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Everything posted by JoeWhip

  1. Maybe you should host a live panel discussion on AS with live chat on MQA!
  2. I am sorry, but RH really went off the rails with this one. I don’t see how he thinks this will turn out well for his mag or his reputation. Seems like the Ed and the ad were coordinated. Bizarre.
  3. Why not get BS or RH or JA to address the issues brought forward by Archimago or any others? We have a point, how about a MQA counterpoint? It can be published on the Stereophile or TAS websites depending on who the author is. Should be fairly easy to do.
  4. i have the DSD 64 files of the fone recordings. I convert them to pcm for playback.
  5. I have the Harry Allen disc. Indeed it is superb.
  6. After the piano and the upright bass, my favorite tool in the jazz tool belt is the tenor sax. As much as I enjoy a great drummer and the rhythm that a drum kit adds to a trio, there is just something about the big warm sound of a great tenor player backed by a piano and bass that really appeals to me. When it comes to the tenor sax, I fall into the camp that there is no school like the old school. Players like The Prez, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon, Zoot Simms or my personal favorite, Ben Webster. I could listen for hours to Ben Webster recordings (and have) and his breathy romantic style of playing. Sure, he could swing with the best of them, but no one IMHO could touch him on ballads. No one. However, in the 1950’s with the advent of bee bop and then hard bop, the style of the old masters somehow became old fashioned and increasingly fell out of favor. Fortunately, there are still tenor players today who continue to play in the style of the old masters. For this writer, the best of these players is the subject of this piece, Scott Hamilton. While Scott’s recorded output is vast, I have picked out five of his recordings that I go back to time and time again during long listening sessions. All feature excellent sonics. 1. Live at Smalls If you only get one Scott Hamilton recording, this is the one to get. It was recorded in 2014 at Smalls, a tiny and dare I say intimate jazz club on W. 10th Street in Manhattan. Located in the basement, Smalls holds all of 60 people. This recording puts you right at the center of the stage, close enough to reach out and touch Scott’s tenor. This recording takes you into the club. The entire ambiance of the club is there, from the chatter and the clinking of glasses and silverware. Behind Scott in the soundstage is Rossano Sportiello on piano to the left, J.J. Shakur on bass and to the right, Chuck Riggs on drums. This set has it all. It swings and rocks. All four of the musicians are on the top of their game and clearly love playing together. Tight does not even begin to describe this group. Did I mention that the sound is fantastic? I believe that the CD is out of print. I have a 24/88.2 file from the usual sites. Check it out. You will be glad you did. Purchase via HDtracks Scott Hamilton - Live at Smal's (24/88.2) 2. Live at Pyatt Hall This is another live recording, this one set at Pyatt Hall, at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music. While Pyatt Hall is larger than Smalls, it only holds about 130 people. The sound captured is just a tad more distant than the Smalls set and I mean just a tad. This set has more ballads than the Smalls set, but still features Scott’s large tenor sound front and center, with some brilliant accompaniment by Rossano Sportiello on piano. The capture of the piano on this recording is sensational as is the recording of Scott’s sax. If I had one quibble with this recording, it would be that the recording of J.J.’s bass is a bit more diffuse than I would like, almost as if it was recorded out of phase. A very enjoyable listen nonetheless and a great recording with the lights out late at night. Listen via Qobuz Scott Hamilton - Live at Pyatt Hall Listen via Tidal Scott Hamilton - Live at Pyatt Hall 3. Hamilton and Hamilton Live in Bern This set is a bit of a twofer, as it features Scott Hamilton on tenor with the great Jeff Hamilton Trio. I have mentioned Jeff Hamilton before as he is the drummer on the fantastic Montreux Alexander recording. Jeff has a regular touring trio featuring the sensational and underrated Tamir Hendelman on piano and Christoph Luty on bass. This trio has been together for years and it shows. This is a rather unusual live recording in that it was recorded in an empty hall in Bern Switzerland the morning of their engagement there. For those not familiar with this trio, this is a great recording on which to check them out with the added bonus, of course, of the great Scott Hamilton. Listen via Tidal Hamilton & Hamilton - Live in Bern 4. Who Cares? This is