it.
Think about the fact that short-circuiting an amplifier output can either break
it, or blow a fuse, or trigger a protection
circuit. The lower the impedance of
a loudspeaker, the closer it comes to
being a short circuit. Some amplifiers
can drive a load of 2 Ω or even 1 Ω, but
most will not. (The Greek letter Omega
is of course the symbol for resistance).
In any case, low impedance may not be
your only worry.
	 With this issue, UHF intends to begin
publishing impedance curves for loudspeakers reviewed, and for that reason
I have been asked to explain speaker
impedance, and also to suggest a simple
manner of measuring a speaker's impedance. “Simple” in this case means using a
minimum of specially-purchased equipment, though in day-to-day operation it
is less simple than using a purpose-built
instrument that can spit out a complete
impedance graph in a few seconds. Yes,
impedance measurements result in a

graph, not just the single figure usually
found in loudspeaker literature, but let
me begin with some basic concepts.
What is impedance?
	 If a loudspeaker were to be driven
by DC (direct current) we could speak
simply of its resistance. The speaker’s
internal wiring has a certain (low) resistance, as does the fine wire that makes up
each driver’s voice coil. However loudspeakers are intended to be driven by AC
(alternating current), whose frequency of
alternation is that of the sound we are
attempting to reproduce.	Thus we need
to take into account the speaker’s inductance and capacitance. The voice coil is an
inductor, and the internal wiring may be
as well. Inductance can be thought of as
a resistance that is frequency-dependent,
with its ohm value rising as frequency
drops. Most crossover networks include
capacitors, which introduce capacitance.
A capacitor can also be thought of as a
frequency-dependent resistor, whose
ohm value rises with frequency. Since a
capacitor’s impedance characteristic is
exactly opposite to that of an inductor, it
is easy to see how capacitors and inductors can be combined to make filters.
	 I shall add, without great elaboration, that these are not the only factors

by Paul Bergman

determining the impedance reflected
back to the amplifier. For example, as
a woofer cone moves back and forth,
acting as a linear motor, it also acts as a
generator, actually generating a voltage
that is opposite to that coming from the
amplifier. That this complicates things
is an understatement.
	 It must also be evident that, in a
speaker that combines resistance, inductance and resistance, the total impedance
cannot be a single number, since it will
inevitably vary with frequency. This is
not typically taken into consideration by
designers of amplifiers, who test their
designs by loading them with an 8 ohm
resistor, possessing neither capacitance
nor inductance, and having a constant
impedance at all frequencies.
The ideal, and the practical
	 The closer a speaker is to a pure
resistance, the more confidence an
amplifier designer can have that his
product will behave in the customer’s
home exactly as it did on the test bench.
That said, few loudspeakers are very
much like resistors at all, and so in fact
amplifiers must be designed to operate
with impedances that are vastly different
from that ideal resistor. What is more,
the designer cannot know in advance the
characteristics of the speakers that will
be used with his product.
	 To see what he (and we) are up
against, let us look at the impedance
curve of a small two-way speaker, which
has a famous name I do not propose to
reveal. It is shown on the next page.
	 The curve has been drawn by a
technique I shall describe presently
(see Measuring Impedance on page 20).
Most speakers, I might add by way of
explanation, have a considerable peak in
impedance at the point of resonance of
the woofer and cabinet. The one I have
arbitrarily selected has only a small rise,
centred around 100 Hz, which would
be the practical lower limit of its bass
	 The manufacturer’s nominal impedance rating is 4 Ω, but you need only
glance at the curve to see that it deviates
from that rating quite considerably. It
dips to about 3 Ω at 16 Hz, which should
present little problem for an amplifier
designed the least bit competently.

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conullaore con volorperit incidunt ing
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deliquam am eugiam, quipsuscilla facilla
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dolore consectem dolore veliquatin henis
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    19    


Rather more formidable is the higher
part of the curve, specifically the impedance at 6 kHz. As you can see, it rises
well over 20 Ω. What will this mean for
the poor amplifier?
	 Let us consider first a solid state
amplifier, the type most people use. It
is common for an amplifier to have
	 But that’s as far as the article goes
in plaintext. Do by all means check out
either the print or electronic edition.
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Measuring impedance

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lum nos dolore eum niam iustrud euis am euipsum molobore cor at. Duiscilla adigna feugiam vent aliquam alit eu feu facip
eu feugait ulputat, volortisisi.


1000 Ω



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dolobor sed tat niamet.

Good enough UHF uses them!
This remarkable cable is from Atlas.
Unlike so many cable companies, this Scottish
company keeps markups reasonable.
Navigator All-Cu is made from strands of pure
copper, each drawn from a single crystal.
So are the connectors.
The Navigator All-Cu passed a blind test
in UHF No. 71.

Can it pass your test?

ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    21    



Montréal 2006

t seems forever that the Montreal
show has been at the Delta hotel,
right downtown. The Delta was
a great venue for hi-fi companies
looking for solidly-built rooms whose
acoustics you could work with. It wasn’t
so good for those needing vast space,
and the show had long spilled over into
adjacent hotels. This time organizer
Marie-Christine Prin intended to attract
other consumer electronics firms: Sony,
Toshiba, Nikon, perhaps even (snicker!)
Apple Computer. Hence the shift to the
Centre Sheraton, also downtown.
	 I was the one snickering about Apple,
but guess what…Apple was there.
	 UHF was not, however. Unlike the
varied hotel rooms at the Delta, the
Sheraton rooms are too small for what
we do. We made up for it (sort of) by
putting a “virtual room” on the Internet, (complete with a system that could
be seen and examined, if not actually
heard), which remained open through
mid-April. Our absence meant that both
Albert and I had plenty of time to tour.
Albert’s account follows this one.
	 The official guide to the show, by
the way, had a hopeful photo of a Nikon

camera, but Nikon wasn’t there. It could
have been worse…imagine Nikon hadn’t
come and Canon had! On the other
hand Sony did have some cameras there,
including the DSC-R1, which Albert and
I had a great demo of. After the show we
bought one…and the product pictures in
this issue (except for the show pictures)
were taken with it.
	 For several years the show has been
affiliated with a good cause, research
into children's diseases. Proceeds of the
official show CD have gone to that cause.

by Gerard Rejskind

This year the cause also had an official
spokesman, actor Rémy Girard, shown
on this page with Marie-Christine.
Girard will be familiar to worldwide
movie audiences as the man in the hospital bed in the Oscar-winning film The
Barbarian Invasions.
	 Did the show’s shift in venue and
orientation pay off ? At show’s end
Marie-Christine told me it definitely
had, and I talked to a number of exhibitors who were ecstatic…the ones in the
large rooms and salons. I also talked to
less happy exhibitors, who had found
the hotel rooms too squeezed, the
entranceways to them too narrow, and
the acoustics…well, it’s a hotel, isn’t it?
I have no idea whether the happy ones
or the unhappy ones predominated.
	 Notwithstanding the show’s ambitions to be a sort of mini-CES, this is a
consumer show, not a trade show, and it is
therefore normal for local dealers to be
major exhibitors, albeit with the support
of their suppliers. And thus there were
large rooms backed by such stores as
Audioville, Coup de Foudre and Codell.
Not at the show was the largest of these
dealers, Audio Centre. I had heard before
the show that this suburban store would
move back to its old building (very old,
in fact) to save money. Rumor said that
it was just…gone.
	 I’ve often deplored that the Totem
Mani-2 loudspeaker (reviewed in this
issue) is never heard at shows. It was there
this time, in the Audioville room (see the
photo at lower right on the next page),
driven by Conrad-Johnson gear. As usually happens when it is demonstrated,
visitors commented on how amazing it
was to hear a small speaker filling that
huge space.
	 The off icial show CD, a music
sampler, is produced by a local high
end recording company, Fidelio. The
company had brought not only its own
CDs but also its Nagra master recorder,
shown on the next page. I got to hear the
master tape of a new percussion SACD
the company was launching. It’s tough
for other exhibitors to compete with


ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    23    


     Au r u m Acoust ics (f rom
Newfoundland) was back with
the final version of its astonishing tri-amplified loudspeaker (it
comes with its own amps, four
of which are single-ended tube
units). Now that the system
(i nclud i ng t he ma n ife st ly
excellent CD player/preamplifier) is entering
production, our interest in doing an in-depth
review has definitely
perked up.
Aurum is not the
only high end company
situated well outside
metropolitan centres.
From Mascouche (a
medium-sized town just
far enough from Montreal to qualif y as more
than just a suburb) came the
Revelation Mistral S-5 (its picture is on page 25). It caught my
attention because, like the Reference 3a
speakers in our Omega reference system, it
is a two-piece speaker: a smaller two-way
unit sitting on a massive subwoofer. When
I heard it, driven by Exposure electronics,
it had a simply huge sound.
     From closer to us came an amplifier and
a pair of small speakers, under the name of
Merikaudio. The company is in Longueuil,
which in case you don’t know is the Montreal suburb where UHF is located. The
amplifier is not yet in its final form, and the
matching preamp is
still on the drawing board, but
they may bear

     One of t he n icer rooms
belonged to a Canadian company not that well known even
in its home country, LaHave. Its
Wedge speaker is on page 28. It’s
pleasant musicality kept me in
the room for a while on the third
     The amplifier at bottom left
caught my eye too, because I
had noticed it in an ad in our
last issue. It’s the Audio Space,
and it’s next to the JAS Odin
loudspeaker. Yes, the speakers
have ceramic woofers. The price:
C$7800. I must say that the demo
I heard was worth sitting down and
listening to for a bit.
	 I’ve often heard the huge wooden Edgarhorn, shown at
left, at CES. I had never been very happy with it, but it actually sounded quite good this time, with natural tonal balance,
though (as is often the case with very large woofers) little in
the way of a real stereo image. Dr. Bruce Edgar was there, and
as you’ll see from the next report Albert was impressed with
neither the speaker nor Dr. Edgar.
	 In Vegas I had heard an oversized “bookshelf” speaker
called the Escalante Fremont. This time I heard a smaller
model, the Pinyon (above right). It looks rather conventional
until you look closely at the metal-clad enclosure and the
ring radiator tweeter. Like the Fremont, it sounded truly
	 Also sounding rather interesting was the Mirage OMD28.
The new OMD series replaces the OM series, which replaced
the M series. The $10K speaker has carbon fibre woofers and
midrange, and a dome tweeter facing upward into a diffuser.
Seeing how the company was rather disappointed with our
review of one of its speakers in our last issue (see Feedback in
this issue), I refrained from suggesting a review.
	 Regional show though this might be it does manage to pull
in a few high end celebrities. VTL’s Luke Manley was here last
year. This year William Andrea of Mimetism was here (his
integrated amplifier got a warm review in our pages in issue
No. 74), and so was David Berning (you can see him on page
26). Berning had
brought his newest
preamplifier. His
monoblock power
amps, alas, were
not qu ite done
yet, t hough he
had prototypes in
unfinished form.
	 A lso present
was Linn’s Martin
McCue, who was
show i ng some
products that will


arrive in stores soon. That includes
the Artikulat speakers (shown on page
27), and the new Majik strictly twochannel component series. I’ve already
asked to review the Majik CD, which
will replace both the Genki and Ikemi,
with a price situated about midway.
Before you ask, like the older models it
will still have HDCD decoding.
     I’m always happy to see (and especially hear) Sonus Faber speakers, and
there were two new ones at the show. The
Anniversario (extreme right) is gorgeous,
as you’d expect, and it sounded luscious
too. I saw but didn’t hear the Guarneri,
next to it, bearing serial number 002. Its
projected price is C$14K, but if it’s any
consolation the stand is included.
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Touring the Old/New Show


ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    25    


by Albert Simon
more than once during the next days,
ook at t he beaut if u l
with different visitors, and their
a visitor as
reaction was always the same:
he walked
they remained speechless. That
into the room, calling his
such qualit y (and quantit y!)
friend over to a table display,
could issue from such diminutive
completely oblivious to the
speakers was amazing.	
music being played. There
We were no less impressed
it is. I think I’ve cracked the
by the Simaudio room, where
mystery of why there are
we listened to an excerpt from
so few female audiophiles.
Holst’s The Planets, played on
While men and women may
the Andromeda CD player and
equally love listening to
power supply, the P-8 controller
music, men have that unique
and preamplifier, the W-8 power
tendency to also want to
amplifier and the large Dynaudio
read about, to talk about and
Confidence C-4 speakers. Before
to argue about…the gear.
leaving the large room, Michael and Jimmy wanted to have
	 This article is about them and the gear, and most impor- their picture taken in front of the huge Simaudio monobloc
tantly about the sound and the music they listened to and power amp on display.
their reactions to it. Warning: you will read about personal 	 (Can you ever, ever imagine a female audiophile asking for
opinions. If you don’t like personal opinions and prefer a a souvenir shot such as this?)
detailed account of what was played and displayed, you might 	 In the small Fidelio room, everything was quiet and refined.
consider putting this magazine down and delving into the The first track of Nemesis, their latest album of percussion, was
complete list of exhibitors and components available in the playing on an Esoteric deck through a Nagra PL-P preamp and
official brochure.
a pair of pyramid-shaped Nagra PMA power amps, into Verity
	 You may find praise in the next paragraphs, and occasion- Audio’s shiny black Parsifal speakally harsh comments. However, this is not a listening test, by ers. “I feel good,” said Michael, as
any means, and we won’t blame anything unless we mean it we were going out into the hallway
specifically for the purpose of improvement.
“Just a few minutes in that room
	 “You must listen to these speakers,” said Michael and and I feel so relaxed.”
Jimmy, as soon as we met in the lobby. “They’re shaped like 	 Soon after, Jimmy really wanted
huge horns, and the sound is so natural and smooth,” they us to listen to the Revelation speakadded, pointing to the name of the Edgar- ers, and as we walked in we noticed
horn Titan II speakers on the the energetic sound of the K&D
brochure. Off we went.
Sessions handled with authority
	 Along the way we stopped by the Revelation Mistral S-6
by the Totem Acoustics home speakers (at right), helped by a pair
theatre demonstration. Neatly of Odyssey Stratos power amps, a
placed on the walls, front DSC VAC Auricle preamp, and a
and back, the new, discreetly Naim CDX player. A request to
styled, 3.5" deep Tribe 1 and play Un Aeroplano a Vela, a song
2 speakers gave an absolutely by Gianmaria Testa from his CD
spectacular performance of Montgolfières, demonstrated conHero, with the dramatic contri- vincingly the imaging capabilities
bution of the Storm subwoofer. of that system.
Played on the Arcam DV 78 	 Just as fascinating was the sound
player with Arcam’s AVR, the of a ClearAudio turntable, playing
sound was riveting and carried Take Five, linked to a Korato Annitons of impact
versary Series
while outlining At top: Albert at work in the Blue- R e f e r e n c e
the finest details. note room. At left: the Opera SP Valve preamp,
I did ret urn speakers. At right: the two-part t wo K o r at o
to that room Revelation speaker.
t ube monob-


locks and
a pair of
spea kers. It was
a lively and wonderfully syncopated version
of the legendary Brubeck composition.
We had another treat on LPs with My Funny
Valentine from the 70’s direct-to-disc album The Great Jazz Trio
Direct from L.A., with Hank Jones, played on a Brinkmann La
Grange turntable and introducing the Brinkmann tone arm.
T hat was followed, in the
same room, by

nov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on a completely
rebuilt 1956 Thorens 124, with amplifiers by Brinkmann and Litho Phon speakers with ribbon tweeters.
	 Actually, turntables were almost everywhere this year, and
we enjoyed tremendously the music of De Falla from his Three
Cornered Hat ballet played on a Red Point turntable, a VAC
Renaissance Signature preamp and a Manley Steelhead tube
phono stage, amplified by a VAC Beampower amp linked to
a pair of sculptured, large, shiny black Hansen speakers.
	 Michael was eager to try his CD of Le Pacte des Loups, on
the Raysonic vacuum tube CD 128 player and the Raysonic
SE-30-A integrated amplifier (shown above left). The opening
track of this impressive film score sounded accurately dark and
ominous on the new Living Voice IBX (Auditorium Series)
speakers, similar to our reference OBX but with a built-in
crossover filter.
	 As we walked toward another room, Jimmy suggested
exhibitors should keep their doors shut and post a clear sign
inviting people to walk in. The noise carried along the hallways
(of male audiophiles talking passionately about…the gear, what
else?) was always too invasive, and as a result, many rooms
had to raise the sound to absurd levels. Michael nodded and
remarked that this year he noticed how loud music was being
played in most rooms. And by the way, during the three days
of the Festival, that was the most common complaint I heard
from a large number of visitors.
	 So here is a hint to those with have access to the volume
control: don’t try to impress audiophiles by flattening them against

At left: the new CD player and
the wall. Strange as it may integrated amplifier from Rayseem to some, most of us sonic. Below: David Berning with
want to be soothed by good, his new preamplifier.
rich, natural sound. When
it’s too loud, we can’t hear it.
	 “And, yet,” Jimmy added, “I can tell that the overall level
of sound quality has increased, this year.” We all agreed.
	 The next room was large and dark and all eyes were
focused on the large, widely-spaced Lohengrin speakers by
Verity Audio, flanking a pair of single-ended triode WAVAC
monoblocs; huge, brightly lit amps delivering 150 watts each
(one of them can be seen on the next page)! The source and
control came from the trio of dCS Elgar, Purcell and Verdi.
Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale filled the room smoothly, effortlessly, the musicians spread across the wide stage.
	 In another room soon after, Michael remarked again
about the high sound level as single piano notes were struck
repeatedly with a furious right hand. “Not to worry, ” I said,
“it sounds like the karate style of a Three Blind Mice recording.”
And sure enough! The new Mirage OMD-28’s (Omnipolar
Reference Speaker System) were doing their best with that
recording, fed by a pair of Bryston 7B SST power amps, a
Bryston preamp and power supply and an Arcam CD36 player,
all filtered through a Torus Power Line conditioner.
	 Enjoy the rest of this article in our print issue, or in the
electronic version, available from MagZee.
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dolessit praessit nos dio
diam exeriurer
s e d

ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    27    


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Merikaudio amplifier.



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d o l u p t at


At left: the Rogue Atlas tube
power amp. Below: the Brinkmann LaGrange turntable, a
rebuilt Thorens 124 table, and a
Canadian speaker, the LeHave

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ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    29    


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Four turntables (clockwise): the Red
ercidui eugue modigna facilPoint, the Eurolab Cello, the
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Thorens TD350, and the Michell
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Michaël and Gaetan listening at
nulputpat. Vulla feuisis at.
the end of a long show.
Do ea ad er aliquamet ut
utat, vullum dio dip et augait veniat ip ea facilla commy num
adip ea adipsus cincili smodiat. Ut dolorem iriliqu iscilit,
quate ex et vel ing esectet ueraesed magnis dolobore consecte
miniatu erosto od mod modit, volore tat. Duis et ing et, con
henim in volorem dolum dipsum et iriustrud ex euis adignis ex
et la feugue ercil endit niat et lorem autpatis ea consequam, sissequipsum vulputet et alismodolent landigna feugiam, quatuer
suscil delenibh erostrud tatummy num quam niat luptatie
dolor si.

lorpercilit ver sed
dolenis nisi.
	 Ustinit nullummy nonsed tem dip ero odion ut
acilis augiat. Ut nostrud modoleniat. To consecte ver
sim zzrit lore diam velisit pratueros acing er sim zzriure
vent lu m modi
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am nonul-

The Listening Room


Totem Mani-2


ere we the very first
ever to review a Totem
loudspeaker? We think
so. It was of course the
original Totem, the Model One. We
were impressed with it, as we still are,
and we eagerly awaited the Model Two.
This was the Model Two, with a clever
pun identifying it as the second model,
all the while tying it to the company’s
faux Native image.
	 The Mani-2, first reviewed in UHF
No. 43, impressed us too. Though in pictures it looks like a slightly larger Model
One, it is different in both configuration
and sound. With its twin woofer setup,
it was capable of very deep bass that
was perfectly controlled right down to
its lower limits. We concluded that the

Mani-2 was one of the world’s truly great
	 It did, however, have an Achilles’
heel. Its configuration was accompanied
by a strange impedance curve unlike that
anticipated by most amplifier designers.
Even Totem’s own (short-lived) Amber
amplifier was not recommended. An
inadequate amplifier could actually
damage the Mani-2!
	 But oh, how it sang when properly
driven! We recall taking a pair of them
to a show right after our review. The
first afternoon a blind visitor spent a
quarter hour listening before asking us
what subwoofer we were using.
	 Superficially the Mani-2 looks like
a bigger version of the Model One,
with its attractive finish (mahogany is

our favorite) and its rounded sides,
with gleaming WBT binding posts at
the rear. Not visible from the outside
is that, behind the woofer is a second
woofer, connected in tandem so that
the two move in and out together. That
gives the Mani-2 its unique way with
extreme bass and dynamics…and also
gives headaches to amplifier designers.
Just as invisible is that the cabinet is
veneered inside as well as outside, to
prevent warping of the monocoque
structure. The inside is not stuffed
with mineral wool, as most speakers
are. Damping is done with borosilicate,
an anti-vibration coating used in aerospace applications, long ago adopted by
Totem for its speakers.
	 Since our original review the Mani-2
has been considerably revised, raising
its efficiency somewhat and making it
less fragile. And it is now available as
a Signature version. Would we be as
delighted as we had been a decade and
a half ago?
	 We set up a two-part review. We
would begin in our Alpha room, where
we had listened to the earlier Mani-2
(since that was our only listening room
back then). We would then move to the
much larger Omega room, and put the
Mani-2 up against our vaunted Reference 3a Supremas.
The Alpha room
	 The room is rather small, but our
Living Voice speakers are quite comfy
about 30 cm from the absorbent rear
wall. The tonal balance of the Mani-2’s
was a little strange in that position. Pulling them another 15 cm closer to us did
the trick. Note that our photo shows the
speakers sitting on a pair of Totem’s own
T4L steel stands (C$775/US$750). Using
them would have meant filling them with
sand, however, and we opted instead for
our own extremely dead Foundation
stands. Dollops of Audio-Tak held the
speakers tight.
	 The power amplifier in that room
is a Simaudio Moon W-5LE, which
is explicitly not recommended for the
Mani-2’s. We were told off the record

	 Um dunt vel ulputpate modolor
incidunt iril dolortin ver sed modiam
iusci te commolenis dolorero corem
alisi et aut illa atuer ipit laorem il inis
nibh ese volesti ncillam irilluptat am
eros eu faciduipisit nim dit ad magna
faccum zzril ute miniam dolore consed
te tem dolendrem dit acidunt iriuscin
euguercil et nonulla facin ut illum exeril
dolendre veratem iurem venim aut ilis
nibh ea conullut veliquat dolortiniat.
Vel ea alit lore tat nos dit lan volore
vullamet, commy nostis am ip et vel ulla
aliquissim zzrilit, commolortis niamet,
quamet verat, sum amcorem etue dolortis dolorem velismodo et alit, veliquate
magna faccumsan ut wis dit lore facidunt
nullum illutatis dit adit lorem dipit lortie
	 Cillut num nonse consectetuer incilit
ut nullaoreet ea feuiscil ea faci eugiatem
dolobore dunt del exero odit at aut
	 Pisl dolortio odolutpat.
	 Min henim dunt praestrud te moloreet augue eleniam vent ilit wiscil dolore
diamcon senisit vulpute min er sustrud
tis ate facipsummy nim am duisism
oloborp eriustrud ea aci euguer at. Et
dolessi tis ad euipisit nullutem in henisisl utet nim velesendio consed tisi tie
minim verostis acillaor iustrud eumsan
hendrem iusci ea consequat augiamcon
volenim ex el eros dolore min ut acil
duisit prat, verciduis ad esto eum iliscil
lumsan exeros nulputpatie dunt wisim
alit ipsuscipis augait am ing et, quat.
	 Aliquis dit ad tionse faccummy nibh
exero od dolorpe raesto commod dionsequis adion ut nullutpat ad del utpatueros
augiat adit niat venibh euisi tem ex et,

quisl ut vero ero con ent adit aut digna
facipsu mmolore raesequatum doloreet
acing ea con vero exerostrud magna
faccumsan ea feum ing elit inim essectet
eum am essent velenit num velessi.
	 Vulla feu feugiam, sim v ullam,
	 Am dolorem zzriure molorem zzriure
facilit ing elestrud mod magna consed
tetuercidunt alit, vent prating ea feum
iriusto dolore do consectetum adipis nim
zzrit alit ad molorercilit nim dolore feum
iure velendipit lum dolore tat nullam,
con utpat.
	 Suscin ea feuguer aesenim zzriustie
faci te cor iusci blam, consequat vullan
exeriure do ex ea feugait prat, commodipsum eros alit utatissim delis at.
The Omega system
	 Tio conulla acil eugiam doloboreet,
qui bla facil doloborem quisi er ilit, quis
ad diatum vulput augiam, se facil euipit
vel exeriusci ea faccum zzrilit lutetue
rciliquat. Olortis ciduis nos nim nim
ex eliquisl el utat praessecte mincillaorem quis nulla con veliquating et,
commolobore consequis nullum inci
et, velismolesto commy num zzrit utet,
suscipsum zzrilisl dolore modit landre
dit, velessi.
	 Exero od magnim adio od dolorer
sum aliquam nis nulput nos at lorem ver
sent prat augiamet vel dolese do essi.
	 Er sim aliquam delestis nostinci tio
diam at praesequis nullan vulla commolor iliquat lan vulputa tuerosting eu
facidunt aut prate feugait vullaor peraesto
commy nosto do duissis dolore modiam
quissit in hendreet eu facipisisi.
	 Dolessi te modolum augait ing ex
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    31    


that it would be all right if we didn’t
turn up the volume too high (loose
translation: on New Years’ Eve keep
the inebriates away from the system).
However we did have to run the system
louder than usual, because the Mani-2’s
85 dB sensitivity is way below that of
nearly all contemporary speakers. You’ll
be needing some watts!
	 We began the Alpha listening session
with the dramatic Percussion Concerto by
Joseph Schwanter (from the Poetics CD,
Klavier K11153).
	 For the rest of this fascinating review
through two of our reference systems,
check either the print or the full electronic version.
	 Cillut num nonse consectetuer incilit
ut nullaoreet ea feuiscil ea faci eugiatem
dolobore dunt del exero odit at aut
	 Pisl dolortio odolutpat.
	 Min henim dunt praestrud te moloreet augue eleniam vent ilit wiscil dolore
diamcon senisit vulpute min er sustrud
tis ate facipsummy nim am duisism
oloborp eriustrud ea aci euguer at. Et
dolessi tis ad euipisit nullutem in henisisl utet nim velesendio consed tisi tie
minim verostis acillaor iustrud eumsan
hendrem iusci ea consequat augiamcon
volenim ex el eros dolore min ut acil
duisit prat, verciduis ad esto eum iliscil
lumsan exeros nulputpatie dunt wisim
alit ipsuscipis augait am ing et, quat.
	 Aliquis dit ad tionse faccummy nibh
exero od dolorpe raesto commod dionsequis adion ut nullutpat ad del utpatueros
augiat adit niat venibh euisi tem ex et,
quisl ut vero ero con ent adit aut digna
facipsu mmolore raesequatum doloreet
acing ea con vero exerostrud magna
faccumsan ea feum ing elit inim essectet
eum am essent velenit num velessi.
	 Vulla feu feugiam, sim v ullam,
	 Am dolorem zzriure molorem zzriure
facilit ing elestrud mod magna consed
tetuercidunt alit, vent prating ea feum
iriusto dolore do consectetum adipis nim
zzrit alit ad molorercilit nim dolore feum
iure velendipit lum dolore tat nullam,
con utpat.
	 Suscin ea feuguer aesenim zzriustie
faci te cor iusci blam, consequat vullan
exeriure do ex ea feugait prat, commodipsum eros alit utatissim delis at.


