Ask Mr. H: Audiophile power cords?

In your experience, do mains leads really make a difference, and are the expensive ones really capable of offering value? Mains cables do change the sound of audio equipment. Unfortunately there’s a lot claims made about mains cables that are exaggerated. I suggest that the effect of a mains cable is not as important as […]

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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: 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: Buying a used Linn LP12 ?

I am thinking of buying a used Linn LP12. There are loads on eBay and quite a few of hififorsale.com, but none of the Linn dealers I contacted have any for sale. What’s going on? Linn dealers in the main are a very focused bunch. Some would call it narrowed minded or blinkered, but I […]

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RACHEL FULLER: The full interview

  From our 2005 archives ….. Without doubt, one of my 3 most played CDs last year is the debut album from Rachel Fuller – ‘Cigarettes and Housework’. It’s my personal choice for 2004. Her music is hard to categorize. I hate putting music in pigeon holes, but occasionally an indication of genre helps. It […]

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Ask Mr. H: BURTON SOMERVELL: Their remarkable and short-lived hybrid cone & ribbon speakers

I have just read the article ” Interview with the Gods”, and loudspeakers “Burton Somervell” were mentioned.  I can not find any info on them.  Can you help ! Thank you so much for your enquiry. Usually I’m able to answer incoming queries to everyone’s complete satisfaction first time. But sometimes I don’t. And sometimes […]

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Ask Mr. H: ATC: Meridian, ATC and Harbeth SHL 5s

Hello Howard, I feel as though i know you although we have never met, having read your articles and comments for some time. Frankness and honesty is a quality i greatly admire. I’m a music and audio enthusiast of 40+ years. Won’t bore you with my hi fi history but in my sitting room is […]

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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: STAX – deteriorating gauze on vintage earspeakers; ask an expert

  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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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: What should I avoid in Peter Green’s releases?

Well, first off, looking at his Fleetwood Mac career, avoid nothing other than Mr. Wonderful. From his Splinter Group years, most of it is pretty good although the first album, Peter Green’s Splinter Group is a bit weak. Nevertheless everyone was pretty forgiving about this because it was a miracle he could stand on stage, […]

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LINDA HOYLE: We interview her – part #2 of 2

Tony Andrews is the interviewer Q: How, When and Where did you realise you had an amazing Voice and the talent to use it to great effect. A: I honestly don’t think of myself that way. When I was in my early teens, people who knew me would ask me to sing, rather than try […]

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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 2020 + NAIM CD5-X

I have a Stax 20/20 basic system which I have acquired from a friend recently. My problem is when directly connected from my Naim CD5X CD player (RCA output) I get some distortion in sound as I crank up the volume to higher level on the energiser. My interconnects are QED approx £20 according to […]

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Ask Mr. H: PD150 speakers in the mid to late 80s

Hello Howard. I came across your very good blog whilst looking for Linn Sara information. I wonder if you have any knowledge of another Speaker Manufacture? I purchased a set of Principal Design PD150 speakers in the mid to late 80s. One drive unit has developed a fault so I have been looking for information […]

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LINDA HOYLE: We interview her – part #1 of 2

Howard Popeck writes …. Hello Linda and Mo and thank you both for agreeing to this interview. I’m going to dive right in here re your approach to recording technology, formats, domestic music reproduction and more. Our jazz columnist Tony Andrews in part #2 will be focusing more on the music, your influences and more. […]

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Ask Mr. H: LS3/5a speakers Q&A

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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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: 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: 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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SOLEDGE: Howard Popeck speaks at length to people with interesting things to say: Mr. Raphaël Bini, the driving force behind French audio maker Soledge High End Wireless Audio System.

Hello Raphaël. How did your interest in music reproduction start? Well, I suppose everything starts with music listening during as a youth, with a father playing music, either on a piano or guitar, or on his HiFi system. Then, my father being an electrician and repairing TV sets, meant that I grew up with electronic […]

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Howard Popeck expresses a view – achieving that elusive musical ‘high’, Linda Rondstat, Jim Cippolina, the impact of £5k suits on Eric Clapton, Jefferson Airplane (with 2 heads), out Dylaning Dylan (on one track)

Originally published in 2004 Occasionally, the music really really grabs me. More than grabs me, it draws me into its soul, its character, its intensity. And quite wonderful it is too. It’s a sort of ecstatic experience and all the better for not requiring chemical process to kick-start it or maintain it. A musical high […]

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