Ask Mr. H: “I love classical music, but I don’t have a real understanding of it in terms of the emotion. I’m not looking to learn about the composers and I don’t want to learn an instrument, but I want to know more about how what moves me moves me. Does that make sense? Can you recommend a book or books?”

Howard Popeck: Certainly. Now forgive me for saying this, but it is possible to over-analyse the wonder of music, the magic and the emotion. It’s a danger, but somehow I sense you aren’t going to fall into the trap. The most wonderful book on the sheer unadulterated joy of classical music without the usual patronising […]

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COUNTERPOINT: Whatever Happened to them?

First published in Stereophile in 1998 For the last few months, random postings kept appearing on internet newsgroups and in my e-mail box: “Anybody know what happened to Counterpoint?” At last count there were 10,000 Counterpoint preamps, power amps, and loudspeakers fanned out across the planet, some dating back to 1977, when the company launched […]

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In this occasional series I ‘interview’ our editor in chief Neil McCauley. Today’s topic is stereo subwoofers

Q1: So Neil ….. does size matter? By and large and in my direct personal experience, the answer’s yes. Moreover size matters greatly. Q2: A practical example, perhaps? So, If you have a couple of 8″ drivers in a box you’re calling a subwoofer, you’re going to be disappointed if you follow the setup steps […]

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Ask Mr. H: JBL: I have a pair of JBL L100 Century loudspeakers. They claim they are bookshelf size. 37Kg and big. Are they kidding?

  Howard, I have a pair of JBL L100 Century speakers. They claim they are bookshelf size. 37Kg and big. Are they kidding? First – 37Kg per pair, not each! Well, sort of. Blame JBL’s over-enthusiastic marketing department in the 1970s and the studio environment from which these speakers, the domestic version of the JBL […]

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COLIN WONFOR: The value of mains regeneration

Hello Colin and may I congratulate you on your resurrection. My question is this. As it is generally agreed that as a consequence of the variation of the mains waveform systems sound different at different times of any twenty four hours, do you do your fine-tuning at a similar time each day for continuity? Or […]

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Ask Mr. H: “I realise this might seem an eccentric thing for a retailer to say. However I do firmly believe in telling the truth – as I understand it – even if it means that a sale doesn’t result.”

Hi Howard, I am impressed by your web site. If I were to up grade to build on my Hi-fi support table,  interconnects would be considered and the C.D. player, then the Amplifier. The speakers are Trinity, the interconnects are Chord solid silver, £120 new. The loudspeakers leads are Chord by wire. £183 terminated new […]

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COLIN WONFOR: His new power cord(s) and their specifications

Colin writes ….. The Inductance in Common Mode is 20uH/M Capacitance is 100pF Leakage inductance is less than 1uH/M at rated at 10A RMS with insulation voltage of over 3500VAC. Normal mains cable in Common Mode is less than 1uH and a capacitance of less than 20pF but can be a high of 1nF/M and […]

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Howard Popeck admits to being guilty, guilty and … guilty!

I am a magazine addict. Yes, I’ve said it. It’s relief – and I’m unashamed. Will you read on after this revelation? I very much hope so. Details; well not just hifi mags but ones on both analogue and digital photography, rock music, cars, blues music, classical music and, err, that’s about it. So what’s […]

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What is it that causes output transistors to blow?

Dear Colin, Generally speaking, what is it that causes output transistors to blow? Do they tend to die a natural death? Bad drivers? Emitters? Problems with the rectifier circuit? Assuming there wasn’t shorted speaker wires or excessive moisture. The amp bias and the +/-77 voltage was fine before they blew. It happened on power up. […]

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COLIN WONFOR: Do very good interconnects compensate for an only so-so CD player?

Dear Colin, An audiophile friend made the following argument to me: “Stop looking for a new CD player. With a very good to excellent high-end interconnect you will not only improve the performance of the CD, but other downstream components.” I had to disagree with my friend claiming a $400 or $500 IC is not […]

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COLIN WONFOR: Zero autoformers; how to measure impedance please

Dear Colin, Zero autoformers; how to measure impedance please? I got a pair of Speltz zero autoformers recently but when I measure the total impedance, my multimeter sees only 0.4-0.6 ohm no matter what I do. It seems the multimeter could only read the DC resistance from the autoformer itself but not the total impedance […]

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Ask Mr. H: Is it this sort of pointless navel-gazing that makes the audiophile community looks like such sad old geezers in the eye (and ears) of the i-pod generation?

No wonder Steve Jobs laughed all the way to the bank as the remnants of this once great British industry cling to the wreckage of nostalgia. Re the next chapter in the industry suicide note HERE The question that started the thread is not the issue. The issue is the sanctimonious clap-trap masquerading as rational […]

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COLIN WONFOR: Battery drive for amplification

Hi Colin. Fashions, come fashions go and from time to time the market has been presented with battery powered devices from preamps, phono stages and power amps. As far as I’m aware you’ve never thought of anything battery driven. Is any particular reason for this? I’m wondering if you think the claimed sonic benefits are […]

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The simple (yes, really) arithmetic of importing used audiophile equipment via e-bay and others into the UK

I’ve just go off the phone to a very pleasant person and our discussion took us to the perils, pleasures and pitfalls of buying used audio equipment off the internet, including of course e-bay. Anyway, this conversation was a catalyst for the ‘rule-of-thumb’ I used to use when I was a ‘civilian’ i.e. during the […]

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External power supplies?

Hello Colin. I seem to have read somewhere that you feel that external power supplies for audiophile equipment Is really an irrelevance if the original power supply design has been correctly implemented. Have I got that right? If not, can you put your views to us? Thanks in advance, Nigel Okay, I did say that […]

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COLIN WONFOR: An active speaker perhaps?

Hi Colin. Have you ever considered getting involved in active speaker design? From what I can gather, this is quite a complex task to get it right which is why, apparently so few companies get involved. I’m wondering if perhaps at some point in the future you might consider taking a good quality passive speaker […]

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Used audio equipment on eBay offered at bargain prices in the USA into the UK. Good idea or what?

Good morning Howard. I have seen new and used audio equipment on eBay offered at bargain prices in the USA into the UK. Good idea or what? Buyer beware! First, remember you will have to pay import duty, plus vat at 20% when the purchase comes into the UK. So add at least 23% to […]

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COLIN WONFOR: High quality “audiophile” grade sub panel

Dear Colin, audiophile grade sub panel and breakers? Do you know of a high quality “audiophile” grade sub panel? I read an article from someone in the audio industry where he mentioned having used a GE industrial grade 225 amp panel with a super duty silver plated copper bus bar and bolt on low noise […]

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Ask Mr. H: LINN: Sara speakers – a true story

I never really cared for or about Linn Sara speakers, but some reviewers did and that drove prospects through our doors at Subjective Audio, most of whom had already decided to buy them – so sales were pretty much a foregone conclusion.I carried out a number of Sara installations, never thinking to peel back the […]

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COLIN WONFOR: Bi-wiring

Gentlemen – what is this ‘thing’ called bi-wiring and will Elsdon Wonfor Audio be making speaker cables that use this tecnique? Thanks. Ron McQueen. {Colin} Dear Ron, bi-wiring is used to stop the reflection signal of one or more transducers affecting the movement or control of another. This can happen and it is caused by […]

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