eros dolore dipisim dolutate magna ad dolobore
molorperos et ut alit nonsequat accum nulluptat
acillaoreet utat lute min
hendre core dolore feum
dip eum aliscincilit eum
acipisim dipisi.
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dunt dolut dolore duipit
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tat vero dionse te faccum
esectem quisi.
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andiat aliquis exerostie faci blaorpe
rostionse vel eros nulla faccummodip
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ncillaortin vel ut amconse ndipit ver alit,
quisim ipsuscil ullupta tummodolore del
ullaore dolorem nit ate magna faciduis
nonsequisl dolore dolendre commy nonsendre dignibh eugait, consectet loreet
vercin vulla auguercipis exero digna
facil ut praestio od esto ea conum nissiscinim nulput eugueros adit del incilit
in veliquamet, consecte diam aliquam
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iniscilis nummy nulputpating ex et adio
digna feugiat, conullute feugait veliqua
tuerili quamconsed dolor adiat vulla
facipsustrud modion henibh erat, venisisis et lum vent el diamconulla feummy
nos at. Duis aliquat. Duis eui estrud er
susting ero delenisl illumsandit amet,
quisim dit ipsum doleniam enim nim ero
delisim non essenim delent irit, quatue
te min vullamet loreet vulput loborpe
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exeros adit, vel utet ipit volore ming ero
dolut ent adionseniam ipisl ipsummodit
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onsecte facil ut lum zzriustrud magna
faci tat, sum in henim quismolore
dolorer suscin hendipit irit nos adit, secte
eugait adit aliquat, sim digna conum vero
dolorpe rcipsusto dignim essenibh eum
acillam consent lutat.
	 Ustrud te feugiam nim dolor illan
heniscinci exeros dolobore con henim
alit volore magna faccum do od delit la
facipit atis adigniametue tat. San et adit
alit, cortinc incipsum dolorer se estie
modio od tis autatie minciniscin eum in
hent vercil eu facip elenit venismo dignissit et digna feugait praesectet, vulput

acin henisi tet at luptatue do consed
magna feui exerosto odion hent aut velis
ad mod euis erit elent adip exero conulluptat. Duis autpat venim velit nonsequis
do cor sim adigna conse molore digna
commodion volesent laorper se min
venis at.
	 Cillut num nonse consectetuer incilit
ut nullaoreet ea feuiscil ea faci eugiatem
dolobore dunt del exero odit at aut
	 Pisl dolortio odolutpat.
	 Min henim dunt praestrud te moloreet augue eleniam vent ilit wiscil
dolore diamcon senisit vulpute min
er sustrud tis ate facipsummy nim am
duisism oloborp eriustrud ea aci euguer
at. Et dolessi tis ad euipisit nullutem
in henisisl utet nim velesendio consed
tisi tie minim verostis acillaor iustrud
eumsan hendrem iusci ea consequat
augiamcon volenim ex el eros dolore min
ut acil duisit prat, verciduis ad esto eum
iliscil lumsan exeros nulputpatie dunt
wisim alit ipsuscipis augait am ing et,
	 A liquis dit ad tionse faccummy
nibh exero od dolorpe raesto commod
dionsequis adion ut nullutpat ad del

Summing it up…
Brand/model: Totem Mani-2
Price: C$5595/US$4595
Size (HWD): 42 x 21 x 30.5 cm
Sensitivity: 85 dB
Impedance (claimed): 4 ohms
Most liked: Dunt laoreet volore
magna alit
Least liked: Et dolessi tis ad euipisit
nullutem in henisisl
Verdict: Vel ea alit lore tat

utpatueros augiat adit
niat venibh euisi tem ex
et, quisl ut vero ero con
ent adit aut digna facipsu
mmolore raesequatum
doloreet acing ea con
vero exerostrud magna
faccumsan ea feum ing
elit inim essectet eum
am essent velenit num
	 Vulla feu feugiam, sim
vullam, quissi.
	 Am dolorem zzriure
molorem zzriure facilit ing elestrud
mod magna consed tetuercidunt alit,
vent prating ea feum iriusto dolore do
consectetum adipis nim zzrit alit ad molorercilit nim dolore feum iure velendipit
lum dolore tat nullam, con utpat.
	 Suscin ea feuguer aesenim zzriustie
faci te cor iusci blam, consequat vullan
exeriure do ex ea feugait prat, commodipsum eros alit utatissim delis at.
	 Um dunt vel ulputpate modolor
incidunt iril dolortin ver sed modiam
iusci te commolenis dolorero corem
alisi et aut illa atuer ipit laorem il inis
nibh ese volesti ncillam irilluptat am
eros eu faciduipisit nim dit ad magna
faccum zzril ute miniam dolore consed
te tem dolendrem dit acidunt iriuscin
euguercil et nonulla facin ut illum exeril
dolendre veratem iurem venim aut ilis
nibh ea conullut veliquat dolortiniat.
Vel ea alit lore tat nos dit lan volore
vullamet, commy nostis am ip et vel ulla
aliquissim zzrilit, commolortis niamet,
quamet verat, sum amcorem etue dolortis dolorem velismodo et alit, veliquate
magna faccumsan ut wis dit lore facidunt
nullum illutatis dit adit lorem dipit lortie
	 Ese vel doloreet duissi tin etum ad
dolorem zzrit ad dolobore cor irit aliquat
incilla ndreet lutat dunt ute vel doluptat
dolent landre er ip elenim del ulputem
diamcom molorperit adiat autpat am
dolobor sit volobor sim velendre dolore
ea aliquamet alit aci tatet ut nit at lum in
	 Ed dolor ing er accum veraesto odolore ming eugue minim dunt vel ullam,
vel dolor sequam zzrit num inciduisis
dio dunt laoreet volore magna alit, sum
dolor sed magna facilissi.
	 Lobor sumsan utat dolore tie te

faccum ver sustrud dignibh
ent ero odolorem dui er
sis adigna feuis elit la con
hendion sectem in eugiamc
onsequis delit, sumsan et
nonsequis nibh eugait nostiniat utat. Dui blaor sim
dolobore venisse min euis
nim incip enibh enit il digna
at lortisi elismodolore dionsectet, vel ut volum ad ea
conulla acin ea facilis isciduisi tet utpatem inci blandreet ut incinibh et nibh el
et, volorerit, se modolobore doloreetum
dolobor il utat vulla facidunt adio consent
am, vulputat, sum incipissi tat volortinit,
con verostis duisi elent iliqui eniam do eu
feugiam, sim aut lut niat voluptat amet
nulluptat. Sum quatio odolut adigna
facipit nim iusto diamcon sequat. Ut
lore tie feugait, conulla mconullam incin
henibh eu facipsum nonum iusto digna

facipsummod modolobore magna con
eui blaore consequip euguero dolore
feuguer suscil in ut ad modolenisi.
	 Loreet nim diam esto exero eu
faccum dolesenit atin vulputpat. Olor
autet il utat aute consecte cor am, consed
dolortinim veliquis at nisisi.
	 Vulput nostrud et eriuscillam, quat
eliscin ex ex ea ad min henit accum ipis
num ametumsandre modip et, conse dit
wismolor irilit lum eu feugait vel eril

el ulputpatinit loreet lam iustrud do er
in vendre dolore tat. Ed tatue tem incil
esent lor iure ea faccumm odipit acillaore
feugiat isisis nummolobor accum ing
eros eu feum in ut lut amet prat lor in
ulla feugue dui tat.
	 Tuer suscing exer irit pratin vel delessit wis et, commodiam venis elenim eum
aut irit loreet essim veliquam, vel elent
nulla facinim inim nulla feugiam nulput
lor suscip elisism.

faccummy num incinibh ex ea core del ulla
alit, commy nonsecte magniamcommy nonsequis num illa am quate veleniat. Ut dolese
commolobor ipis nis nullut incincil ing
exeraesecte feugait wis amconse eugiam ero
ex eui blandiatio digna feu feuip eugiametum
nis dipis eugue tatum vel ip el ex erci er sim
ipsustrud doluptate vullumsandre dit la cor
iniam iliquisis do odigna consequat.
	 Liquatet, quam esenibh esectet, quisim
iriureetum illaorer irit wismod do exeraesse
dolobore te modiam dolutpat. Ut acidunt
vent nulla feugiatum quamet in velit velenim
	 Rud modipit lutetue tie velessequam
dignim digna alit, veniam dolessit aliquamet,
sim nibh ea feuguer cinciduis nummy nostrud tat, si tem ea ad magnis dipsum adignis
non utpat lummy nos alit iureet adion eugait
dolenis at wis euis dipisiscil utpatisl doloreros
ad diate el iliquatum irilla facilit ullametuer
sum veliquat. Quatie commy nulla facipis
molesse quatem et nim et um dolesed
magnisit alit pratie delesed dolore consecte
mod ting er sim dio diat ad tie minim veniam
alit vendion sequis doloreros dolorem dolore
voloreet venim vel ing essi.
	 Onsed eu facing eumsandreet, se tat,
quipisi scilit nulla cor augait nulluptat etuero
dolore volore consenim dit ipsum duipsusto

conulla consequam ercilit lore corper sis num
eriusci lismolo rperciduis nim vel illupta
tismole sequisl ea commy num ilisi.
	 Andio odoloborem zzriuscil ulput venim
nim zzriure vullam irit, quisl ut num vulputat
utpate vullamet vero essi essi.
	 Pisis el del in utpatuerosto con ex elisi et,
voloreriure elit adit adit accum irilit lumsan
et velit veniam vel utat. Exerilit acidui blam
nonullum dolut ing eugue tem velesto od
dunt ipsum voluptatin heniatet wis nullam,
corem quip eugiamc ommodo consequ
atinim euisi te er si.
	 Vulputat am vercipit num digna commy
nonsenis nos alis ad dolorem quisi.
	 Tat, conulpu tpation ullaor se moluptat,
sismolutet, vel dipit non vulla feuisit, vulput
	 Cillute dit lamcorp ercipit alit autate
modolortie exercillan ver iniscin ut diatem
in et ipit, qui blam venit ut acidunt ullandi
psustie digniam consed tat. Reet vulla alit
alit velis dolore commod tat ercilissenit alisis
exer sim ilit nonsendre vullam ing esenibh
el dolor summodolor alisi blan hendre velese
facipsustrud min vullandre essequisim alisi
bla faci blaortin utat, velit in heniam, vent
del in vel in hendrem ipsustrud duisi.
	 Dunt adionse molent lore doloreetum
zzrit accumsan ullamconsent.

ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    33    


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iquate tis numsandit la ate tem esto doluptat
landiam nulla corem del ilit, consed tion
ut nulputpat prat lut alisit acincilit lobor
ipsuscilisim iure del digna feuis doloboreet
ullaor suscil ut verit vullaore molorem
volorpe rciduipit auguerc iduissi bla faciliq
uamet, vullutet velenibh eum velit iriure tat
veliqui eu facil illandigna feu facip exer il in
ut nonse molore te facin esenisit alit aliquat
etue molorpe ratummy nulputpatie dit utpat,
corerosto commodit ute feui eros num exeros
ea facipsum diam autate faccumsan utpat
nullandre mod ex eugue tet vullaore vel ulla
feuipit nit la feugait, ver sustion vel et nullan
henis aci eum alit deliquis ea faci tet velestrud
ea commy nonseniam nulla conullaor aut aut
alisi blamet pratue delenis modolobor sed
eugait, venisi.
	 Ure eugiamc ommoloreetue deleniat, si
blamcom modolum adiam, vel ea conullu
tpatummodio commod mod modolorer sis
nonulla alit alit alit il incilit augue magna
facin volorer iuscin ut nisl duis nulla ad er
iriusto od modo eumsandre dolore molesen
iamcorerosto dionse el ip ea facilis molore del
ulla feu feu feu feugiam venissit ut ut lorpero
od magnis adit alit, commodo lorpercilit
iliquis am illaortin hendre magnisit, quisl
dolor irillam, quis do con ut dolore magna


Elac 204

oes the name ring a bell?
Ment ion ELAC and we
think of turntables of long
ago, or more recently of
phono cartridges. Indeed, ELAC (the
name is a contraction of Electroacustic)
was the first to make a relatively inexpensive phono cartridge with a Van den
Hul profiled stylus. That turned out not
to be a great idea, but its heart was in the
right place.
	 And now ELAC has brought out the
first inexpensive speaker with a Heil
tweeter. Not all the company’s speakers
are this size or this price either, but once
again its heart is in the right place. Oskar
Heil’s famous tweeter has long been
admired for its exemplary smoothness,
and indeed for the lack of peakiness
that is found in nearly all conventional
	 So where have we seen it before?
Well, the Oskar Aulos, a smallish
speaker with a similar tweeter was on
the cover of UHF No. 57. And its larger
brother, the Kithara, was reviewed in
issue No. 59. Subsequently Albert purchased it. But none of these speakers cost
as little as this one. The finish, designed
for modern decors, belies the cost, as do
of course the drivers used. The woofer
is a sandwich of paper and aluminum.
And the “JET” tweeter is ELAC’s own

version of Oskar Heil’s “Air Motion
Transformer.” From 2.8 kHz up it does
the heavy lifting.
	 We set the speakers up on our Foundation stands and connected them to our
Alpha system. It took very little fiddling
with the placement before we were happy
with the image and the balance. The
speakers come with foam “muffs” that
can be placed in the rear port for placement close to a wall, but we didn’t use
	 We opened the session with the
SACD version of the famed Proprius
choral recording, Now the Green Blade
Riseth (PRSACD9093). We’ve heard
both the male and female voices sound
hideous on speakers far more expensive than these, and we were pleased

Summing it up…
Brand/model: ELAC 204.2
Price: C$1650
Size (HWD): 33 x 20 x 28.5 cm
Sensitivity: 88 dB
Impedance (claimed): 4 ohms
Most liked: Deliciously smooth highs
Least liked: It’s a little speaker,
Verdict: A high end that’s really high

to note that the ELACs reproduced
them pleasantly. We were hoping for
great smoothness in the highs from the
famous tweeter, and we got it, except
	 Except for what? Do check out the
full version of this review in the print
or electronic version.
	 Onsent incing ex exerci eugiam, sed
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odigna at. Dui bla feum amcon velis adipit
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aliquis cidunt luptatuerit aut utpate exer
secte essequamcon vullaore modo essi.

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mod tat. Duis eum veliquate tat lore ent
numsandiam, secte feui te do commy nulluptatue facillam ilit wisl iriure vel irit velent
adigna feuguer si.
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con eros am ea core cor il exercid uisciduissed
delit, quat. Ut volore doloreet alis adionsenis
dit nonsequis accum iusci et, consectet
aliquis alisci bla at ullandre dolenibh ea feum
dionsequisis dolorper sequipsustie veliquam
dionsendre faciduis am dolor augait aci
	 Em dio odolobore dolorper autpat.
Olore te dolore ercidunt lorpero dunt irit vel
iriliquat incin essi eros nonum quis aliquam
consenim auguerit aci eumsandio et volore
dit ing eriure facipis delestisi.

ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    35    



Castle Richmond 3i



o here’s Castle again…with a new
Canadian distributor, but then
again new ownership too. Castle
was founded many years ago by a
group of former Wharfedale executives,
who had left when the aptly-named Rank
organization had bought Wharfedale.
Those execs are now retired, and Castle
was bought by…a group of Wharfedale
execs. Plus ça change…
	 This very small and inexpensive
speaker is very much a Castle, though.
Notice the 13 cm carbon fibre woofer
(with a cast metal basket, which of course
you can’t see), and the “upside down”
configuration. Notice the subtle shape of
the Skipton castle pressed into the soft
dome tweeter face plate. Notice the fine
finish, brighter in the centre, darker at
the edges. Inhale the furniture oil while
you’re at it.
	 Then look at the rear for the cheap
plastic binding posts Castle has long
used on its economy speakers. Only you
won’t find them. These gold-colored
posts are better than most.
	 We set the Richmonds up on our
Foundation stands (which cost more than
the speakers themselves do), connected
them to our Alpha system, and pulled out
a few potentially difficult recordings.
	 The first was our familiar choral
recording, but from the SACD version
(Proprius PRSACD9093). Albert and

Gerard had plenty of praise for the great
clarity of the choral voices, for the way
we could pick them out individually,
and yet for the way they hung together.
The rhythm was at least reasonable, the
recording’s great depth reduced but not
	 And yet not everything was perfect.
In one passage the women took on a
“honky” tone, and Reine liked neither
the male voices nor the counterpoint
with the flute. Albert would have liked
a little more energy. Turning up the
volume helped, but these little speakers
are not designed to be run that loud, and
we backed off again..
	 With a large-scale orchestral recording (Beethoven’s Symphony No.5, PentaTone 5186 102) we realized again how
easy it is to run these speakers too loud.

Summing it up…
Brand/model: Castle Richmond 3i
Price: C$799
Size (HWD): 33 x 17 x 23 cm
Sensitivity: 88.5 dB
Impedance (claimed): 8 ohms
Most liked: Beautifully made, great
energy and clarity
Least liked: Very limited depth
Verdict: The Energizer bunny in
speaker form

The violins were first to tip us off and
cry for mercy. Once we found the right
compromise the Richmonds surprised us
with their energetic sound and the coherent way they made sense of Beethoven’s
complex orchestration. The music was,
by turns, lyrical and lively. The stereo
image was precise, each orchestral section well anchored in space. Well…space
is perhaps the wrong word, because the
depth was all but absent.
	 We were in the mood to make this
speaker work hard! We turned to a
DVD-A of the Ray Brown Trio’s Take
the ‘A’ Train (from Soular Energy, HiRes HRM-2011). Through such small
speakers this recording should have
been unrecognizable, but that’s not what
happened. Brown’s powerful bass was
surprisingly lively and rhythmic, though
of course we heard the slap of the strings
more than the resonance of the instrument body. Pianist Gene Harris really
pounds the right side of his keyboard
in this piece, and the notes had a decidedly hard edge. “But that’s the way he
plays,” said Albert. Both the bass and
the (subtle) percussion kept the swing on
track. “What I like,” said Gerard, “was
that even when these speakers play too
loud and they harden up, they never get
blurry or fuzzy. They stay clean.”
	 We wondered how well they could
render the expressive voice of jazz singer
extraordinaire Margie Gibson (Say It
With Music, Sheffield CD-36). They did
more than honorably, with only a touch
of hardness here and there, but lots of
clarity and expressiveness in the song
itself. We liked the sensuous way Gibson
glides along a note before settling on its
perfect pitch (actually we always like it,
but the Richmonds didn’t spoil it). The
accompanying instruments — piano,
bass and cello — were very good, and
their dialogue was coherent and pleasing.
“It’s surprising how much you can hear
in the background,” said Gerard, “like
for instance the piano solo when she
hums softly along with it.”
	 We ended with Victor Feldman’s
Secret of the Andes, figuring it might have
trouble with a couple of those exotic
drums that make up the introduction.
If a cabinet is poorly put together, this
recording will spotlight it. The Richmond wasn’t quite perfect on this test,

getting the tone wrong on a couple of the
really large drums. But because the bass
response is necessarily limited, the problem wasn’t more than detectable. Much
more noticeable was the furious rhythm
and the energy. That odd scraped gourd
in the introduction came on with power,
and so did the whistle. The kick drum,
which some speakers simply ignore
(perhaps fortunately), was surprisingly
good. So was Feldman’s piano.
	 We were curious to see how the
Castle Richmonds would do on our usual
battery of technical tests. We began by
drawing its impedance curve, which is
shown in the graph above. Despite the
claim of an 8 ohm impedance, the curve
actually gets rather closer to 4 ohms
over an important part of the range,
and considerably below 4 ohms at high
	 We set up our precision calibrated
microphone 1 m in front of the Richmond, but weren’t certain how we
should orient it. We usually position it
on axis with the tweeter, but the inverted

configuration of the speaker places the
tweeter rather low. We finally put it
at woofer height, but slanted down so
that it pointed toward the tweeter. The
resulting frequency response curve (top
right), is very good, especially through
the upper midrange and the top end, The
waviness in the lower part of the band is,
as usual, due to room modes. Of course
there’s not much in the way of very
low bass. Clean response mostly ends
at 50 Hz, and even then the waveform
(second image at right) isn’t really clean.
Below that you’ll hear sound, but not the
fundamental tone.
	 The 100 Hz square wave (bottom
right) is quite good, with barely a glitch
on the riser, and a funny little lateral
wave almost certainly caused by distortion in the bass. But then we do test at
high levels: 100 dB reference level at that
1 m distance.
	 By the usual high end standards,
these are low-cost speakers. They probably won’t be the cheapest in the store,
however, and people not used to high end
gear may find their gaze wandering over
to speakers half the price and triple the
size. But you’re buying music, not scrap
iron. For a price most people can either
pay or save up for in a reasonable time,
they’ll amply justify buying something
other than a mini system.
	 Too bad they’re not available in

fivepacks. We were thinking that you
could add a subwoofer and you’d have a
home theatre system that would make
your home-theatre-in-a-box neighbors
green with envy.

	 In an ideal hi-fi world speakers would
all be affordable and equally suited to reproducing all types of music effortlessly. In
the real world, many speakers strain with
the task of handling the weight of complex
music. This one was no exception.
	 Choosing a pair of speakers is often a
sum of compromises, and, in this case you'd
best limit your music listening to smaller
groups, with or without voices. You'll actually be happily surprised, as I was, with
these speakers' ability to deliver a clearlydefined image, and the solid, palpable presence of each performer.
—Albert Simon
	 This is a much smaller speaker than any
Castle we had ever tested, but its considerable virtues make it a worthy member of a
distinguished family.

	 No of course it can’t play a full orchestra
at realistic volume. Of course it can’t reproduce kettle drums and plucked basses realistically. But what it can handle it handles
with aplomb. It has none of the grey opaque  
sound of too many inexpensive speakers. It
plays music, for real. 	
	 I was bemused by the quality touches
Castle has provided even at this price. The
terrific wood finish for one. The curved
grille (best left off, as usual) for another.
And have you noticed that they went to the
expense of making right-left mirror image
	 This is a class act all the way.
—Gerard Rejskind
	 Despite their modest price these little
speakers can give their owners a lot of pleasure. Find a volume level they’re comfort-

able with, and you can start to discover their
numerous assets. I’m talking about image,
depth and width, all of which are perfectly
acceptable. If the bottom end could use a
little more weight, the midrange is very
good and gives the music considerable richness. The sensitivity of the musicians, heard
through these speakers, is contagious.
	 Add to that a multitude of details, good
inflection, lyrics you can always follow.
These qualities make you forget, or at least
forgive, an occasional hardening here and
there, and perhaps a bit of drag on certain
	 On the æsthetic side, you can hardly
help noticing the refined wood finish that
invites you to touch them, to appreciate
their satin smoothness. These cabinets
were made by artists, not mere laborers.
—Reine Lessard

ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    37    



Headphone Amplifiers



ot an amplifier? Got headphones? Now how do you
plug the second into the
	 Headphones have long been an alternative listening method for those whose
partners don’t share their musical tastes.
Or those with thin walls. In recent years
the idea of listening to music through
headphones rather than loudspeakers
has gone mainstream. The reason for
that can be summed up in a word: iPod.
(Then again, there’s the word Walkman.
Remember that? Neither do we.) But no
portable player can do justice to great
	 Neither can your high end amplifier, chances are. Because headphones
are sensitive and go right against your
ears, they’ll let you hear hiss and hum
normally inaudible. And you can’t
rig up a switching system without
doing major damage to audio
performance you’ve spent good
money for.
	 An amplifier made specially
for headphones may be the solution. Run it from your regular
amp or preamp’s Tape Out jacks,
and you’re set. We reviewed three

	 But first, let’s talk about a new headphone, the one below.
The Goldring DR150 headphone
	 It’s from a surprising company, but
then Goldring seems to offer all kinds of
things these days, even turntables. The
DR150 phones are the most expensive of
three models at C$260. This is of course
much more than the phones on the racks
of iPod stores.
	 They’re dynamic phones, with a
titanium film diaphragm, comfortable
circumaural muffs and open backs.
They don’t block much sound, and
consequently you won’t want to listen to

them next to someone trying to get some
sleep, because they leak like the Titanic.
The good side is that if the phone rings
while you’re listening, you’ll hear it.
	 If you don’t see a cord in our picture
it’s because it’s detachable. The 3 metre
cord in fact has a gold-plated miniplug
at each end, with a full-sized phone
plug adapter. All three of us rated them
comfortable, thanks to their lightness
and the design of the muffs.
	 Do we have a reference headphone
for comparison? Yes we do, though we
seldom list it. It’s a Koss PRO/4AAA,
purchased many years ago for studio
monitoring (anyone recall that our Alpha
room was originally a broadcast production studio?). It was excellent then, and
it still is. We ran a single recording,
Margie Gibson’s The Best Thing For
You from her Say It With Music album
(Sheffield CD-36), first through the Koss
phones, then through the Goldring.
Each panelist (listening separately for
once) would evaluate the Goldring, and
then continue the amplifier evaluation
with the phone of his or her choice. The
choice, however, would have to be made
on the basis of the sound, not comfort.
	 Did the Goldring sound neutral?
Not really. Albert found it colored, with
an alteration not only of Gibson’s voice
but also of the piano, bass and percussion. We did note some strong points.
The transients are quick and lifelike,
the dynamics impressive, and Gerard
thought the somewhat leaner bass might
actually be a plus. But we didn’t enjoy
the increased graininess of the highs,
nor the somewhat claustrophobic space.
All three of us opted to do the rest of the
test with our Koss reference phone.
	 The Goldring, we should add, seemed
sensitive to the quality of the amplifier. It
sounded best with the CEC amp (but of
course so did the Koss). Plugged into
an iPod, it was harsh and edgy.
     Then on to the comparisons of the
amplifiers. We usually listen to our
reference system first, and then drop in
whatever component we are reviewing
and listen again. However we have no
reference headphone amplifier, and that

complicated things.
	 Here’s how we solved the problem.
The source we selected for these tests
was a combination of our CEC TL51X
belt-driven transport and the Benchmark DAC1 converter reviewed in

our last issue. We did that because the
Benchmark’s headphone section was one
of the products to be reviewed, and that
way we could keep the source constant.
	 We listened first to three recordings
through the DAC1, but kept our conclu-

Benchmark DAC1


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tin vel doluptatum volobore duip el
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veraesequi tie conse dionum delis ea
aliquat ero odo esequis nonse dolenis-

Summing it up…
Brand/model: Benchmark DAC1
Price: US$975
Size (WDH): 20.5 x 21 x 4.5 cm
Most liked: Volore dipit dit wis num
aliquis dolore
Least liked: Ut nisl dolorer iusciduipsum
Verdict: Dolor suscipit volore
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ad tet nummodo odio conse dolor ilit
lumsan eu feugiam nonsed modip ea
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nim dolorer in veraessi.
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do er ipsusto
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minim dolor
ilis nulputat.
exer sum in
velesto odipit lorem
vel ip et aliquat. Ut nisl
dolorer iusciduipsum quis
nullaor ipsustrud ea cortie
magna feum acipisit loreet alit
nostrud eum zzriurer suscidunt
luptat inim et volore dipit dit wis
num aliquis dolore moloborem volor ing
eum eu facilit inci eugueri liquat nis ad te
eugiam volore dolore delesto dolestrud
molor sisim nit lobor sequam, conseniam
verci ea alit nisim nullam inci blan henim
zzrit lortie tionse tie dolenit num in velit
alit lut praesenibh exer iriurem digna
feugait adipit autem adignit iureet in
heniam, sis amconsed magnissisit am
dit aut velis ad dipsumm odipsuscipis
augait, sent doleniat ut venim dolessecte
do doluptat. Ut acipit amet wismolore
dolore esto commy nim nisisl ut eum
acillaor se facipis senisl ulluptatie diam
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henit wisl ut laore do ea feum zzriureros
auguerci blan velenisl ea faciliqui euisi.
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henis el euismod ipsusciduis nonullut lan
vullamcommy nosto dio eugiamet ipisi.
	 Duisl ut am aliscin.
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    39    


f the name is familiar it’s because
we reviewed this digital-to-analog
converter from a little-k nown
company in our last issue. It’s
not expensive as high end DACs go, at
US$975, and fortunately it really is high
end. Benchmark Media, which produces
the unit, sells directly where it has no
local dealers.
	 But there’s more to the DAC1 than its
obvious function. Notice the volume
control on the front panel? It
can be disabled, and we
had disabled it in our
original session. Now
notice the two headphone
jacks? Yes, the DAC1 is
also a headphone amplifier, a function which, you
might say, is thrown in for free…as if the
DAC1 weren’t enough of a bargain in the
first place!
	 Because we know that the DAC1,
plus our CEC TL51X transport, is a
highly credible source, we used that
combination for the listening sessions.
That way the source would always be the
same. We would listen to the Benchmark
itself first, and return to it last for a final
comparison (since we have no reference
headphone amp). To try the other two
amplifiers, we would disable the DAC1’s
volume control (by flicking a switch on
the rear panel), and run a pair of our
reference interconnect cables from the
DAC1 output to the input of the test
	 We began the session with the
Margie Gibson song we had used in
the headphone evaluation. It really did
	 Oh well…back to Latin!
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exero er iuscilis do er inis num volore
dunt adipissent elenis nulla faccum
doloreet iuscipit lan ut dunt voloborer

sions for later, since we had as yet nothing to compare it to. We then listened
to the same three recordings through
the Lehmann and CEC amplifiers, and
then returned to the Benchmark. So let
us begin with the end, as it were.

