Apr 152017

My Dad went through a sudden decline in his health after a serious fall about three years ago, and was not able to go home again afterwards.

Our family is spread out about as far as it is possible to be while still living in the USA, and with no family local to where Mom and Dad lived in Boise, Idaho, Mom and I made the decision for them to move into assisted living near me so I could keep a better eye on them to make sure they were doing ok.

So with the help from a couple of friends I moved my Mom and Dad from their cozy home in Boise, Idaho, the long distance across Idaho, through the Blue Mountains in Oregon, to be near me in Washington State, about three years ago now.

The transition was a rough go for all of us, but the good part about having Mom and Dad move near me was that we got to visit more often, as before we only got to visit a couple of times a year during the holidays.

I enjoyed bringing Mom and Dad over to my place for lunches and dinners so they could get some away-time from assisted living, and so we could spend some quality time together.

Mom’s 92 now, and Dad passed away almost a year and a half ago, at age 92, just a few days before their 69th wedding anniversary.

This is the first time Mom has lived by herself since they were married in Missoula, Montana, on December 14, 1946, now over 70 years ago. As you might imagine, it’s a big life change for Mom, and actually for both of us.

After Dad’s passing I got Mom moved into a new assisted living apartment, and of course got a stereo and television set up for her, because like me, Mom enjoys music and films.

In fact it was Mom who turned me into a jazz lover, when in 1965 she took me to a Louis Armstrong concert at the Lloyd Center Mall near where we lived in Beaverton, Oregon, and I’ve loved jazz ever since!

A couple of days ago I brought Mom over for a little dinner and some music listening. We had stuffed bell peppers and Potatoes au Gratin, along with some nice Red Chair NWPA (Northwest Pale Ale) from Deschutes Brewery.

Mom wanted to listen to a little Tony Bennett, so I got out the excellent Tony Bennett Duets II album on the Music On Vinyl label and we listened to Tony sing duets with Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, Norah Jones, Lady Gaga, K.D Lang, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, Queen Latifah, Alejandro Sanz, Carrie Underwood, and Amy Winehouse!

I’ll tell you what, Tony Bennett is amazing, and I think Mom’s right, he’s only gotten better as the years have gone on.

If you like Tony Bennett (I do), the Duets II album is a great one to get, as it gives a nice survey of Tony’s music with a lot of other great artists. It’s a nicely done album with a very natural, warm, analogue feel to it. I found mine out on Discogs for a reasonable price.

Mom mentioned she also thought the stereo was sounding particularly good lately, which is always gratifying to hear, and Mom knows her stuff when it comes to what sounds good, and she’ll tell you if you’ve got it right or not!

Mom would make one hell of a good audio reviewer, she’s got great ears and superb musical sensibility!

Mom was also telling me stories about when she lived in the San Francisco area with her Aunt Leila, up on Skyline Boulevard in Half Moon Bay.

This was before she met Dad, in the 1940’s, and she told me how she loved to go out and listen to all the great jazz music that was happening there, including Tony Bennett.

Mom asked me if I had the Tony Bennet album with I Left My Heart In San Francisco on it, one of her favorites.

I didn’t, so we listened to some other jazz albums, and all-in-all we had a nice dinner and listening session together before calling it a night.

I went out to Discogs and found a Mobile Fidelity version of Tony Bennett’s I Left My Heart in San Francisco so I could play it for Mom at our next visit.

I don’t know what it is with Mobile Fidelity’s view on what records are supposed to sound like, but I think it’s their impression that audiophiles like resolution cranked up, bass emphasized, and the highs goosed way up.

I’m not sure what the MF’ers do to their albums to make them sound the way they do, but I generally hate what they do to perfectly good albums.

In my opinion it ruins the musicality in an attempt to make the records sound like some sort of audiophile ‘sonic spectacular’, and Tony Bennett’s I Left My Heart in San Francisco is the worst one for this sort of tomfoolery I’ve encountered yet.

It’s nearly unlistenable, with weird screechy and phasey highs that were so bad I was very tempted to go out into the yard and play frisbee with it.

Can any of you recommend a Tony Bennett album with I Left My Heart in San Francisco on it that is a good record? I’d really appreciate a good recommendation!

Ok, enough of that.

This weekend my goal is to get the Lefson Resistor review finished up. Those are Lefson Resistors in the R4 and R5 positions in my Altec A5 Voice of the Theater project crossovers in the photo above.

While doing listening sessions with the Lefson Resistors I’ve learned some very interesting things about resistors, which I’ll tell you all about in the upcoming full review at Positive Feedback. 