a recording on, dare I say it, a boutique audiophile label, fone. This set was recorded in the cellar of the Hotel II Castello in Italy. On it Scott is accompanied by Andrea Pozza on piano. It is a somewhat laidback ballad set with exceptional sonics with natural reverb and decay. Scott has several recordings on the fone label. They are all worth checking out. There is another set with Andrea Pozza entitled, I could Write a Book, as well as Bean and the Boys and Ballads for Audiophiles. Listen via Qobuz Scott Hamilton - Who Cares? Listen via Tidal Scott Hamilton - Who Cares? Purchase via HDtracks Scott Hamilton - Who Cares? (24/88.2) 5. Back in New York This set was released in 2005 on the Concord label. It features Scott Hamilton accompanied by another great touring trio with Bill Charlap on piano, Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. Again, for those of you unfamiliar with Bill Charlap and his trio, this recording is a fine introduction to his music. This set is a bit different than the others in that it is a studio recording and has a much more bee bop vibe. It is well worth a listen. In these pieces on Audiophile Style, I am writing about great jazz musicians who are still with us and actively touring. If you see any of these fine musicians coming to your town, by all means, see them live. Listen via Qobuz Scott Hamilton - Back in New York Listen via Tidal Scott Hamilton - Back in New York Joe with Jeff Hamilton at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in NYC.
  7. Chris, you have all the fun😎
  8. It bet it would be great powering my Big Ass Fan.
  9. I am no fan of MQA and try not to chim in on this thread, but after the latest analysis, why would anyone be in favor of MQA? Any sound manipulation can be accomplished either with selectable filters in a DAC or via playback software. There is NO need for the MQA format unless the whole thing really is for DRM. Manipulate your music to sound like whatever you like, but don’t force those choices on consumers who may actually prefer fidelity to the source.
  10. I agree completely. I have had in my system for a couple of years and it sounds fantastic. A friend has it as well in a state of the art room and it sounds great as well.
  11. I enjoy Chesky recordings also but they traditionally have more of a distant sound. Also, Chesky tends to record in churchs and larger spaces, much different that the large studio environment used in the SL recordings. Different strokes for different folks. I can and do enjoy both techniques.
  12. I do not have any of Barry’s recordings. I have a couple of the Mapleshade CDs and 4 of Todd’s recordings, one jazz trio, both Será Una Noche releases and one solo classical piano recording. I will put it on the list of things to think about.
  13. I enjoy both of the Witmer trio recordings. Interesting takes on well known tunes
  14. While I have been an audiophile since the mid 1980’s, I did not make the leap to computer based audio until 2013. It was at that time that I purchased a Mac Book and a hard drive, downloaded Audirvana and began to rip my favorite CDs. I had plenty of experience with Theta Digital and still was using their Pro Basic III DAC and was happy with the sound, but was intrigued by the promise of high resolution audio. Surely, with the higher bit rate and sampling, high res files had to sound better, right? Right? Well at least sometimes but I digress. When I found out that Mike Moffatt was back to making DACs with his new audio company, Schiit, I went ahead and bought Schiit's, as of that time, top tier DAC, the delta sigma Gungnir. As the Gungnir could play files up to 24/192, I began looking around the net for high resolution files to check out whether the promise matched the hype. In searching through various high res download sites I came across a boutique Dutch label, Sound Liaison. It only had a few offerings at the time but one intrigued me, the Carmen Gomes, Inc. A Thousand Shades of Blue. As was also intrigued by the fact that Sound Liaison claimed that the PCM track at 24/96, was identical to the studio master. I listened to the mp3 samples and liked what I heard and downloaded the pack WAV file and loved what I heard. Too many audiophile labels produce great sounding mediocre music. Now, I realize that what people consider good music various with the ear of the listener, but I really enjoyed this release and found the sound to be very compelling. As time marched on, I purchased several more releases that sounded interesting and have never been disappointed. Sound Liaison eventually moved on from 24/96 to DXD at 24/352.8. As I am not able to play those files natively through my Yggdrasil DAC, I have always opted for the 24/192 files. I have never performed a comparison of the 24/192 files with the available 