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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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. […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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. […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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. […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Neil McCauley (editor in chief) talks to Howard Popeck (features editor) about his respect for some vintage analogue receivers.

Q: So Howard, you’ve from time to time mentioned, in the context of receivers, the “good old days”. What does that mean? In the “good old days” the electronics for a hi fi system was all in one box that usually included a power amp, preamp and radio tuner. They were very convenient. Q: Convenient, […]

Read More

MICHELL ENGINEERING: Synchro turntable test review

Howard Popeck writes as follows: 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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

“How can modern R&B-singers even pick up a microphone, after hearing this man?”

  Howard Popeck writes:  Quite so. Went to EVERY gig within the M25. Loud? I’ll say. Had to start to learn to lip-read as a consequence. Hard-faced birds, broken glass on the floor, broken teeth and broken noses in the loo – but not on me! ‘ Trrific’ – as the great man would say. […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

MERIDIAN: M1 Mk2 active loudspeakers

    I have a pair of Meridian M1 mk2, I am the original owner from new although I sold them at the time Bob Stuart messed things up with balanced cables and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I’ve definitely got it right now modules for the 101. I bought them back a few of years ago […]

Read More