Here’s a little tidbit to pique your interest: The materials used, and particularly the gauge of wire used in the leads, has a large effect on overall performance.

Ok, that’s it for now, I’ve got to get to work on some more listening sessions for the review, and do some more writing.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 7:50 am

  16 Responses to “Jeff checking in … family, jazz, and Lefson Resistors!”

  1. You’re a good man, Jeff, and your interest and insights about hi-fi are coded in your genes, we now know. Sounds like your Mom had the benefit of the best Western Electric tinned copper to pass on to your hard wiring, too!!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Jim, I appreciate it!

      I would say there’s a fair contribution on the musical & analytical side I’ve inherited from my Mom, that’s for sure! 🙂

      Kind regards,


  2. This is an Audio Feel Good Story i like, better than all reviews together.
    You’re mom is great!, and so is my father who become 86 this resurrection day, 2 weeks ago i installed a new Denon Dl 110 in his Dual 505 TT from 1985.
    Good family food and family audio rehearsals are the best vitamins for us.

    All the best for You.

    • Dear Bram,

      Thank you so much for the kind words, I appreciate it a lot. 🙂

      When I was a kid growing up Mom always had jazz playing in the house, which serves as some of my core memories of home, family, and celebrating the holidays as a child.

      It seems important to weave into our life little special occasions of food, music, and laughter to enhance life experiences.

      We look at life kind of like Mfu when remembering Equiano (1789):

      Equiano said: “We are almost a

      nation of dancers, musicians, and poets.

      And although we’re more,

      much much more,

      let’s have a revival –

      Why not celebrate?

      If nothing else,

      it can’t hurt to celebrate survival.”

      All the best to you and yours, Bram!

      Kind regards,


  3. jeff you are a good son and story teller. keep on writing.

  4. HI jeff,

    Could it be that you have upgrade to many components ?
    You have a beautiful system which will sound great but when you cant play certain software on your system then you to ask yourself if it’s sound better with the original components. Luckily for me I can play all kind of garbage without being stressed but my system is a lot cheaper . I have an old Rega planar 3 and an Origin live Resolution turntable, the Origin live can project a better soundstage . My listening level is about 60dB. I hear stories about unlistenble albums like the ones from Sheffield Lab and some do find the albums of Steely Dan to thin sounding. I have no problems with them , I also own a couple of Msfl which I bought 20 years ago. I sometimes have my questions about the mastering but never have the urge to destroy something.

    Have you already tried Roon software for your digital playback? In my ears it sounds better with Roon then without. I made comparisson with a Bluesound and Bubbleupnp with Roon. I am using a Bluesound Node2 and Sotm sms200.

    Kind regards,


    • Hi Ray,

      You bring up a couple of interesting points, the first being a system’s ability to play a wide variety of records in a musically pleasing manner.

      I do think that is an important attribute, and it is actually one of the benchmarks I use to judge the success of my modifications (or any given component, wire, etc.).

      However, having said that, there are such things as really bad records, and if you can’t tell that if something is amiss with a really bad version of record on a hi-fi system (like the MoFi I mentioned … playing ‘frisbee’ with it was an attempt at humor, by the way), then the level of fidelity of the system is very low, or … on to the second interesting point you raise, which is listening levels.

      I had an interesting discussion with Pete Riggle about fidelity and listening levels a while back.

      We were discussing my observation of how almost any hi-fi can sound pleasant at low listening levels, but the real challenge is getting a system to sound musically natural at live-like levels, which is part of my definition of “high-fidelity”.

      My goal has always been to achieve playback that sounds as “real” as possible at volume levels that I would actually hear from music played live.

      For example, you mention that you listen at about 60dB, which is about the level of normal conversation. A soft listening level for music is usually considered to be about 70dB. Much of the jazz I’ve listened to live has been in the range of 80-90dB, and for a rock or blues band peaks of 110dB are not particularly unusual.

      So therein lies the secret of your perception that you can play anything on your system and have it sound pleasing, and I am sure you are exactly right.

      It’s not the equipment in your system that makes that happen for you, but it is the listening level that is the key. The same is true of my own system, and at 60dB I can play anything and have it sound musically acceptable.

      But that’s not how I enjoy listening to music, I enjoy music played back at levels that are similar to the real thing in a live setting, and that is a bit trickier to do than when listening to music at 60dB.

