MARK LEVINSON: ML5 reel to reel. His literally incendiary visit to Howard Popeck’s music room, a long time ago.

When the Quad 63 was announced, the makers had the foresight to anticipate a high level of demand. A carefully thought out waiting list system was introduced and dealers were warned that demo units were, initially at least, like gold dust. The clear implication being not to sell them, despite the ludicrously inflated offers made […]

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JBL: I have a pair of JBL L100 Century loudspeakers. They claim they are bookshelf size. 37Kg and big. Are they kidding?

  Howard, I have a pair of JBL L100 Century speakers. They claim they are bookshelf size. 37Kg and big. Are they kidding? First – 37Kg per pair, not each! Well, sort of. Blame JBL’s over-enthusiastic marketing department in the 1970s and the studio environment from which these speakers, the domestic version of the JBL […]

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How to avoid buyer anxiety – by Howard Popeck. 003

Welcome back. Hopefully you’ve read the previous two parts.So, where are we going with this? I ask on your behalf because of course whether to accompany me (and everyone else on this path) is a decision in itself. So to help you reach a quality decision then here are a few extracts from future parts […]

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Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions 005- 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 […]

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STAX DA 100, CA-X, SRA 12s, servicing, attitude towards end-users, Audio Research REF75 and 5SE as possible alternatives

Originally published in 2009 Question: Hi. I have à pair of Stax da 100  with ca-x after  having the da80 vwith sra12s I had some problems with the ça-x but none up to now with the  da100 and i had them  for almost  30 years  I like them how ever vu the age and the […]

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How to avoid buyer anxiety – by Howard Popeck. 002

So, following on from the previous part of this series, why 1976? Quite simply, it was my first foray into buying an audio system. I discovered first hand the need for proper research prior to visiting a retailer or more accurately, a certain type of retailer – and the realisation that in so doing I […]

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Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions 004

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 […]

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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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Exactly the way it happened folks: Howard Popeck’s encounter with a serial killer

Some years after the demise of Subjective, and I can picture the scene even now, I was driving along the M25, listening to the lunchtime news. The lead story was the arrest of a person suspected of murdering at least one little girl, possibly more. I think she was either Susan Maxwell or Caroline Hogg. […]

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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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SERIOUSLY? A proposed audiophile start up in a saturated market

Hi. A well known valve supplier and I have discussed putting (a new valve amplifier line) into production. Given your experiences with valve amplification would you be interested in selling same amps? Well, I think it fair to say and with some regret too that currently the economic situation facing the UK audiophile industry in […]

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THE AUDIO INSIDER: Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions 003

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. […]

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STAX DAC-Talent – Howard Popeck offers his observations and thoughts

What can you tell me about this rare beastie? Yes, I owned one and so I write from direct personal experience. First though – this is what STAX said about the model, And incidentally, STAX use terms here that we’ve never previously come across. Perhaps it was translation and/or typesetting errors? Anyway, here’s what they […]

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THE AUDIO INSIDER: Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions 002

  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 […]

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Buying stereos and avoiding really dumb decisions 001

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 […]

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HP’s PERFECT VINYL COLLECTION #010: Otis Redding – ‘Otis Blue’

Out of my thousands of vinyl pressings the thought struck me that it might be interest, for me and perhaps for some of you to try and list my favourite 100. A big task, but not an unpleasant one. But for sanity’s sake I have to set a few limits. First, an era restriction. So, […]

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HP’s PERFECT VINYL COLLECTION #012: Robert Palmer – ‘Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley’

Out of my thousands of vinyl pressings the thought struck me that it might be interest, for me and perhaps for some of you to try and list my favourite 100. A big task, but not an unpleasant one. But for sanity’s sake I have to set a few limits. First, an era restriction. So, […]

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HP’s PERFECT VINYL COLLECTION #013: Crazy Horse – ‘Crazy Horse’

Out of my thousands of vinyl pressings the thought struck me that it might be interest, for me and perhaps for some of you to try and list my favourite 100. A big task, but not an unpleasant one. But for sanity’s sake I have to set a few limits. First, an era restriction. So, […]

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HP’s PERFECT VINYL COLLECTION #006: The Ramones – ‘The Ramones’

Out of my thousands of vinyl pressings the thought struck me that it might be interest, for me and perhaps for some of you to try and list my favourite 100. A big task, but not an unpleasant one. But for sanity’s sake I have to set a few limits. First, an era restriction. So, […]

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Quill

HP’s PERFECT VINYL COLLECTION #011: Smokey Robinson and The Miracles – ‘Anthology’

Out of my thousands of vinyl pressings the thought struck me that it might be interest, for me and perhaps for some of you to try and list my favourite 100. A big task, but not an unpleasant one. But for sanity’s sake I have to set a few limits. First, an era restriction. So, […]

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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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HP’s PERFECT VINYL COLLECTION #014: Bruce Springsteen – ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Out of my thousands of vinyl pressings the thought struck me that it might be interest, for me and perhaps for some of you to try and list my favourite 100. A big task, but not an unpleasant one. But for sanity’s sake I have to set a few limits. First, an era restriction. So, […]

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