Lehmann Black Cube Linear



his headphone amp is from the
same German company that
makes the phono preamp
of nearly
t he same name. It
is, as you will have
ob s er ve d , neit her
black nor a cube, but
oh well. The power
supply is built in, and so
it has a standard IEC cord.
The two sets of phono jacks
(the second set is an output, so
that the Lehmann can actually be
used as a simple preamp) are reasonable,
and were a tight fit with our reference
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eumsan ullam, corem vullum vullam,
velit, sit nisit autat vel dunt adionulla
consequam nulla feugue magnisc iduipit
at. Na alis nostrud tat. It prat. Ut lut ad

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eu faccum adiametum ilit praesed ent
lutpat. Tisit, commy nonsend reetum
iusto exeros at. Duis nonse velit prat.

The CEC HD53-R


f t he Lehmann amplif ier had
seemed expensive, what to think
of this one? In fact it is only a little
more expensive than the Lehmann,
and that would be fine…if its performance turned out to be substantially
	 And the CEC is rather more versatile than most headphone amps. On its
picture on page 42, you can make out
the output binding posts at the rear.
Why would a headphone amp need
binding posts? It’s because this is also
an amplifier of not insubstantial power
(10 watts into 4 ohms according to the
specs, which we didn’t confirm), and it
is actually possible to connect speakers
to it. More on this shortly.
	 This is an all-in-one amp, with

the power supply in the quite heavy
aluminum case, and with the usual IEC
plug for the cord of your choice. The
phono input jacks are — as on the CEC
integrated amplifier reviewed in our last
issue — not inspiring. On the other hand
there are also XLR balanced jacks if you
have the appropriate source.
	 A small rear panel switch adjusts the
amplifier’s gain so that you can have a
good range of volume. In our setup (we
were, you’ll recall, running it from the
output of the Benchmark converter)
we needed to select the +6 dB position
in order to avoid running the volume
control nearly all the way up. We could
hear a bit of hiss with that setting, but it
was so slight that it was inaudible with
even the softest musical passage.

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numsandipsum digna.
	 But the front panel is where the interesting stuff lies. There are two volume
controls, and at first we thought they
controlled the left and right channels
respectively. Not so. The HD53 actually
has two independent headphone amplifier sections. It’s perfect for couples.
Each of you gets a headphone jack
(actually two headphone jacks, one for a
full-sized phone plug and the other for
a miniplug), and an independent volume
control. Compare that to what you get
with most headphone amplifiers, and it’s
clear that you’re getting something extra
for your money.
	 At least if the performance is adequate, you are.
	 We began with Margie Gibson’s song
The Best Thing For You, and we were
pretty sure we had a winner. Gibson’s
voice was clearer than with either of the
other two amplifiers, but without even
a hint of strain. Her “S” sounds were


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Wonderful French speakers. (604)583-1818 or
High quality "custom built" vacuum tube
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phone (519)485-6137 after 6:30 PM EST.
Piega P10 speakers for sale. Gloss black,
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idealinnovations.ca for more information, email idealinnovations@rogers.com, or phone
Creekside Audio for all your stereo/theatre
needs. Audiomat, Vecteur, Atlantis
Acoustique, Gershman and lots more!
Discover the magic in music with our fine
products. (250)-878-6252, Kelowna, BC.
Cambridge Audio, TEAC, Parasound
Halo, Angstrom, James Loudspeakers,
Audio Art custom-built actively tri-amplified
loudspeakers, Richard Gray AC, cables,
stands, accessories. Custom installation
and home theater. David Elderton Audio
Video Consultant, (604)808-7394, evenings
Museatex/MeitnerAudio factory service and
updates. Please check our web-site at www.
museatex.com. E-mail me at john@museatex.
com or phone (403)284-0723.

Coming up in issue No. 77 of

The Bryston 2B-SST amplifier…does it measure up to the legendary 2BLP?
The Simaudio Moon P-8 preamp…is it in the league of the W-8 power amp?
The Harmonix DAC…can you get $15,000 sound for a third the price?
Can you make your own high resolution recordings at home?

nat u ra l, proving once again
that the sibilant
artifacts we often
hear are the result
of problems in the
playback, not the original recording.
	 But it’s not even the voice
that strikes you first. Rather
it’s the perfect balance of voice,
piano, cello, bass and percussion. We
all asked for a second listen, and then
we noticed the other virtues: a drum kit
that was clearer and much more natural,
and details of diction we are not used to
hearing quite so clearly. Gibson’s presence
was notable too.
	 We continued with Eric Bibbs’
Gospel Blues piece, Needed Time. It
opens wit h a soft and subtle duet
between Bibbs’ own guitar and Göran
Wennerbrandt’s bottleneck, and it was
well night on perfect. The balance
between the actual sound of the guitar
strings and the resonance of the instrument bodies was just right.
	 As for Bibbs’ voice, it was pretty
well nailed by the CEC as well. It was

very clear, putting the lyrics in
evidence, full of life and expression, but
without at any point overemphasizing

Summing it up…
Brand/model: CEC HD53-R
Price: C$990/US$790
Size (WDH): 22 x 26 x 6 cm
Most liked: Fine performance, two
independent sections
Least liked: Crapola output binding
Verdict: Worthy of the best phones
you can afford

any aspect of it. “He’s just there,” said
Albert, “and there’s a lot of space
all around him.”
	 We ended wit h t he
Stölzel piece sung by
Karina Gauvin, and
once again we were
delighted. She sang
with lots of power,
and indeed we all
reached for the volume
knob to turn her down a little, though
only because this CD is recorded louder
than most. Gauvin’s voice remained
smooth and effortless even when she
rose in both pitch and volume. The
harpsichord was clear, but a little way
back, as it should be. Albert, it must be
said, thought this recording sounded
superb with all three amplifiers.
	 With the session over, we hooked up
our Living Voice speakers to the output
binding posts. They’re the same horrible
posts as on the CEC integrated amp,
unfortunately. The sound was clear,
without artifacts that made us cringe, but
we would consider this a stopgap bonus,
not something you would plan on using
for the rest of your life.


	 The clear winner here, I think, is…
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delit atue diam ent landre.

Back Issues
Issues No.7-19 (except 11, 15, 17 and 18, out of
print): nine issues available for the price of five
(see below). A piece of audio history. Available
separately at the regular price.
No.75: Amplifiers: The new Simaudio Moon W-8
flagship, and integrated amps from Copland (the
CTA-405) and CEC. Speakers: the Reference 3a
Veena and the Energy Reference Connoisseur
reborn. Plus the Benchmark DAC converter. And
also: Bergman on the changing concept of hi-fi
and stereo, a chat with FIM’s Winston Ma, and
the rediscovery of a great Baroque composer,
Christoph Graupner.
No.74: Lots of amplifiers: The Mimetism 15.2,
Qinpu A-8000, Raysonic SP-100, Cyrus 8vs
and Rogue Stereo 90. More reviews: Atlantis
Argentera speaker, Cyrus CD8X player, GutWire
MaxCon Squared line filter, Harmonic remote,
Music Studio 10 recording software. Cables:
Atlas, Stager, BIS and DNM, including a look
at how length affects digital cables. Plus: the
(high fidelity) digital jukebox, why HDTV doesn’t
always mean what you think, and Reine Lessard
on The Man Who Invented Rock’n’Roll.
No.73: Integrated amplifiers: The superlative Audiomat Récital and the affordable but
musical Exposure 2010S. Analog: Turntables
from Roksan (the Radius 5) and Goldring (the
Rega-designed GR2), plus two cartridges, and
four phono stages from CEC, Marchand and
Goldring. More reviews: The Harmonix Reimyo
CD player, the Audiomat Maestro DAC, the
ASW Genius 400 speakers, and the Sonneteer
BardOne wireless system. Plus: Paul Bergman
on the making of an LP and why they don’t all
sound the same, the many ways of compressing
video so it looks (almost) like film, news from
Montreal 2005, and the story of the accordion.
No.72: Music from data: We look at ways you
can make your own audiophile CDs with equipment you already have, and we test a DAC that
yields hi-fi from your computer. We review the
new Audio Reference speakers, the updated
Connoisseur single-ended tube amp, upscale
Actinote cables, and Gershman’s Acoustic Art
panels. How to tune up your system for an inexpensive performance boost. And much more.
No.71: Three small speaker: Reference 3a
Dulcet, Totem Rainmaker, and a very low cost but
surprising speaker from France. We do a complex blind cable test: five cables from Atlas, and
one Wireworld cable with different connectors
(Eichmann, WBT nextgen, and Wireworld). The
McCormack UDP-1 universal player, muRata
super tweeters, the Simaudio I-3 amp and
Equinox CD player. Paul Bergman reveals the
philosophical differences behind two-channel
stereo and multichannel.
No.70: How SACD won the war…or how DVD-A
blew it. Reviews: Linn Unidisk 1.1 universal
player and Shanling SCD-T200 player. Speakers:
Reference 3a Royal Virtuoso, Equation 25,
Wilson Benesch Curve, preview of muRata
super tweeters. Other reviews: Simaudio W5LE amp, the iPod as an audiophile source.
Plus: future video screens, the eternal music
of George Gershwin, and two reports from
Montréal 2004.
No.69: Tube Electronics: Audiomat Opéra ,
Connoisseur SE-2 and Copland CSA29 integrated amps, and Shanling SP-80 monoblocks.
Also: Audiomat's Phono-1.5, Creek CD50, as
well as a great new remote control, GutWire's
NotePad antivibration device, and a musicrelated computer game that had us laughing out
loud. Paul Bergman on the return of the vacuum
tube, and how music critics did their best to kill

the world’s greatest music.
No.68: Loudspeakers: Thiel CS2.4, Focus
Audio FS688, Iliad B1. Electronics:Vecteur
I-6.2 and Audiomat Arpège integrated amplifiers, Copland 306 multichannel tube preamp,
Rega Fono MC. Also: Audio Note and Copland
CD players, GutWire MaxCon power filter. And
there’s more: all about power supplies, what’s
coming beyond DVD, and a chat with YBA’s
Yves-Bernard André.
No.67: Loudspeakers: A new, improved
Reference 3a MM de Capo, and the awesome
Living Voice Avatar OBX-R. Centre speakers
for surround from Castle, JMLab, ProAc, Thiel,
Totem and Vandersteen. One of them joins our
Kappa system. Two multichannel amps from
Copland and Vecteur. Plus: plans for a DIY
platform for placing a centre speaker atop any TV
set, Paul Bergman on the elements of acoustics,
and women in country music.
No.66: Reviews: the Jadis DA-30 amplifier, the
Copland 305 tube preamp and 520 solid state
amp. Plus: the amazing Shanling CD player,
Castle Stirling speakers, and a remote control
that tells you what to watch. Also: Bergman on
biwiring and biamplification, singer Janis Ian’s
alternative take on music downloading, and a
chat with Opus 3’s Jan-Eric Persson.
No.65: Back to Vinyl: setting up an analog
system, reviews of Rega P9 turntable, and
phono preamps from Rega, Musical Fidelity and
Lehmann. The Kappa reference system for home
theatre: how we selected our HDTV monitor, plus
a review of the Moon Stellar DVD player. Antivibration: Atacama, Symposium, Golden Sound,
Solid-Tech, Audioprism, Tenderfeet. Plus an
interview with Rega’s turntable designer, and a
look back at what UHF was like 20 years ago.
No.64: Speakers: Totem M1 Signature and
Hawk, Visonik E352. YBA Passion Intégré amp,
Cambridge IsoMagic (followup), better batteries
for audio-to-go. Plus: the truth about upsampling,
an improvement to our LP cleaning machine, an
interview with Ray Kimber.
No.63: Tube amps: ASL Leyla & Passion
A11. Vecteur Espace speakers, 2 interconnects (Harmonic Technology Eichmann),
5 speaker cables (Pierre Gabriel, vdH ,
Harmonic Technology, Eichmann), 4 power
cords (Wireworld, Harmonic Technology,
Eichmann, ESP). Plus: Paul Bergman on
soundproofing, how to compare components
in the store, big-screen TV’s to stay away
from, a look back at the Beatles revolution.
No.62: Amplifiers: Vecteur I-4, Musical Fidelity
Nu-Vista M3, Antique Sound Lab MG-S11DT.
Passive preamps from Creek and Antique Sound
Lab. Vecteur L-4 CD player. Interconnects: VdH
Integration and Wireworld Soltice. Plus: the right
to copy music, and how it may be vanishing.
Choosing a DVD player by features. And all about
music for the movies.
No.61: Digital: Audiomat Tempo and Cambridge
Isomagic DACs, Vecteur D-2 transport. Speakers:
Osborn Mini Tower and Mirage OM-9. Soundcare
Superspikes. And: new surround formats, dezoning DVD players.
No.60: Speakers: Monitor Audio Silver 9,
Reference 3a MM De Capo, Klipsch RB-5,
Coincident Triumph Signature. Plus: a Mirage
subwoofer and the Audiomat Solfège amp. Paul
Bergman on reproducing extreme lows.
No.59: CD players: Moon Eclipse, Linn Ikemi and
Genki, Rega Jupiter/Io, Cambridge D500. Plus:
Oskar Kithara speaker, with Heil tweeter. And:

transferring LP to CD, the truth on digital radio,
digital cinema vs MaxiVision 48.

and D/AC-2000 converter. And: Upgrading your
system for next to nothing.

No.58: Amplifiers: ASL AQ1003, Passion I10
& I11, Rogue 88, Jadis Orchestra Reference,
Linar 250. Headphone amps: Creek, Antique
Sound Lab, NVA, Audio Valve. Plus: Foundation
Research LC-2 line filter, Gutwire power cord,
Pierre Gabriel ML-1 2000 cable. And: building
your own machine to clean LP’s.

No.46: Electronics: Simaudio 4070SE amp &
P-4002 preamp, Copland CTA-301 & CTA-505,
N.E.W. P-3 preamp. Digital cables: Wireworld,
Audiostream, MIT, XLO, Audioprism, and
Wireworld’s box for comparing interconnects.
Also: YBA CD-1 and Spécial CD players. YvesBernard André talks about about his blue diode
CD improvement.

No.57: Speakers: Dynaudio Contour 1.3,
Gershman X-1/SW-1, Coincident Super Triumph
Signature, Castle Inversion 15, Oskar Aulos.
PLUS: KR 18 tube amp. Music Revolution: the
next 5 years. Give your Hi-Fi a Fall Tune-Up.
No.56: Integrated amps: Simaudio I-5, Roksan
Caspian, Myryad MI120, Vecteur Club 10, NVA
AP10 Also: Cambridge T500 tuner, Totem Forest.
Phono stages: Creek, Lehmann, Audiomat.
Interconnects: Actinote, Van den Hul, Pierre
Gabriel. Plus: Paul Bergman on power and current…why you need both
No.55: CD players: Linn CD12, Copland CDA289, Roksan Caspian, AMC CD8a. Other
reviews: Enigma Oremus speaker, Magenta
ADE-24 black box. Plus: the DSD challenge for
the next audio disc, pirate music on the Net, the
explosion of off-air video choices.
No.54: Electronics: Creek A52se, Simaudio
W-3 and W-5 amps. Copland CSA-303, Sima
P-400 and F.T. Audio preamps (the latter two
passive). Musical Fidelity X-DAC revisited, Ergo
AMT phones, 4 line filters, 2 interconnects. Plus:
Making your own CD’s.
No.53: Loudspeakers:Reference 3a Intégrale,
Energy Veritas v2.8, Epos ES30, Totem Shaman,
Mirage 390is, Castle Eden. Plus: Paul Bergman
on understanding biamping, biwiring, balanced
lines, and more.
No.52: CD players: Alchemist Nexus, Cambridge
CD6, YBA Intégré, Musical Fidelity X-DAC,
Assemblage DAC-2. Subwoofers: Energy ES-8
and NHT PS-8. Plus: Paul Bergman on reproducing deep bass, Vegas report, and the story
behind digital television.
No.51: Integrated amps: YBA Intégré DT,
Alchemist Forseti, Primare A-20, NVA AP50
Cambridge A1. CD players: Adcom GCD-750,
Rega Planet. An economy system to recommend
to friends, ATI 1505 5-channel amp, Bergman on
impedance, why connectors matter, making your
own power bars.
No.50: CD: Cambridge DiscMagic/DACMagic,
Primare D-20, Dynaco CDV Pro. Analog: Rega
Planar 9, Linn LP12 after 25 years. Also: Moon
preamp, Linn Linto phono stage, Ergo and Grado
headphones. Speaker cables: Linn K-400,
Sheffield, MIT 750 Also: 15 years of UHF.
No.49: Power amps: Simaudio Moon, Bryston
3B ST, N.E.W. DCA-33, plus the Alchemist
Forseti amp and preamp, and McCormack
Micro components. Also: our new Reference 3a
Suprema II reference speakers, and a followup
on the Copland 277 CD player. Plus: how HDCD
really works.
No.48: Loudspeakers: JMLabs Daline 3.1,
Vandersteen 3a, Totem Tabù, Royd Minstrel.
CD: Cambridge CD4, Copland CDA-277. Also:
An interview with the founder of a Canadian
audiophile record label.
No.47: FM tuners: Magnum Dynalab MD-108,
Audiolab 8000T, Fanfare FT-1. Speaker cables:
QED Qudos, Wireworld Equinox and Eclipse,
MIT MH-750. Parasound C/BD-2000 transport

No.45: Integrated amps: Copland CTA-401,
Simaudio 4070i, Sugden Optima 140. CD:
Adcom GDA-700 HDCD DAC, Sonic Frontiers
SFD-1 MkII. Interconnects: Straight Wire
Maestro, 3 versions of Wireworld Equinox.
Plus: Yamamura Q15 CD oil, and “Hi-Fi for the
Financially Challenged”.
No.44: Digital: Rotel RCD970BX, Counterpoint
DA-10A DAC. Speakers: Apogee Ribbon Monitor,
Totem Mite, more on the Gershman Avant Garde.
Also: Laser-Link cable, “The Solution” CD treatment, AudioQuest sorbothane feet, Tenderfeet,
Isobearings. Plus: Inside Subwoofers, and
the castrati, the singers who gave their all for
No.43: The first HDCD converter: the EAD
DSP-1000 MkII. Speakers: Gershman Avant
Garde, Totem Mani-2 and Rokk, Quad ESL-63
with Gradient sub. Plus: Keith O. Johnson on the
road to HDCD, and our editor joins those of other
magazines to discuss what’s hot in audio.
No.42: Electronics: Spectral DMC-12 and Celeste
P-4001 preamplifiers, amps and preamps from
Duson. Also: Sonic Frontiers SFD-1 converter,
power line filters from Audioprism, Chang, and
YBA. Plus: Inside the preamplifier, and how the
tango became the first “dirty” dance.
No.41: Digital: Roksan DA-2, EAD DSP-7000,
McCormack DAC-1, QED Ref. Digit. Cables:
Straight Wire LSI Encore & Virtuoso, Wireworld
Equinox, van den Hul The 2nd & Revelation,
Cardas Cross & Hexlink Golden, Transparent
Music-Link Super & Music-Wave Super. Plus:
Bergman on recording stereo.
No.40: Integrated amps: YBA Intégré, Rotel 960,
Sugden A-25B, Sima PW-3000, Linn Majik, Naim
NAIT 3, AMC CVT3030, Duson PA-75. Stereo:
what it is, how it works, why it’s disappearing
from records.
No. 39: Speakers: KEF Q50, Martin-Logan
Aerius, Castle Howard, NEAR 40M, Klipsch
Kg4.2. Plus: QED passive preamps, followup
on the Linn Mimik CD player.
No. 38: CD players: Roksan Attessa, Naim CDS,
Linn Mimik, Quad 67, Rotel 945, Micromega
Model “T”. Plus: How the record industry will
wipe out hi-fi, and why women have been erased
from music history.
No.37: Electronics: Celeste 4070 and McIntosh
7150 amps, Linn Kairn and Klout. Plus:
RoomTunes acoustic treatment, why all amps
don’t sound alike, and the truth about Pro
No.35: Speakers: Castle Chester, Mirage M-7si,
Totem Model 1, Tannoy 6.1, NHT 2.3, 3a Micro
Monitor, Rogers LS2a/2. Plus: Tests of high end
video recorders, hi-fi stereo recordings of piano
performances of 75 years ago. Acoustics part 6:
Conceiving the room.
To see a list of older issues:

EACH ISSUE costs $6.49 (in Canada) plus tax (15.03% in Québec, 15% in NB, NS and NF, 7% in other Provinces), US$6.49 in the USA, CAN$10.75 elsewhere (air mail
included). THE ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION (issues 7-19 except 11, 15, 17 and 18) includes 9 issues but costs like 5. For VISA or MasterCard, include your number,
expiry date and signature. UHF Magazine, Box 65085, Place Longueuil, Longueuil, Qué., Canada J4K 5J4. Tel.: (450) 651-5720 FAX: (450) 651-3383. Order on line at
www.uhfmag.com. Recent back issues are available electronically at www.magzee.com, for C$4.30 each, all taxes included.