24/96 files derived from the DXD master, but darn, those 24/192 files sound superb. Fairly recently, Sound Liaison began to release new DXD recordings using one microphone. It is these new very compelling one mic recordings which will be the subject of this article. First, a bit of background of Sound Liaison. Sound Liaison is founded by Frans de Rond and Peter Bjørnild. Their goal is to build a bridge (Liaison) between the studio (engineer and musicians) and the people who love to listen to music using high quality audio equipment. Next to standard studio recording sessions they organize special recording sessions with a live audience in Studio 2, situated in the the building of the Dutch Music Centre of Broadcasters (MCO). Frans de Rond, was born in Amsterdam in 1963. His interest in audio technology can be traced back to a childhood enthusiasm for electronics and music. He studied recording technique as well as double bass at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the Netherlands. Frans currently lives in Hilversum and works as a sound engineer at Studio 1 and 2, one of the legendary recording studios in the building of the MCO (Muziekcentrum van de Omroep). He is a very active sound engineer with broad field of experience from CD recordings, radio and TV to live concerts. Frans has received several awards for his work with radio plays. His ability to create an almost visual sound field has made him the most popular engineer for radio plays in the Benelux. The ability to make sound visual is also what makes the audio recordings of Frans de Rond so unique. Frans's aim is to capture the spur of the moment as close to the natural, organic sound of the instrument as possible. Peter Bjornild was also born in 1963 in Copenhagen and started playing bass after attending a concert with Tanja Maria and Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen. He studied privately with Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen and at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music. He moved to the Netherlands in 1985 to continue his studies at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in the Hague. He graduated in 1989 with a performance diploma in Classical and Jazz music. Peter has played and recorded with a wealth of musicians in a broad musical spectrum ranging from; Classical with a.o. the Residentie Orchestra to Big Band with a.o. Thad Jones to small group with a.o. Carmen Gomes, Phillip Harper and John Engels to theatre "Brell, de zoete oorlog'' with Jeroen Willems. Peter has even played Circus music for one long summer in the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. As a producer Peter has worked with a.o Carmen Gomes and STS Digital. Peter believes that a recording should be as realistic and beautiful sounding as possible. As if, when closing your eyes, you find yourself in the best seat of the Hall. I was impressed with these credentials when I first read them. I am not surprised that their sessions feature fantastic sounding upright bass sound given that they are both bass players. For this article I asked Frans about why he chose to record using the one mic technique and why he chose the Josephson C700S mic in particular. The following was his response: For more than 25 years I've been recording using the traditional "multi mic" technique. I love to record acoustic music and I'm a big fan of recording the whole band in one room. Multi track recording has advantages and disadvantages. The good is that you can make an instrument louder or softer as you please. The bad, when the recording is done in one room, is phase and that in order to control all the individual sounds you have to mic very close to the instruments. This can have its own charm but it is also a bit unnatural because most instruments are designed to project their sound, not being listened to up close. Another problem with the "multi mic" technique is to control the spill between the different mic's. The spill has a great influence on the sound quality and can cause big phase problems. You can try to isolate the instruments to a certain degree but if you go too far it becomes a bunch of separate sounds instead of one organic complete sound. I think our ears are much more sensitive to phase errors than we are aware of. The obvious solution is to record the whole band from one point. But until recently I have not experienced a microphone that was up to the task. Drums and piano sounded too distant and the sound stage did not reflect what I heard standing in front of the band. The first thing that impressed me about the Josephson C700S was the natural sound of the mic and the sound off axis. This is what makes the difference between a good microphone and an average microphone. Secondly the microphone is quite unique. It