Blast from the past: Exactly the way it happened folks: Syrinx PU2. the Mass Ring and Mr. Scott Strachan

Scott Strachan, the inventor and constructor of the Syrinx arm was a very likeable chap. His enthusiasm was infectious. His tonearms looked, frankly, terrible. Not quite as bad as the original Hadcock, but not far off. They were, until the Ittock, the only intelligent and sonically acceptable alternative to the Grace G707 arm on a […]

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BENCHMARK MEDIA DAC: What about better power cords?s

Does improving the power cord from the one that is supplied improve the sound?  Yes, it does seem to in my systems here. I have experienced dramatic improvements, in terms of subtle detail retrieval, a faster bass and so on with many other DACs through the years and so I suppose I quite naturally expect […]

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Ask Mr. H: Benchmark DAC

Have you heard a difference between the DAC performance of the Benchmark USB DAC and the Benchmark DAC-1 preamp and if so, which one is superior?  I have done this experiment on a number of occasions and have very rarely heard any difference at all. It might have been my imagination. And so it is […]

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Ask Mr. H: BENCHMARK MEDIA DAC. Howard Popeck rates it highly!

Hi Howard, Good to see that you are stocking the Benchmark range. I have a DAC1 and it is truly superb. I use it to drive my active ATC 50s directly, or my Stax 717 & Omegas – no preamp necessary anymore! This little Benchmark really does punch far above it’s weight – right? My […]

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Ask Mr. H: STAX: Their 717 & 727 energisers

Hi Howard, Very briefly, could you tell me if there is any significant improvement in sound between the older SRM 717 and the newer 727 solid state amplifiers. Also, I would be interested if you have any opinions on third party energisers for Stax earspeakers. I’ve seen several mentioned such as KGSS and Rudistor (at […]

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Ask Mr. H: STAX – deteriorating gauze on vintage earspeakers

  How can I replace the gauze on my old STAX earspeakers? These are the key points: 1.    The gauze is purely cosmetic. It is lightweight and open so as not to influence the sound. However because of this it offers no physical protection nor protection from dust. Or put differently, you can safely use […]

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MICHELL ENGINEERING: Synchro test review

Howard Popeck writes: The Synchro was mid-priced turntable inspired by the original GyroDec, but with an inverted-pendulum suspension and a glass platter. It looked dazzling 20 years ago, and it still does today. In the John Michell tradition, all the working parts are exposed, superbly engineered and impeccably cosmetically finished. It has a cast-ring sub […]

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Ask Mr. H: Stax “The sound was pretty unimpressive, – dark, slow, and very uninvolving and not very transparent”

  Dear Howard, I hope you are well. Yup – pretty good (but far from pretty!) all things considered. I remember you shut down simply Stax in the late 1990s, and I can remember reading somewhere that one of the reasons for that might have been because the quality control of the Stax equipment you […]

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Ask Mr. H: MICHELL ENGINEERING: Synchro versus Mycro turntables

I was reading your observations on The Michell Synchro. Did you ever hear the Mycro? How was it by comparison? At one time Subjective Audio stocked the entire range of Michell Engineering turntables including the Prisma and the twin-platter Prisma. Sonically we heard little difference between the Mycro and the Synchro. This was pretty much […]

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Ask Mr. H: STAX: Their vintage SR3 & SRD-5 … and more?

Hi Howard. Just found HFA;  full of useful stuff. I am interested in the differences between the electret and mains powered energisers. I have a pair of Stax headphones labelled “New” SR3 which originally (when I bought them in 1975) came with an SRD-5 energiser. The SRD-5 (which is mains powered) was changed for an […]

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Ask Mr. H: Benchmark DAC into Meridian G08

Hello Howard. I have read HFA now for some months, deriving great pleasure and stimulation from it’s diverse contents… around the pursuit of the art of listening to music. Interested in recent exchange around the benchmark dac1. I currently have a meridian g08, along with a range of meridian pre power equipment of varying ages […]

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Ask Mr. H: STAX: Their Talent DAC – two versions

Hello Howard and Neil. There are 2 types of STAX Talent DAC – Talent and Talent dB. Do you know the differences? In a word, no, I don’t know the differences. Very few DAC Talent units were imported into the UK and so information is scarce. it had quite good reviews at the time but […]

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Ask Mr. H: STAX – very rare energiser

I recently acquired a set of Stax Lambda’s and a custom built driver unit on eBay from a bloke in New Zealand. The driver unit was quite different from any Stax model I had ever seen. It was quite huge for a start! Once it arrived, I discovered that it was a model 50/1SC and […]

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STAX 4040 system and preamps

Will my SR-4040 system, or any STAX system for that matter sound better if I upgrade my preamp? Well, without wishing to be evasive, there’s no definitive answer to this. Sorry – but I’m happy to share my thoughts with you – and no doubt you’ll draw your own conclusions. First, I have a concern […]

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Ask Mr. H: STAX: Vintage solid-state energisers; Stax 717 & Stax 313

  Hi Howard. My question relates to both the 717 and 313 energisers. What can you tell me? Hmm. Well … I had to look up my notes from 2005 from my SimplySTAX days because off the top of my head I just couldn’t remember. Anyway verbatim, here are my notes from that period. I […]

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Ask Mr. H: STAX: SRD5

Dear Sir … I found your website and thought that I would let you know that I still have the SRD5 Energiser but seem to have mislaid the headset. I bought them in 1969 and thoroughly enjoyed listening but I think the energiser developed a fault and I stopped using them. Your website made me […]

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SONAB: 3000 receiver test review

  Contents: Comparative pricing Buying advice Minimalist power cord The tone balance control Headphone jack FM section Amplification section Suitable partners For and against Should YOU buy? Where to buy Many preowned classic examples for sale HERE EDITORIAL NOTE: The opinions expressed in the above post do not necessarily reflect those of our editorial team […]

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WHARFEDALE: Yes folks, it happened just like this: Wharfedale Option-One speakers and an unexpected customer reaction – by Howard Popeck.

  One afternoon in the early 1980s I demonstrated a system to a distinguished, immaculately suited American who was a high-flyer. His employers had phoned me to tell me that on his behalf they would pay for his chosen system – and there was no budget limitation. His chauffer waited outside while I went through […]

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Akai GX-747, Philips 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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Challenging listening, to say the least – but certainly worth the £3.00 I paid. Yes, its Jan Garbarek time again

Yes, its Jan Garbarek time again. Another of my £3.00 bargain bin finds. Not what you might call ‘easily accessible ‘ – but it did survive the 3-in-a-row consecutive plays on my office system last Saturday by quite a high margin. Perhaps I was in the right mood for a bit of ‘ethereal’? Anyway – […]

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Mr. H: STAX :4040 or Omega earspeakers for a blues enthusiast?

My system is LP12/ Itok/ Koetsu/Armageddon/Groove/Hi cap/82/250/Kabers.Some time back I bought a Densen 400XS CD player second hand to play a few discs I usually keep in the car. 30 Min’s into the first blues disc it sounded so bad I assumed I had a poor recording.On with another – same terrible sound.Even my wife […]

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Ask Mr. H: Roger Modjeski (Beveridge RM1 preamp and more)

Gentlemen – what can you tell me about this legendary engineer and was he the guy that built the RM1 preamp? Yes, he is the designer of that legendary unit He struck me as seriously grumpy No way does he want to supply the European market with anything, apparently. He has a most interesting history […]

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