High end Sound

From Your Computer?



n UHF No. 75 we explained how to
use Apple’s iTunes program (free
for Windows and Mac OS X) to
get instant access to a vast music
library. What was not evident was how
to listen without taking a huge performance hit. A very few computers have
digital outputs, usually optical. But
your computer and your music system
are probably not adjacent. How do you
get a pristine digital signal from here
to there?
	 The most tempting way would be to
somehow get it out of an iPod. Unlike
most portable players, the iPod can carry
music around in either uncompressed
mode or lossless compression (more on
that in a moment), or no compression
at all. And the larger iPods, like the
official UHF iPod on the next page, have
the capacity for it. At first we thought
it would be a piece of cake to get the
digital signal from the iPod and into
an audiophile-grade converter. Wrong.
Converters expect to see digital data in
S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface
Format), and that’s not what the iPod
supplies. Nonetheless we believe it can be
done, and we are pursuing our research.	
	 So how do you get a good digital
signal over to your stereo system?
	 There are several ways, though we
think the little machine shown above is
the best we’ve seen: the Squeezebox 3,
from Slim Devices. This device is so well

thought out and does so much, that it is
difficult to believe it can be sold at such
a low price (US$299). Before we actually
get into setting it up, let’s look at what it
is and what it does.
	 The Squeezebox is a music controller
for your computer, except that it doesn’t
have to be connected physically to your
computer. If you have a wireless (WiFi) home network, as more and more
computer users do, it hooks on to that.
It can also connect by Ethernet, and
indeed there is an Ethernet-only version
available for $50 less. If you use a jukebox
program such as iTunes, the Squeezebox
can control it too. That means you can
use its remote to select any piece of
music that is in iTunes and call it up. If
you don’t use iTunes (as you can’t if your
computer runs Linux or Unix), Slim
Devices’ own software lets you do much
the same. The bright, large fluorescent
display shows you what’s on.
	 The rear of the device has a plethora of
connectors. You can plug in headphones,
or interconnects to your amplifier (there
is a built-in Burr-Brown DAC), or you
can use a coaxial or toslink digital cable
to put the digital signal right into your

Meet digital audio’s
missing link, the

own DAC, or into your one-box player’s
digital input. Enough for you?
	 But wait, as they say on late-night TV
infomercials, there’s more! You can set up
several Squeezeboxes, and they can be
playing different selections at the same
time, at least if your network has enough
bandwidth. If you get tired of the music
you own, you can also listen to Internet
radio, and you can set up the screen to
scroll through news headlines, stock
prices, or weather forecasts.
	 We do actually have a large collection of music on a hard disc, which is
there to feed our iPod (see The [High
Fidelity] Digital Jukebox in UHF No. 74).
Nearly all of it was compressed in Apple
Lossless, which as its name suggests
can compress music without doing irreversible damage. The Squeezebox also
handles the free lossless codec FLAC,
plus AAC, MP3, WMA (on Windows),
and lots more. What it can’t do is stream
protected music, such as that from
Apple’s iTunes store. Compressed music
from current stores is of little interest to
serious music listeners, however, and we
don’t consider that a dealbreaker.
	 Setting up the Squeezebox to connect to our network was aided by clear
on-screen instructions. Once connected
it “saw” our massive iTunes collection
and gave us full access to it. From the
operational point of view, the Squeezebox is a wonder, marred only by a serious
security problem, which we will get to
	 But we are audiophiles, and what we
really wanted to find out was whether
what the Squeezebox provides is something we would want to listen to. We set
it up in our Alpha system, with its digital
output (we tried both coaxial and optical)
feeding our Counterpoint DA-10A converter. Our first observation: HDCDencoded recordings stored with Apple
Lossless compression maintain their
encoding. That much was interesting,
and since the code is found in the dithering, it also means that very low-level
digital information is preserved through
encoding, decoding and transmission.	
The proof of the pudding
	 A lot of our favorite test recordings
are already on hard disc, and that made
comparisons easy. We selected some CDs

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eugait adipit nibh et nis nonsed magna

feummod do coreros eugait il
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endigniatue dolor secte ex eugiat.
Illa corperostrud tisi.
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lore facilis sequat. Duis ad dolor adiam
quatiscidunt praestie er ametummod
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Andigna feuguer sustrud dolore conum
ex et enisit prat vulputat iure dunt verit
lutpat nullam velesto commolortie
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dipisim zzrillutetue corpera esendit
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vel ut iniam, velis amcore facilisl erit
venit augait lute tem ing ercilit, velisci
liquatuer il utatue consequat.
	 Re facin henis nisl iustrud enim aute
duis dignisc iliscipissi.
	 Tum veliquat ulpute dolore volore
facipsum esequat. Ut lan veliquat
praese facilit lutpat nibh euguero ea
feuguer suscing enismod dolorero
odiamco rtiscil lamconsequat wismod
modion vel ulputat. Utpation utpat
augait am, core tisi.
	 An hendreet nonsenim dit, ver sustrud dunt utet autem quam, sis augue
magniam consequat adipis adiam, consed
te ming esent loborper iure commodio
commodit lum zzriure vullumsan henim
iustin utatum vel ilis aut loborperilla
feum do odolore commodolore dolore
dolesto eu feu feu feuipsu scipit ad
molorem ex ero odolobore dolobortie
digna conullaor si bla consecte et exerit
lum alismolore ming esent vullamc onullan henisl ute core vent volor si.
	 Sumsandre con hent ilit nim nis
accum nissequam ero eraestrud
dolore ese dolore dolutat, volobore
diat praestismod te facilla facil inci
blan et aliquis ciliquiscil dignis am
quis niamet nisse eniamet, sis nibh
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    45    


we know well, and listened to them on
our two-box player: a CEC belt-driven
transport and our Counterpoint DAC.
We then connected the Squeezebox
to the DAC using the same coaxial
digital cable (an Atlas Opus, in
a 1.5 m length). Listening was
done through our Alpha system,
two floors above the location of
the Macintosh G5 that holds the
music collection.
	 We began with an old favorite,
Now the Green Blade Riseth (Proprius
PRCD9093). As we have noted countless
times, this beautifully-recorded choral
disc can embarass the designers of some
surprisingly expensive systems.
	 This article could turn out to be be
one of the most important we have ever
published, and we can pretty much guarantee that it is different from supposedly
similar reviews, mostly uncritical, found
in other publications. We think you’ll
want to get the full version.
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facipsum esequat. Ut lan veliquat praese
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suscing enismod dolorero odiamco
rtiscil lamconsequat wismod modion vel
ulputat. Utpation utpat augait am, core
	 An hendreet nonsenim dit, ver sustrud dunt utet autem quam, sis augue
magniam consequat adipis adiam, consed
te ming esent loborper iure commodio
commodit lum zzriure vullumsan henim
iustin utatum vel ilis aut loborperilla
feum do odolore commodolore dolore
dolesto eu feu feu feuipsu scipit ad
molorem ex ero odolobore dolobortie
digna conullaor si bla consecte et exerit
lum alismolore ming esent vullamc
onullan henisl ute core vent volor si.
	 Sumsandre con hent ilit nim nis
accum nissequam ero eraestrud dolore
ese dolore dolutat, volobore diat
praestismod te facilla facil inci blan
et aliquis ciliquiscil dignis am quis
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eraesen dionum zzrilla feuipis modolut
adip euis dolessi.
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utatuer ostinit nos eugiam nos adionsed
euisi ex eril ilismod te te mod et adionse
quissent aliquisi te doluptat ing enit
ea alis accumsan velessectem dolorpe
rostrud dipis nonsenisi.
	 Iril iure molobor sustismod molore
mincilit acing er accum v ulput in
utat, quat ad eril doloreet lan euismol
ortinim digna autpat lobor sectetum
quamconulla commy niation sequatie
el ip ea augait, consequam adionsectet
alis ex exer sum zzriure eugiam iriurerit
ad eros dit alit num del ullutpat, sisisl


et et volorper si blam, quatem init,
consequi bla coreet, vent iriusci bla
feu feuipis modolore dolesse conulla
feuis adit laor ilit lutpatin el in velisci
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coreros eugait il ex eugait wisi ex et num
quisim aut atum del del dolobore eros
endigniatue dolor secte ex eugiat. Illa
corperostrud tisi.
What about HDCD?
	 Cil et veraessisl utat, sed tio dionsendipit nit aliquisi eu facincidunt lobor
iure do ero dignit ullaortion ute feugiat.
Lorem eum iurer iure tatue modigna
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illaore do odit ilis dipit do euis eui te
feugait niamcom modolor perilluptat. To
commy nim iustio duipis num nostrud
magna facip euis exerosto dolor sequipit
augait lor se commodo lobore dolore
conse conumsandit aliquisci tet lore
tio eugait ad magnit utpat la feum
nisl exercil lutatio consed tatem
zzrilit aliquam quat utpat wisit
praestie feuisim num do od exer
augait duisse et lumsan etuercilisit
nonsectet wissi blamcon utpat verostio et wisi tetueros nos autat lutat
prat, commy nullamet adip esto delis

dignisl dolorpe rcilis eum
eu feu feugiam zzrit utat,
con elenisi.
	 Commod dolest r ud
te te euis alis niamconsed
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quatummod dolute tem
zzrit at alit, con ut iusto dit
nos accum nummodiam,
quamet, sequiscipit accum
adiat volorem nos aliquatuerit iusto con velenit ilit

	 Od tat lor sim nisci tat at ut iril eum
vullaor se ex enim dignim digna commodolore commy num veniam dolut
wiscipit exercil ut ilis eum non volessim
dunt wisl do do commod magniat. Ut
wisisim zzrit nonsequatie magnit nos
nonsed delenim dolenis adiatem zzrilisit
ad doluptat. Quat ip eugait wissenis adipissecte do eu feugait praessit ute veniamc
onulla feugueril et lore min essenis nos
et amet lore molobor percipit in eniam,
vulla coreet, venim eugiate dolore dionseniam nulla conse dip ex exerat, sequat
nosto do euisciliqui etum delit nos nonse
tem iriureet, secte dolor sum zzriustrud
tat, suscips ustrud tie vel dolore modo
conse modolortio et nos nit utem zzrit
irit pratueros dolorem diat, quipit nonsequate magna facip exer summodion
vullaore duis euismod ignibh esting
et, vel estrud estrud dipisit inciduis
aliquam eum doloborer sed tionsenit
lum nos dolore eum niam iustrud euis
am euipsum molobore cor at. Duiscilla
adigna feugiam vent aliquam alit eu feu
facip eu feugait ulputat, volortisisi.

“Lossless” compression?
	 Cil et veraessisl utat, sed tio dionsendipit nit aliquisi eu facincidunt
lobor iure do ero dignit ullaortion ute
feugiat. Lorem eum iurer
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feui eu facipsusto ea faccums andignis dit illaore do
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conse conumsandit aliquisci

The dark side of the Squeezebox
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iure do ero dignit ullaortion ute feugiat.
Lorem eum iurer iure tatue modigna
feugait eros nisl utatum ip el ex eu feui
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illaore do odit ilis dipit do euis eui te
feugait niamcom modolor perilluptat.
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sequipit augait lor se commodo lobore

dolore conse conumsandit aliquisci tet
lore tio eugait ad magnit utpat la feum
nisl exercil lutatio consed tatem zzrilit
aliquam quat utpat wisit praestie feuisim
num do od exer augait duisse et lumsan
etuercilisit nonsectet wissi blamcon
utpat verostio et wisi tetueros nos autat
lutat prat, commy nullamet adip esto
delis dignisl dolorpe rcilis eum eu feu
feugiam zzrit utat, con elenisi.
	 Commod dolestrud te te euis alis
niamconsed eummod te tet ing exerili
quatummod dolute tem zzrit at alit, con
ut iusto dit nos accum nummodiam,
quamet, sequiscipit accum adiat volorem
nos aliquatuerit iusto con velenit ilit
	 Od tat lor sim nisci tat at ut iril eum
vullaor se ex enim dignim digna commodolore commy num veniam dolut
wiscipit exercil ut ilis eum non volessim
dunt wisl do do commod magniat. Ut
wisisim zzrit nonsequatie magnit nos
nonsed delenim dolenis adiatem zzrilisit
ad doluptat.
On the test bench
	 Cil et veraessisl utat, sed tio dionsendipit nit aliquisi eu facincidunt lobor
iure do ero dignit ullaortion ute feugiat.
Lorem eum iurer iure tatue modigna
feugait eros nisl utatum ip el ex eu feui
eu facipsusto ea faccums andignis dit
illaore do odit ilis dipit do euis eui te
feugait niamcom modolor perilluptat.

Summing it up…
Brand/model: Squeezebox 3
Price: US$299
Dimensions (WHD): 19 x 9 x 7,7 cm
Most liked: Well thought out, good
performance, huge potential
Least liked: Serious security hole (see
Verdict: Stop the presses: music on a
computer is not the devil’s spawn

To commy nim iustio duipis num nostrud magna facip euis exerosto dolor
sequipit augait lor se commodo lobore
dolore conse conumsandit aliquisci tet
lore tio eugait ad magnit utpat la feum
nisl exercil lutatio consed tatem zzrilit
aliquam quat utpat wisit praestie feuisim
num do od exer augait duisse et lumsan
etuercilisit nonsectet wissi blamcon
utpat verostio et wisi tetueros nos autat
lutat prat, commy nullamet adip esto
delis dignisl dolorpe rcilis eum eu feu
feugiam zzrit utat, con elenisi.
	 Commod dolestrud te te euis alis
niamconsed eummod te tet ing exerili
quatummod dolute tem zzrit at alit, con
ut iusto dit nos accum nummodiam,
quamet, sequiscipit accum adiat volorem
nos aliquatuerit iusto con velenit ilit
	 Od tat lor sim nisci tat at ut iril eum
vullaor se ex enim dignim digna commodolore commy num veniam dolut
wiscipit exercil ut ilis eum non volessim
dunt wisl do do commod magniat. Ut
wisisim zzrit nonsequatie magnit nos
nonsed delenim dolenis adiatem zzrilisit
ad doluptat. Quat ip eugait wissenis adipissecte do eu feugait praessit ute veniamc
onulla feugueril et lore min essenis nos
et amet lore molobor percipit in eniam,
vulla coreet, venim eugiate dolore dionseniam nulla conse dip ex exerat, sequat
nosto do euisciliqui etum delit nos nonse
tem iriureet, secte dolor sum zzriustrud
tat, suscips ustrud tie vel dolore modo
conse modolortio et nos nit utem zzrit
irit pratueros dolorem diat, quipit nonsequate magna facip exer summodion
vullaore duis euismod ignibh esting
et, vel estrud estrud dipisit inciduis
aliquam eum doloborer sed tionsenit
lum nos dolore eum niam iustrud euis
am euipsum molobore cor at. Duiscilla
adigna feugiam vent aliquam alit eu feu
facip eu feugait ulputat, volortisisi.
	 Ommy nim in ea augait, quam dolore
consed tetue eu faccum vel utat. Ut aci
bla facip et autatis autem dolenim nit,
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    47    


tet lore tio eugait ad magnit
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feuisim num do od exer augait
duisse et lumsan etuercilisit
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velisl ing el er suscill utpatin henibh ese
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	 The cheapest we know of is from
Apple. The Airport Express looks like
the little power supply that comes with
Apple laptops, and contains a Wi-Fi
transmitter that will hook up to your
local network, or directly to your computer if it has a Wi-Fi card.

your own DAC with an optical cable. It
plays what the computer sends it, since
it has no controls of its own. The box
has an Ethernet connector for printer
sharing or setting up an ad hoc network.
It costs US$129, or C$159.
	 The Roku Soundbridge M1000 has a
feature set closer to that of the Squeezebox, and costs $100 less. The M500, with
a smaller, nearly unreadable, display is
even cheaper. It won’t run Apple Lossless
tracks unless (ironically) you download
Slim Devices’ software. The picture
shows an “M2000,” which appears to be

	 We attempted to get a Soundbridge
for review, without success. Roku’s listed
Canadian distributor shows startlingly
high prices, and e-mails to its site bounce
back. Roku told us it would “look into
it,” but that was nearly a year ago. In the
meantime we have had a reader report
	 Since it has no display, you configure   that the Soundbridge’s optical output
it from your computer. You can then get is poor. Since Roku will not or cannot
analog audio from it via a mini phone supply a unit for review, we pretty much
plug, or you can get digital audio into have to leave it at that.

	 We have no plans to sell our rather
expensive CD (and SACD) players and
shove everything into the computer. Nor
will we stop reviewing (and recommending) standalone music sources, both digital and analog. It is, however, possible to
get real high fidelity from a computer if
you know what you’re doing.
	 And it’s probable that better devices
yet (the Squeezebox 4, perhaps) will yield
even higher fidelity. It’s important to
understand that the digital signal from
your original CD remains digital right
through the entire process, and finally
enters the analog domain only at your
stereo system. The acrobatics that your
computer, your Wi-Fi router and the
Squeezebox put it through are as nothing compared to the manipulations that
go into the actual manufacture of the
Compact Disc itself. Even so, there’s a
better than even chance that the disc was
mastered on a computer not unlike the
one you own.
	 We’ve been told, by the way, that we
can obtain much better sound from the
Squeezebox by replacing the tiny power
brick that comes with it. Expect us to
take the hint.


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ex ex el eugue dignim in velenibh eugiam
inisciduis exerit, secte commy nosto conulla
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Power On the Go


got ’em all, even the one for a Motorola
P280 phone, which took a little longer.
	 There’s one down side: the iGo can
recharge all six devices, but not all at
once. On the plus side, you can travel
worldwide with it, because it adjusts itself
to whatever voltage is in the wall.
	 Each device of course requires its own
adapter tips, and in our case that meant
six adapters. The vinyl iGo carrying
pouch has a pocket for adapters, but good
luck figuring out that “A20” is what you
need for a Motorola phone. We picked
up one of those dollar store giant pill
boxes, with seven compartments for the
days of the week, and relabelled them.	

Do you need one?
	 Not everyone travels with as many
devices as we do. Six chargers is a lot,
whereas three or four may be a bearable

And how many power
chargers do you
travel with?

What it costs
	 As we went to press we didn’t have
official list prices, so we relied on iGo’s
on-line store (www.igo.com), and in
Canada, the catalog for The Source.
The unit we have seems to sell for
US$150/C$190, with adapter tips going
for US$10/C$12. Considering the going
price for just a charger for a modern
laptop, that’s not bad. And street prices
may be well below that.
An alternative?
	 At the same time we saw the iGo, we
also looked at an interesting universal
charger from a company called MFuel.
It’s called the Universal Power Bank,
and there was a picture of it in our Vegas
report in UHF No. 75.
	 The MFuel device can also charge
everything you’ve got, but it can do
more. It has its own rechargeable battery,
and it can power those devices, to give
you extra usage far from a power source.
We asked for a review sample and got no
reply. Since Vegas, its price rose from
US$300 to $400.
	 Our guess, however, is that it weighs
a lot more than 738 grams!
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    49    


t struck us when we were packing
up to go to Vegas for CES and
T.H.E.Show: each year we need
more and more chargers to go
	 Not all of our chargers are related
to audio, to be sure, though some of
them are. Two of us went along to
cover the shows (see Vegas 2006 in UHF
No. 75), and we actually brought along
no fewer than seven chargers! Count
’em: an iPod, a Palm Life Drive (which
is a video players among other things),
a Palm Tungsten T, an Apple iBook, a
Pentax Optio digital camera, and two
telephones (Siemens and Motorola).
We wondered what all those boxes and
wires would look like on an airport X-ray
	 Which is why the iGo Everywhere
Dual Power 130, shown above, grabbed
our attention. It promised to replace all
of our chargers except the one for the
camera (the Optio battery unfortunately,
can’t be recharged in the camera). It
comes in two parts. The larger box can
charge laptop computers. The smaller
add-on box, which is an option but is
included in the package we got, can
charge the iPod, phones and other small
products. Your main problem will be
rounding up the adapters for everything
you own, but with the company’s help we

	 And six devices may not mean six
chargers. If one of the devices you carry
is a laptop computer (you’re unlikely
to buy the iGo otherwise), it’s possible
that other devices can be recharged by
simply plugging them into the laptop’s
USB connector. That’s true of the iPod,
and it’s also true of the Palm Tungsten
handheld (though not of the Life Drive).
Indeed, the Palm and iPod travel chargers are substantially identical: plug-in
cubes with USB jacks.
	 And the iGo Everywhere may not
make your luggage lighter. We weighed
all six chargers we wanted to replace and
came up with a total of 762 grams. The
weight of the iGo with its cords, except
the optional car cord? It was 738 g, and
that didn’t include the six adapter tips.
	 But weight isn’t everything. If we had
measured the kilometers of tangled cord
on each of our adapters, it would have
put the iGo way ahead. What’s more,
rounding up our six chargers means getting down on hands and knees to unplug
them, and the danger of forgetting a
charger for a critical device is very real.




Future High-Res Discs

s we write this (and probably
as you read this), the format
battle for the next silver audio/
video disc is still on. Yes, it will
affect audio as well as video.
	 Let’s recapitulate.
	 O n one s ide a re
Toshiba, NEC, and —
perhaps more important — the DVD Forum,
the consortium that set
the standard for the existing
DVD. Their project is HD
DV D, the “HD” of course
standing for “high definition.”
It is read with a blue laser, which
has a shorter wavelength than the red
laser used in existing DVD and CD  
players. In other respects the disc itself is
similar to the existing DVD, and can be
produced in existing plants (though presumably with a lower yield of flaw-free
discs). The advantages of this DVD-like
format are obvious. The discs will be
cheaper to produce and the saving can
be passed on to consumers (hey, we’re
just reporting the official line). And the
system can be brought to market faster.
Target launch: Fall of 2005.
	 Wait a minute…2005?
	 In fact Toshiba’s first HD DVD
player, the HD-XA1 (shown at lower
right), was launched on March 31, 2006,
and only in Japan. Its eventual US
price was listed as $799 (the HD-A1,
announced earlier, which was supposed
to be cheaper, was not mentioned). The
price is mostly theoretical, since at
launch time there was not a single film
available in the format. So much for
coming to market faster. It did, however,
beat its competitor to market.
	 The competitor is Blu-Ray, backed
by Sony and Matsushita (Panasonic),
but not the DVD Forum. The Blu-Ray
disc also uses a blue laser, as its name
implies, but its structure is different.
The polycarbonate layer covering data
side of the disc is ten times thinner than
that of the DVD, allowing a better view

and therefore more data density. Making
Blu-Ray discs will require retooling
factories, but that is of course only a
transitional drawback.

As in a shooting
war, the two camps have scrambled
to gather allies. Toshiba has powerful
partners, such as Microsoft and Intel,
and more important ly Holly wood
studios: Warner, Universal and Disney.
The Blu-Ray camp has the support of
Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Apple, as
well as Sony Pictures (of course), MGM
(which belongs to Sony) and 20th Century Fox.
	 The first Blu-Ray player was due
for launch about now too, and one was
shown by Samsung at the Montreal show
in late March, but it has been…(surprise!)
delayed (to May 23rd, but keep your eyes
open for more news). If and when they
are released, Blu-Ray players will be
about double the price of the Toshiba
player. Take those prices with a grain of
salt, however, because with no available
software neither player will be available
for sale in any store.

Movie studio support
	 On the face of it, having the studios
on side is vital, because only they can
supply software. But if it’s possible for
the studios to help, it’s just as possible
that they can choose to stop the development of tomorrow’s discs dead in its

	 The industry got badly burned with
the DVD, whose CSS encryption was
supposed to make copying impossible.
Breaking CSS turned out to be trivial,
and there are plenty of shareware
and even freeware programs
for defeating it. Hollywood doesn’t want
t h at t o h app e n
with a much better
resolution disc. Are
the anti-copying
systems of HD DVD and
Blu-Ray done? And will they really be
more robust? We believe they are not
finalized, and if that is true no usable
player can truly be launched.
	 We might add that it seems unlikely a
more robust anti-copy system can resist
reverse engineering. That’s because
anyone who makes a player needs to have
the keys. Someone is going to forget the
key on a store counter somewhere. Lest
we forget, that was how CSS first got
	 Come to think of it, are the studios
ready to abandon DVD’s zone system,
which prevents discs from one part of
the world from being played in another?
Of course that system was compromised
years ago, but is Hollywood ready to go
with worldwide release of a single disc?
Or is this one more thing that needs to
be straightened out before the first player
is sold to the public?
	 Though the studios have chosen
sides, no one is interested in making
films for a player no one buys…nor
in having productions absent from a
system that becomes popular. Beyond
the posturing, the studios are hedging
their bets. They will release films for
whichever is the winning system. And
the winner will be decided by large store
chains, not by consumers.
What about audiophiles?
	 Whichever system wins out, the
vast space on the disc might make it
possible to make more space for sound.

Lossless Packing) compression system.
Is MLP one of the standards for HD
DVD? Well, duh!
But who needs it?
	 Film lovers want a disc with the
greatest possible capacity, in order to
get the best possible picture. However
audiophiles would seem to have all they
could want already. Either DVD-A
or SACD can give you an hour and a
quarter of high resolution 5.1 channel
surround sound. Who needs a disc with
15 Gb of space? Or 30 Gb? Or more?
	 We can get a clue by looking at
another of the DVD Forum’s formats,
the Dual-Disc. DVD-A had been done
in by its incompatibility with other audio
players, so why not (belatedly) bring out
a hybrid disc?
	 SACD had gone to hybrid CD/SACD
formats by using a dual-layer disc, and
that has become the norm for Super
Audio. The DVD Forum has brought
out its own hybrid. Think of it as a
DVD-A disc and a conventional CD
glued back to back. Just put it into the
player the right way up, and you’re good

to go. Unfortunately the thicker DualDisc jams in many players, and some
manufacturers warn that playing one
will void the warranty. Jamming in a car
player is all but guaranteed. However a
new format won’t have that problem.
	 Not surprisingly, manufacturers
mainly don’t care about the audiophile
world, and for the most part they’ve used
the Dual-Disc format for something
else: a CD on one side, and a video DVD
on the other side. Clearly, the consumer
gets more than by downloading the
music with BitTorrent or eMule.
	 There’s reason to expect similar
products on either Blu-Ray or HD
	 By the way, hybrid video/audio
discs already exist. Some music DVDs
have both Dolby Digital (compressed)
surround sound and the option of
uncompressed PCM sound that is literally CD quality. With the extra space
on tomorrow’s discs, both picture and
sound could potentially make a great
leap forward.
	 Just don’t expect to find a player for
sale in a real store for a while.
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    51    


That could just mean more channels
(8.1 channel surround is one of BluRay’s options), or it could also mean less
compression. Or no compression.
	 But here we’re talking about the
video disc. Could one of the new formats
also be tomorrow’s higher fidelity audio
	 Sony believes it can, and that seems
to be the reason for its lapsing interest in
its own SACD format. Of course SACD
lives on thanks to audiophile labels, but
Sony Music has its eye on something
else: Direct Stream Digital on a Blu-Ray
	 Sure enough, DSD, the audio format
of SACD, is one of Blu-Ray’s options.
So will the Blu-Ray disc replace SACD,
prompting audiophiles (and videophiles)
to buy yet another sort of digital player?
Not so fast!
	 Though Blu-Ray looks like the probable winner of the battle because of its
larger capacity, the DVD Forum has its
own plans. The DVD Forum is, you may
recall, the guardian of the other super
disc, DVD-Audio. That disc was made
possible by Meridian’s MLP (Meridian

	 We talked with him a lot after that,
and ran a Rendezvous feature with him
in UHF No. 43. We thought it was about
time we talked with him again.

