Publisher Profile

Phillip Holmes

Senior Reviewer

My mother and father were both trombone players that met in college. Since my birth, I was surrounded by music, both live and recorded. My mother is a band director, and I'm sure that my love of wind ensemble music comes from before I was even born. In public school, I played horn (aka French Horn, though it's not really French) and sang in the choir. I chose horn because I didn't want to have my mother as a teacher. In college, I kept with both, until I decided to commit the bulk of my time to vocal performance (I gave up horn my junior year). I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in vocal performance. I'm a tenor. Being in music brought me into contact with great music and great musicians. If I were independently wealthy, I'd travel to places like Bayreuth. I was in the Dallas Symphony Chorus for a few recordings on Delos. The recording process was interesting, but stressful for everyone. I'm glad I don't make a living as a professional musician. I prefer to listen. As a child, I was also surrounded by nice stereo equipment (actually Quadraphonic--I was born in '72). My parents had a system consisting of a Garrard Zero 100, Pickering XV15 with Shibata stylus (I've been a fan of hyper ellipticals and line contacts since then), Marantz 4300 receiver, Quad Sony open reel, Quad 8 track, and four JBL Century L100 (they weren't bad for the '70s). In the 7th grade, I started reading about stereo equipment, back when Audio, Stereo Review and High Fidelity still existed (I miss those huge Audio "annual equipment directory" and their thorough testing and photography. By the time CD became firmly entrenched, I had decided that there was something very wrong with the sound and decided I'd try tubes and vinyl. My first foray into tube audio was some nasty tube integrated amp with cathode biased P-P 6L6 that had a habit of oscillating. I got an AR-XA, cut the arm board, added an Infinity Black Widow with a Stanton 881mk2s, which I still consider a nice cartridge. Speakers were some transmission lines. Because I spent most of my disposable income on vinyl, I got into DIY, modifying my tube equipment for better sound. My choice was music or equipment, so I had to learn about making the most of what I had. Perhaps that's why, even now, I very slowly change things in my system. It's hard for me to "give up" on something before I've investigated all the possible adjustments. Since then, it's been more tubes, turntables and cartridges (and a fair amount of other equipment) Today, I'm still a vinyl nut and consider myself more of a record collector than audiophile or DIY-er. My "day job" is building houses. It's a love-hate relationship and I don't recommend it to others (very frustrating). In my spare time, I work on equipment for friends, sell some of it on eBay on consignment and try to find time for visiting other audiophiles and live orchestral music. My listening room is large. It measures 17' by 23' with 9' ceilings that step up to 10' ceilings. It is the living room and has two entryways. One opening is directly to the side of the right speaker and enters the kitchen/dining area. The second doorway is on the opposite end of the room from the speakers and is the hallway access. Both entryways are 4' by 6'8" and are trimmed out, but they do not have doors. The wall to the left of the speakers has three arched windows that are covered with plantation shutters and heavy muslin drapes from Ikea (highly recommended). The floor is carpeted. I have no problem with slap echo due to the drapes and shutters on the windows, the two open entryways, carpet and the many linear feet of books and records (40% of the walls are covered by records and books). I'd like to add that the room is not overly damped. The walls behind the speakers are untreated. The walls opposite the speakers are almost entirely covered with records except the entryway. The ceiling is regular sheetrock with "orange peel" finish. Areas of the two side walls have untreated areas. The untreated areas are opposite areas that have books/records or drapes or doorways, so no slap echoes are possible. Filling the room with sound can be difficult. I have three dedicated 15 amp circuits for audio. I would prefer more circuits, but getting power to one wall proved too difficult. Ideally, I'd like 6 dedicated circuits. I have a system in the office, but I don't use it for serious listening. I prefer large rooms, even if it can cause issues with power. The sound is less confusing than small rooms with early reflections that cause smearing. I may be moving in the next 6-8 months to a house closer to work. If so, finding a house with a good listening room will be a top priority. A definite possibility is buying a smaller house with a large back yard where I could build a detached listening room. If I do run into listening room adventures or build one from scratch, I will be sure to share the fun with Dagogo readers. My preference is large line source speakers and powerful tube amps. I wish I had two reference quality systems: one with large line sources and one with either ESL 57 or something like the MaxxHorn. System number one would be for power listening. System number two would be for piano, chamber music, jazz vocals, etc... I'm forgetting stuff, but this gives you a general idea of what goes on in my house.

