JOHN MAYALL: Can you suggest 3 vinyl releases to give me a varied taster?

Hmm. Interesting. JM’s music, although generally categorized as Blues is within that genre pretty variable in terms of interpretation. To me, some of his stuff verges into jazz areas I don’t particularly like. I’m pretty much a novice here myself incidentally. However here are the 3 which I really like: The Turning Point (1969) Bluesbreakers […]

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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 an expert: 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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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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I purchased one of these Meridian / Linn collaborative active systems from Subjective Audio (Howard Popeck) North London, in April 1981.

  “As the owner of six 105s and a pair of ‘briks I’d be highly interested in the specifics… I purchased one of these Meridian/Linn collaborative active systems from Subjective Audio (Howard Popeck) North London, in April 1981. The system consisted of 6 X Meridian 105S power amplifiers with their own dedicated built-in electronic crossovers […]

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From our archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / “… gifted at self promotion and bullshit and …”

Editor McCauley in conversation with Howard Popeck: Hi Howard. I’ll start if I may with I hope an inoffensive comment that you’ve been around the audiophile ‘block’ a few times. You are I guess a survivor from the old school. Would you care to comment? Okay, that’s true. I started in the business in October […]

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From our archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / Antony Michaelson (again), Mark Levinson (again)

Editor McCauley in conversation with Howard Popeck: From that standpoint then, is Antony Michaelson a UK version of Mark Levinson? Yes, possibly. Antony is a very unusual man and again is the sole occupant of a rare and special ‘box’. He’s very gifted in many ways and yes he’s an audio designer as well as […]

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From the archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / Musical Fidelity

Editor McCauley in conversation with Howard Popeck: Okay. Got it. But can we return to the mercurial Mr. Michaelson at some point today? Possibly. Possibly not. Depends on what your questions are. Some matters are strictly off limits. He is though a bit of a hero for me frankly. (HP makes direct eye contact as […]

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CASTLE: Clyde speakers test review

    Howard Popeck ….. In the early 1980s at Subjective Audio Ltd I took a pair of these in part exchange against a pair of Lentek Monitors, transmission line; a Bert Webb design. Those Lenteks, an overlooked ‘classic’ were exceptional and a substantial upgrade in both performance and cost (and size) to the Clyde’s. […]

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From our archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / Julian Prendergast Verreker

Editor McCauley in conversation with Howard Popeck: More? More! Well, I never met Julian Verreker. Because of my public loathing for the Linn ‘culture’ in the 1980’s; he and I would never have seen eye to eye. It wasn’t to be. However he was a self-taught designer. That’s gotta mean something, right? I took a […]

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From our archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / John Curl, Mark Levinson (again), Dr. Richard Bews, Bob Stuart (again)

Hmm. Okay So anyway, a little while later were ushered into the listening room and were confronted by man-sized monoliths we later came to know as The Apogee, from Apogee. And a pair of the previously mechanically buzzing power amps, powered up with the preamp at max without a source playing and mechanically silent. Seeing […]

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From the archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / Chris Bryant / Antony Michaelson (again) / Allen Boothroyd,

So no, we aren’t coming to the end. Not yet. (Long pause) Okay. I used to sell the Albarry monoblocs. Damn fine sound. Clever designer. Still sounds good today. Not a hero as such but worthy of an honourable mention. Then whoever designed the A&R A60. A truly great product. In its way a classic. […]

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Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions #4

Previously So hopefully you’ve agreed that logically the two amplifiers must at all times be compared at identical SPLs? Good. Now then I’m not suggesting that you are exposed to a fixed spl throughout demo – unless you want to. Before revealing a simple strategy to bypass this all too common problem let’s consider how […]

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From the archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / Bob Stuart (again), Madrigal and Mr. Sandford (Sandy) Berlin

Go one, just one please (Long pause) He and I were on a trip to the USA to help launch the Meridian Pro CD. The then head of Mark Levinson systems – ML having been ousted – was Mr. Sandy Berlin who talent-spotted Bob at the show. Mr. Berlin was not an easy man. Not […]

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LS3/5a SPEAKERS: (11 ohm Rogers version) compared to Spendor, Harbeth, what?

At present I listen to the 11 ohms Rogers version of the above speaker. Generally I am pretty happy with the sound. I wonder if there would be any benefit in going over to a newer design from Spendor or Harbeth, perhaps a slightly larger enclosure ( my listening room is 9 X 11 feet)?. […]

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Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions #3

Previously …   Welcome back. Here are the three topics identified from yesterday that I’ll be – time permitting – hoping to cover today: How to understand how you arrived in such a situation and thus how to avoid a repetition, How to firmly and unaggressively regain control Tactics that turn the demonstration toward your objectives. […]

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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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Jumping man

Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions #2

Welcome back. Starting work on part #2 I now face a decision. Should I outline some of the inconvenient and self-administered psychological problems involved in making decisions about anything in general and stereo in particular? Or should I address one per day with a strategy of how to address each – or should I discuss […]

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From the archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / Eva-Anne Manley, Bob Stuart / Meridian 107 power amp.

Editor McCauley in conversation with Howard Popeck: Can we stick with potential valve amp hero-designers for a moment? Certainly. If only I could think of any. (Long pause). Well ….. Hmm. I very much love the sound of Manley amps. Their preamps and their power amps and the magnificent Stingray. Their idiosyncratic site alludes to […]

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A POINT OF VIEW: Specialist power cords – Howard Popeck expresses a point of view

“Blown away” for a 3.27% investment: A cursory look at some audio forums will show that a great number of contributors don’t buy the idea that power cables make a difference in a high end audio system. Some of them claim to be engineers and a proportion of them might be. Some write with what […]

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From the archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / Tim de Paravachini / Bill Beard.

Editor McCauley in conversation with Howard Popeck: So EARs were the best valve amps in the world and by implication their designer was a designer-hero, right? Possibly. That’s a bit of an inference; I didn’t say that. However ….. ARC was touted as being the finest tube gear that money could buy, in the UK […]

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Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions #1

Is this topic relevant to you? This series will focus on how to help a buyer or potential buyer of audio /hifi equipment / stereos make better quality decisions. I’ll come on to ‘quality’ decisions shortly. However I need to clarify who might find this series irrelevant. Easy – anyone who is a stereo equipment […]

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From the archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame / Tim de Paravachini

  Editor-in-chief Neil McCauley in conversation with Howard Popeck: Only one of the designers we’ve discussed so far, and only superficially at that, were valve-men. Why is that? Partly ‘cos I’m intolerant of the hassles associated with valves. Bear in mind I’m talking about this from a retail perspective. This isn’t a comment … not […]

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