The Totem Man


he first time we ever met Vince
Bruzzese he was showing a
prototype of a very small speaker
with what seemed at the time
like an absurdly high price. We're glad to

say that we encouraged him to persevere,
and the rest is history: the tiny “overpriced”
speaker turned out to be the Totem Model
One, arguably the world’s most successful

UHF: When you look back to the beginning,
when the Totem line was just one model, does
it seem an awfully long time ago?
Bruzzese: Actually not, because we still
live with that same model, but it has been
a wonderful journey, and it still is. The
joy we got out of the Model One, we get
from most of our other models.
UHF: Has the marketing side gotten easier
as the line has grown? It must have been
difficult when you had just one model.
Bruzzese: Without a doubt. It was difficult to penetrate the market back in the
late 1980’s. Back then the big speaker
ruled, and a small speaker was out of the
ordinary. Of course the addition of other
models made the line extremely acceptable to the mainstream market.
UHF: The Mani-2 was the speaker we all
thought would be called the Model Two. Tell
us how you thought about going beyond the
Model One.
Bruzzese: Actually the Mani-2 was
brought out almost at the same time
as the Rokk and the Tott. Those two
were excellent in their own way, but the
Mani-2 was supposed to be the flagship
“monitor” speaker. Back then monitors
had certain limitations, and the Mani-2
was totally different. No one else had
tried a vented box with a double woofer
inside. I wanted something that would
coalesce correctly and would have an
extremely low noise floor, with holographic imaging, keeping that same
emotional context and pace that I was
always interested in.
UHF: Though it’s not obvious from the
outside, the design of the Mani-2 is radically
Bruzzese: Yes. There’s no written
theory on that type of speaker, very
few parameters you could follow. Being
largely self-taught in the engineering
of speakers, I delved into things that
had never been approached before, to
produce the ultimate monitor. And it
has survived the test of time. I think

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consequatue vel ea feui tio estrud elit

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dolore enibh el doloreet, sum nosto
odoluptat. Ut lore molorper si.
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    53    


that, with the right equipment, the
Mani-2 remains today one of the most
formidable and most communicative  
speakers available.
UHF: Inside the Mani-2, the two woofers
are facing each other?
Bruzzese: No, they’re back-to-back.
They're connected in reverse phase,
so that they move together as a piston.
That piston action produces bass that
is extremely clean and tight. Also, any
resonances within the cabinet can’t come
back through the woofer, because the
twin woofers act as a buffer.
UHF: What does the Mani-2’s impedance
curve look like?
Bruzzese: The impedance curve is not
that bad. Sure, it will dip to 4 ohms, or  
perhaps 3.8 ohms, but it doesn’t rise, as
some speakers do, to 120 ohms or so. So
some people run them with as little as
40 or 50 watts. It works, as long as the
amplifier is stable, has a nice current
flow, and is musical.
UHF: What kind of amplifier does the
Mani-2 like best?
	 (Actually, we’re rather counting on
your being eager to read more. Of course
the entire interview with Vince is available in both the print issue and the full
electronic edition.)
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An oxygen-free
continuous cast (OCC)
cable: each strand is
made from a single
crystal. Two separate
internal conductors,
plus double shielding (what some people referred to as “semibalanced,” though we prefer “pseudo-balanced”). The double
shielding is copper mylar plus close-lapped 99.997% pure OCC
copper multi-stranded screen providing 100% RFI protection.
The premium “All-Cu” version (shown here) uses solid copper
connectors that are also continuous cast. The copper is then silverplated and double-shielded.We use two in our reference systems.
Special-order lengths from the factory.
ORDER: AN-1 pair, 1m, $265, AN-2 pair, 2m, $330
ORDER: ANA-1 All-Cu, 1m, $405, ANA-2 All-Cu, 2m, $470

Need to feed two preamps into two
amps? This solid Y-adapter (two
jacks into one phono plug) is gold
over brass, with Teflon dielectric.
ORDER: FYA, one pair Y adapters, $20

The unique WBT phono plugs have a collar which you turn so
that the plug tightens around and into the jack! The cable would
tear before the plug would come out.


Here’s a value that amazed us, from Sheffield (the record
company). It’s a solid core wire so hard it can be used in a good
binding post with no connector (but we’ll install the connector of
your choice if you prefer).
ORDER: SC10 Sheffield 3m pair, $150
ORDER: SC25 Sheffield 7.5m pair, $250
Two pairs ordered at the same time: 20% off

The Topline series (heaviest construction, 5-layered gold
plating), includes the 0108 (above), which uses reliable crimping
technology, not soldering. Slip a gold-plated sleeve over the
bared wire, and crimp it on with the special WBT crimping tool.
The crimped end is held in the plug with a Torx screw. Buy the
tool at the same time as the connectors, and we’ll buy it back at
the price you paid when you’re through.



A cable with superior performance at an
economical price. Oxygen-free copper,
continuously cast, double-shielded with conductive
PVC plus close lapped 99.9997% pure OCC copper
multi-stranded screen, for 100% coverage against
RFI. Direct gold-plated, non compressing, doublescreened, self cleaning RCA plugs. Also available
with the All-Cu connectors like those of the
Navigator (above).
ORDER: AV-1, Voyager 1m pair, $235, AV-2, 2m pair, $285
ORDER: AVA-1, All-Cu 1m pair, $375, AVA-2 2m pair, $420


This could be the world’s lowest-cost
interconnect made from single-crystal copper.
It has the same connectors as the Equator
(below), and we thought it sounded like a much
more expensive cable.
ORDER: AQ-1, 1 m pair Atlas Questor, $135


We figured it was perhaps the
best $150 interconnect cable
you could buy. Only it costs
just $90. And yes, that’s in
Canadian funds. Other lengths
on order.
ORDER: AE-1, 1 m pair Atlas Equator, $90
ORDER: AE-2, 2 m pair Atlas Equator, $123

These Belgian
cables use
WBT locking
connectors, and
they are a virtual
match for our
own reference
ORDER: AMB-1, 1 meter pair Actinote MB, $750

This Swiss-made cable is back The connectors are especially good,
with Teflon dielectric. 174 strands of oxygen-free copper, with
braided shield. Toss out your “free” interconnects!
ORDER: PD-1, 1 meter pair Prisma Dual Interconnect, $39.95
ORDER: PD-05, 0.5 meter pair Dual Interconnect, $29.95

ORDER: WBT-0403 crimping tool (refundable), $125.
Continuous-cast single-crystal cable, ready for biwiring. It costs
just $235 per meter of double cable (a 2 m pair has 4 meters of
wire). We suggest adding the Eichmann Bayonet bananas, $57.95
per set of 4, or WBT connectors (at right).


We had been searching
for a good quality but
affordable speaker
cable, and we found one. This is a single-crystal pure copper cable,
fully shielded. The price per meter of wire is $48 (a 3m pair has
6m of cable). Plus connectors. We recommend Eichmann Bayonet
Bananas, $57.95/set, two sets needed.

The sleeves are shown here, actual size.


0.75 mm sleeve
1 mm sleeve
1.5 mm sleeve
2.5 mm sleeve
4 mm sleeve
6 mm sleeve
10 mm sleeve
15 mm sleeve


ORDER: WBT-0108, kit 4 Topline crimp plugs, $190
ORDER: WBT-0101, kit 4 Topline solder plugs, $190


We bought a pair for our Alpha system! WBT locking bananas.
ORDER: ALB-3, Actinote 3m pair, $1690
ORDER: ALB-5, Actinote 5m pair, $2360


Excellent performance at an affordable price. Single crystal pure
copper. The 1.5m version sounds way better than a 1m.
ORDER: ACD-1.5 digital cable, 1m, $120


The 0144 Midline version has “only” three layers of gold plating,
smaller and lighter, with the same locking action.
ORDER: WBT-0144, kit 4 Topline solder plugs, $90

NEW! The high-tech minimum metal “nextgen” phono plugs.
Easy to solder, with locking collar. Silver version available.

ORDER: WBT-0110, kit 4 nextgen copper plugs, $170
ORDER: WBT-0110Au, kit 4 nextgen silver plugs, $280
WBT makes banana plugs for speaker cables, all of which lock
tightly into any post. All use crimping technology.

We dumped our reference cable for this one!
ORDER: AOD-1.5 digital cable, 1.5m, $360

ProGold cleans
and promotes
conductivity as well.
Small wipes for
cleaning accessible contacts, or a squirt bottle for connections you
can’t reach. We use both regularly.
ORDER: PGW box ProGold wipes, $35
ORDER: PGS, can ProGold fluid (now called DeoxIT), $35
ORDER: PGB, both when ordered at the same time, $56


ORDER: WBT-0644 Kit 4 Topline straight bananas, $90
ORDER: WBT-0645 Kit 4 angled bananas, $110
ORDER: WBT-0600 Kit 4 Topline bananas, $180
ALSO AVAILABLE: a full line of quality binding posts, phono
jacks, etc. Plus a spade lug that connectors under pressure.



We can’t
get over
how good it
is…and how
The Rega
Fono is a
superb way
to add vinyl to your system. MM version and high sensitivity MC
version for cartridges with low output. While stocks last.
ORDER: RF-MM Phono preamp, $395
ORDER: RF-MC high sensitivity phono preamp, $565

The SE version,
complete with its PWX
premium upgraded
power supply, even
more affordable.
Switchable for MM/
MC, with selectable
Cube SE, $875


Basic MM phono,
amazingly good, and
especially not shrill.
Besides, it’s very affordable.
ORDER: PA-100, $225


Concentrated cleaner for LP vacuum cleaning machines.
Much safer than some formulas we’ve seen! Half litre, mix with
demineralized or distilled water to make 4 litres.
ORDER: LPC, $19.95

Clamp your LP to the
turntable platter.
We use the J. A.
Michell clamp,
machined from
nearly weightless
aluminum. Drop
it on, press down,
tighten the knob.
ORDER: MRC Michell
record clamp, $75


Amazing, but true: dabbing
a bit of this stuff on your
stylus every 2 or 3 LPs makes
it glide through the groove
instead of scraping. Fine artist’s brush not included, but readily
available in many stores.
ORDER: TSO-1 Titan stylus oil, $39.95








the Goldring
Super eXstatic. It
includes a hard
velvet pad to get
into the grooves,
plus two sets of
carbon fibre tufts. We’ve worn one out already, because we use it
every time!
ORDER: GSX record brush, $36

When we got our
sample of this
new gauge, we
discovered that
our (discontinued)
plastic pressure
gauge had been
lying to us. Glad
we checked!
ORDER: ALM, electronic stylus gauge, $185

Michell was a
machinist, and
his connectors
are made to
work right. Cheap knockoffs don’t. No tools needed. Put the wire
into the hole, tighten the back button, and the wire is clamped
securely. A hole in the button lets you plug one banana into the
other. You can also slide a spade lug behind the button and use it
as an adapter. Gold-plated, 24K.
ORDER: GBO kit 4 gold bananas, $30
The Eichmann Bayonet
Banana uses a minimum
of metal, and tellurium
copper at that, but clicks

tightly into any binding
post with spring action.
For soldering or crimping,
or both.
ORDER: EBB kit 4
bayonet bananas, $57.95


A classic
adjunct to
the brush is
the Zerostat
gun. Squeeze
the trigger
and release: it
ionizes the air,
which becomes
conductive and drains off the static charge. By the way, it works
for a lot more than LP’s. No batteries needed.
ORDER: Z-1 Zerostat antistatic pistol, $94..95



Minimum metal, gold over tellurium
copper. Unique clamp system: the back
button turns but the clamp doesn’t.
Solder to it, or plug an Eichmann
banana into it, even from inside!
ORDER: ECP, set of four posts, $54.95

Keep your records clean and
scratch free. Replace dirty,
torn or missing inner sleeves
with soft-plastic-in-paper Nitty
Gritty sleeves.
ORDER: PDI, package of 30
sleeves, $30

The first phono plug to maintain the
impedance of the cable itself, by using
metal only as an extension of the
wire. Hollow tube centre pin and tiny
spring contact for ground. Two easily
accessible contacts for soldering,
two-screw strain relief. Gold over pure
copper. Got silver cable? Get the unique Silver Bullets!
ORDER: EBP kit 4 Bullet Plugs, $54.95
ORDER: EBPA kit 4 Silver Bullets, $139.95




What this is not
is a sticky goo for
belts on their last
legs. Rubber Renue
removes oxidation
from rubber belts,
giving them a new
lease on life. But what astonished us is what it does to even a brand
new belt. Wipe down your belt every 3 months, and make analog
sound better than ever.
ORDER: RRU-100 drive belt treatment, $14.95


Michell’s Big Mother posts (at left) are machined to stay tight.
They are used on top speakers, such as ProAc. Gold or rhodium
plated. Want to upgrade the binding posts on your amplifier? The
Michell MAO (at right)is what you need.
ORDER: Big Mother, 4 gold posts for speakers $55
ORDER: Big Mother-R, 4 rhodium posts for speakers $69
ORDER: MAO, 4 binding posts for amplifiers $40


Think you can tighten
your speaker and amp
binding posts with
your fingers? Try the
Dynaclear Postman
wrench (for 1/2” or 7/16” hexagonal posts) and find that yours
weren’t tight after all. Our advice: retighten every three months.
ORDER: Dynaclear Postman, $13





Multiple shielding, including an external electrostatic shield
connected to a clip… you may get get best performance with or
without. Basic Clef and the G Clef are used by UHF. Now in an
upgraded version, with performance “squared.” Length is 1.7 m,
longer cords on order.

Basic Clef 2 has 165 discrete conductors, 95% shielding by 2 shields.
ORDER: GBC-5 Basic Clef Square, 1.7m, $285
G Clef 2 has 195 conductors, with 3 shields providing 98% shielding.
Looks great, and does a wonderful job. Made from milled aircraftgrade aluminum, with Furutech and Hubbell connectors. Parallel
filtering, so it can be used even with very large power amplifiers.
List $1299, but…
ORDER: GMC, MaxCon2 power line filter, $995
Needs IEC power cord: order one at the same time for 20% off!


G Clef 2can be ordered with a 20A IEC plug (for amplifiers requiring
this special plug)..
ORDER: GGC G Clef, Square 1.7m, $385
No budget for the cable you’d like? Make your own!
Double-shielded, to avoid picking up or transmitting noise. GutWire
16, assembled or as a kit. (If you are not comfortable around

Far less expensive, but astonishingly effective, we wouldn’t run our
system with less than the Enacom filter. It actually shorts out the
hash on the power line. (For 110-120 V only).
ORDER: EAC Enacom line filter, $105


Most of these things
knock the voltage to
your equipment way
down, and they generate
more noise than a
kindergarten class.
The Gutwire Stingray
doesn’t. Superior 12 gauge double-shielded cable, Hubbell
hospital grade connectors at both ends. Indispensable!
ORDER: GSR-2 Stingray Squared power bar, $285


When we put a quality
AC plug on our kettle,
boiling time dropped by
90 seconds! The best AC
plug we have ever seen is
the Hubbell 8215 hospital
grade plug. It connects to wires under high pressure, and it
should last forever.
ORDER: AC-P2 Hubbell cord plug, $25.95

Amazingly good at a much lower price are these two cord plugs
from Eagle. No hospital rating, but a rather good mechanical
connection. Male and female versions.

ORDER: AC-P1 Eagle male cord plug, $5.95
ORDER: AC-PF Eagle female cord plug, $5.95
Making your own power cords for your equipment? You’ll need
the hard-to-get IEC 320 connector to fit the gear. We have two

ORDER: AC-P3 10 ampere IEC 320 plug, $9.95
ORDER: AC-P4 15 ampere Schurter IEC 320 plug, $18.95

electricity, we suggest the assembled one.) Both versions include the
Hubbell hospital grade plug and a Schurter 15 A IEC 320 connector.
The GutWire 12 gauge (kit only, not shown) is a double-shielded 12
gauge power cable with Hubbell hospital grade plug and Wattgate
ORDER: GW16-1.5K, GutWire 16 gauge power cable kit, $93.95
ORDER: GW16-1.5 GutWire 16 cable, assembled, $133.95
ORDER: GW12-1.5K GutWire 12 gauge kit, $195

This is a lovely solder, from the
company that makes Enacom
line filters (which we also like).
Wakø-Tech solder contains 4%
silver, no lead.
ORDER: SR-4N, 100 g solder
roll, $59.95


A simple improvement: better access to electrical power. Change
your 77-cent duplex outlets for these Hubbell 8200 hospital
grade outlets. Insert a plug and it just snaps in. A tighter internal
connection as well. Possibly the cheapest improvement you can
make to your system.
ORDER: AC-DA Hubbell duplex outlet, $23.95
ORDER: AC-DB (more than one outlet), $21.95
ORDER: AC-D20 20A duplex, red color, $28.95

Plug it into an AC outlet, and the three lights can
indicate a missing ground, wrong polarity, switched
wires — five problems in all, some of which can be
fatal. None of them is good for feeding your music
or home theatre system. The first thing we did after
getting ours was phone the electrician.
ORDER: ACA-1, Instant Circuit Checker, $21

Why do big name DVD
players come with those
tiny plugs for their cords. A
good shielded power cable
will do wonders! Take $18
off if you order it at the
same time as a G Clef or
Basic Clef cable, or $8 off if you order one with any of our other
AC cables.
ORDER: DVD-A, GutWire adapter, $39


Unlike a whip, a dipole is bidirectional, so you can orient it. Ours
has no switch to muck
things up, and with a
1.8m low-loss 75 ohm
cable and gold-plated
push-on F connector, it
has low internal loss. Its
broadband design covers
the channels 2-69 TV
bands as well as FM.
Antenna, MkII, $55


This is the most famous of all the treatments for
Compact Discs. The maker of Finyl claims it reduces
surface reflections and provides a higher contrast
image for the laser cell of your player. Use it just
once. We get a lot of repeat orders on it. One kit can
treat over 200 discs. Or order the refill.
ORDER: F-1 Finyl kit, $40.00
ORDER: F-1R Finyl refill, $35.00


After as little as three
months, your new
player will have more
trouble reading your
CD’s. Why? Dust on
the lens. We’re happy
to have found the
new Milty CD lens
cleaner. Unlike some
discs, the Milty is nonabrasive, so we use it and rest easy. Wet or dry.
ORDER: 2021 Milty CD lens cleaner, $35





Machined cones are wonderful
things to put under speakers or
other audio equipment. They
anchor it mechanically and
decouple it acoustically at the
same time. Tenderfeet come in
various versions: tall (as shown)
or flattened, in either anodized
silver or black. Tall Tenderfeet
have threaded holes for a machine screw, or for the optional
hanger bolt, which lets you screw it into wood. If you have a
fragile hardwood floor, add the optional Tendercup (shown
above) to protect it.
ORDER: TFG, tall silver Tenderfoot, $15
ORDER: TFGN, tall black Tenderfoot, $16.50
ORDER: TFP, flat silver Tenderfoot, $10
ORDER: TCP, silver Tendercup, $10
ORDER: THB, hanger bolt for Tenderfeet, each $0.80

This is unique: a sealed unit containing a spike and a cup to
receive it. It won’t scratch even hardwood floors. For speakers
or equipment stands, on bare floors only. Four sizes of threaded
shanks are available.
ORDER: SSKQ, 4 Superspikes, 1/4” shank, $75
ORDER: SSKT, 4 Superspikes, 5/16” shank, $75
ORDER: SSKS, 4 Superspikes, 6 mm shank, $75
ORDER: SSKH, 4 Superspikes, 8 mm shank, $75

Do you prefer spikes for your speakers. Target spikes and sockets
mount in wood. Available with or without tools.
ORDER: S4W kit, 8 spikes, sockets and tools, $39
ORDER: S4WS kit, 8 spikes and sockets, $30


It’s blue, and it’s a sort of modelling
clay that never dries. Anchor
speakers to stands, cones to speakers,
and damp out vibration. Leaflet with
suggested uses.
ORDER: AT-2, Audio-Tak pack, $10

A good ruler will let you figure it out. The stated size is the outer
diameter of the threaded shank. Then count the threads:
1/4” shank: 20 threads/inch
5/16” shank: 18 threads/inch
M6 (6mm) shank: 10 threads/cm
M8 (8mm) shank: 8 threads/cm
We have also have a Superspike foot
(at right) that replaces those useless
feet on CD players, amps, etc., using
the same screws to fasten them. And
there’s a stick-on version (not shown)
for other components.
ORDER: SSKF, 4 Superspike replacement feet, $80
ORDER: SSKA, 3 stick-on Superspike feet, $50



Need to fasten a speaker
securely to the wall? Nothing
beats the Smarter Speaker
Support for ease of installation
or for sheer strength. And
it holds the speaker off the
wall, so it can be used even
with rear-ported speakers.
Easily adjustable with two
hands, not three, tested to an
incredible 23 kg! Glass-filled
polycarbonate is unbreakable.
Screws and anchors included,
available in two colors.
ORDER: SSPS, pair of black speaker supports, $29.95
ORDER: SSPS-W, pair of white speaker supports, $29.95

Absolutely the
best speaker
stand known to
us. They’re filled
with a proprietary
material that
deadens the stand
completely. Matte
black, with spikes
adjustable from the
top. Height 61 cm
pair Foundation
stands, $1125


Beachcomber (LP) �
A change of pace for Fennell and the Dallas Wind Ensemble.Includes
Tico Tico, A Chorus line, and a version of 76 Trombones you’ll
remember for a long time. The sound is glorious.
Holst (LP) �
From the composer of The Planets, 3 suites for wind band, plus the
Hammersmith Prelude and Scherzo. Fine power playing by the Dallas
Wind Symphony.
Trittico (LP/HDCD) �
A large helping of famous wind band leader Frederick Fennell doing
powerhouse music by Grieg, Albeniz, Nelhybel, etc. Complex and
energetic. LP version is double.
Fennell Favorites (LP)
The Dallas Wind Symphony: Bach, Brahms, Prokofiev and more.
Fireworks on this rare Reference LP.
The Oxnard Sessions, vol. 1 (LP) �
Pianist Michael Garson, of Serendipity fame, takes on familiar standards, backed by five fine musicians. Inventive and beautiful.
Serendipity (LP) �
The original Micharl Garson recording, in which he gets upstaged by
saxophonist Gary Herbig! Exceptional!

Dick Hyman - Fats Waller (LP)
Analog version of this famous recording, cut to CD during the performance. Keith Johnson simultaneously recorded the performance on
his own hand-built analog recorder.
Blazing Redheads (LP)
Not all redheads, this all-female salsa-flavored big band adds a lot of
red pepper to its music.
Felix Hell (HDCD)
The young organ prodigy turns in mature versions of organ music of
Liszt, Vierne, Rheinberger and Guilmant. Huge bottom end!
American Requiem (HDCD)
Richard Danielpour's awesome Requiem mass is all about war, and
about the hope for peace too, with a dedication tied to 9/11.
Pomp&Pipes (HDCD) �
Requiem (HDCD) �
From the Age of Swing (HDCD) �
Swing is Here (HDCD) �
Copland Symphony No. 3 (HDCD) �
Medinah Sessions, two CDs for one (HDCD)
Ports of Call (HDCD)
Tutti (HDCD)
Bruckner Symphony No. 9 (HDCD) �
Ein Heldenleben (HDCD) �


Say It With Music (CD) �
Margie Gibson sings Irving Berlin in what may be one the greatest
jazz vocal recordings of all time. And Sheffield put her there in your
living room!
Growing Up in Hollywood Town (XRCD) �
FIM's XRCD version of the original Amanda McBroom direct-cut
release. Great to see it back!
Drum/Track Record (XRCD2) �
Crème de la crème (CD)

Showcase 2005 (SACD)
The latest Opus 3 sampler, with Eric Bibb, Mattias Wager, the Erik
Westberg Vocal Ensemble and lots more, in glorious SACD.
Peder af Ugglas (SACD/LP)
Ugglas plays a number of different guitars, and borrows from jazz,
Blues, and (yes!) country. Includes piano, organ, trombone, bowed
saw, and more.
Organ Treasures (SACD) �
All those showpieces for big organ you remember hearing through
huge systems…only with all of the power and the clarity of Super
Audio. 4.1 channels, plus 2-channel CD.



Just Like Love (SACD/LP) �
The newest from Eric Bibb, less oriented to Gospel and more to Blues.
Bibb’s group, Needed Time, is not here, but he’s surrounded by half a
dozen fine musicians. A nice recording. Hybrid disc, with a CD layer
and a Super Audio high definition layer.


Comes Love (HDCD) �
Another disc by the terrific Swedish Jazz Kings, led by saxophonist
Tomas Ornberg, proving again Sweden understands jazz. The sound
is luminous, sometimes dazzling.

Antiphone Blues (SACD/HDCD) �
This is the Super Audio version, with a Red Book layer that is HDCDencoded. The best of both worlds!

It’s Right Here For You (HDCD) �
Is there, anywhere, a better swing band than The Swedish Jazz Kings
(formerly Tömas Ormberg’s Blue Five)? Closer to Kansas City than to
Stockholm, they are captivating.
Test CD 4 (SACD)
A sampler of Opus 3 performers, clearer than you’ve ever heard them
before. Hybrid disc.
Test CD 5 (HDCD) �
Another of Opus 3’s wonderful samplers, including blues, jazz, and
classical music. A number of fine artists, captured with the usual pure
Blumlein stereo setup. A treat.
Showcase (SACD/LP) �
Available as a hybrid SACD/CD disc, or a gorgeously-cut LP, with
selections from Opus 3 releases.
Good Stuff (DOUBLE 45 LP/HDCD/SACD) �
As soothing as a summer breeze, this disc features singer Eric Bibb
(son of Leon), singing and playing guitar along with his group. Subtle
weaving of instrumentation, vivid sound.
Spirit and the Blues (DOUBLE 45 LP/CD/SACD) �
Like his father, the legendary Leon Bibb, Eric Bibb understands the
blues. He and the other musicians, all playing strictly acoustic instruments, have done a fine recording, and Opus 3 has made it sound
Tiny Island (HDCD/SACD)
If you like Eric Bibb and his group Good Stuff as much as we do, pick
this one up.
20th Anniversary Celebration Disc (HDCD) �
A great sampler from Opus 3. Includes some exceptional fine pieces,
jazz, folk and classical. The sound pickup is as good as it gets, and the
HDCD transfer is luminous.
Levande (LP/CD) �
The full recording from which “Tiden Bara Går” on Test Record No.1
is taken. Believe it or not, this great song isn’t even the best on the
album! A fine singer, doing folklike material…and who cares about
understanding the words?
Concertos for Double Bass (CD/SACD) �
This album of modern and 19th Century music is a favorite for its
deep, sensuous sound. And the music is worth discovering. It is sensuous and lyrical, a delight in every way.
Across the Bridge of Hope (SACD)
An astonishing choral recording by the Erik Westberg Ensemble,
famous for its Musica Sacra choral recording.
Tomas Ornberg’s Blue Five (CD)
Musica Sacra (HDCD/SACD) �
Test Record No.4 (LP) �
Clarinet Concertos (LP/CD)

Antiphone Blues (CD) �
This famous disc offers an unusual mix: sax and organ! The disc
includes Ellington, Negro spirituals, and some folk music. Electrifying performance, and the recording quality is unequalled.

Now the Green Blade Riseth (CD/SACD) �
Religious music done in a new way: organ, chorus and modern
orchestra. Stunning music, arranged and performed by masters, and
the emotional effect is joyous. The sound is clear, and the sheer depth
is unequalled on CD. The new SACD version is the very best SACD we
have yet heard!
Jazz at the Pawnshop (LP/CD/SACD-HDCD) �
A double album of live jazz, with nearly perfect sound. It has been
famous among audiophiles for years. Also available as double SACD/
HDCD gold disc on FIM label, or single CD.
Jazz at the Pawnshop 2 (CD/SACD) �
From the original master tape, another LP of jazz from this Swedish
“British” pub, with its lifelike 3-D sound. Now a classic in its own
Good Vibes (CD)
The third volume of Jazz at the Pawnshop. And just as good!
Cantate Domino (CD/SACD) �
This choral record has become a classic of audiophile records. The
title selection is stunningly beautiful. The second half is Christmas
music, and includes the most stunning version of O Holy Night we’ve
ever heard.
Bergsten & Nordahl Play Lars Gullin (CD)
Piano and sax performance of the bebop music of the late Swedish
composer Lars Gullin.

singer and composer Pauline Viardot so convincingly that listening
to her is like going back in time. One of the best classical recordings
of all time!
Beethoven: Hammerklavier Sonatas (CD)
Anton Kuerti tackles the two impressive sonatas.
Brahms Lieder (CD)
Canadian mezzo-contralto reveals what she truly is: one of the truly
great voices.
Beethoven: Symphonies 5 & 6 (CD)
Tafelmusik steps outside its usual repertoire of Baroque on period
instruments. Under the baton of Bruno Weil, this fine orchestra
turns in a gorgeous rendition of two of Beethoven’s most memorable
symphonies. Natural sound, too.
Mozart: Auernhammer Sonatas (CD)
A double CD of sonatas for violin and piano. It’s Mozart, of course, but
it is also gorgeously played.
Bach Sonatas for violin & harpsichord, vol.1 (CD)
Two Analekta superstars come together: violinist James Ehnes and
harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour. Irresistible
Bach Suites, Airs & Dances (CD)
Keyboard music from J.S. and C.P.E. Bach, arranged for concert
accordion by Canadian virtuoso Joseph Petric. Incredibly gorgeous…it just had to be done!
Mendelssohn: Cello & Piano (CD)
The Duo Similia is made up of striking blonde twins, who play flute
and guitar. Familiar airs from Mozart, Fauré, Elgar, Ravel, lots more.
Fine listening.
Romantic Pieces (CD) �
How does James Ehnes manage to get such a sweet sound from his
Stradivarius? Czech pieces from Smetana, Dvorak and Janacek.
The playing is as glorious as the tone, and the sound is sumptuous.
Bonus: Analekta’s 10th sampler is included.