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Articles & Reviews
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2016-10-vip-16-100x100

Vinyl In Print 15: The Hub of Hubbard

Jazz | Music | Vinyl | No Comments »
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The K&K Audio ST70 Boards: Part 3 of 3

Holmes' Files | The Columns | No Comments »
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VIP 14: The MPS Oscar Peterson Solo Recordings Review

Jazz | Music | Vinyl | 2 Comments »
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Albert Mangelsdorff Quintett – Vinyl in print from Jazz Haus

Jazz | Music | Vinyl | No Comments »
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Gerry Mulligan Sextet – Vinyl in print from Jazz Haus Review

Jazz | Music | Vinyl | 2 Comments »
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VIP 11 – Vinyl in print from Jazz Haus – Duke Ellington Orchestra Live at Liederhalle Stuttgart 1967

Jazz | Music | Vinyl | No Comments »
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VIP 10 – Vinyl in Print from Jazz Haus Lost Tapes of Oscar Pettiford

Jazz | Music | No Comments »
beefoven-tb

VIP 8 Vinyl in print from Impex: Heifetz and Monk

Classical | Jazz | Vinyl | No Comments »
unknown-relatives-tb

VIP9 Vinyl in print from Feedbands “2” by the Unknown Relatives

Music | Vinyl | 3 Comments »
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VIP 7 – Jutta Hipp – The German Recordings 1952 to 1955 – Lost Tapes

Music | Vinyl | 1 Comment »
BM-1-Dagogo-tb

Minus K 100BM-1 Vibration Isolation Platform Review

Audio Accessories | Racks & Stands | 3 Comments »
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Grado Reference Series Platinum 1 Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | 1 Comment »
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VIP 6 Vinyl In Print From Audio Fidelity – Sade Promise

Music | Vinyl | No Comments »
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Raven Audio Reflection Integrated Amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Tube | 2 Comments »
MelodyAN300B-tb

Melody Valve AN300B Integrated Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Tube | 4 Comments »
HolmesFiles-Logo-100x100

The K&K Audio ST70 Boards: Part 2 of 3

Holmes' Files | The Columns | 3 Comments »
KR-VA880-1

KR Audio VA880 Integrated Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Tube | No Comments »
Dizzy-Gillespie-Quintet-tb

European Vinyl from Jazzhaus: Zoot Sims, Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, Cannonball Adderley Quintet – Record Review

Jazz | Music | 7 Comments »
HolmesFiles-Logo-100x100

The K&K Audio ST70 Boards, Part 1 of 3

Holmes' Files | The Columns | No Comments »
Audio-Technica-AT150MLX-tb

Audio Technica AT150MLX Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | 20 Comments »
VIP3-tb

VIP3: Vinyl In Print from Grant Geissman

Music | Vinyl | No Comments »
VIP4-tb

VIP4: Vinyl In Print, from the Unusual Suspects

Music | Vinyl | No Comments »

Vinyl in print from Impex Records

Music | Vinyl | No Comments »
AudioengineD2-tb

Audioengine D2 Wireless 24-bit Computer Interface Review

DACs | Digital Sources | Stream Music Services | 3 Comments »

2012 LSAF Coverage – Narrative only

Event Reports | Lone Star Audio Fest | No Comments »

Audio Space Reference 3.1 Integrated Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Tube | 2 Comments »

The Future of Quality Audio – A Manifesto for Progress

Holmes' Files | The Columns | 5 Comments »

LP Gear Deft 2 Phono Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | No Comments »
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Melody Valve PM845 Monoblock Amplifiers And Pure Black 101 Preamplifier Review

Amplification | Mono Block | Preamplifier | Tube | No Comments »
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Vinyls In Print, I: Coltrane

Music | Vinyl | No Comments »

Sanders Preamplifier Review

Preamplifier | 4 Comments »

2009 CES & T.H.E Show Coverage 12, Day Four

CES | Event Reports | T.H.E. Show | No Comments »

Record Cleaning: The Nuclear Options

Holmes' Files | The Columns | 1 Comment »

GR Research LS9 Loudspeaker Review

Speakers | 2 Comments »

TubeMagic Canada IAM98 Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Tube | No Comments »

Rek-O-Kut Professional Phono Preamplifier mk II & Re-Equalizer II Review

Phono | No Comments »

Ayon Audio CD-5s CD Player Review

Digital Sources | Disc Media Players | 6 Comments »

Jaton RC2000P Preamp & AP2300AX Amplifier Review

Amplification | Preamplifier | Solid State | No Comments »

