The Library of Congress has released from the national recording registry the ultimate stay at home playlist. The following announcement was just released from Washington D.C.. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today named this and 20 other recordings as aural treasures worthy of preservation because of their cultural, historical and aesthetic importance to the nation’s recorded sound heritage.
During the Sound & Vision Show held in Bristol on 20-22 February, The Clarity Alliance presented the third annual “Best of Show” awards, at which it announced the second recipient of its Honorary Fellowship award.
As one of its founding objectives, The Clarity Alliance pledged to recognise those individuals who have made a significant contribution to the UK hi-fi industry. The second such award, following the Honorary Fellowship of John Dawson in 2014, was awarded to the well-respected journalist, editor and all round good guy, Paul Messenger.
A reportedly Pulitzer prize nominated environmental journalist and Hi Fi enthusiast, Harry Pearson founded and financed The Absolute Sound in 1971 ostensibly to spur Gordon Holt founder of the similarly independent Stereophile magazine, to continue that publication in a more organised and timely fashion. Both these publisher-editors, also gifted audio critics, felt that there was more to describing sound quality than brought out by rote audio measurements combined with rubber stamped review approvals, the latter the practice of the vast majority of magazines of the day in the USA and indeed worldwide.
Pearson established the idea of the absolute sound, that the best quality replay of natural well recorded classical and non electronic music should approach, by instinctive and experienced judgement, the natural sound itself. He defined a rich vocabulary of subjective terms for reproduced sound to help communicate an understanding and appreciation of sound quality variations. He commissioned what may be the longest published review of a turntable ever, 35 pages of TAS on the technology and sound quality of the Goldmund Reference, a review I could not have written without his guiding example. His contribution to subjective high end audio reviewing and journalism has been immense, arising from a deep love and understanding of live classical music.
[17 November 2014: Correction made from Pulitzer prize 'winning' to 'reportedly' and 'nominated'.]
By Yasuko Everard
Released yesterday on vinyl were the remasters of The Beatles’ mono albums, and to celebrate the event a listening session using some of the best High End gear was held last week in Abbey Road Studio 2, where many of their famous recording were made.
With a replay system comprising a Vertere turntable with Ortofon 2M Mono cartridge, Naim SuperLine phono preamp, Naim Statement preamp and power amps and Focal Grande Utopia EM speakers, tracks from the newly-released discs were played and discussed by a panel including writer and broadcaster Mark Ellen (who also acted as host for the event), Beatles engineer Ken Scott, and Sean Magee, who worked on the remastering.
Panasonic has resuscitated the famous Technics brand in time for IFA Berlin, 2014
First products due in December
Andrew Everard reports
Technics is back, and it’s aiming high: its new ‘Reference Class’ R1 system is expected to have a price of around £32,000, and comprises the SU-R1 network music player/preamplifier, the 150Wpc SE-R1 stereo power amplifier, and the floorstanding SB-R1 speakers. These have a coaxial mid treble driver.
UK company Flexson have announced a superior one box record player deck clearly based on trusted UK Rega components, for what seems a competitive £330. Flexson currently make some decor accessories for the wireless speaker brand leader SONOS.
This could well be the best sounding and best engineered all in one turntable of its type, currently populated by confections of tinny plastic which frequently cannot even be relied upon to rotate. Flexson note that vinyl sales are set to rise 40% in 2014.
The Evening Standard and Critical Reviews
Restaurant critic Grace Dent of the London Evening Standard commented in ES Magazine July 25th that she cannot return to some restaurants, usually due to
“issues surrounding speaking the truth”
The chefs and front of house managers that object to Grace Dent’s criticisms usually know how they are performing but do not wish us to know and that is the problem.
We all want critical reviews as consumers. We want the great differentiated from the indifferent, the second rate. We will pay more for greatness when we can. If not, we can still stand back and admire and enjoy reading about those who can perform to a yet higher standard whether in sport, cuisine or designing for higher audio sound quality.
Constantly chipping away at independent critical journalism are the advertising and magazine managers, the PR executives, who desire, even demand, fawningly positive reviews for the products and services we buy. Often reviews which are truly advertorials are disguised, purporting to be independent opinion, but are commercial paid for copy. Many are available on the web, purporting to be independent of commercial interests.
It does not help that journalism is poorly paid with many journos scraping a living and having to make do with almost any writing commission, sometimes hack advertorial. Where a review should include a significant investigation, with tests of operation and sound quality, if the job is done well it may preclude future commissions for the journalist as loan product options mysteriously dry up for the author.
At HIFICRITIC we expressly encourage our writers to freely describe their critical findings, but remain aware that powerful commercial interests remain looming over us.
As the ink is drying on the Apple deal to buy Beats headphones, Bose is suing in Beats home base of Delaware for alleged infringement by Beats of their numerous noise cancelling patents.
Bose have long researched this subject in particular for military personnel operating in high noise environments and in recent years these developments have surfaced on the consumer market in significantly effective noise cancelling Bose headphones and earphones.
Martin Colloms has a passion for audio and music and has written for many of the key hi-fi magazines worldwide.