has three capsules instead of the more common two. I use it in a MS stereo configuration. The M (Mid) is build up out of two capsules, one omni and one figure of eight, together they form a perfect cardioid. The third capsule (Side) is again a figure of eight. So now with Josephson C700S, instead of placing microphones at the instruments we now place the instruments around the microphone:) It's a complete new way (actually an old way of course) of working. There is a quite learning curve. What we have learned so far; The room, studio, has to have a good sound. The musicians have to be very good and well prepared as it is no longer possible to repair mistakes. Mixing is no longer possible. We have to create the complete sound stage at the spot by carefully moving each instrument closer or further away as well as left and right in relationship to the microphone. We have to rely on the musicians to create a musical balance. Because of the natural and musical balance the need for compression to control levels is no longer necessary, and since everybody is in the same room, the boxed sound which is so common in many modern recordings is absent, and the sound of the room helps 'glue' the sound of the recording. The benefits of this way of working is that the result is completely free of phase errors and that the sound is very natural with a wide sound stage with a lot of depth. So far all musicians have been struck by the incredible authenticity of the recordings and that they never heard their instrument sound so real and lively. We're recording in 352kHz, aka DXD format, using Merging equipment because of the sound. We have compared 192 kHz to 352kHz (DXD) and especially at the recording stage you hear a clear difference. DXD has a more accurate sound stage and more depth. It sounds more natural...actually closer to analog. After recording we add a bit of reverb, little EQ and a tiny bit of compression to smooth things out, but we keep everything to a minimum. After mastering we add metadata and convert the DXD files to all the other formats. The recordings take place in the now legendary Studio 2, situated in the the building of the Dutch Music Centre of Broadcasters (MCO). It is the oldest recording studio in the Netherlands and has hosted a wealth of prominent artists; Django Reinhardt, was here in 1937. Jazz at the Philharmonic featuring Ella Fitzgerald, Lester Young, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Max Roach was here in 1953. In the 1960’ the studio hosted Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Adderley, Dexter Gordon and Clark Terry to name a few, and Eric Dolphy recorded his very last session here in 1964. The studio you might say is full of ghosts from the past. To rephrase an old saying, the proof of the recording is in the listening. I've had the opportunity to listen to a total of 4 of these one mic recordings from Sound Liaison. I will discuss my impressions in the order of release. While I can say without hesitating that all 4 sound superb, it is clear that Frans and Peter have learned and improved their technique with each successive effort. The first recording was Carmen Gomes, Inc.’s Don’t You Cry. As fine as this recording is, it shows the shortcomings of the one mic technique. The Gomes Gomes, Inc. group features Carmen Gomes on vocals along with Peter Bjørnild on double bass, Bert Kamsteeg on drums and Fokker Tettero on guitar. The tone, timbre and soundstage on this recording are all superb. You are right in the room sitting in front of the band. However, due to the placement of a drum kit right behind Carmen, Bert has to play a more reserved style so not as to drown out the vocals. While the bass player and guitarist can move up closer to the mic for solos, you can’t move a drum kit. This fact robs the session of some dynamics. The recording captures what was played beautifully, it is just that the use of the one mic technique on a vocal recording requires a more reserved drum technique. The same is not true with the second recording, Feenbrothers Play Brubeck. This recording features Mark van deer Feen on piano, Clemens van der Feen on double bass, Paul van der Feen on saxophone and Matthijs van der Feen on drums. Here, with no vocalist, all four musicians let it fly. Dynamics, tone, timbre and soundstage are all superb. The piano in particular is a highlight for me. This is some of the best recorded piano I have ever heard, capturing to tone of the instrument and the natural decay of the notes. Instrument placement in the sound field is spot on. This is a superb recording all around and is one that I can recommend for all jazz fans. Superb musicianship and just fantastic sound. The third release is Juraj Stanik’s I Wonder, which is a solo piano recording. This recording captures the richness