HELIUS DESIGNS: In conversation with Howard Popeck – part three

Geoffrey – what is your response to the statement ‘How many channels do you think it takes to make a music listener happy; One. Mono’s fine. I’ve never heard anybody bitch about Louis Armstrong, saying, “I would enjoy it if it were only stereo” Now this question is interesting from several perspectives and I’m going […]

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A POINT OF VIEW: A new route to market for beleaguered and/or greedy audio makers? Part #1 of 3

Howard Popeck ….. I don’t claim to be a futurologist. However sometimes it’s possible to read some signs and occasionally form a view of which way the commercial wind is blowing. And I mean the way that wind is blowing, but not necessarily the speed and strength of that wind. My belief is that with […]

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PAUL BURTON: Howard Popeck speaks at length to people with interesting things to say: Burton Somervell – marginalised magnificence

Howard Popeck writes: This is, as far as I know, the final interview with the late Colin Howard, former production director of BS Meridian, founder of London HiFi Services, innovator, designer and the co-founder of Burton Somervell speakers. I conducted this interview some years ago and only discovered it yesterday. It has never previously been […]

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A new route to market for beleaguered and/or greedy audio makers? Part #3 of 3

So now you know my views. Are they interesting views? How do you feel about them? While you are pondering this, given that I’m far from infallible it’s worth considering that although I might be right I could also be wrong: The direct marketing strategy has already worked in the case of Eastern Electric in […]

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Akai GX-747, Phillips N4520, Tandberg TD-20A, Technics RS-1500US, Technics RS-1800 and Teac 7300 – by Howard Popeck

These are notes I made for a letter to the editor of Hi-Fi World after a particularly interesting feature re Reel to Reel machines in the February 2008 issue. I didn’t get around to sending it. Dear David. The Neville Roberts feature “The Reel Thing” ( February 2008) was a joy to read. Not only […]

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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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William Andrea, the driving force behind Mimetism Audio

William – how did your interest in music reproduction start? Since I was young I’ve always been in the world of music. My uncles were jazz guitarist and bassist. For my part I’ve played Fender bass. I have no preferred style of music. I can listen from Mozart all the way to Deep Purple and […]

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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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Howard Popeck speaks at length to people with interesting things to say: Geoffrey Owen, main-man at Helius Designs

Hello Geoff, and thank you agreeing to be interviewed about social media in our shrinking audiophile world. So …. my first question; what’s your perception of the importance or irrelevance of Facebook in reaching out to potential audiophile buyers? Ah. Hmm. Howard, I suspect that you’re interviewing the wrong person. When I started writing novels […]

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HARBETH: ” …. mind you we would be remiss to remember the true designer Dudley Harwood.”

A true and little known fact regarding all of DH’s designs was that his strong religious conviction (Plymouth Brethren) precluded him from listening to any music of any form through his designs. Apparently all his designs were quite literally “voiced” using playback of very high quality analogue tape recordings of his beloved wife. Once the […]

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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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Live performances – Howard Popeck wonders if audience expectations are realistic, unrealistic, reasonable or unreasonable? (Part #2 of #2)

And then – ladies and gentlemen – The Who: So what about The Who’s ability or indeed inability, to reproduce note-perfect their more well know tracks? How about speculating on their prerogative to interpret the tracks as they see fit –notwithstanding how they and bands like them must surely strive hard not to be bored […]

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Live performances – Howard Popeck wonders if audience expectations are realistic, unrealistic, reasonable or unreasonable?

Me, as part of an audience: I’m not talking here about the performer turning up on time, or indeed not turning up at all. Actually what I have in mind is more prosaic than that! I tend wherever and whenever possible to attend live music. Among many other genres such as classical, folk-rock and grunge […]

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From the archives / Dear diary – Borders bargains, The Temptations, valves and ribbons in perfect harmony, no new Buddy Guy and just too many magazines!

An unexpected pleasure this weekend! Found time to sit and listen to music, and to start making inroads into an ever increasing pile of magazines. Record Collector magazine, music mags (Mojo and Uncut), science mags (Focus), car magazines, New Statesman, Spectator and more. Come to the conclusion yet again I’m a magazine junkie. Reflect on […]

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TONE CONTROLS: Howard Popeck in conversation with Neil McCauley about his SAE 2800, Cello Palette, Yamaha C1, Carver 4000 and the Daniel Hertz

This is the next in an occasional series of recorded brief conversations between Howard and myself during snatched time between deadlines and other time issues. Neil: Howard? Howard: Yes! (faking irritability) N: it’s that time again! (faking sarcasm) H: Oh …… good (faking sarcasm) N: So, whatever happened to tone controls? You know, the bass […]

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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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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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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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