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Pass Laboratories XA200.8 pure Class A monoblock amplifiers Review, Part 2


Amplification | Mono Block | Solid State

Doug Schroeder

Read Part 1 Critical importance of the amplifier to a system I tried various configurations of equipment to gain an understanding of what the XA200.8 was contributing. Here is one example of a streamlined system intended to have the XA200.8 play a dominant role: Small Green Computer AP i7 4T Roon Server ($2,855) and SONORE […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-6-27


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

This week came up and bit me in the … I wasn’t expecting  it to pick up at the end of the week, so let’s tuck in: Kansas Smitty’s Things Happened Here dropped yesterday on the 26th. I watched the album launch on YouTube and then proceeded to the band’s Bandcamp page to purchase and […]

EMM Labs DA2 V2 Update Review


DACs | Digital Sources

Fred Crowder

Introduction If you are like me and have been in this hobby for an extended period, you have encountered manufacturers who for whatever reason seem to update their equipment frequently. Inevitably, your existing piece of equipment 1) cannot be updated and 2) has suffered a significant loss to its resale value. This seems particularly true […]

Pro-Ject Audio Jukebox E Bluetooth integrated turntable system Review


Analog Sources | Digital Sources | Integrated Amplifiers | Others | Turn Tables

Constantine Soo

After reviewing the ultra-high-end Clearaudio Master Innovation turntable system, a curious product came to my attention: a $499 turntable, albeit made by another large corporation, Pro-Ject Audio. Austria-based turntable manufacturer Pro-Ject Audio has twelve series of turntables, which range from the $400 Hard Rock Café Primary turntable in the Artist Series to the $14,000 Signature […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-6-21


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

Late start this week. My mind and focus were taken up with forces greater than I could muster the energy and resources. Blame Canada. An oldie, but a goodie #SouthPark. So some tantalizing must-listens: Blundetto’s Good Good Thing Airelle Dombasie and Nicolas Ker’s Empire Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony taking on Kernis’ Color Wheel […]

Pass Laboratories XA200.8 pure Class A monoblock amplifiers Review, Part 1


Amplification | Mono Block | Solid State

Doug Schroeder

Why review the XA200.8 Two years ago, I made a decision that changed my audiophile life. I went to a big box home improvement store where I spied some furniture dollies, and a chill ran down my spine. I was ill prepared should I review some big, immensely heavy amplifiers, ones well past 100 pounds. […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-6-13


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

Yes, we’re quarantined. Yes, we’re locked down. No, that does not give you a reason, a rationale, an excuse to trod out some introspective navel-gazing shallow attempt at impressing with your depth, or in this case lack thereof. Lady Gaga’s SHALLOW notwithstanding, no artist/musician/composer gets a pass on NARP. There are NO free rides. No […]

Clearaudio Master Innovation turntable system Review


Analog Sources | Tone Arms | Turn Tables

Constantine Soo

After reviewing three high-end turntable systems by boutique shops, one from Europe and two from the U.S., I wanted to find out how the big boys such as Clearaudio are doing it. Clearaudio GmbH was founded by Peter Suchy in 1978 and is known for its pioneering, original designs. The company’s first product in 1978 […]

The King – Original score from the Netflix film


Music | Soundtracks

Constantine Soo

Publisher’s note: Spoiler alert. The brilliance of today’s film producers is thoroughly demonstrated in the 2019 Netflix Original movie, The King. Except for a few passing scenes during the Battle of Agincourt, camera movements are fluidic and never disruptive, well composed and choreographed, and eminently enjoyable to watch. Director David Michod is to be praised […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-6-6


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

We need music now more than ever for reasons I don’t have to go in to. And for anyone who needs to have the explained, perhaps, quite possibly, music is NOT for you. What an odd assortment and as for the ReIssues and ReMaster section of the list not a clinker in the bunch:  Sinatra […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-5-30


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

We need music now more than ever for reasons I don’t have to go in to. And for anyone who needs to have the explained, perhaps, quite possibly, music is NOT for you. Having overseen this project for 2+ years I keep my eyes on the frequency and volume of releases. And this week stands […]

Pro-Ject Records Richard Strauss Don Juan, Tod und Verklarung, Also Sprach Zarathustra 180g Import 2LP Review


Classical | Music | Vinyl

Constantine Soo

Press Release: Pro-Ject Records releases the Vienna Philharmonic and Herbert von Karajan LP Tracks: Side A: Don Juan, Op. 20 Side B: Tod und Verklarung, Op. 24 Side C & D: Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 (1-7) Prelude (Sonnenaufgang) Von den Hinterweltlern Von der grossen Sehnsucht Von den Freuden und Leidenschaften Das Grablied Von der […]

Book Review: Better Days Will Come Again – The Life of Arthur Briggs by Travis Atria


Commentaries | The Columns

Dave Radlauer

Better Days Will Come Again: The Life of Arthur Briggs – Jazz Genius of Harlem, Paris and a Nazi Prison Camp By Travis Atria Chicago Review Press (2020), bibliography and index, 60 photos, 300+ pages. Arthur Briggs (1901-1991) was considered the premier Jazz trumpet player of Europe between the two world wars. Living in France […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-5-24


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

Releases this week picked up steam towards the latter half, which is good news for all of us. I was getting worried there. A good friend of mine released an album on Bandcamp: Ars Divina Metaphysical Experience – Fill The Ocean -> http://arsdivina.bandcamp.com/album/fill-the-ocean And it was really nice to see/hear Carly Rae Jepsen’s Dedicated Side […]

