When last we met, I described my experience of building a Roon ROCK (Roon Optimized Core Kit) server and setting up Roon as my music-streaming software in my home. I got as far as installing the ROCK and Roon clients on my laptop and phone, attaching an external drive and cataloging my music, and getting the thing working with my Logitech Squeezebox Touch streamer.
Tokyo-based Technical Audio Devices Laboratories (a.k.a. TAD) is a company I’ve long admired. My first exposure to the brand occurred over a decade ago at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada—the first electronics show I ever covered. TAD’s room in the Venetian Hotel, where the high-end audio exhibits were housed, featured their Reference One mk2 flagship loudspeaker, finished in gorgeous Beryl Red. I was gobsmacked by the outstanding clarity of its beryllium tweeter, which was nestled in the middle of a beryllium midrange in a coaxial configuration. Because I was mainly covering budget gear back then, the notion of reviewing a pair of TAD speakers seemed as remote as Pluto. But the seed had been planted. This year, when TAD demoed their new Compact Evolution One TX ($32,500 per pair, all prices in USD) at the Florida International Audio Expo in February, I got to meet the TAD team, including CEO Shinji Tarutani. Several months later, a pair landed on my doorstep. Game on.
Golden Wolf Records GW009LP
Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****
Drummer and producer Adam Deitch has worked on a lot of records since 1994, with musicians as diverse as John Scofield and DJ Quik. He is a member of three bands, which gives him the opportunity to show his grasp of different musical styles: electronica with Break Science, psychedelic funk with Lettuce, and 1960s-style soul jazz with the Adam Deitch Quartet.
Note: for the full suite of measurements from the SoundStage! Audio-Electronics Lab, click here.
Marcia likes to wake up earlier than I do. On weekdays she gets up around 5:30 a.m. and writes in her journal for about 45 minutes. She sits in our darkened living room, and she lights about a half-dozen candles, including one thick beeswax job that ends up with a giant wick.
I’ve become dangerously comfortable in my reviewing life. My main system is fed by one source—my VPI Prime Signature turntable. Occasionally new ’tables come and go, and the phono stage changes too. Cartridges flow through here also. But no matter how I take it apart, no matter how I break it down, that single analog source is a consistent feature.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reviewing Chord Electronics’ new Ultima Pre 3 preamplifier. Along with the Ultima preamp, Chord shipped me the subject of this review: the matching Ultima 6 power amplifier ($9925, all prices in USD). My first encounter with these components was in February this year at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. I was impressed enough with what I heard to request review samples.
Craft Recordings / Contemporary Records / Stereo Records CR00391
Musical Performance: ***½
Sound Quality: ****
Overall Enjoyment: ****
In the 1950s, Contemporary Records released a number of Broadway-themed LPs by trios led by pianist André Previn or drummer Shelly Manne. The sessions fronted by Previn featured Manne on drums and Red Mitchell on bass; Manne’s featured Previn and bassist Leroy Vinnegar. In my June 2023 review of the Craft Recordings / Contemporary Records reissue of West Side Story, the 1959 album by André Previn and His Pals, I wrote: “I’m already anticipating the Craft Recordings reissue of Manne’s My Fair Lady this fall.” Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from My Fair Lady was a 1956 mono release by Shelly Manne & His Friends, and its popularity led Contemporary to ask Previn and Manne to record more albums in the same vein.
You’d be forgiven for looking at Vivid Audio’s Giya G3 Series 2 loudspeaker ($43,000 per pair, $45,500 per pair as reviewed; all prices USD) and thinking it seems more like an exercise straight out of a design student’s sketchbook than a serious attempt at creating a state-of-the-art loudspeaker. But lead designer Laurence Dickie—the brains behind former employer Bowers & Wilkins’s Matrix cabinet-bracing system and the English firm’s iconic Nautilus loudspeaker—wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s always easy to draw parallels between the automotive and audio sectors, and if that’s fair, I like to compare Vivid Audio with Citroën of the 1950s and 1960s,” Dickie told me. “The Citroën DS was a very curvaceous, aerodynamic design with an awful lot of engineering innovation, and its shape really did divide people. There are those who dismissed it as a frog on wheels, but I like to think we’re [like Citroën]. We’re not afraid of sticking our necks out.”
Just recently, one of my wife’s family friends stopped by to drop off a book. It was a hot day and JB had been roaming the city by public transit, so Marcia and I invited him in for a coffee and a glass of water. JB was carrying a cloth bag containing some LP-shaped objects. I’m a dog person, so I metaphorically sniffed his butt and asked him what was in the bag.
As this editorial goes live, it’s October 1, and that means in a little over three weeks I’ll be on a plane to Warsaw to cover Audio Video Show 2023, to be held October 27 to 29. This will be my fourth visit to this show and I’m stoked.
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