Sketches of Standard (CD)

Graupner: Vocal & Instr. Music vol.1 (CD)
Geneviève Soly and Les idées heureuses play music from a lost genius
whose reputation once outshon Bach’s.
Graupner: Partitas, vol.1 (CD)
Geneviève Soly plays some of Christoph Graupner’s incredibly rich
harpsichord music
Graupner: Vocal & Instr. Music vol.2 (CD)
Graupner: Partitas vol.3 (CD)
Graupner: Partitas vol.4 (CD)
Graupner: Partitas vol.5 (CD)
Graupner: Christmas in Darmstadt (CD)
SPECIAL PRICE ON ALL 8 CDs (see last page)
Violonchello Español (CD) �
I Musici de Montréal comes to Analekta, with a stunning album of
Spanish and Spanish-like pieces for cello and orchestra: Glazunov, de
Falla, Albéniz, Granados, and more.
Vivace (CD) �
Classical or rock? Claude Lamothe plays two cellos at the same time
in an amazing recording of modern compositions.
Pauline Viardot-Garcia (CD) �
Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian steps into the role of 19th Century


Once Upon a Time… (Video DVD)
Violinist Angèle Dubeau et her La Pietà string group with a spectacular video of music inspired by the Underworld…with the devil
himself in attendence. Includes other videos plus two CD’s worth of
uncompressed music. Superb!
Cantabile (CD)
The Duo Similia is made up of striking blonde twins, who play flute
and guitar. Familiar airs from Mozart, Fauré, Elgar, Ravel, lots more.
Fine listening.
Nota del Sol (CD) �
The Labrie twins are back, with a delightful recording of flute and
guitar music by Piazzola, Pujol and Machado. Joyous works, wonderfully played and recorded
Fantasia (CD)
A third, gorgeous, recording by the twins, on flute and guitar.
Fritz Kreisler (CD)
Possibly the best recording of Kreisler’s delightful violin music: James
Ehnes and his Strad bring a new magic to this fine disc.
French Showpieces (CD) �
Awesome violinist James Ehnes, with the Quebec City Symph. takes on
Saint-Saëns, Berlioz, Chausson, Massenet, and more. A recording to
die for, awesome both artistically and sonically!

Best of the Red Army Chorus (CD) �
The 1989 LP is finally on CD: Dark Eyes, the Volga Boat Song, Moscow
Nights, and even the old Soviet anthem. By far the best-sounding disc
of this legendary ensemble.
A los ancestros (CD)
Cuban-born Carolos Placeres, with songs incorporating Cuban
rhythm with influences of Africa and lots of other places. Six musicians in all, and all acoustic.
Bach: Coffee Cantata (CD)
The celebrated Tafelmusik ensemble does two secular cantatas
(inluding Peasant Cantata). Fine singers, lifelike sound!
Mozart: Soprano Arias (CD)
Soprano Lyne Fortin, with the Orchestre Métropolitain, totally at ease
with all three soprano roles from The Marriage of Figaro (including a
duet with herself!).
Handel (CD) �
Superb soprano Karina Gauvin is joined by the Toronto chamber
ensemble Tafelmusik in a series of glowing excerpts from Handel’s
“Alcina” and “Agrippina.” The sound is smooth and lifelike, with an
acute sense of place.
Little Notebook of Anna Magdalana Bach (CD) �
More than 30 delightful pieces, most by Bach himself. Soprano Karina
Gauvin’s magnificent voice is mated to Luc Beauséjour’s excellent
harpsichord work. The sound is deep, detailed and warm, truly of
audiophile quality.
Vivaldi: Motets for Soprano (CD) �
In this disc by wonderful soprano Karina Gauvin, she tackles the
gorgeous but very difficult vocal music of Vivaldi: two motets and a
psalm. It is a moving interpretation, on this jewel of a recording.
Vivaldi: Per Archi (CD)
Telemann Sonatas for 2 Violins (CD)
Mendelssohn: 2 Violin Concertos (CD
Opera for Two (CD)
Villa-Lobos (CD)

Mississipi Magic (CD/SACD)
The legendary Blues, Gospel, rock and world beat singer and musician Terry Evans, in an energetic recording we loved.
Come to Find (CD) �
The first disc by bluesman Doug McLeod is every bit as impressive
as the second, and no blues fan should resist it. Over-the-top guitar
work, great rhythm, all-acoustic backup. Great sound, too.
You Can’t Take My Blues (CD) �
Singer/songwriter Doug MacLeod and his colleagues present one of
the most satisfying blues records ever made, with touching words and
devilish rhythms. Mostly acoustic instruments.
Unmarked Road (SACD)
The third disc from the great blues singer and guitarist Doug McLeod
is every bit as good as the first. These songs have powerful rhythm,
and can make you smile and cry at the same time.

Tres Americas (CD)
A gold audiophile disc of lively Latin fusion music. Irka Mateo and
Tadeo de Marco sing and play, drawing their influence from Africa as
well as their native Brazil. Clear, close-in sound.
Djembé Tigui (CD)
This gold disc features the voice and percussion of African artist
Sekou Camara, captured by the famous Soundfield microphone.
Camara died just before the disc was released. We’ve just received new
stock of this recording, which we have sold worldwide.
Styles (CD)
Is this ever a surprising disc! Violinist Marc Bélanger worked up these
string études for his music students, but they actually deserve to be
put out on a gold audiophile disc! The more strings he adds, the better
it gets.
Fable (CD)
Easygoing modern jazz by Rémi Bolduc and his quartet, on this gold
disc. Some exceptional guitar and bass solos.
Musique Guy St-Onge (CD)
One-man band St-Onge plays dozens of instruments — scores for
fourteen films which never existed outside of his imagination. Fun
pretext, clever, attractive music that makes you wish you could see
the films!


could be the soundtrack to a film that will keep you awake nights. A
recording of astonishing dynamics and depth
Caprice (CD) �
Formerly titled Harp Spectacular. Can harp be spectacular? Believe
it! This famous Klavier recording features Susann McDonald playing Fauré, Glinka and Liszt, is a powerhouse! Engineered by Keith
Johnson, a great transfer by Bruce Leek.
Sonatas for Flute and Harp
These same great artists with sonatas by Krumpholz and Damase, as
well as Spohr and Glinka. Oh yes, and a spectacular solo harp version
of Ibert’s hilarious Entr’acte .
Norman Dello Joio (CD) �
This contemporary composer delights in the tactile sound of the wind
band, and the Keystone Wind Ensemble does his music justice. So
does the sound, of astonishing quality!
Carmina Burana (CD)
The celebrated Carl Orff oratorio sends chills down your spine, thanks
to the huge orchestra, gigantic choir, and of course the clarity and
depth of the Klavier sound.
Obseción (CD)
The Trio Amadé plays Piazzola, Berstein, Copland, and Emilion
Cólon…who is the trio cellist. The Colón and Piazzola is definitely
worth the price of admission. Lifelike sound.

Brazilian Soul (24/96 DVD)
Guitarists Laurindo Almeida and Charlie Byrd, plus percussion and
bass, in an intimate yet explosive recording of samba and bossa nova
music. Great!

Misbehavin’ (CD)
The superb Denver Brass does Gershwin (Cuban Overture, Porgy and
Bess), plus On the Town, Sweet Georgia Brown, and of course Ain’t
Misbehavin’. Great sound.

Jazz/Concord (24/96 DVD)
We’re in 1972, and you have tickets to hear Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, Ray
Brown and Jake Hanna at the Concord Jazz Festival. You won’t ever
forget it. Now you can there, with this astonishing high resolution disc
that goes in your DVD.

Hemispheres (CD)
The North Texas Wind Symphony with new music by contemporary
composers who know how to thrill. Some of the best wind band sound

Rhythm Willie (24/96DVD) �
Guitarists Herb Ellis and Freddie Green, With bassist Ray Brown and
others. This is an uncompressed 24 bit 96 kHz disc that can be played
on any video DVD player. Awesome!
Trio (24/96 DVD) �
Pianist Monty Alexander with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown. “Makes CD
sound seem as if it’s coming through a drinking straw.” Playable on
any DVD player, uncompressed.
Seven Come Eleven (24/96 DVD)
Herb Ellis and Ray Brown again, but this time with guitarist Joe
Pass (he and Ellis alternate playing lead and rhythm), and a third
guitarist, Jake Hanna. This is a live recording from the 1974 Concord
Jazz Festival.
Soular Energy (24-96 DVD/ 24-192 DVD-Audio) �
Perhaps the world’s greatest bassist, the late Ray Brown, playing with
pianist Gene Harris, whom Brown called one of the greats. The proof
is right on this 24/96 recording, made from the analog master. Side 2
has a 24/192 DVD-A version.

Illuminations (CD)
Absolutely great chamber musicians take on music by Villa-Lobos,
Malcolm Arnold, and some composers you may not know but you’ll
wish you did. Sublime sound, nothing less.
Mozart Serenade and Divertimenti (CD)
Lowell Graham (of Center Stage fame, Wilson Audio) conducts a
glowing version of these pieces, including the famous “Grand Partita.”
The engineering, by Bruce Leek, is absolutely first-rate.
Kickin’ the Clouds Away (CD)
Gershwin died more than 60 years ago, but you can hear him playing
piano in glowing stereo. Nineteen of his pieces are on this fine CD,
including a solo piano version of the Rhapsody in Blue.

Film Spectacular II (XRCD)
The orchestra of Stanley Black plays some of the greatest film music
of bygone years. From the original Decca Phase 4 tape.
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante (XRCD)
Igor and David Oistrakh with the Moscow Philharmonic, in a glorious
1963 recording, from the original master tape

Whose Truth, Whose Lies (SACD) �
The third disc from the great blues singer and guitarist Doug McLeod
is t as good as the first. These songs have powerful rhythm, and can
make you smile and cry at the same time.

Poetics (CD) �
A superb wind band recording which includes a breathtaking
concerto for percussion.

Artistry oi Linda Rosenthal (HDCD) �
The great violinist Rosenthal plays favorites: Hora Staccato, Perpetuum Mobile, Debussy’s Beau Soir, etc.

Bluesquest sampler (CD)

Ghosts (CD) �
This haunting(!) wind band recording features a suite of music that

Suite Española (XRCD) �
The Albéniz suite, gorgeously orchestrated by Rafael Frühbeck de




Burgos, who conducts the New Philharmonia. Beautifully remastered
from the original 1963 tape.
Audiophile Reference IV (SACD) �
A stunning sampler, with recognizable audiophile selections you have
never heard sound this good!

Classica d’Oro
All of the classical world’s most important heritage, on 50 audiophilequality gold CDs, at under $4 per CD. Fine artists from Germany,
Austria, the UK, Eastern Europe. See the list on our Web site, and
listen to excerpts on line.

Only Trust Your Heart (HDCD)
Intimate sax variations by Greg Fishman, wonderfully accompanied

Vinyl Essentials (LP)
A test LP to do this hasn’t been available for years. Use it to check
cartridge/arm resonance, tracking ability, crosstalk, and more.

Coeur vagabond (CD)
Bïa sings French songs in Portuguese, Brazilian songs in French. A
delight, as usual from this astonishing singer

Neil Diamond: Serenade (CD)
Just eight songs on this European CBS disc, but what songs! I’ve Been
This Way Before, Lady Magdalene, Reggae Strut, The Gift of Song,
and more. Glowing sound too.

Café Blue (HDCD/CD) �
A gold HDCD version of iconoclast jazz singer Patricia Barber’s 1994
classic, an audiophile underground favorite. Or get the original CD,
at lower cost.

Blues for the Saxophone Club (HDCD)
Swing jazz pianist Jeremy Monteiro, with guest artists, including
saxophonist Ernie Watts. The HDCD sound is explosive!

Carmin (CD) �
The third by Bïa. Different this time, with more money for production,
but it has been spent wisely. Superb songs, gloriously sung in Portuguese, French and the ancient Aymara language.

by the excellent pianist Jeremy Monteiro.

Audiophile (CD) �
The CD release of Secret of the Andes, the Nautilus disc we wouldn’t
review a speaker without. Pianist Victor Feldman and a whole set of
jazz greats. Second LP, Soft Shoulder, also included

Harry Belafonte (CD)
We haven’t heard Belafonte sound like this except on analog. The 16
songs include Island in the Sun, Jamaica Farewell, Midnight Special,
Michael Row the Boat Ashore, Brown Skin Girl, etc.

Nightclub (CD) �
Patricia Barber, doing nightclub standards rather than her own
songs. But can she do them!

Sources (CD) �
A wonderful recording by Bïa (pronounced Bee-yah). She’s Brazilian,
lives in France, recorded this terrific album (in 5 languages!) in
Montreal. Just her warm voice and guitar, plus a handful of other fine
musicians. Sound to match.

Modern Cool (CD)
The previous release from Patricia Barber, including songs she does
live on the Companion live disc (see below).

La mémoire du vent (CD)
The original recording by Bïa, in French, Portuguese and English. If
you love her second one, don’t hesitate.

Companion (CD) �
Patricia Barber at a bargain price: a 45 minute live concert from
Chicago. Great music, amazingly lifelike sound.

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Blazing Redheads	
Clarinet Concertos	
Dick Hyman — Fats Waller	
Fennell Favorites	
Good Stuff (2 LP)	
Jazz at the Pawnshop	
Just like Love	
Peder af Ugglas	
Spirit and the Blues (2 LP)	
Test Record No.4	
The Oxnard Sessions	
Vinyl Essentials	



Across the Bridge of Hope	
An American Requiem	
Antiphone Blues (SACD)	
7744SACD	 42.00
Audiophile Reference IV	
SACD 029	
5186 102	
Brazilian Soul (DVD)	
Cantate Domino (SACD)	
PSACD7762	 29.95
Conc. for Double Bass (SACD)	 CD8522	
Good Stuff (SACD)	
Jazz at the Pawnshop (SACD)	 FIM-JZ	
Jazz at the Pawnshop 2 (SACD)	PRSACD7079	 35.00
Jazz/Concord (DVD)	
Just Like Love (SACD)	
Mississipi Magic (SACD)	
AQSACD1057	 29.95
Musica Sacra (SACD)	
Now the Green Blade Riseth	 PRSACD9093	 29.95
Once Upon a Time… (DVD) ANDVD 9 8720	 34.00
Organ Treasures (SACD)	
Peder af Ugglas (SACD)	
Rhythm Willie (Audio DVD)	
Seven Come Eleven (DVD)	
Showcase (SACD)	
Showcase 2005 (SACD)	
Soular Energy (DVD/DVD-A)	 HRM2011	
Spirit & the Blues (SACD)	
Tchaikovsky: Symph. #6 (SACD) 5186 107	
Test CD 4 (SACD)	
Tiny Island (SACD)	
Trio (Audio DVD)	
Unmarked Road (SACD)	
AQ1046SACD	 29.95
Whose Truth, Whose Lies?	
AQ1054SACD	 29.95
20th Anniversary Celebration	 CD19692	
A Los Ancestros	
AN 2 9807	
AN 2 8810	


Antiphone Blues	
Artistry of Linda Rosenthal	
Bach: Coffee Cantata	
Bach Sonatas, violin & harpsi.	
Bach Suites, Airs & Dances	
Best of Chesky & Test, vol.3	
Best of the Red Army Chorus	
Beethoven: Hammerklavier	
Beethoven Symph. 5 & 6	
Bergsten & Nordahl	
Blues for the Saxophone Club	
Bossa Nova	
Brahms Lieder	
Café Blue	
Café Blue (HDCD gold)	
Cantate Domino	
Carmina Burana	
Clarinet Concertos	
Classica d’Oro (50 CDs)	
Come to Find	
Come Love	
Coeur vagabond	
Concertos for Double Bass	
Crème de la crème	
Djembé Tigui	
Drum/Track Record	
Felix Hell	
Flm Spectacular II	
French Showpieces	
Fritz Kreisler	
Good Stuff	
Good Vibes	
Graupner: Instr.& Vocal,, v1	
Graupner: Partitas v.1	
Graupner: Instr. & Vocal, v2	
Graupner: Partitas v.2	
Graupner: Partitas v.3	
Graupner: Partitas v.4	
Graupner: Partitas v.5	
Graupner: Christmas in…	
Graupner Discovery: all 8 CDs	
Growing up in Hollywood Town	
Harry Belafonte	
Infernal Violins	

jvcxr-0016-2	 58.00
FL 2 3136	
AN 2 9829	
FL 2 3133	
AN 2 8800	
FL 2 3187	
AN 2 9891	
PRCD2001	 24.95
26-1084-78-2	 24.95
AQCD1052	 24.95
AN 2 9906	
CD 010	
AN 2 9810	
ADCD10163	 21.00
K 11136	
OPCD8801	 24.95
AQCD1027	 24.95
OPCD8502	 24.95
SLC9605-2	 22.00
LIM XR 005	 45.00
SLC9603-2	 22.00
AN 2 9819	
XR24 070	
FL 2 3151	
FL 2 3159	
PRCD9058	 24.95
FL 2 3162	
FL 2 3109	
FL 2 3180	
FL 2 3164	
FL 2 3181	
AN 2 9116	
AN 2 9118	
AN 2 9115	
LIM XR 001	 45.00
FL 2 3137	
AN 2 8718	


It’s Right Here For You	
Jazz at the Pawnshop	
Jazz at the Pawnshop 2	
Keep on Movin’	
Kickin’ the Clouds Away	
Kodo - Hearbeat Drummers	
La mémoire du vent	
Leyrac chante Nelligan	
AN 2 8815	
FL 2 3030	
Little Notebook of Anna M. Bach	FL 2 3064	
Masters of Flute & Harp	
Mendelssohn: 2 Violin Conc.	 FL 2 3098	
Mendelssohn: Cello & Piano	 FL 2 3166	
Modern Cool	
Mozart: Auernhammer Sonatas	 AN 2 9823-4	
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante	 XR24 069	
Mozart: Soprano Arias	
FL 2 3131	
Musica Sacra	
Musique Guy St-Onge	
Musiques d’Europe centrale	 88001	
Neil Diamond: Serenade	
Non-Stop to Brazil	
Norman Dello Joio	
Nota del Sol	
AN 2 9817	
Now the Green Blade Riseth	 PRCD9093	
Only Trust Your Heart	
Opera for Two	
FL 2 3076	
Pauline Viardot-Garcia	
AN 2 9903	
Rio After Dark	
Romantic Pieces	
FL 2 3191	
Sans Domicile Fixe	
Say It With Music	
Sketches of Standard	
PRCD 9036	
Spirit and the Blues	
Suite Española	
XR24 068	
Telemann Sonatas for 2 Violins	 FL 2 3085	
Test CD 5	
The Hot Club of San Francisco	 CCD-1006	
Tomas Ornberg’s Blue Five	
Tres Americas	
Ultimate Demonstration Disc	 UD95	
FL 2 3051	
Violonchelo Español	
AN 2 9897	
AN 2 9808	
Vivaldi: Motets for Soprano	
FL 2 3099	
Vivaldi: Per Archi	
FL 2 3128	
You Can’t Take My Blues	


everywhere, in all walks of life, in all age
groups, for our romantic troubadour is
back on the road. He travels his beloved
land that is bounded by three seas. And
he is every bit as welcome in Europe, in
Australia, in the United States, where
he takes his songs and wins over the

by Reine Lessard


The vagabond poet
	 A prolific composer and lyricist, an
unparalleled performer, a guitarist, an
environmentalist, the poet of love and
tragedy, a pioneer of Canadian music,
the darling of Canadians for decades…
such is my subject. How many frontiers
has he crossed, guitar slung over his
shoulder, how many halls has he occupied, how many dreams has he launched?
How many has he helped, motivated or
even saved, among the lonely, the lovelorn, the discouraged, or those down on
their luck, with a few simple words, with
an enchanting melody?
	 It is a mark of the love so many have
for him that their hearts skipped a beat
when came the agonizing news of his
hospitalization, for surgery from which
he might not awaken. It was in 2002.
	 His fans could and can be found

Gordon Lightfoot,
and how he changed
a whole corner of

ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    63    


e are in Peterborough, in
the Province of Ontario,
Canada. This evening
there is a benefit concert
for the victims of severe flooding, and the
local hockey arena has been turned into a
concert hall.
	 The mood is feverish, for tonight marks
the return of a hero. For the first time since
his grave illness, save for a brief appearance
in Orillia, Gordon Lightfoot will sing for his
fans. He is accompanied by his best friend,
his acoustic guitar. An ovation greets him as
he steps onto the stage.
	 Then all is quiet. In the audience are
staff members of the McMaster University
Medical Centre. One of those members is
Dr. Michael Marcaccio, who operated on
Lightfoot several times over a 13-week period
in the Fall of 2002.
	 Thinner now, with a voice no less
pleasant for its weariness, Lightfoot seems
surprisingly at ease. He sings five of his hits,
including the legendary If You Could Read
My Mind and his most recent, Inspiration
	 Emotion can be read on the faces of the
audience members. He is back, finally, this
native son.

Hints of things to come
	 Gordon Meredith Lightfoot is born
on November 1938 in Orillia, Ontario.
The small port town near the picturesque junction of lakes Simcoe and
Couchiching, not far from Georgian
Bay, is known for its pleasant countryside
and its wide open spaces.
	 Gordon Meredith Sr., his father, is a
descendant of the Lightfoots of Scotland
and Ireland, and his mother Jessica traces
her roots back to the first white settlers
in Orillia, which had until then been
entirely a Native area.
	 Gordon is still a young boy when
his parents split up. His gift of a fine
soprano voice opens the doors of St.
Paul’s United Church choir, with which
he sings I’m a Little Teapot at the age of
five. The choir conductor, Ray Williams,
is mightily impressed and endeavors to
teach him to put expression into his
songs. His mother, whose love of music
he seems to have inherited, encourages
him, naturally, to become a singer. It is
the right choice. When he is 10, accompanied at the piano by his sister Beverly,
he makes his first recording. His parents
are his biggest fans. His mother clears
the way for him to sing at such halls as
the Kiwanis, and his father is always
ready to drive him where he needs to go
for a rehearsal or a concert.
	 In 1950 he takes classical piano and
singing lessons, still with Ray Williams,
and his performance of Bless This House at
an amateur contest at the Orillia Opera
Station earns him second prize. It is only
the beginning, for the following year he
records a 78 of The Lord’s Prayer.
	 The next two years are a turning
point for the young Gordon. At a competition of singers younger than 13 at
the Toronto Kiwanis annual festival,
he comes first. He wins again a year
later, this time in the category of singers whose voices have not yet changed.
The prize includes the chance to sing


his winning performance at Toronto’s
fabled Massey Hall.
	 Inaugurated in 1894 and renovated
several times since, Massey Hall is
already celebrated for the artistic events
held there. Our young artist will make
singing there a habit. In the meantime,
to his piano courses he adds guitar lessons and becomes a self-taught drummer
as well. Despite his youth he is often
invited to sing on the radio, and in
oratorios and operettas.
	 In 1955 he writes his very first song.
He is then all of 17.
	 After high school he goes to Los
Angeles to study jazz orchestration
at the Westlake College of Modern
Music. Back in Canada, from 1958
to 1961, he becomes a member of the
Swinging Eight, who often perform on
CBC’s Country Hoedown. That leads to
numerous guest spots. He also becomes
a member of the Gino Silvi Singers, the
house chorale of CBC-TV’s Juliette. He
forms a duo with Terry Whelan, the
Two Tones, and in 1962 records two
live albums. The same year he sings at

the Mariposa Folk Festival, founded in
his home town of Orillia, which brings
together Canadian and international
folk-oriented artists. Over the years
the festival will go through successive
changes in name and orientation, but it
will survive, and Gordon Lightfoot will
sing there often, alongside such artists
as Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez.
	 The summer of 1963 finds Lightfoot
in England, where he hosts the Country
and Western Show on TV.
	 His career is rolling now.
A phenomenal ascension
	 One evening, in one of the coffee
houses that are everywhere in the 60’s,
Lightfoot is noticed by a talent scout
who is charmed by his fine baritone
voice and his expressiveness, and offers
to let him be heard on disc. He records
half a dozen songs, two of them his own
compositions: The Long River and Betty
Mae’s a Good Time Gal. It is about at the
same time that this handsome young
man with the imposing presence begins
to sing his own songs and accompany

himself on the guitar. He is seen more
and more often at folk music events in
Ontario, Quebec and the eastern USA,
and of course at the Mariposa Festival.
	 Ian Tyson and his then wife Sylvia,
a Canadian folk duo internationally
popular under the name Ian and Sylvia,
are the first to record Lightfoot’s songs,
including Early Morning Rain and For
Lovin’ Me, which become hits. It’s
enough for New York agent Albert
Grossman to sign him to a recording
contract at United Artists.
	 Grossman will play a particularly
significant role in the development of
Lightfoot’s career, for he is also Bob
Dylan’s agent, and he encourages him to
move, like Dylan, to the pop-rock genre.
His music will still, however, contain
elements of folk and country, and he will
be at ease moving from one to another.
	 Early Morning Rain has a wider international career too, becoming a hit for
French chansonnier Joe Dassin under the
title Dans la brume du matin.
	 The year 1965 is a major one for
Lightfoot. He sings at the Newport
Folk Festival in Rhode Island and in
New York City, and Marty Robbins will
sing his Ribbon of Darkness, a song about
a man pained by the loss of the woman
he loves.
Ribbon of darkness over me
Since my true love walked out the door
Tears I never had before
	 In Canada, Spin Spin is a major success, and I’m Not Saying will be his first
chart hit. That song is popularized in the
US by country star Leroy Van Dyke.
	 Continuing his phenomenal rise,
he reaches new audiences thanks to his
songs being picked up by such established stars as Harry Belafonte, Anne
Murray and Nana Mouskouri. Famed
US country singer George Hamilton IV
brings out an LP of his songs, Lightfoot
Country. Richie Havens and The Kingston Trio sing Lightfoot too.
	 In 1966, with the release of his selftitled album, Lightfoot becomes one of
the first Canadian singers to know glory
in his own country without having to
move to the United States. The album
will make him even better known as a
songwriter, and his songs are picked up
by Petula Clark, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis,

Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand.
	 And oh yes…by Bob Dylan, who
holds Lightfoot in the highest esteem.
A historical interlude
	 For some Lightfoot is a painter, using
his guitar for a brush. He says as much
in one song:
If you want to know my secret
Don’t come runnin’ after me
For I am just a painter
Passing through in history
	 The song On Yonge Street, chronicles
the ambience of Toronto’s main street.
	 He has something of the historian
as well. In 1967 the CBC commissions
him to write a major work marking the
centennial of Canadian Confederation.
In the 1860’s British Columbia, then an
independent colony, had agreed to join
Canada on condition that it be linked
to the new country by a railroad running from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A.
Macdonald, promised such a railroad for
1881. It would be delayed by a scandal
that toppled his government (shades
of our own day!), and it was only on
November 7, 1885 that the Canadian
Pacific Railway’s last spike was driven, in
Craigellachie, BC, before a large crowd
(the event is immortalized in a famous

in 2002 the Festival of Charlottetown, on
Prince Edward Island, will inaugurate a
cabaret show titled If You Could Read My
Mind: the Music of Gordon Lightfoot.
	 In 1976 another event spotlights
Lightfoot’s storytelling talent. In Canadian waters in Lake Superior, a lake
that has been known to take itself for
an ocean, a large cargo ship is broken in
two by 7.5 metre waves and 125 km/h
winds, going to the bottom with 29 men.
In a few verses, Lightfoot chronicles
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
It will reach second place on the US
Billboard chart. For many, the tragedy
of the ship is the song, a sort of musical

	 Over the next three decades, Lightfoot’s calendar will be well filled. By 1980
he is giving some 50 concerts a year. In
1981 a concert tour takes him to Europe,
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    65    


	 Lightfoot, with his talent for storytelling, creates the poetic and touching
Canadian Railroad Trilogy.
There was a time in this fair land
When the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains
Stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man
And long before the wheel
When the green dark forest
Was too silent to be real
	 This epic work becomes a major hit,
and is included on the album The Way I
Feel. It will go through several versions,
though the most interesting is certainly

his own, with the orchestra of Ron
	 That same Centennial year brings
with it a buzz of activities, and it is fertile
in success for Canada’s most popular
writer-composer. He undertakes a crossCanada tour as well as appearances in
New York and Los Angeles.
	 In 1969 he leaves United Artists for
Reprise, then the property of Frank
Sinatra, and sets up his own production
house, Early Morning Productions.
With the help of friends and his sister
Beverly, he publishes nearly all his songs
	 In 1970 he brings out a new album,
Sit Down Young Stranger, on which one
song, If You Could Read My Mind, makes
a splash. The album will later be rereleased with that as the title song. And


major American concert halls (Carnegie
Hall and the Lincoln Center), across
Canada, and to the various summer festivals. He is by now a virtuoso guitarist on
both the six and twelve string guitar. His
record collection grows to prodigious
proportions, and many of these recordings score phenomenal successes.
	 A few favorites come to mind, songs
that became hits and remain young.
There’s Summertime Dream, at once
poetic and, yes, dreamy. There’s Sundown, a 1974 song about infidelity, which
hits top spot on US pop charts. There’s
Did She Mention My Name from 1968.
And there’s Don Quixote, for the hero
who symbolizes a search for absolutes,
for whom our troubadour has an admiration bordering on affection.
	 To add to his heavy calendar, Gordon
Lightfoot is also a humanist, who
answers present to solicitations for
numerous social or environmental
causes. An example: his famous song on
the Detroit race riots of 1967.
	 It had begun before dawn on the 23rd
of July, a confrontation between Blacks
and whites that turned into a full-scale
riot, ending only five days later, and
leaving a heavy toll. There were numerous dead, many wounded, thousands
arrested, and more than 2000 buildings
burned down. The infamous uprising
resulted in a Lightfoot song, which can
be found on the album Did She Mention
My Name?
Black day in July
And the soul of motor city
is bared across the land
As the book of law and order
is taken in the hands
Of the sons of the fathers
who were carried to this land
Black day in July
In the streets of motor city
is a deadly silent sound
And the body of a dead youth
lies stretched upon the ground
Upon the filthy pavement
No reason can be found
	 The song Black Day in July is released
in April of 1968…not long after the
assassination of Matin Luther King.
Black day in July
In the mansion of the governor
There’s nothing that is known for sure
The telephone is ringing

something that’ll make her happy, why
give her something that’ll make her

And the pendulum is swinging
And they wonder how it happened
And they really know the reason
And it wasn’t just the temperature
And it wasn’t just the season
	 In Top 40 stations across the US
there is a wind of panic, and the song is
quickly boycotted, lest it stir up passions
that are already overheated. As you can
imagine, Lightfoot flies into a fury. “A
lot of them don’t want to upset their
listeners,” he says on the CBC. “It’s the
housewife in the morning, let’s give her

A romantic?
	 How do you categorize an artist like
this? Is he country? Folk? Pop, poprock? Why pigeonhole him at all? Is he
not beyond all styles?
	 What is certain is that he ceaselessly
searches for the perfect song. He will
take hours, days, months to perfect a
song. He cares for his musicians, making
their work easier by giving them scores
as faultless as he can make them.
	 Let us not mince words, then, Gordon
Lightfoot is a romantic. He harnesses
his poetic prose to exorcise his hypersensitivity to suffering, that of others or
his own, and his very vulnerability is a
source of pain. It is, on the other hand,
his sensitivity that allows him to respond
to all solicitations, to react to joy and
beauty in all its forms. Stories of love,
barely disguised personal experiences,
anecdotes…each text provides, inside a
meaningful melody, a story or a mood.
	 The aura about him is due in large
part, I believe, to his genius for sharing
with his audiences his emotions, his
propensity for dreaming, his love of love
itself, his intimate connection with the
elements of nature. Water, for example,
plays a major role in his songs, as do the
forest and the wind…a waterfall deep in
the forest, the gurgling of the water…
Now if only you could see
The closin’ of the day
If only you could be
Where the dawn breaks away
By the white cascade
Oh down in the glade
Where the long river flows
By my window
	 He dreams of leaving…the whistle of
a passing train, the roar of a jet tearing
the fabric of the sky. This song is one of
his most famous:
In the early mornin’ rain
With a dollar in my hand
And an achin’ in my heart
And my pockets full of sand
I’m a long way from home
And I miss my loved one so
In the early mornin’ rain
With no place to go
Out on runway number nine

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love knocks on his door once more. A
pretty green-eyed blonde, Elizabeth
Moon, becomes his second wife in 1989.
His wanderings will always bring him
back to her.
	 Like many other artists, he faced the
twin demons of alcohol and gambling.
An early song presaged later events:

Well I got my mail late last night
A letter from a girl
who found the time to write
To her lonesome boy
somewheres in the night
She sent me a railroad ticket too
To take me to her lovin’ arms…
I went in town for one last round
And I gambled my ticket away
And the big steel rail won’t carry me
Home to the one I love
	 And then there’s this song, in which
the bottle plays a leading role:
I’m on my second cup of coffee
And I still can’t face the dawn.
The radio is playin’ a soft country song
And if I don’t stop this trembling hand
From reaching for the phone,
I’ll be reaching for the bottle, Lord,
Before this day is done
	 In 1982 he emerges victorious from
a long battle against his dependence.
That unhappy experience could be the
reason that, as far as I know, he has
never allowed his music to be used in a
commercial. “I don’t want the beer commercial to be my epitaph,” he supposedly
once said.
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    67    


Big 707 set to go
But I’m stuck here in the grass
Where the cold wind blows
	 A disaster, a homeless man looking
for human warmth, a woman he runs
across in his travels… we follow daily
life through his eyes. Like many a troubadour who has trod the roads of here
and everywhere, he has met the many
faces of love, which can sometimes be
That’s what you get for lovin’ me
Everything you had is gone,
As you can see
I ain’t the kind to hang around
With any new love that I’ve found
‘Cause movin’ is my stock in trade
I’m movin’ on
I won’t think of you when I’m gone.
	 Th is song, about love a nd
How long, said she,
can a moment like this
Belong to someone
What’s wrong, what is right,
when to live or to die
We must almost be born
So if you should ask me
what secrets I hide
I’m only your lover,
don’t make me decide
	 Or this one, about a man whose lover,
at dawn, returns to her other life:
Softly she comes in the night,
Down the darkened hall
I hear her footsteps on my stair
And she is in my arms once more
Then softly she goes…in the dawn
	 Or this song of longing:
If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy
just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you
	 In 1972 Lightfoot is diagnosed with
Bell’s Palsy: paralysis of his left arm and
face, tingling in his leg, chest pains,
dizziness. In short it’s serious, and he
has no option but to rest for a time. The
following year he and his wife Brita, with
whom he has two children, Fred and
Ingrid, agree to divorce. The split will
make headlines.
	 The time has come to gather his
thoughts. The nomadic life that is in his
nature is tough on a couple, and he will
live single for nearly two decades. Then


Canadian Music’s
Long Trek

	 I	 f we sometimes deplore that the Canadian sound is too rarely heard on our own
airwaves, we might console ourselves by recalling that back in the 60’s there was
no real Canadian recording industry at all. English-Canadian songs were virtually
absent from the AM stations that were then dominant, and recording companies
did little to promote them. Artists who had recording ambitions had to go to the
	 The Toronto Telegram actually ran an article with the title Canada Has a Booming
Record Industry (but only because it’s 95% American). Said the article under the provocative headline, “We have so many good records available to us from the States
that there’s really not much point in doing a great deal of recording up here.”
	 The knights of the Canadian labels finally reacted. Canadian musicians must
have a place on the artistic scene without exiling themselves. Courageous and determined, laughing off the insults, the hurdles, the disappointments, the setbacks, these
brave pioneers create the Canadian Talent Library. It was a non profit organization,
which would create recordings by Canadian composers and musicians. However
the CTL has no impact on the radio landscape. Station owners and programmers
heap ridicule on the enterprise.
	 However there is a worrisome rumor on the horizon. A new regulatory body,
the CRTC, might be thinking about imposing a quota of Canadian content on
the reluctant broadcasters. Frightened by this unthinkable possibility, the more
powerful station owners league together to inflate “cancon” and head off the menace.
They fill their airtime with Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray, and of course Gordon
	 The new chairman of the CRTC, Pierre Juneau, saw through the scheme. He
told the owners that, since there is so much cancon on the airwaves already, they
can’t possibly object to a quota…of 30%.
	 Subsequently, many Canadians thought they recalled that Mitchell, Murray and
Lightfoot had become popular because of the regulations. Not so. All three were
famous not only in Canada but in the US and elsewhere before “cancon” rules were
ever dreamed of.
	 The regulations did have their effect, however, and the choice of recordings
played on Canadian radio stations changed dramatically…and forever.
	 What about the Lightfoot style? He
has been called a crooner, and I leave it
to you to judge. What I hear is a superb
baritone voice, only moderately powerful
but always impressive, and sometimes
troubling. When he sings, he seems to
sing for you alone.
The artist honored
	 Gordon Lightfoot came onto the
record scene well before there were
regulations forcing radio stations to
play Canadian music (see Canadian
Music’s Long Trek above). It took them
years to finally get around to promoting
Canadian music, including Lightfoot’s. I
think I can venture to say that he helped
them out too.

	 The smattering of songs I have
quoted in this article give only a hint of
his inexhaustible fountain of inspiration
and his talent for turning inspiration
into song. That talent explains his rise
to the summits of artistic fame.
	 From 1965 through 1978, Lightfoot
receives 17 Juno Awards: best folk singer,
best singer, best composer, folk recording of the year. He enters the Juno Hall
of Fame in 1986. He is nominated five
times for Grammy Awards: for Did She
Mention My Name?, If You Could Read
My Mind and The Wreck of the Edmund
Fitzgerald. He is made a member of the
Order of Canada in 1988, and a Companion of the Order of Canada 15 years

	 On October 2, 1997, at the opera
house in his home town, and before his
reconstituted family and his mother,
the principal auditorium of the opera
house is renamed the Gordon Lightfoot
	 Lightfoot loves to tour. In 2001 he
sings at the House of Blues in Las Vegas,
as well as the MGM Grand, the Desert
Inn, and the Orleans.
	 All seems well when in September
2002, at a concert in Orillia, he is struck
down by an abdominal hemorrhage
and he is rushed to hospital. Following surgery he is in a coma that lasts
several weeks. His loved ones, and
indeed all Canadians, follow his medical
	 Fortunately he survives and recovers, and he spends little time thinking
about this brush with death. As soon as
he leaves hospital in October 2003, he
takes guitar in hand and begins vocal
exercises. With a new album, Harmony,
and an appearance on Canadian Idol, he
goes back on the road.
	 With his usual wry humor, he titles
it The Better Late Than Never Tour.
An unexpected gift
	 Before closing this glorious chapter
in Canadian artistic life, let me emphasize that the Gordon Lightfoot of which
I have spoken is in no way diminished
or weakened by illness. He is a model
for us all. Realizing how lucky he has
been, he trains seriously and regularly.
He is, thus, a mature man, full of
health, perfectly recovered against all
expectations, who has lost none of his
charisma. Indeed — and I’ve saved this
for the last — after a US tour that took
him across the country he will, next Fall,
begin a cross-Canada tour.
	 He will start in Vancouver in October. From there he will go to Montreal’s
Place des Arts, Toronto’s Massey Hall
(his favorite!), Edmonton, Calgary,
Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder
Bay and Ottawa.
	 He will, I predict, have a great time,
for he has never concealed the fact he
prefers to share his music in person with
his fans rather than being locked away in
a recording studio. “The pure pleasure
of playing live never wears off, even after
40 years in the business,” he says.

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Software Reviews
by Reine Lessard
and Gerard Rejskind


Kuerti the way I like him. I heartily
recommend this CD.
	 The book let, happily complete,
makes it possibly unnecessary for me to
add anything more on these sonatas by
this greatest of composers of the early
Romantic period.

Beethoven: Hammerklavier Sonatas
Anton Kuerti
Analekta FL 2 3187
Lessard: Hammerklavier is the German
term for pianoforte — it was originally
called the “hammer keyboard.” The
expression dates from a time of growing
German resistance to the increasing
Italian hegemony in music. “Pianoforte”
is of course an Italian term. Beethoven,
with his usual impetuosity, was hardly
the last to leap into the movement. And
I have to say that the term “hammer
keyboard” seems to suit perfectly the
vigorous style of this work.
	 This precious album includes the
Sonata No. 28 in A Major, op.101, followed
by the powerful Sonata No. 29 in B Flat,
op.106, each with four movements. I use
the word “precious” advisedly, for that’s
what it is. Not only is the composer
sublime (and what remains to be said
about that?), but the pianist is entirely
worthy of him.
	 During the nearly hour an a quarter
these two works last, Kuerti, something
of a Beethoven specialist, gives us a
demonstration of his flawless technique,
buttressed in this case by equally flawless
sound. You have to hear him navigate
with remarkable ease  through sforzando
passages and other segments that are
lyrical and fraught with poetry and emotion. The performance serves to justify,
if justification is needed, his reputation
of unsurpassed playing which for many
years has won over music lovers, and
particularly Beethoven lovers. This is

Millennium Crossings
Lisa Weiss/ CurtCacioppo
Capstone CPS-8734
Lessard: The piano works on this
recording are all by contemporary
American composers, and indeed all
but the first were composed since 1985.
There are a number of fascinating elements here, both by the composers and
by their virtuosity on the piano. And
speaking of the piano itself, it is a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand.
	 The Bösendorfer name is linked to
Vienna, that musical centre of the 19th
Century, and to Franz Liszt, whose
energetic technique and dazzling playing
always ended up wrecking the pianos he
played. The massacre ended the day he
got his hands on a Bösendorfer. Not only
could it resist his excesses of enthusiasm,
but he was won over by its incomparable
tonal beauty, and he made it his own.
From that day, the house of Bösendorfer,
already famous, gained even more in  
	 The Imperial Concert Grand’s key-

board includes one more octave than
other pianos, situated at the bottom
end, going down to CCCC, capable of
producing a tone of 16 Hz! Even when
those extra notes aren’t played, they
vibrate in sympathy with the other notes,
giving the piano its unique sound.
	 Klavierstück, the first piece on the
disc, from 1976, and the Sonata trasfigurata of 1986, are from Curt Cacioppo.
This musician has had considerable
contact with American Indians and
is an activist for Native rights, and it
happens that here and there he uses
elements inspired by Native culture.
Initially intrigued by the originality of
his inspiration, I was charmed within a
few measures by the music’s architecture, by the juxtaposition of sounds, by
the firm and energetic touch, and by the
clarity of the playing. The pianist in this
case is Lisa Weiss, herself  a composer,
who also plays Marino Baratello’s 1991
	 Ingrid Arauco’s Triptych is a collection of three short pieces, played this
time by Curt Cacioppo: the Freely, quasi
improvisando, followed by an Intermezzo
of less than 50 seconds, and a final Allegro
with wit and verve, which manages to be
both tender and agitated.
	 Cacioppo also plays two magnificent
pieces by Joseph Hudson, the FantasyRefrain II and a Piece for the Swans.
	 What I take away from this music
and the musicians who play it is the
conciseness, the clarity of the sound that
often comes in clusters or in arpeggios,
sometimes in trills, and the polished
dynamic and timbral effects.
	 As for the sound, it is up to the
standards of t he most demanding
Felix Hell
Felix Hell
Reference Recordings RR-101CD
Rejskind: It’s so great to have Reference
Recordings back! Keith Johnson won’t
be setting up his microphones again
until summer, but I had heard none
of his last productions before Dorian
“bought” the company (without actually

paying for it, a detail that subsequently
took on a certain importance). The
reason I hadn’t heard them: Dorian had
reinvented public relations, apparently
using North Korea as a model, and when
was the last time you received a CD from
	 But with the back catalog in distribution once again we opened up some
samples, and we were glad we did. These
recordings are done with the usual
Professor Johnson flair, and they are
encoded in HDCD, the high definition
process he helped develop.
	 Felix Hell is billed as an “organ sensation,” and he is all of that. This young
German-born prodigy moved to the US
at the age of 14…to study at Juilliard! He
was 17 when he recorded this collection
in Lincoln, Nebraska. By then he had
given some 250 concerts worldwide,
which makes one wonder when he gets
time for studies.

erbeer’s opera Le prophète. This is rather
austere music, as you might suppose from
the fact that the opera was about John of
Leyden, a 16th Century religious fanatic.
However there are some dense variations
on   one of Meyerbeer’s themes, which
is what drew Liszt to this (now) almost
forgotten opera in the first place.
	 Keith O. Johnson has placed his
microphones some distance from the
organ in order to capture not only the
sound of the pipes but also of the reverberant interior or the First-Plymouth
Congregational Church. Despite the
distance the focus is excellent, and as the
music progresses you get a good mental
picture of the place. Recording levels are
fairly low, with plenty of room for the
pleins jeux passages.
	 The organ is a large one, and Felix
Hell and the composers he plays take full
advantage of the larger pipes. I found
myself wondering what would be left of
this music on a system without extreme
bass response. On the Omega system it
is awesome to listen to.
Argento: Casa Guidi
Von Stade & Minnesota Orch.
Reference Recordings RR-100CD
Lessard: The title of the album, which
is also that of the first work on it, refers
to the residence of celebrated poets
Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning,
who exiled themselves to Florence folULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    71    


	 On the other hand, perhaps he knows
all he needs to know for the moment, at
least if I go by the music on this album,
all from the 19th Century. It opens with
Felix Alexandre Guilmant’s Sonata No. 1
in D Minor, which bears the subtitle
Symphonie. This is not truly an organ
symphony, however, and much of it is
more introspective than the powerhouse
organ works that have long been used as
hi-fi showpieces. Only in the third and
final movement does Hell open up with
the organ’s considerable muscle. He is,
however, very much at ease with the
complex softer passages, a reflection of
a maturity beyond his years.
	 Joseph Rheinberger, represented here
by his Abendfriede (“evening peace”) was
also a child prodigy, who entered the

Munich Royal Conservatory when he
was 11. No fireworks here, as the name
suggests. The finale of the Symphony
No. 1 of Louis Vierne, long the organist
of Notre-Dame de Paris, has lots more
fire, and I have heard it many times,
though it has always left me cool.
	 It was when Felix Hell gets into Liszt
that I really perked up. The Prelude and
Fugue on B-A-C-H is perhaps Liszt’s
most forward-looking music, all but
leaving behind the tone-based compositions that had always dominated Western
music. The title is a pun on the name of
Johann Sebastian Bach (note that this is a
prelude and fugue), but is also a reference
to the German names of the notes B-flat,
A, C and B. There is no key signature
stated, because  Liszt used as much as he
could of the black and white notes of the
keyboard. The overall tone and structure
are closer to the 20th Century than to the
18th. A number of organists play it with
great flamboyance because…well, this
is Liszt, after all. It benefits from more
respect for its structure, which is why I
prefer it played by Fernando Germani
than by E. Power Biggs, say (I’ve been
lucky enough to hear both live). Hell is
closer to Germani, and he never either
reaches for an easy effect or gets lost in
the complexity of the music.
	 The CD ends with a longer Liszt
piece, the Fantasy and Fugue on “Ad Nos
ad Salutarem Undam, inspired by Mey-


lowing their secret marriage. Elizabeth’s
letters to her sister inspired composer
Dominick Argento to write these five
songs for the wonderful mezzo-soprano
Frederica von Stade: Casa Guidi, the
Italian Cook and the English Maid, Robert
Browning, The Death of Mr. Barrett, and

	 Fans of “Fricka” will find her again
with joy. She has lost none of the
immense talent that propelled her to the
summit of her art, where she has shone
since her beginnings, playing all of the
roles most sought after in the opera
	 That is followed by a Capriccio for
Clarinet and Orchestra, subtitled Rossini in Paris, brilliantly performed by
virtuoso clarinetist Burt Hara. It is in
point of fact a concerto, a title Argento

has eschewed by respect for “the” clarinet concerto, the one by Mozart. The
movements have the curious titles of
Une réjouissance, Une caresse à ma femme
and Un petit train du plaisir. Each refers
to a composition by Rossini, but they
are mere pretexts for development of
a “Rossiniesque” ambience of comical
verve, fantasy and humor, with a certain
touch of romanticism.
	 The final work, commissioned by the
Minnesota Orchestra for its 75th season
(in 1977), is titled In Praise of Music: Seven
Songs for Orchestra. Each song is inspired
by a character, either real or mythical,
who awaken in universal fashion feelings
inherent in human nature.: David for the
healer, Apollo for the god, Pan for the
Satyr, Orpheus for the sorrower, Israel
for the angel, Cecilia for the saint, and
Mozart for the child.
	 We should not be surprised by the
extraordinary performance by Eiji Oue
and the Minnesota, whoch have accustomed us to excellence.
	 The sonic quality of this HDCD
recording, like those of the Reference
Recording that follows, is beyond
reproach. We can, I think, speak of the
Johnson sound.
American Requiem
Danielpour & Pacific Symph. Orch.
Lessard: The dedication reads, “to the

memory of those who died in the wake
of the tragic events of September 11,
2001, and in tribute to the American
Soldier — past, present and future.”
	 To mark the end of his posting as
composer in residence with the orchestra
in Orange County, California, Richard
Danielpour received a commission for a
major work for choir and large orchestra.
The theme was to be peace, but also
man’s relationship with war.
	 Danielpour admits that, before
embarking on this project, he had not
the slightest experience of war, and so he
booked meetings with veterans of three
wars. Listening to them, writing down
their experiences, thoughts and feelings long after the end of the conflicts
in which they had fought, enabled him
to get at least a hint of the incurable
traces left by the tragedy of war. So
impressed was he by the experience that
the urgency grew in him to translate into
music these deep experiences.
	 On the fateful morning of what
would become known as 9/11, Danielpour was preparing to edit the proofs
of the orchestral score of his American
Requiem, but realized that it included
neither preface nor dedication. He was
on the phone to his publisher in New
York, when she told him with horror
that before her eyes a plane had just
struck a tower of the World Trade
Center. He knew instantly that he had
his dedication.
	 One is generally eager to find antecedents in the works of a composer:
in this passage he is clearly influenced by
Bach, or one can recognize the style of
Mozart. It is possible, indeed certain,
that because of Danielpour’s use of two
languages — English and Latin — purists will think first of Brahms’ German
Requiem or Britten’s War Requiem. One
might equally be tempted to make
comparisons with the Requiem of Verdi,
recalling his use of a multitude of instruments and the importance given to the
human voice. Too easy. It would be even
more facile to talk of plagiarism.
	 For my part I believe that, notwithstanding any similarities, deliberate or
otherwise, this religious opus is both
magnificent and eloquent. I consider it
a gift to have been asked to review it.
	 Danielpour has written this for a

night of September 11th by a poet who lives
in Battery Park City.”
	 For too long the requiem has offered
privileged access only to the erudite, able
to understand dead languages. Thanks
to Brahms, who dared to add the vernacular to the all-Latin Catholic liturgy,
and to those who followed his daring
innovation, a wider public can follow the
text and comprehend it. Requiems have
ceased to be opaque.
	 As for the music itself, it is of great
beauty, with a use of dynamics calculated to touch our noblest, deepest
	 The Dies Irae opens
with the light use of percussion, which sets up the
choppy rhythm which follows, with brass, drums
and the sforzando choir. All
the instruments are used to
punctuate most effectively
this magnificent aria.
	 The Latin verses touch
the spiritual dimension of
the relationship of humans
to the Supreme Being:
confusion, fear, resistance,
anger, sadness, but hope as
well. With few exceptions
these verses are sung by
the choir. The English
texts are sung by the soloists, either individually

“................ WOW, detail, and depth
of soundstage was immediately
Speaker cables and interconnects
using solid copper conductors.
Hand crafted in Canada by

or together, and address at once the
understanding and the emotions.
	 Here is the tenor, in the Dies Irae:
Down a new made double grave.
Now nearer blow the bugles
and the drums strike more convulsive
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    73    


large orchestra and a choir of 150 voices,
as well as three hand-picked soloists,
tenor Hugh Smith, mezzo soprano
Stephanie Blythe, and baritone Mark
Oswald. They are accompanied by the
entire family of strings and woodwinds,
brass and percussion of all sorts, including drums of different sizes, bells,
carillons and cymbals. They produce an
imposing mass of sound.
	 Despite such an abundance — I
nearly wrote overabundance — of timbres,
the composer never allows his music to
become pompous, and there resides his
genius. He pours it on, yet maintains
a just balance. For me it is remarkable,
at once intense and painful, gratifying
to the ear, and poignant for the emotions it awakens. The composer’s use of
dynamics is part of its appeal, but so is his
choice of the English texts, drawn from
the works of celebrated American poets
who have trained a bitter eye on war.
	 Three quotations from Notes on the
poetic text which you’ll find in the CD
booklet: “When you hear the poetic texts
in An American Requiem, it is our belief
that each word of the nine poems has risen
from a great depth and carries the phosphor
trail of other works.”
	 And: “An American Requiem opens
with Walt Whitman, our democratic and
roving eye, which sees a ‘new-made double
grave.’” And further on: “This strange,
almost unbelievable, image conjured around
1863…floats up to us as a turbulent ghost
image that might have been written the


And the daylight o’er the pavement
quite has faded,
And the strong [death-march]
enwraps me.
The moon gives you light
And the bugles and drums
give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers,
My heart gives you love.
	 That text is from renown poet Walt
Whitman. Now listen to the baritone in
the Lacrimosa — Pie Jesu, with another
Whitman text:
Vigil strange I kept
on the field one night;
When you my son and my comrade
dropt at my side that day…
Long there and then in vigil I stood,
dimly around me
the battlefield spreading,
Vigil wondrous and vigil sweet there
in the fragrant silent night,
Passing sweet hours,
immortal and mystic hours
with you dearest comrade
Not a tear, not a word,
Vigil of silence, love and death,
Vigil for you my son and my soldier

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	 Don’t miss the Sanctus, with wildly
ringing bells, rolling drums, strings,
and the tenor singing the glory of
the Almighty in alternation with the
choir. The Hosanna is extraordinary,
with voices, percussion and brass, a
veritable song of praise, followed by the
	 The Agnus Dei, Lay this Body Down,
sung by the mezzo soprano, is eminently touching. The text is by Michael
Can’t you see
What love and heartache’s done to me
I’m not the same as I used to be
This is my last affair
	 Two other illustrious poets are
featured, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and
an American poet identified in the text
as H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). A touching
anonymous Negro Spiritual is sung by
the baritone.
	 The final Lux Æterna is sung at
ppp volume by the choir. It is a gentle
conclusion, peaceful, in which the fear
of the Final Judgement is resolved in an
act of faith and hope on the part of souls
awaiting their Maker.
	 This, then, is a 21st Century Requiem
that will put you through an entire range
of emotions, and orient your reflection
toward the passage from temporal to
eternal life, at least as presented by the
Christian church. First performed in
November 2001, this Requiem can be
classed among the great ones: Mozart,
Berlioz, Verdi, brahms, Dvorak, and
Fauré, and closer to our own day those
of British composers Benjamin Britten, John Rutter…and Andrew Lloyd
Webber, whose Pie Jesu haunts the firsttime listener long after it ends.
	 At the summit of his art at the age
of 50, Richard Danielpour is one of the
cream of contemporary composers, and
his celebrity did not begin with this
work. He has penned other music that
has been much played and recorded,
and has known major success: operas,
concertos, symphonies, ballets, chamber
music, and other genres.
	 The CD booklet is generous with
details on the composer as well as on the
orchestra, the choir and their respective
conductors, Carl St. Clair and John
Alexander. If this music is new to you,
that is more than useful.

