CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN: Why sell an under-optimized item that can be easily improved upon by the owner or a modder?

Dear Colin, If audiophile grade feet, power cords, and fuses can really improve sound quality, why don’t high end designers/manufacturers just incorporate these audiophile grade components at the time of build? Why sell an under-optimized item that can be easily improved upon by the owner or a modder? I guess you don’t do that at […]

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CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN: Is material now the limiting factor perhaps?

Hello Colin. From reading your very cogent and helpful answers to those questions here I appreciate that you take the design of power supplies very seriously. I’m writing here out of ignorance of the design process and indeed materials used but I wonder if it’s coming to the point where the next set of advances […]

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CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN: Audiophile industry heroes

Hi Colin. Who if any are your audio designers heroes and why? Thanks. Nigel Beethoven (no jokes please) Hello Nigel. Heroes is a bad thing to have as it puts normal humans on a dais and yet they are human. But the gents and ladies in this complex industry that I put up with; the […]

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CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN: Transformer noise through speakers … when switched off!

Dear Colin, step up transformer noise. I purchased an amp from Europe that needs 240v [ I am on north American voltage].. I bought a step up/step down transformer to equalize the voltage. it works, but the transformer produces noise through the speakers, even when the amp is turned off. the transformer I bought was […]

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STAR EARTHING: What is it and what’s the point?

Hello Howard. Can you ask Colin please what is star earthing and does he / will he using it in his new designs? Ta muchly J.N Peterson {Colin} Dear J.N.Peterson star earthing should be used in all analog designs, that is a single zero or earth for every component on the circuit board and normally […]

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ON or OFF: How often do we have to turn off our equipment?

Dear Colin, power supply question. How often do we have to turn off our equipment such as power amp, pre amp. cd player , power conditioner ……? Can we leave them on for days while listening on and off or do we have to turn them off after every session of listening? As a general […]

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CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN / BI-WIRING: A daft idea or what?

Gentlemen – what is this ‘thing’ called bi-wiring and will Elsdon Wonfor Audio be making speaker cables that use this tecnique? Thanks. Ron McQueen. {Colin} Dear Ron, bi-wiring is used to stop the reflection signal of one or more transducers affecting the movement or control of another. This can happen and it is caused by […]

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CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN: To what extent – if any – can exceptional interconnects compensate for a mediocre CD player?

Dear Colin, An audiophile friend made the following argument to me: “Stop looking for a new CD player. With a very good to excellent high-end interconnect you will not only improve the performance of the CD, but other downstream components.” I had to disagree with my friend claiming a $400 or $500 IC is not […]

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CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN: Impedance – match of pre / power amps

Dear Colin, impedance match of preamp and main amp. I am considering mating a McIntosh Mc602 with a Bat Vk 51se. I noticed the input impedance on the Mc602 is 10K. While most Bat amps are much higher. Do you see a problem with this? It seems I remember at Stereophile I used to know […]

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CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN: The value of mains regeneration?

Hello Colin and may I congratulate you on your resurrection. My question is this. As it is generally agreed that as a consequence of the variation of the mains waveform systems sound different at different times of any twenty four hours, do you do your fine-tuning at a similar time each day for continuity? Or […]

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CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN: What really are computer grade parts?

Dear Colin, Computer grade parts? What are computer grade parts.. such as Computer grade power-supply caps? Are these type of parts an upgrade and/or better than audiophile grade parts? For example, I’ve heard some people say, “I’ve upgraded my power supply caps in my amp to computer grade caps”. I don’t think I’d want computer […]

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OUTPUT TRANSISTORS: What is it that causes them to blow?

Dear Colin, Generally speaking, what is it that causes output transistors to blow? Do they tend to die a natural death? Bad drivers? Emitters? Problems with the rectifier circuit? Assuming there wasn’t shorted speaker wires or excessive moisture. The amp bias and the +/-77 voltage was fine before they blew. It happened on power up. […]

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SUMO: Audiophile interview with Rich May of Sumo; an audio dynasty

John Atkinson writes ………… Way back in the mists of time, around 1980 to be exact, the Marantz company in Europe introduces a range of ostensibly cost-no-object solid-state electronics under the “Esotec” banner. Manufactured in Japan, but apparently designed in the USA, these ruggedly constructed components are noteworthy in that the power amplifiers are capable […]

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CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN / TUBES: That elusive sound?

Hello Colin, please be patient with me because although I am an experienced listener I’m not very conversant with the technology that is available today. By this I mean I really just plug in and just listen. However recently I started to think about some of the units I use, In particular a Musical Fidelity […]

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TONE ARM EFFECTIVE MASS: A cogent, scientifically based and rational explanation

Howard Popeck asked Geoffrey Owen, the driving force behind Helius Designs if he could and indeed would find the time to explain the reality behind effective mass and – in so doing – confound the misinformation, disinformation and scientific ignorance that clouds so many discussions of this topic. As an aside and somewhat mischievously, Howard […]

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Howard Popeck listens to people with interesting things to say: Bob Rapoport – the public face (and a lot more besides) of Essence Electrostatic Speaker Systems

  HP’s introduction: More often that not, I go straight into posting the interview without too much, if any history. However in order to avoid confusion and to minimise misunderstand, I’ve lifted this maker’s history from their site. Here it is – and please take time to read because it is relevant. Thanks. Company history: […]

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Howard Popeck speaks at length to people with interesting things to say: Kea Audio a high-end New Zealand speaker manufacturer: Designer Jo Lang in conversation. Part #1

      Howard Popeck: Hello Jo. At short notice, thank you for taking the time … Jo Lang: I have a bit of time right now so I thought I would respond to your kind invitation. You are as I understand it, that rare individual who is an audiophile maker blogger; am I correct? […]

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PAUL BURTON: Howard Popeck speaks at length to people with interesting things to say: Burton Somervell – marginalised magnificence

Howard Popeck writes: This is, as far as I know, the final interview with the late Colin Howard, former production director of BS Meridian, founder of London HiFi Services, innovator, designer and the co-founder of Burton Somervell speakers. I conducted this interview some years ago and only discovered it yesterday. It has never previously been […]

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Howard Popeck speaks at length to people with interesting things to say: Scott Berry of CAD / Computer Audio Design (part #1 of 3)

Introduction: “The engineer responsible for the design of the 1543 DAC is Scott Berry. Scott is an electrical engineer who worked for many years in R&D and manufacturing for Tektronix and Xerox on the West Coast of the USA. Scott’s experience was in electrical engineering R&D work in high technology industries, but not in the […]

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MQA: A Comprehensive Q&A With MQA’s Bob Stuart

The Computer Audiophile writes ….. Shortly after attending CES 2016, where MQA was a very hot topic, I realized that there was more speculation about MQA than available facts. Nonetheless, it seemed like everyone had an opinion about MQA. Most people had never heard the final output of the MQA process, an actual song or […]

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PETER COMEAU: Director of Acoustic Design @ International Audio Group IAG interviewed by Howard Popeck

All images shown here have been selected by the HFA editorial team. HFA: How did you first become interested in music speaker design and/or hi-fi? PC: In my youth reel-to-reel tape recorders were all the rage and, as a singer in our church choir, I started making choral recordings. It fairly soon dawned on me […]

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