The timing of my visit was perfect, I strolled into Alex DeTurk's studio at Masterdisk just as he was cutting an LP. DeTurk was moving to the music, totally engaged with the sound as the big record mastering lathe was literally cutting the groove into the disc. After the side was complete he examined the grooves with a microscope. DeTurk then said, "Vinyl is the most consumer-friendly high-resolution format around." Right, more people are buying LPs than true high-resolution 24 bit/192 kHz files, the ones that can sound better than CD-quality FLAC or Apple Lossless files. … Read more
Most cheap turntables sound cheap -- they're rumbly, thin and distorted -- but the U-Turn Orbit Basic suffers no such faults. Before the $179 Orbit's debut, audiophile turntable prices started at around $400. And while used turntables might be a way to get into vinyl for less, turntables are rather delicate devices, so used buys can be risky. If you're ready to take the plunge and explore new vinyl frontiers, you need a decent turntable to hear what the fuss is all about. The Orbit Basic will take you there.
I first heard about the Orbit when … Read more
I'm the kind of record buyer that always reads album credits, and starting in the early 1990s, with the Pixies' "Surfer Rosa," Nirvana's "In Utero," and PJ Harvey's "Rid of Me" I noticed that all of these great sounding recordings were engineered by Steve Albini. The man is extraordinarily prolific, and to date has worked on 2,000 albums! I reached out to him a few weeks ago to talk about his work.
The analog vs. digital debate has been raging for nearly three decades, and there's still no clear winner, because it's really just a matter of personal preference. I'm fine with that, but there's a lot of sniping in the analog/digital wars, and each side never misses an opportunity to put down the other side as misguided, deaf, just plain stupid, or worse. Each side claims its chosen format is superior and the opposite's is garbage.
I'm an analog guy, but I'd admit that analog's distortions, speed variations, and noise/hiss make … Read more
I thought it would be fun to contrast and compare the tubes vs. solid-state debate with the analog vs. digital standoff. I'd readily concede that solid-state/transistor components are, watt for watt, cheaper, more reliable, cooler running, smaller and lighter in weight. But if solid-state is so terrific why haven't tubes become extinct in the half century since transistors came onto the scene? Maybe, just maybe, because tubes sound better?
Ultimate AV Magazine recently conducted a poll, "Do You Prefer Tube-Based or Solid-State Audio Gear?," and the results demonstrated a nearly two-to-one preference for transistors over … Read more
Natural sound as we hear it in "real life" is pure analog, but recorded sound is, with few exceptions, chopped up into digital bits. So other than live music concerts pretty much every note you hear is digital. Whether you're listening to an iPod, the internet, TV, CDs, DVDs, or the radio, they're all digital in one way or another. We have as a species evolved over the eons to hear analog sound, and it's only over the past 25 years that digital has taken over. And it hasn't been very pretty. The only … Read more