I had lunch with my good friend, Santos Ortega, on Friday. It’s always a pleasure to get together with Santos, who is one of the most interesting, insightful, and decent guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, not to mention that he has impeccably good taste in all things!
I’ve known Santos for nearly 25 years now, and we’ve been both friends and colleagues over the course of that time, doing joint activities at work, attending CES together, visiting hi-fi stores together, and just generally having a good time doing things!
Perhaps more than anyone in the last 25 years, Santos – an insightful and visionary man – has helped shape my world view of what it means to be a good person and a good world citizen, one that’s working towards the advancement of social justice, the value of embracing tolerance and diversity, and the importance of understanding the broader social & cultural dynamics that surround us daily in a way that makes our continually evolving world a better place.
Santos asked me if I had a phono cartridge recommendation for him, and that was an easy recommendation – Soundsmith.
I told Santos about my impressions of the new Soundsmith Carmen Mk II and Zephyr Mk III, and we’re going to give them both a listen at my place when we can find an accommodating schedule opening for us both.
I recommend to others those things that I find particularly satisfying in my own life and experience, and I have to admit that I am smitten with Peter Ledermann’s Soundsmith Carmen MK II and Zephyr Mk III phonograph cartridges for their superb musicality, excellent sonics, and affordable pricing.
In the next few months I’ll be writing up Peter Ledermann’s Soundsmith MMP3 phono preamp for Positive Feedback as well. Those who’ve been following along know that I have positive first impressions about the MMP3 and that it has faired very well when compared to the other very musical – and more expensive – phono preamps I have compared it against. Stay tuned for more on the Soundsmith front!
I’ve been getting in lots of run-in time on the the exotic new Acoustic Revive Absolute Power Cords and RCA Absolute FM Interconnects, both in my vintage Altec 832A Corona based system and my vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre based system. When I am a little more sure they’re completely run-in, I’ll provide some more detailed “first impressions” before their formal review appears at Positive Feedback in the coming months.
These new Acoustic Revive cables are in the deep end of the pool price-wise, and it’s fun to check in on the 1% territory once in a while to hear what’s happening there.
I really like what I’m hearing from them, and I think the new Acoustic Revive Absolute Power Cords are easily the best power cords I’ve ever heard, achieving a superb balance of musicality and sonic performance.
I haven’t quite got the measure of the exotic RCA Absolute FM Interconnects yet, but they are extremely good, and don’t really sound like anything else I’ve ever heard. Stay tuned for more on the Acoustic Revive front in the coming months!
One more quick mention on the Acoustic Revive front. I’ve been using the original Acoustic Revive Power Reference Power Cord on my new Fender Princeton Reverb guitar amp to excellent effect. Power cords make as much difference on guitar amps as they do high-performance audio gear – guitarists take note!
I should also say that the ’65 Princeton Reverb guitar amp has continued to improve as it’s got more time in on it, and I’m becoming very impressed with what it can do. Tone is out of this world, and it completely crushes my Henriksen Jazz Amp!
I should also mention that the Belden 8402 guitar cord (Neutrik connectors) I had BTPA custom make for me has arrived and I’ve been using it for a while now. I’ve been getting some run-in time on it, and it’s getting better all the time. At first I wasn’t sure I liked it as well as my Analysis Plus “Yellow Flex” guitar cord, but it’s faring better as it gets more time on it. The Belden 8402 guitar cord, in typical tinned-copper fashion during the run-in period, sounded a little “rough” acoustically speaking, but is starting to smooth out now. More to come on this as I get more run-in time in on it.
Also on the guitar front, my Collings Waterloo WL-14L is on its way to Gryphon Strings in Palo Alto, where I’m trading it in on a Collings Baby 2H guitar, which is a small acoustic guitar with a big reputation for superb sound and playability.
My Collings Waterloo WL-14L is a fantastic guitar with great tone and playability, but I decided I wanted something smaller for travel and for relaxing on the couch – thus the Collings Baby 2H.
If you want to get a good buy on my mint Collings Waterloo WL-14L contact Matt at Gryphon Strings next week for the particulars, it should arrive there tomorrow. I also bought my Collings OM short scale cutaway fingerstyle guitar from Gryphon Strings, and I highly recommend them as a guitar shop to do business with!
I’ve actually been playing my guitars more lately than listening to my hi-fi rigs, so I’ve got a bit of catching up to do on the hi-fi front.
Just for kicks this week I decided to give the Spec RSA-M3 EX Real Sound Amplifier a try with my vintage Altec 832A Corona loudspeakers.
As you would expect given Yazaki-san’s appreciation for his vintage Altec loudspeakers, and his use of them while voicing the Spec Real Sound Amplifier, the Spec and vintage Altec 832A Corona’s are nice match together.
I also happen to have enough (I think) of vintage Western Electric WE12GA cable, that I bought long ago but have never used, to make up a pair of speaker cables. Given Yazaki-san’s enthusiasm for vintage Western Electric tinned-copper wire for speaker cables, and Belden 8402 microphone cable for interconnects, I’ll add that into the mix in the vintage Altec 832A Corona based system when I get time, and I’ll report back on the results.
I’ve started writing up the Positive Feedback review of Mark Still’s Still Audio EL84 integrated amplifier (above & below) and I should have it finished up in the next 2-3 weeks.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I am a big fan of EL84 amplifiers combination of musicality & sonics, and the Still Audio EL84 is a superb example. The Still Audio EL84 integrated amplifier has a hand-crafted “Fi-style” chassis and an exquisite choice of components in the build, and for a boutique amplifier it is remarkably affordable at $2895 USD.
Stay tuned for the full review at Positive Feedback!
Ok, that’s it for now, and as always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!