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, […]

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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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From our archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame (part #11) – 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 (part #10) – 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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From our archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame (part #2) – “They were the ones that saw the market niches …”

Editor McCauley in conversation with Howard Popeck: So there are more figureheads than gifted designers. Is that what you’re saying? Not quite like that. In my direct personal experience I’ve met more figureheads than gifted designers. But that’s not to say that my experiences are representative of the entire industry. One has to take into […]

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A POINT OF VIEW: Neil McCauley expresses a view re power cords

Neil, have you been surprised by the effects of different types of mains cable and IEC termination on the sound that comes from electronics driving speakers? I have been rather surprised because I don’t reckon I have anything like the acuity of some of my friends for acoustic things, I will usually arrive at conclusions; […]

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ASK THE EDITOR: #01

Is it possible that the lack of congruency between measurement and sound quality in speaker systems is merely because there are parameters that have yet to be measured? What? Ah, oh yes, I get it …. I think. Oh yes, I believe that absolutely. I mean there was a time when harmonic distortion in amplifiers […]

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ASK THE EDITOR: #02

Neil, regarding digital room equalisation, is it a gimmick or does it have some application in domestic situations? I have heard these things in operation and I suppose that if you are prepared to spend any time experimenting and moving loudspeakers then it’s a good shortcut to a sort of middling performance. But by and […]

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ASK THE EDITOR: #03

Neil … have you experienced your system sounding different, in the same room, at different times of the day and indeed at weekends and week days? Oh very much so, yes. One of the crushing things that you feel when you need to calm you and encourage you in life for music and you go […]

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ASK THE EDITOR: #04

Q: Hi Neil. Some makers are extolling the virtue of seemingly unlimited amplifier power as a requirement for un-restricted system dynamics. Logical or merely smart marketing? A: Well I suppose it must depend on a number of things. Let’s take the things that it depends on. Sound pressure level – that you hear in your […]

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IF: If Neil McCauley was a speaker designer (which he plainly isn’t!)

Michael Vronsky writes: Neil; if you were, say, a speaker designer then what would be more important to you when designing , the final subjective sound or the measurements? Oh, I’m afraid very much the sound. I don’t despise or ignore measurements which are essential in the course of designing the thing. They give you […]

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COLIN WONFOR: HB100 mono power amps test review

Neil McCauley / editor in chief Why no images? Because the test review that follows here are of a pre-production pair in casework that doesn’t properly represent the finished product which, so we are told, should be available in early March 2017. Priced, including VAT @ £4.6k per pair. A bit of history Please note […]

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ACCIDENTAL MAGIC: What does it mean in practice?

Neil McCauley asks Howard Popeck Howard, Historically, what did you mean by ‘accidental magic’? Well …….. a combination of equipment that previously you’d not encountered and which sounds right immediately. Unusual combinations. Amps and speakers that just by chance sound magical together – even though the makers probably hadn’t used each other’s equipment. That kinda […]

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A POINT OF VIEW: Conrad Johnson amp; Audio Research private sellers; greedy, misguided orjust plain unlucky?

Arguably CJ and AR are natural rivals in the valve/tube market. They’ve been around for many (in audiophile terms at least) years and so there are plenty of items available on the used market. The accepted places to look online are eBay and Audiogon. Sellers on eBay specify a minimum selling price. Sometimes they’ll be […]

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Talent spotting: Great British HiFi manufacturing talent, the little guys usually ignored in the paper mags

It seems to us that small innovative British makers really don’t receive much editorial coverage in the paper magazines. It’s easy to speculate why this might be. Possibly those that are marginalised suffer because they don’t have a marketing / advertising budget. Our suspicions though are that: The interests of the ‘big boys’ i.e. those […]

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SUBJECTIVE AUDIO: The great sounds; Radford, Spectral, Lecson, Infinity, SoundLabs, JBL Century, Beveridge, Beard and more

Neil McCauley asks Howard Popeck: What were the best reproduced sounds you ever heard in the early days? Not easy to answer. Depends on one’s definition of best. If you take just listenability i.e. the customer’s sound is so good right now that I’m not going to unpack my demo gear, then it would have […]

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