Esoteric Grieg “Peer Gynt” Excerpts SACD


Classical | Music

Constantine Soo

In 1983 at the height of digital recording craze, Philips issued a digital recording of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt incidental music to the 1867 play by the composer’s countryman, Henrik Ibsen. Philips had also started marketing its first-generation CD100 CD player the same year. Two elements of this recording stood out instantly at […]

Historically Significant Phono Cartridges, Part 2: Grado


Commentaries | The Columns

Marc Silver

When Constantine suggested I write this series of articles on significant phono cartridges, Grado was one of the very first cartridges that came to mind. I started selling Grado cartridges in 1968 when I was working at Stereo Mart in Los Angeles. In fact, I have continued to sell Grado cartridges continuously ever since. Grado […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-5-16


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

Mid May and what has NARP learned?  Well, I can only surmise from the paucity of releases from one week to the next that the pandemic is indeed taking its toll. Now, let’s do bear in mind that a number of releases are being delayed/postponed. Still, I’ve managed to cull some music for everyone this […]

Stillpoints Ultra 6 Resonance Control Feet Review


Audio Accessories | Racks & Stands

Fred Crowder

Introduction In the past (at least until about ten years ago), I used a wide, constantly changing variety of isolation shelves and footers hoping to find the holy grail, or at least the audiophile equivalent. Various combinations worked to differing degrees; more often than not, they worked well at select frequencies and not as well, […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-5-10


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

It is what it is. What I like, and to that which I listen may very well go against the grain, but then whoever said I was agreeable just doesn’t know me all that well. Anne Bisson is a treasure. I not only have autographed albums of her but when we have met on numerous […]

Nitty Gritty 1.0 Record Cleaning System Review


Audio Accessories | Disc Treatment

Byron Baba

Nitty Gritty 1.0 Record Cleaning System in Black Vinyl Cabinet While stuck in quarantine like the majority of Americans, I have been playing a lot of records every day. A big part of my record playing experience is keeping my records clean. Since most small audio companies are closed and cannot ship products to me, […]

Koetsu Jade Platinum moving-coil cartridge Review


Analog Sources | Cartridges

Constantine Soo

  At some point during the nineties rhetoric promoting the 16-bit/44.1KHz digital recording standard gained momentum, the vinyl format bore the blunt and was abolished. In the last decade, the dawn of remastered and reissued music in higher-resolution FLAC, the original CDs of which we bought in our younger years, reached a feverish pitch and […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-5-2


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

These are indeed times that can try our collective…, and with that, I am taking this special downtime to listen even more critically to the music I list, even if that means NOT agreeing with critics and public opinion. Deep Purple threw me for a loop was not expecting anything from them, so very welcome. […]

Historically Significant Phono Cartridges, Part 1: Shure


Analog Sources | Cartridges | Commentaries | The Columns

Marc Silver

Constantine Soo (Dagogo publisher) recently asked me to write an article focused on the most significant phono cartridges over the last 80 years. I thought it would be a lot of fun but would require a great deal of research. At first, we thought of one or perhaps two articles focusing on early classics and […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-4-25


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

These are indeed times that can try our collective…, and with that, I am taking this special downtime to listen even more critically to the music I list, even if that means not agreeing with critics and public opinion. Bill Laswell’s music, as well as, the title of his album: Against Empire got me really […]

Audio Blast: Updates to Small Green Computer SonicTransporter Ap i7 4T and SONORE Signature Rendu SE with systemOptique


Audio Blast | Digital Sources | The Columns

Doug Schroeder

It came out of the blue like a virus, but, unlike a virus, it was beneficial. In fact, it was the opposite of a virus—it was an upgrade. Actually, a pair of upgrades. The wide envelope that usually signals an investment seminar or charitable organization update turned out to be an unexpected revision to the […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-4-19


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

These are indeed times that can try our collective…, and with that, I am taking this special downtime to listen even more critically to the music I list, even if that means not agreeing with critics and public opinion. The John Adams “Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes” really struck a chord, not […]

Pass Laboratories INT-250 integrated solid-state amplifier Review


Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers

Constantine Soo

Pass Laboratories has a core of talents I dub the Pass Labs Four: Founder Nelson Pass, not a boastful character but witty, adventurous and quiet, that is until you get him up on a stage and he opens up. And he attracts talents and major nerds who are like him. Then there is Kent English, […]

The Maestro and the Gypsy: Andre Ekyan and Django Reinhardt, 1932-50


Jazzed Up | The Columns

Dave Radlauer

This column introduces Jazz musician Andre Ekyan (1907-1972) and tells the story of his role mentoring and promoting gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, guiding him into the world of professional music performance. Ekyan played alto saxophone and clarinet and made robust contributions to the development of Jazz in France. A self-taught musician, arranger and bandleader, Ekyan […]

New Album Releases Project 2020-4-12


New Album Releases Project | The Columns

David Blumenstein

These are “special” times. More than enough for everyone this week. Much more. Until things return to a degree of relative normalcy all the weekly selections shall be bolded. The groupings of New Releases, Re-issues, Re-masters and Miscellany shall stay the same. Within Miscellany one might find all manner of live performances, as well as […]

Sumiko Black Pearl with LP Gear ND phono stylus Review


Analog Sources | Cartridges

Byron Baba

I play records almost every day including a number of records that I bought as a teenager. Some of the older and worn records do not show as much benefit using a more expensive phono cartridge. Several years ago, I purchased a Sumiko Black Pearl ($100) moving magnet cartridge to see if it, with its […]


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