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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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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NAKAMICHI: CA-5EII + Nakamichi PA-5E (and the Nakamichi ST-7 FM tuner, in passing) test review

NB: This was originally published in 2010 Hello, and welcome to the next of my series of reviews of vintage equipment. First, I only write about equipment that I have had extended, direct and personal experience of either as an end-user or retailer – or both. I don’t get involved in measurements. During 34 years […]

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Exactly the way it happened folks: Howard Popeck’s encounter with a serial killer

Some years after the demise of Subjective, and I can picture the scene even now, I was driving along the M25, listening to the lunchtime news. The lead story was the arrest of a person suspected of murdering at least one little girl, possibly more. I think she was either Susan Maxwell or Caroline Hogg. […]

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SPICA: The TC-50 speakers test review

Howard Popeck writes: As it my policy re these mini-reviews, I only write as a consequence of direct personal experience of the product.I sold these during my time at Subjective Audio in the 1980s. The demonstrations followed a fairly predictable pattern. Initially the potential customer would say that (a) the cabinets looked odd and/or unusual […]

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Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions #5 – for £16 or less

Hopefully: 1.  You’ll agree that it’s essential that your amplifier or amplifiers being auditioned should be as close to tonally consistent across the spl (volume) band as possible i.e. no bass, or mid or treble emphasis (or dropout) as the volume is changed. 2.  That the only fair comparison between any two components (amps in […]

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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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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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NIKKO: Gamma V FM tuner test review

Howard Popeck writes: Only a mini test for this one I’m afraid. My notes from that time are not very comprehensive. Anyway … Built in 1978, the Gamma V is a very sensitive and selective rack-mount style digital tuner. It cost around £400 when new, as best I can recall. Construction is all frame and […]

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Ask Mr. H: BRINKMANN: La Grange and one of the world’s first fully balanced vinyl replay systems

Originally published here in February 2006 Howard, is it true that way back you were the owner of the World’s first fully balanced vinyl replay system? Possibly the first; certainly one of the first three ….. so I’m told. I purchased the Brinkman 10.5 tonearm before I became a dealer, and paid £2,200 from the […]

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Retrieving both music and data from CDs scratched apparently beyond usability – Howard Popeck

  Introduction This series, written by features editor Howard Popeck is designed to, in jargon-free terms, explain, introduce, educate and otherwise assist anyone who is interested in learning more about how music in the home is produced. Thank you. Neil McCauley / editor in chief Preliminary note: I didn’t try any of this on cherished […]

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Ask Mr. H: LAT Power distribution strips

The idea that a power distribution strip, even a heavily built one like the LAT can make a difference to the sound, let alone an improvement is ridiculous. Where’s the science behind the claims? LAT power distribution block have in my experience always made a positive difference. The degree of improvement, in terms of background […]

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MYST: TMA3 – a few observations by Howard Popeck

Way back in the early 1980s at Subjective Audio I sold quite a few of these. They retailed at around £290 inc vat. It was then, and even by today’s standards a minimalist design. The case was nothing special. In fact somewhat uninspiring. The inside though was, as was the buzz-word of that era “something else” A text book example of well-built design with excellent attention to detail. Frankly, extraordinary for both the time and the price.

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Ask Mr. H: Blast from the past from 2006: Howard, what’s your current system?

Howard Popeck writes: Due to the nature of my work, I use quite a few pieces of equipment in various combinations. So my own answer should be seen in the light of what I am listening to currently rather than my favourite system.At the moment I am using a system comprising all second-hand units bought […]

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Ask Mr. H: From the (2008) archives / Stax earspeakers – broken headbands and glue that is melting

Howard Popeck writes: I’ve received a number of calls recently regarding broken headbands on some models of STAX earspeakers and to a lesser extent, glue which is not keeping the ear pads in place. My advice to people is as follows: If your purchase is within the warranty period, then you should phone Mr. Crump […]

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STAX: UA7 UA-7 tonearm

I write from Italy because I’ve the possibility to buy an old but in very good conditions UA-7 tonearm. I’ve a Denon DP 3000 turntable with the original plinth and I’d like to know if the tonearm can be mounted in this deck (if you have experience in this mode. Is there the possibility to […]

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PODIUM LOUDSPEAKERS: Lacking bass weight?

Some ‘experts’ on forums said that the Podium’s lacked real bottom end. True or false. Complete rubbish. They had terrific bass. The point is that for some of these forum nutters, if it isn’t a Linn Isobaric type of bass, then it’s no good. Bonkers. There are in my view a few reasons for not […]

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MERIDIAN: Potential input overload on a Meridian 101B preamp?

Howard – help! Just to be clear by overload (on my Meridian 101B preamp) I mean you don’t have to push the volume control very far on either CD or LP to get a decent volume. I do not want to use an attenuator if I do not need to. I thought you meant by […]

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TANGENT: RS4 speakers and the tricky question of appropriate resale pricing

Hi Howard. I own a pair of Tangent RS4 speakers. While searching the web for an approximate price I came across your review. I love these speakers and have owned them since I was in high school ( I graduated in 1980). I am 51 now and I am moving- downsizing. I recently sold my […]

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What really is the ‘point’ about high end hifi?

No, I’m not going to! I’m not going to be discussing Hifi as a male ego trip here. Thus there will be no snide comments about my woofer being bigger than yours, or I’ve got more thousands of watts to play with than you – nor all the other irrelevant nonsense which makes some audiophiles […]

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STAX: UK reliability

How reliable is STAX equipment? There is no quick answer to this. It depends on if we are discussing recent equipment or historic equipment, and also if we are considering the earspeakers or the energisers. My comments here are based on having sold very large quantities of STAX from August 2004 until I decided to […]

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