In 2015 I started what is intended to be the start of a new tradition for me, called the Jeff Awards, which are intended to recognize the most momentous events of musical & audio significance that happened here at Jeff’s Place during the year.
The Jeff Awards can include hi-fi equipment from my Positive Feedback articles, or honorable mentions of gear that I haven’t formally reviewed, or special recognition of albums I’ve come across, or notable new audio trends, notable old audio trends, great ideas, recognition of individuals, a readers’ choice award, or it might not be related to audio at all.
For 2015 the Jeff Awards movers & shakers included:
A Readers’ Choice Award for the vintage Western Electric WE16GA cable as speaker cables and the Belden 8402 microphone cable as interconnects that were introduced to us by Yazaki-san from SPEC Corporation.
A Vintage Beat Award to the vintage specialist team of Tom Manley & Terry DeWick for the superb vintage McIntosh MX110Z tuner-preamplifier and vintage McIntosh MC240 stereo amplifier restorations that I purchased from them through McIntosh Home Audio & DeWick Repairs.
A Vintage Beat Award to Grammy Award winning record producer and all-around nice guy, Yves Beauvais of Vintage Vacuum Audio, for his fantastically musical restorations of the vintage McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifiers & vintage McIntosh MC225 stereo amplifiers.
A Jeff Award for the absolutely superb bespoke 12.5-Inch Woody SPU Tonearm by Pete Riggle Audio Engineering, which has since become my reference for what is possible musically & sonically from a tonearm.
A Jeff Award for the SPEC RSA-M3 EX Real Sound Amplifier that I first wrote about in Issue 78 of Positive Feedback. I am more impressed than ever with its level of performance both sonically & musically and it is a magnificent match for my vintage Stokowski Altec-Lansing A7 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers.
A Jeff Award for the Garrard Project 2015 (Issue 79), which was my take on what a hot-rod Garrard 301 based player system should be.
I wanted a player system with a Garrard 301 transcription turntable using a 401 motor, a custom non-flexible chassis, an oversized, high-mass, and perfectly balanced platter, spinning on a high-quality spindle assembly uprated for the heavy platter.
I also wanted a two-tonearm plinth built up from layers of wood that fit the Garrard 301 like a glove, finished as beautifully as my custom Gibson Advanced Jumbo guitar, and mounted with two 12-inch transcription-style tonearms that would get the best out of the my Ortofon SPU Mono CG 25 Di MKII cartridge & Ortofon SPU Classic GM MKII stereo cartridge, and my classic Denon DL-103 & EMT TSD-15N SFL cartridges.
To accomplish that goal I recruited Garrard specialist Ray Clark of Classic Turntable Company, bespoke analog maven Christopher Thornton of Artisan Fidelity, and tonearm craftsman Thomas Schick, which resulted in an absolutely spectacular Garrard 301 player system!
A Jeff Award for Shirokazu Yazaki, a wonderful gentleman, who completely astounded me with his knowledge, experience, and passion for all things audio.
Yazaki-san’s mastery of the musical & audio arts was accumulated over a lifetime of passionate pursuit of music and audio in both his personal and professional life, and he loves to share his passion and knowledge about audio & music with friends around the world.
Yazaki-san is a true living treasure!
A Jeff Award for my good friend and fellow audio adventurer, Ron Barbee, who has had a profound influence on me and my enjoyment of the audio & musical arts over the last several years.
Ron is a life-long audio enthusiast, music lover, musician (guitarist), and has the highly trained mind of a nuclear engineer – he is a true modern day renaissance man.
Ron-san – like Yazaki-san – was involved in the early Japanese audio scene while living in Japan, has been building & modifying vacuum tube amplifiers for many years, and has a particular penchant for vintage audio electronics.
It was Ron that got me interested in vintage audio by letting me listen to audio gear from his vintage collection, and I was inspired by the beautiful tone & musicality that seems to come so easily from vintage gear.
In fact, Ron has a wonderful vintage system in every room in his house, which has truly inspired me, and my mantra for the last year has been “I want to be more like Ron!”
Ron was also my co-conspirator in driving over to Seattle to pick up a pair of vintage Altec A7 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers that were custom made for Leopold Stokowski. What an adventure that was!
If you’d like to nominate something, someone, or … (?), that has been discussed here at Jeff’s Place in 2016 for a Readers’ Choice Award, be sure to let me know! (send me an email here).
Stay tuned for The Jeff Awards for 2016!