Rek-O-Kut Rodine 3 Turntable Review

Analog Sources | Turn Tables | 2 Comments »

Vaughn Zinfandel Floorstanding Speaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

Blacknote DSS 30i Tube DAC Review

DACs | Digital Sources | 1 Comment »

Miyajima Labs Shilabe Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | No Comments »

StereoKnight Reference Silverstone-B&R and Magnetic Enigma-1.0R Preamplifier Review

Preamplifier | 2 Comments »

Audiophile Q&A: Using a record weight

Audiophile Q&A | The Columns | No Comments »

Allnic L-1500 Preamplifier Review

Preamplifier | No Comments »

Einstein Audio The Little Big Phono Preamplifier Review

Phono | 1 Comment »

Haniwa Audio HCTR01 Cartridge and HEQA01 Phono Equalizer Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | Phono | No Comments »

Luxman SQ-38u Tube Integrated Amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Tube | 1 Comment »

Sanders Sound ESL Amplifier Review

Amplification | Solid State | No Comments »

Soundsmith Sussurro & MCP2 Phono Preamplifier Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | Phono | 5 Comments »

Furutech Custom Cable System Review

Cables | Interconnects | Phono Cables | Speaker Cables | No Comments »

Audiophile Q&A: What Comes To Pass

Audiophile Q&A | The Columns | No Comments »

Audiophile Q&A: Scarcity of NOS (new old stock) audio tubes

Audiophile Q&A | The Columns | 2 Comments »

Audiophile Q&A: Turntable, Direct-drive versus Belt-drive

Audiophile Q&A | The Columns | No Comments »

Sanders Sound 10b Floorstanding Speaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

ShengYa V-218 Wood Horn Loaded Tweeter Bookshelf Speaker Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

ZYX R1000 Airy3-X Silver Base & ZN Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | 1 Comment »

2009 RMAF Coverage 6

Event Reports | RMAF | No Comments »

Holmes’ Files: Thorens Project, Part 1

Holmes' Files | The Columns | No Comments »

Davone Rithm Floorstanding Speakers Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

NAT Audio Plasma R Preamplifier Review

Preamplifier | No Comments »

Allnic H-1500 II SE Plus Phono Preamplifier Review

Preamplifier | No Comments »

The Most Important Component

Holmes' Files | The Columns | No Comments »

Jaton Real A&V-803 Floorstanding Speaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

2009 Lone Star Audio Fest: Part 3

Event Reports | Lone Star Audio Fest | No Comments »

2009 Lone Star Audio Fest: Part 2

Event Reports | Lone Star Audio Fest | No Comments »

2009 Lone Star Audio Fest

Event Reports | Lone Star Audio Fest | No Comments »

Grant Fidelity RITA-340 Integrated Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Tube | No Comments »

Blacknote CDP300 CD Player Review

Digital Sources | Disc Media Players | No Comments »

Phillip Holmes tweaks the $639 Jasmine LP2.0 SE phono preamp

Holmes' Files | 6 Comments »
StereoKnightM75-thb

StereoKnight M75 Mono Block Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Mono Block | Tube | 4 Comments »

Feastrex D5e Driver Review

Speakers | No Comments »

2009 CES & T.H.E Show Coverage 13

CES | Event Reports | T.H.E. Show | No Comments »

2009 CES & T.H.E Show Coverage 11, Day Three

CES | Event Reports | T.H.E. Show | No Comments »

2009 CES & T.H.E Show Coverage 7, Day Two

CES | Event Reports | T.H.E. Show | No Comments »

2009 CES & T.H.E Show Coverage 6, Day One

CES | Event Reports | T.H.E. Show | No Comments »

Audion Silver Night 300B MkIII Integrated Amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Tube | No Comments »

Jasmine LP2.0 SE Phono Preamplifier Review

Phono | 2 Comments »

MaxxHorn Lumination Floorstanding Speaker with Feastrex D5 Monster Alnico Driver Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

Purist Audio Design Proteus Provectus Speaker and Interconnect Cable Review

Cables | Interconnects | Speaker Cables | No Comments »

Denon DL 103 Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | 12 Comments »

Lone Star Audio Fest 2008

Event Reports | Lone Star Audio Fest | No Comments »

Gemme Audio Tanto Floorstanding Speaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

Decca Phono Cartridge Review: Part 2

Analog Sources | Cartridges | No Comments »

Denon DL102 Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | 8 Comments »
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