of the piano and the natural room reverberation. It sounds just like a piano is sitting in the room in front of you. What more can you really want from a recording? The fourth and final one mic recording is in my opinion, the best. It is Reinier Voet and Pigelle44’s Ballade pour la nuit. This album is an homage to Django Reinhardt. It features Reinier Voet on lead guitar, Kain van Kooten on violin, Jan Brouwer on rhythm guitar and Jet Stevens on double bass. These guys and this recording just rocks. Pace, rhythm, tone and soundstage are just off the charts. The precise placement of all four of the musicians perfectly matches the photos of the sessions. The balance of all four instruments is darn near perfect. As you can no doubt tell, I am a huge fan of this recording. It is one of the best in terms of recording quality I have ever heard. Of course, and as always, your view of the actual music content may vary quite considerably from mine. Nonetheless, I think we would all agree that this recording sounds sensational. It seems quite clear to me that Sound Liaison is on to something with its one mic technique and the Josephson mic in particular. All four have a natural sound, pinpoint instrument placement and a fantastic soundstage. As great as these recordings are, there are limits with the one mic technique. As noted with the Carmen Gomes, Inc. recording, there are trade offs with vocals and drums. The recordings also require smaller combos that can be placed in a circular pattern around the mic. Finally, the musicians really need to be tight and on their games. However, with these limitations in mind, the one mic technique now employed by Sound Liaison can yield spectacular results and are well worth a listen. While the musicians may not be well known and the music is, heaven forbid, jazz, the music and the sound captured on these recording are well worth your time and money. My hat is off to Frans and Peter. Well done! Visit Sound Liaison for further information.
  15. Probably the best sounding of the one mic recordings.
  16. No, most are multi mic’d. I have had this one for a week in 24/192 and it sounds fantastic. Working on a new article about these recordings now.
  17. HDR and the wider color gamut are what really shines not the increased resolution when it comes to 4K. Of course, YMMV.
  18. Can’t say I am a big fan of where the replies to this review have gone so I will try to steer it back to the sound of the DAC as described by Danny. I am more concerned by the description that the DAC has a sonic signature. I guess that all DACs do to some extent but when I see this type of language used I think that it means that it makes different recordings sound similar in tone. I have heard some DACs do this. You listen to wildly divergent recordings and hear a similar sound with each that shouldn’t be there. It is usually a softness to the top end. I won’t mention any names though so don’t ask. I hope this is not the case with this DAC, especially at this price point.
  19. I had mentioned this release in one of my article here. The cd sounds fantastic.
  20. Leaving Hi fi is an interesting question. I have in the past. When my kids were young, I couldn’t justify spending the money. The noise would keep the kids up too. Same with my wife. I would still listen but would pick my spots. When my younger son started to get into writing and singing, I lost my audio room. I was losing it anyway, as part of it was a home office. So for several years, I didn’t even turn on the hi fi. I was busy with other things and my home theater room picked up the slack as did attending live events. About 6 or so years ago, I got my room back and enjoyed the hi fi again. Funny thing is, I still have the same equipment as before. Most is 20 years old. I just changed the DAC to get into computer based audio. I still attended a few audio shows a year and quickly learned that newer gear isn’t always better. Far from it. I also came to fully appreciate the role of the room in putting together a system. Sometimes, your equipment is just fine, it is your room that needs fixing. Almost three years ago, the section of our house that housed the educated room was demolished as part of a remodel. I took what I learned over the years and designed another room in what was attic space to be great as a sound room and still work as a bedroom in the future when someone else owns the place. So, I had no system at all for 6 months but enjoyed listening to music via my laptop or you tube with headphones and enjoyed it. While I love the new room and the ancient kit, I could live just fine without it, as long as I could still enjoy music at home in some other form. Sorry for the rant.
  21. And a darn good one at that. Well done.
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