Suite Española
Frühbeck de Burgos/New
FIM XR24 068
Rejskind: This recording is from late
1967, the golden age of Decca (known in
North America as London for reasons of
trade mark conflict). It had not yet been
swallowed up by the Polygram/Philips
empire, in which it would become
merely a brand name. And it was busy
making new recordings of the classical
repertoire in the then distinctive ffrr
(Full Frequency Range Recording) style.
The stereo LP was a mere decade old,
and not all the treasury of music had yet
been redone.
	 At the same time Decca had not yet
begun playing it safe, recording familiar
warhorses that could be counted on to
sell in large numbers. This recording is
an unusual one, and one I suspect few
companies would tackle today. A shame,
because it is exceptional.
	 Isaac Albéniz is one of Spain’s most
recognized composers of the end of the
19th Century and the early 20th. If his
music reflected far more influences than
those of his native Catalonia, it can be
explained in large part by the fact that
he ran away from home at the age of
13 and toured Costa Rica, the United
States, England, Germany, Belgium and
Hungary. Of course by the time he got
to Belgium he was no longer a runaway
teenager, and in fact he was able to get a
bursary from no less a personality than
the King of Spain to study at the Brussels Conservatory. He later studied with
Vincent d’Indy, Paul Dukas, and…oh
yes, Franz Liszt. You would expect his
music to be thoroughly cosmopolitan.


	 On the other hand, he was able to
hear the folk music idiom of his native
land through fresh ears. Indeed “native
land” in this case doesn’t mean what
one might assume. To other Europeans “Spanish music” meant the music
of Andalusia. If a number of French
composers borrowed from it (Bizet is an
example, as are Chabrier and Ravel), it
was because the Andalusians were much
influenced by the French, and so they
found its forms familiar.
	 Albéniz is best known for piano
music, drawing on the folk themes
of different parts of Spain, but with a
pan-European flavor. It has often been
orchestrated, and this suite, by Spanish
conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos,
evokes the different regions of Spain.
For anyone who thinks Spanish music
is just flamenco or the dances found
in Carmen, the Española suite is an ear
opener. Seven of the sections (I’ll get to
the eighth shortly) are named for regions
of Spain, with appropriate melodies or
rhythms. For Castille there is a Seguidillas, for Austurias a Leyenda, for Aragon a
Fantasia, for Cadiz a Cancion, for Seville
a Sevillanas, for Granada a Serenata, and
for Cataluna a Corranda. The Cancion
and Corranda will probably sound less
Spanish to those who know the country
through travel documentaries, but
for that reason they may be the most
	 Oh yes, the eighth section of the
	 There, Albéniz did not draw on
Spanish music at all. It is titled Cuba. I
suppose that it was, in 1967, politically
dangerous even for a Spanish conductor
working in Britain, at least if he had any
intention of ever touring in the United
States, The pretext for dropping Cuba
was that, alone among the movements
of the suite, it was inspired by music
from outside Spain. Instead of simply
dropping it, which would have made for a
very short LP, Frühbeck de Burgos substituted a piece called Cordoba, extracted
from the Cantos de España, op. 232. It is
an odd choice, because it seems totally
out of temper with the rest of the suite,
at least as much as the original Cuba
(which I have not heard) would surely
have been.
	 The orchestration is entirely success-

ful. The original jacket notes (shrunk
down from LP size to textured paper in
the CD) outline the changes Frühbeck
de Burgos made to the original piano
score to make it seem appropriate for

orchestra. This FIM re-release, made
by JVC in the xrcd process, sounds very
good, with a natural spread of sound
that was characteristic   of Decca’s ffrr
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    75    


Corporon/North Texas Wind Symph.
Klavier K11153
Rejskind: This is one of a long-running
series of wind recordings on Klavier by
this first-rate orchestra. I think the title
may have been chosen at random, but
what it contains is worthy of anyone’s
attention for both musical and sonic
	 The first reason to get it, I think, is
Joseph Schwanter’s Percussion Concerto.
Now the percussionist in a symphony
orchestra is not the one groupies mob
at the stage door. Garrison Kiellor once
said that the triangle is an instrument
for a saint (he said the same thing about
the harp, for a different reason). The
percussionist is important, but only once
in a while. Perhaps that’s why, in 1995,
Schwanter was commissioned to write
an extended solo piece for the principal
percussionist of the New York Philharmonic, Christopher Lamb. And what a
piece it is!
	 Schwanter says he has long been
fascinated by the timbral aspects of
music and been attracted to the richly
varied sonic resources of percussion.
What he composed is nothing less than
a masterpiece, drawing on an astonishingly diverse panoply of instruments.
They are here played by Christopher
Deane, backed up by the band’s regular
percussionists to say nothing of the rest
of the orchestra.
	 Listen for yourself. He marshals
three tom-toms, timbaletas, bongos,
a marimba (the only amplified instrument in the work), a xylophone which is
sometimes struck and sometimes bowed,

and a varied set of drums of all shapes
and sizes, including a bass drum you’ll
feel as much as hear. But Schwanter has
done more than make noise, for that
would be all too easy. He juxtaposes
dense and sophisticated melodies for
brass and woodwinds with contrapuntal
percussion effects. The result, across
three movements that occupy more than
a half hour, is impressive, sometimes
disturbing, often viscerally beautiful.
	 The playing is wonderful too, and
that goes both for Deane and the large
ensemble, conducted masterfully by
Eugene Migliaro Corporon. The engineering, by Bruce Leek, is as good as it
	 But wait a minute, there’s more!
	 Steven Bryant’s Stampede has a sort
of rodeo atmosphere to it, reminiscent
of the music of Aaron Copland. Michael
Gandolfi’s Vientos y Tangos (“wind and
tangos”) is not always rhythmic, but
much of it is. Gandolfi has used famed
concert tango composer Astor Piazzola
as a model, and I liked the piece very
	 I’m less enthusiastic about Franco
Cesarini’s Poema Alpestre, whose length
exceeds its breadth, but even without
him this recording is chock full of goodness. The first time you’ll play it for the
sound, but I predict you’ll come back for
the music.

Film Spectacular II
Black & London Festival Orch.
FIM XR24 070
Rejskind: My first impression, if you’ll
pardon the pun, is that nobody does
music like this anymore. They sure used
to. Films had lush ballads as scores, and

there were countless orchestras that
would bring out collections of these
hummable tunes. Percy Faith was one,
Billy Vaughn was another, and Stanley
Black was yet another.
	 This one, from 1963, is special for
being part of London/Decca’s “Phase 4”
series. Of course Phase 4 did not feature
four channels, and the reason for the
name is a mystery. Decca (the British
company, not the American one of the
same name) was known for its realistic
ffrr recordings, intended to sound the
way an orchestra might from the eighth
row of a good hall. Phase 4 was Decca’s
attempt to live down that reputation.
	 The technique was totally opposite:
use a lot of microphones, each one very
close to an instrument, and dial in lots of
stereo separation. Crank up the volume
on the pressing, to overcome rumble,
hum, whatever. The results were spectacular, though not perhaps truly hi-fi.
	 It had been many years since I had
listened to a Phase 4 recording, and
of course I had not had the advantage
of listening with gear like the Omega
reference system. Notwithstanding the
very close-in sound, these recordings
really did sound good. The dynamics are
overwhelming, probably difficult to get
onto modern digital (First Impressions
Music has used xrcd to do the job). And
Stanley Black, here conducting the Royal
Festival Orchestra, was a really talented
	 This CD is a reminder that writers of film music back then were not
too shabby, and it did my heart good
to hear them again. Here’s Lawrence
of Arabia, Gone With the Wind, The
Magnificent Seven, a suite from My Fair
Lady, and even the haunting score from
Hitchcock’s Spellbound. I hasn’t heard
any of them in a while.
	 I also couldn’t help noticing that,
despite my impressions of the old LPs,
they are not truly recorded in ping pong
stereo. When there is a clash of percussion or brass, you can hear it travel all
the way to the other wall and back again.
The original engineer, Arthur Lilley,
knew what he was doing.
	 No, nobody does music like this
anymore, but a modern engineer, or
musician for that matter, could learn a
lot by listening to this CD.


Goodbye Korbon

	 Is hi-fi — or consumer electronics
in general — getting tougher to survive
in? Change has claimed another victim,
a major Canadian distributor.
	 The company is Korbon trading,
which was already five years old when
UHF was created in 1982. Ken Simpson
had worked at the company importing
Sharp when he set up his own company,
which he named after his daughters,

Kory and Bonnie. The company had
an ad in our very first issue, for Canton
speakers. Not many of the advertisers in
that same issue are still around.
	 In recent years Korbon was Canadian
distributor for a number of high end
brands, including Conrad-Johnson,
Quad, W harfedale, and Rock ford
	 Most of Korbon’s stronger competi-

tors are also US distributors, and that
may be the key to their strength. However the Korbon announcement refers
to a number of corporate and personal
challenges. That could mean that…well,
Ken Simpson has been at this for a long
	 Not that he is leaving electronics
entirely. Korbon says that warranty work
on Korbon products will be carried out
by a firm called KSSM. That stands for
“Ken Simpson Sales and Marketing.”

The UHF Reference Systems

All equipment reviews are done on at least
one of UHF’s reference systems, selected as
working tools. They are changed infrequently, and only after long consideration.

AC filters: Foundation Research LC-2
(power amp), Inouye SPLC.

The Alpha system
	 Our original reference is in a room
with extraordinary acoustics, designed as a
recording studio. It allows us to hear what
we couldn’t hear elsewhere, but there’s a
down side. Not only is the room too small
for large speakers, but it is also at the top of
a particularly unaccommodating stairwell.

The Omega system
	 It serves for reviews of gear that cannot
easily fit into the Alpha system, with its
small room. We didn’t set out to make an
“A” (best system) and a “B” (economy)
system, and we didn’t want to imply that
one of the two systems is somehow better
than the other. Hence the names, which
don’t invite comparisons. Unless you’re
Greek of course.

Main digital player: Linn Unidisk 1.1
Additional CD player: CEC TL-51X
belt-driven transport, Counterpoint
DA-10A converter with HDCD card.
Digital cable: Atlas Opus 1.5m
Digital portable: Apple iPod 60 Gb
Turntable: Audiomeca J-1
Tone arm: Audiomeca SL-5
Pickup: Goldring Excel
Phono preamp: Audiomat Phono-1.5
Preamplifier: Copland CTA-305
Power amplifier: Simaudio Moon
Loudspeakers: Living Voice Avatar
Interconnects: Pierre Gabriel ML-1,
Atlas Voyager All-Cu
Loudspeaker cables: Actinote LB/
Eclipse III
Power cords: Gutwire, Wireworld

Digital players: shared with the Alpha
Turntable: Linn LP12/Lingo II
Tone arm: Alphason HR-100S MCS
Pickup: Goldring Excel
Phono preamp: Audiomat Phono-1.5
Preamplifier: Copland CTA-305
Power amplifier: Simaudio Moon
Loudspeakers: Reference 3a
Suprema II
Interconnects: Pierre Gabriel ML-1,
Atlas Navigator All-Cu
Loudspeaker cables: Pierre Gabriel
ML-1 for most of the range, Wireworld Polaris for the twin subwoofers.
Power cords: GutWire, Aurora
AC filters: GutWire MaxCon
Squared, Foundation Research LC-1
Acoustics: Gershman Acoustic Art

The Kappa system
	 This is our home theatre system. As
with the original Alpha system, we had
limited space, and that pretty much ruled
out huge projectors and two-metre screens.
We did, however, finally come up with a
system whose performance gladdens both
eye and ear, with the needed resolution for

HDTV monitor: Hitachi
43UWX10B CRT-based rear projector
DVD player: Simaudio Moon Stellar
with Faroudja Stingray video processor
Preamplifier/processor: Simaudio
Moon Attraction, 5.1 channel version
Power amplifiers: Simaudio Moon
W-3 (main speakers), Celeste 4070se
(centre speaker), Robertson 4010 (rear)
Main speakers: Energy Reference
Centre speaker: Thiel MCS1, on
UHF’s own TV-top platform
Rear speakers: Elipson 1400
Subwoofer: 3a Design Acoustics
Cables: Van den Hul, MIT, GutWire,
Line filter: GutWire MaxCon
	 All three systems have dedicated power
lines, with Hubbell hospital grade outlets.
Extensions and power bars are equipped
with hospital-grade connectors.
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    77    

“Cool” Gets Warmer
	 You have to be intrigued by the ad:
“Home stereo. Reinvented.” We like the
way home stereo has been moving just
fine, thanks very much, but does Apple
Computer (whose on-line ad this is)
actually have a better idea?
	 It doesn’t look that way. The iPod
Hi-Fi’s name is what’s been reinvented.
What is it? It’s a powered speaker with an
iPod slot, not the sort of ground-breaking innovation you might expect Steve
Jobs to launch. Is it better than the little
powered speakers from Bose or Harman
Kardon? Tough acts to follow, we’re sure
you’ll agree!
	 Actually the device was the star of
Steve’s launch party only because this
was the dullest Apple launch since the
days of the Macintosh Performas (the
other products launched were an iPod
leather case costing a hundred bucks,
and a new version of the Mac mini with

an Intel processor but no video card).
	 The reviews we’ve seen praise the
iPod Hi-Fi for “powerful bass.” We
hope that doesn’t mean boominess, but
considering the unit can be powered
optionally by D cells, we have no illusions it can reach realistic concert levels.
They downgrade it for weak treble and
the absence of an FM tuner or a wireless
receiver. And for not being cool.
	 As for us we don’t go around bashing
boomboxes for not being high end high
fidelity, and besides this thing costs
only US$299. But the expression “hi-fi”
has been grossly abused for years, and
the iPod Hi-Fi’s slogan looks like a
snide attack on those who want quality
	 But without the people willing to
seek out quality, no one would remember
Apple. Promoting mediocrity, Steve, is
what really isn’t cool.


Goodbye Alexis, Hello Venice
	 It seems like forever (but it isn’t) that
the high end exhibits of the Consumer
Electronics Show in Vegas have been
held at the Alexis Park, an increasingly  
shabby “villa” (or motel, to be more

	 Oh, it wasn’t as shabby as the Sahara
bilevel complex which preceded it, whose
electrical system was so horrible CES

had to rent giant generators and run
cables into the window of every exhibit
room. To some exhibitors, the use of
these two awful venues was evidence
CES didn’t care about high end.
	 So next year high end moves upscale,
to the Venetian, right on the Strip. The
Venetian includes a replica of the Grand
Canal and even the Plaza San Marco
(shown at right), with all the trimmings
except the pigeons.
	 The Venetian has more large salons
that we can count (compared to maybe
two or three at Alexis), and at its back
end, down the corridor, is the Sands
Convention Centre, which CES is
already using. It also has hundreds,
perhaps thousands, of rooms in its hotel
towers. What they’re like we don’t know,
but our bet is that this will be a considerable improvement.
	 But there’s a secondary advantage for
	 For many years, disgruntled audio
companies have snubbed CES and
attended an alternative show, which for

some years has been known as The Home
Entertainment Show (T.H.E.Show, get
it?). It had set up shop at a hotel called the
St. Tropez. By an amazing coincidence,

the St. Tropez was next door to Alexis,
with a walking time of…oh, maybe 45
seconds. But with CES on The Strip,
the St. Trop might as well be on the
	 There’s speculation, of course. The
Strip is upscale territory, but the Imperial Palace is about eight minutes from
the Venetian, and is just shabby enough
to be cheap.
	 We shall see.

DRM in

	 That’s the plural of erratum, as you
probably know even if you flunked Latin,
and it means “mistakes.”
	 You’d think errors in a magazine
would hide somewhere in the fine print,
where it is hard to see. In fact some of
them pass unseen because they are too
big. There was a major typo on the cover
of UHF No. 59. And you know the worst
part? we actually paid our prepress house
a bonus to do a last moment correction
on a last-moment mistake, and then we
didn’t see the even bigger one! Not until
it was too late at least.
	 But back to issue No. 75.
	 Did you see the review of the CEC
5400 integrated amplifier? Only there is
no 5400 amplifier. It was the CEC 5300,
as we would have known if we had looked
more closely at the front panel.

CD player
Cleaning up your

Almarro .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16
Applause Audio .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 12
Artech Electronics.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  9, 13
ASW.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Cover 2
Atlas.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 21
Audiomat.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Cover 3
Audiophileboutique.com .  .  .  .  Cover 3
Audiophile Store.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 55-62
Audio Space.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 75
Audioville.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 69
Audiyo.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 71
Bel Canto.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 13
BIS Audio .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 8
Blue Circle.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 73
Castle.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 17
Charisma Audio.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 75
Diamond Groove.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 74
Eichmann .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 15
Europroducts International .  .  .  . 15, 17
Everest Audio.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 13
Fine Audio.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 69
Furutech .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 71
The Gramophone.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 69
Hi Fi Fo Fum .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9
Hifisupply.ca.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16
Justice Audio.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Cover 4
Just May Audio.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Cover 2
MagZee.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 67
Marchand Electronics .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 12
Michell.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 13
Moon.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 11
Mutine.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Cover 3
Planet of Sound.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 69
Roksan .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Cover 4
Simaudio.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 11
Signature Audio.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 75
SR Acoustique.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  8
Solid Link.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 73
Soundstage.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 14
Terra Speakers.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  9
Totem Acoustic.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 21
UHF Back Issues.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 43
UHF Books.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4,51
Unity .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 73
WBT.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Cover 2
ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine    79    


	 “DRM” of course stands for “Digital Rights Management,” technology
to limit what consumers can do with
music, movies and other material they’ve
bought. In the United States DRM is
backed by tough laws. In Canada and
Europe, on the other hand, copying for
private use is legal. So far.
	 CRIA (the Canadian Recording
Industry Association), the Canadian
counterpart to RIAA, the US lobbyist
for Big Media, would like to see a USstyle DRM law, and is even offering to
(ahem!) help write it. A tough DRM law
was in fact introduced last year, but there
was an election and a change of government, and the Conservatives are not as
hot on the issue as the Liberals were.
	 But now the plot thickens.
	 Some of Canada’s major recording
artists are denouncing CRIA, because
they say its policies are intended to favor
major recording labels, not the creators
of music. There are some A-list names 	 We hear the distributor got anxious
on the list, such as Avril Lavigne, Sarah calls from dealers who wanted to know
McLachlan and The Barenaked Ladies. when they would be getting the first
Says the CMCC, “We are the people shipments of the “5400” amps. But at
who actually create Canadian music. least we were consistent. We called it
Without us, there would be no music the 5400 every single time.
for copyright laws to protect.” The 	 And another major error was right
new association opposes legislation that on the cover. Again.
would mostly enable Big Media to sue 	 You did see it, didn’t you?
the very fans who love the music, as hap- vious page) has a series of fine
on the pre
ow nas
c (shand
dam- Six
er of North.
CRIA Anthem, Aquarius
ilty cleanin
ut da
The Mregularly
CD or DV D player, witho
brushes to
ert for The Audiophile
. See the inshave
age. We
begins on
probably deliberately, has patterned its we can remain members given CRIA’s
name after the Canadian Value of Music decision to advocate solely on behalf of
Coalition. That was a CRIA program to the four major foreign multi-national
convince music downloaders that they labels.”
were hurting the very musicians they 	 There is another record company
love. The CMCC reply: “Suing our fans group in Canada, the Canadian Indeis destructive and hypocritical, digital pendent Record Production Associalocks are risky and counterproductive, tion (CIRPA). And that association has
and cultural policy should support actual picked up six more labels.
Canadian artists.”
	 As for the Member of Parliament who
	 Did we mention that CRIA supports had piloted the failed DRM bill through
big record labels? Many Canadian art- the last parliament, he was personally
ists are signed to smaller labels, such as defeated in the January election.



State of the Art

s music important to all humans?
I would say so, and it explains why
the first humans began to make
music even before they discovered
fire, or weapons with which to kill other
humans. We know, because we’ve found
remains of their instruments.
	 We also know that music is not listened to the same way by everyone. For a
substantial portion of the world population, music has a deep importance, and
is listened to with a certain intensity and
concentration. That would be the case
of audiophiles, of course. For others,
it is the superficial aspects of music
that are important. I suppose that may
explain the success of “Rhythm” FM
stations…stations, as one wag has it, “for
people who can’t listen to music without
moving their hips.”
	 But earlier this year I came across a
clue to the mystery: why doesn’t everyone get involved with music the same
way, and (by extension) why not all music
reproduction systems are “involving.”
	 When I’m on an airplane I don’t
buy the headphones and listen to the
airline’s canned music channels. But
when I was on my way to Vegas in
January, I brought along the magazine’s
iPod, chock full of albums encoded in
lossless compression. I also brought
along a pair of headphones with noise
cancellation: a little microphone picks
up ambient rumble and reproduces it in
reverse phase to cancel it out at the ear.
On the first aircraft, a Boeing 737, that
worked well. But after changing planes at
Detroit I found myself near the tail of a
767, and the headphones could no longer
do more than make a minor dent in the
noise level. The result was a disturbing
discovery. Everyone was singing out of
	 No, not really out of tune, but I could
no longer tell whether they were in tune.
I tried some recordings by singers whose
pitch I knew to be particularly accurate:
soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian doing the
songs of Pauline Viardot (on Analekta),
or Margie Gibson singing Irving Berlin
(on Sheffield). For all I could tell they
might be way off the right note. What

by Gerard Rejskind

was going on here? Is this what it’s like
to have a tin ear?
	 Now I need to be careful here,
because “tin ear” is one of those epithets
you don’t toss off at anyone bigger than
you. It’s a value judgement and it will be
taken as such. I have a good ear for pitch,
and as an audiophile you almost certainly
do too. With the subterranean rumbling
of the 767, however, I was no longer sure
of the pitch I was hearing, and that made
music way less interesting.
	 I wound up looking for other music
and finally settled on the latest Coldplay
album, on which the dominant element
is — you guessed it — rhythm. And even
that wasn’t so hot.
	 This curious experience got me
thinking about a question that audiophiles like to talk about: the ability of a
music system to deliver accurate pitch.
As nearly as I can recall, Linn was the
first company to talk about this, advising
listeners to try to repeat a melody in their
heads. The easier that was, the better the
	 Now that piece of advice made critics
of the high end movement snicker, espe-


Get the 258-page book
containing the State of the Art
columns from the first 60 issues
of UHF, with all-new introductions.
See page 4.

cially in the years since digital became
the common home music source. Now
that wow and flutter and other speed
variations are a thing of the past, how
can the pitch of the music be wrong?
	 It can’t actually be wrong, but it can
certainly be ambiguous. That was what I
experienced on the plane, and also what
I experience when I listen to a system
that doesn’t seem interesting. Maybe the
music is on pitch and maybe it’s not, but
you have to make an effort to tell one
way or the other.
	 And that realization brought me back
to a phenomenon I came across many
years ago: Shepard’s tones.
	 First demonstrated in 1964 (though
possibly it had precursors) by R. N.
Shepard, the tones are a series of notes
going up the scale, seemingly forever.
How is it done? Shepard used a computer
to manipulate the harmonic content of
the notes in an interesting way, so as to
make the exact pitch ambiguous. The
result is that you always know what
note you are hearing, but you lose track
of what octave it belongs in. You can
hear them at www.uhfmag.com/Tech/
	 Once the plane had landed I was
relieved to find that my sense of pitch
had recovered just fine, and the music
packed into my iPod was enjoyable once
	 The fundamental building blocks of
music, which give music both its meaning and its emotional impact, are melody,
harmony and rhythm. Muck them up, or
even make them ambiguous, and you’ve
just got less music. Either you need to
make an excessive effort to get involved
in what you’re hearing, or you can’t make
it out at all.
	 This wasn’t new to me, to be sure. I’ve
long used the word “musicality” to refer
to a system’s ability to communicate
music’s powerful message. You have too,
possibly. What the experience on the
plane gave me was a clue as to why some
systems with great specs can’t do it. It’s
not that they get the music wrong, it’s
that you can’t be sure if they get it right
or wrong.

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