HELIUS: 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 […]

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NIKKO: Gamma V FM tuner test review

Howard Popeck writes: Only a mini test for this one I’m afraid. My notes from that time are not very comprehensive. Anyway … Built in 1978, the Gamma V is a very sensitive and selective rack-mount style digital tuner. It cost around £400 when new, as best I can recall. Construction is all frame and […]

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STAX: UA7 UA-7 tonearm

I write from Italy because I’ve the possibility to buy an old but in very good conditions UA-7 tonearm. I’ve a Denon DP 3000 turntable with the original plinth and I’d like to know if the tonearm can be mounted in this deck (if you have experience in this mode. Is there the possibility to […]

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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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I’m tonight’s guest on the 7:00pm slot

I’m tonight’s guest on the 7:00pm slot. Hosted by Len Fisher while Roy is currently indisposed, I’ll be playing some of my fave tracks including those from Gene Clark, Skip Spence, Buddy Guy, Eagles, Otis Spann, Family, Yes, ELP, Paul Butterfield, Lynda Hoyle and many more. http://www.seahavenfm.com/ Our entire LOST IMMORTALS archive The LOST IMMORTALS […]

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Lux (Luxman) PD-300 turntable mini test review

Howard Popeck: Those of you of a certain age will remember I hope the magnificently engineered range of turntables, amps and tuners built by Luxman (formerly Lux) in the 1970s. They were one of the first, if not the first to introduce vacuum clamping for the record against the platter. This was via an inbuilt […]

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STAX: Unreliability?

Gentlemen, which era of STAX headphones are more reliable. Old or new? Howard Popeck writes as follows: First things first, I’ve not been involved in selling STAX equipment for some years and so my comments and observations are based on my experiences then and not currently. They’re called ‘Earspeakers’ incidentally. Old or new is not […]

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MICHELL ENGINEERING: Synchro turntable test review

Howard Popeck writes: 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 cast-ring sub […]

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Ask Mr. H: MICHELL ENGINEERING: Orbe versus old Pink Triangle PT2, LFD Audio copper reference, SME 4 – and more

Hello. I am using an Orbe with and Audio Origami breathed-on Zeta arm with a Benz Glider plus an LFD Audio copper reference arm cable. I also have a PT2 which is in need of quite a bit of tlc – I mean to get it working properly – would you expect it to be […]

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Blast from the past: Exactly the way it happened folks: Syrinx PU2. the Mass Ring and Mr. Scott Strachan

Scott Strachan, the inventor and constructor of the Syrinx arm was a very likeable chap. His enthusiasm was infectious. His tonearms looked, frankly, terrible. Not quite as bad as the original Hadcock, but not far off. They were, until the Ittock, the only intelligent and sonically acceptable alternative to the Grace G707 arm on a […]

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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 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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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: 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: STAX – deteriorating gauze on vintage earspeakers

  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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MICHELL ENGINEERING: Synchro test review

Howard Popeck writes: 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 cast-ring sub […]

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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: 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 […]

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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: 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: 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 – very rare energiser

I recently acquired a set of Stax Lambda’s and a custom built driver unit on eBay from a bloke in New Zealand. The driver unit was quite different from any Stax model I had ever seen. It was quite huge for a start! Once it arrived, I discovered that it was a model 50/1SC and […]

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STAX 4040 system and preamps

Will my SR-4040 system, or any STAX system for that matter sound better if I upgrade my preamp? Well, without wishing to be evasive, there’s no definitive answer to this. Sorry – but I’m happy to share my thoughts with you – and no doubt you’ll draw your own conclusions. First, I have a concern […]

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