      Kind regards,


  5. Hi Jeff,

    I do not have professional equipment , i have checked this with two Samsung devices ( tablet , s5 ) .
    The measerment is done at 3,8 m distance from the loudspeakers, the average level is 60 db with peaks from 45 to 75 dB.
    I also have played 5 minutes ago a record from MFSL with Joe Cocker and turned the volume a little bit futher, the max level was 83 dB and avarage was 68 dB. It still sounds good but I dont think i can handle the volume if listen to a level of > 90 dB.
    But when played at such a level the accoustic of the room and also the equipment rack need be carefully selected. I was wondering why people use wooden gadgets for supporting the cables . When listening at live level everthing should be considered.
    A friend has two Duntech speakers and like to listen to Mahler , neither of the speakers he tried could give him this excitment till he discovered the Duntech. Perhaps the Tannoy will give you the same feelings but I have never them unfortunately.

    Kind regards,

  6. Hi Jeff,

    I didnt thought about it before but you are using MC cartridges. In the Rega i have installed a Rega Exact and in the Origin live a Clearaudio Maestro has been installed. I still have a Benz wood but with certain albums i disliked the sound , i am using the Maestro already 1,5 year with great joy which replaced the Benz. Perhaps not as dynamic as a MC but more forgiving .

    Kind regards,


  7. Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall [analogue productions] has a live version of In San Francisco.

    I had a quick listen last night and it sounded ok to me. No surprise, analogue productions are usually the bomb.


    • Hi Jesper,

      Thank you so much for mentioning the Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall album!

      Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall

      I’m feeling really silly right now, as I have the Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall album from Analogue Productions, and I had completely forgotten In San Francisco was on that album!

      I’ve got the album on right now as I write this, and it reminds me why Analogue Productions is my hands-down favorite label. Playing through the Sumile phono cartridge TB @ CH sounds gorgeously rich, musical, and captivating, which is in utter contrast to the MoFi Tony Bennett, which is lean, strange, and unnatural sounding.



      • Indeed, analogue productions are awesome. Just now listening to Bluesey Burrell on AP. Fantastic dynamics.
        Analogue Productions are pretty much the only reissues that dont sound like cds on vinyl.


        • You are so right, Jesper!

          The Analogue Production LP’s are definitely my favorite remasters being pressed today, they are so musically natural, and have such great sound!

          I haven’t listened to Bluesey Burrell, I’ll have to get that one – thanks for the tip!

          Kind regards,


  8. Hi Jeff,

    I agree with you about Analogue Productions – they are the best sounding and also they have the widest choice of titles (I enjoy Classical, Rock and Blues as well as Jazz). However, there are other labels out there that I wanted to draw your attention to:

    I know you are aware of Music Matters and the wonderful Blue Note series that they issued. In addition I would recommend Intervention records which is a new label issuing rock / pop titles. Also Analog Spark has issued some interesting Jazz LPs cut by Kevin Gray or Ryan K Smith – Louis Armstrong Plays WC Handy and Ellington Uptown are both great. Sam Records out of France is issuing a wonderful series of mono French titles by artists such as Chet Baker, Lester Young etc.

    Impex records have also issued some wonderful titles especially Miles Davis and Art Blakey also there is a brilliant Brubeck / Tony Bennett live dbl – not audiophile sound just great great music. Here in Europe Speakers Corner and Pure Pleasure continue to release excellent AAA reissues of Jazz, Blues and Classical recordings. Finally ORG Music and Original Recordings Group have put out some great Jazz too – I would recommend the Freddie Hubbard and John Coltrane titles on ORG Music.

    My point being that there is so much great stuff being issued its sometimes difficult to keep up with it all! One final reminder AP will be issuing three new 25 LP series of LPs covering Contemporary, Riverside and Pablo – titles not advised yet but soon I hope.

    Thanks for your site always enjoyable and informative. Happy listening.


    • Hi James,

      There is a lot of great work being done right now by various reissue labels out there!

      I’ve enjoyed the various Music Matters, Sam Records, Impex, Speakers Corner, Pure Pleasure, and ORG LP’s I’ve picked up, but the Analog Spark label is a new one for me, so I’ll have to check it out – thanks for mentioning it!

      Also, thanks for the mention about the new Analog Productions releases, that’s definitely something to look forward to!

      When you run across anything you think is something special, please let me know! 🙂

      Another think I’ve been having fun with is buying original pressings from Discogs. There’s albums out there that I thought I’d never see or hear again, that have never made the remaster list, and I’ve been able to find very nice copies of them on Discogs. It’s a very valuable worldwide resource for good used vinyl!

      Keep those discoveries coming, I sure do appreciate it, James!

      Kind regards,


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