My stereo system has been configured with tubed electronics for the last ten years. However, I own a PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport and PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC, which I use to listen to high resolution recordings and to provide a contrasting perspective to the sound of my tubed CD player.

During the last two years, my tube amplifier has required maintenance—tube changes, tube bias and repair, and as a result, I have considered replacing it with a solid state amplifier. Thus, for the past year I have been seeking an inexpensive solid state or class-d amp to review.

Having reviewed some expensive components in the past, and observing the many components selling for more than $10,000, I have been determined to try to review, relatively inexpensive and/or cost effective audio equipment.

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Waves Audio, through their consumer division, MAXX are working to place Waves’ Grammy winning sound enhancing technologies into consumer products like speakers, tablets, phones, laptops and more. They are currently in products by Oppo, Dell, Asus, and LG.

They have partnered with Denon and are now in their HEOS multi-room sound system and the Envaya Portable Bluetooth speaker system.

With the Heos system, Denon is going head to head with the wildly popular SONOS system (review forthcoming).

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After the recent successes of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) both in the real world and electronic, and the onslaught of press and manufacturers tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn articles (Audiophilia’s included), of course I was excited. Bloody excited. It seems that my effusive comments about the recent shows to Audiophilia writers had their audio juices flowing. Last year, I was joined by Karl Sigman. This year Karl is joined by Henry Wilkenson. Together, with the invaluable help from my significant other, we were chomping at the bit to cover the show for our readers.

The Air Canada flight was blessedly quick. It’s amazing how quickly you can travel across this vast continent. A tomato juice, a movie and a snooze, and we were here in beautiful Denver. I always get a buzz from seeing the Rocky Mountains after a prolonged stay on the Canadian Shield — the vast area of Eastern Canada made up of forest and granite. This time was no different. Well, maybe a little. This time, we were continuing our journey west and not retuning to Toronto. Audiophilia West, as I call it, will be in the beautiful British Columbia capital of Victoria. As my twin says every time I get off the plane for a vist, ‘welcome to Paradise’. He’s not far wrong.

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Beethoven – Complete Fortepiano Concertos [3 CDs – 200 mins]
Arthur Schoonderwoerd - Fortepiano / Cristofori
Alpha 820 (reissued 2014)

The five piano concertos have a special place in Beethoven’s oeuvre; all were completed during the earlier part of his career, over the period 1795 to 1809. Yet this 3-disc boxed set (comprising material originally released between 2005-8) makes a couple of claims to surprise those of us who hold these works dear. Firstly, that there were actually SIX piano concertos – based on the fact that Beethoven himself arranged the lone Violin Concerto Op.61 (1806) for fortepiano to a commission from the famous Clementi, who published much of Beethoven’s music in England (amongst a panoply of other achievements). The second claim is that, by performing these concertos on the type of fortepiano for which they were originally written, backed by a period instrument orchestra of authentic composition and size, the music is heard completely afresh.

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There are several reasons why I got involved in reviewing these headphones. First, I gifted my trusty Grado 125 headphones to the son of my colleague Karl Sigman. Karl and his son Jason came over for a visit and Jason let it be known that he wanted to get Beats headphones for a birthday present, because ‘they are cool’. Peer pressure was a powerful motivator for the soon to be 12 year old. I asked Jason to try the Grado 125s. He was mesmerized by the sound and it was a joy to see his reaction. ‘Dad, I have to have them.’ After the visit was over, I called Karl and told him I wanted his son to have the headphones and it was my gift to him. I now had to replace them. What to do?

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One of the highlights of the high end audio season takes place this week in the beautiful city of Denver, CO. The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. And, what a Festival it is. In fact, I describe it as the Rolls Royce of audio shows.

If you’re like me, the moment an audio show closes, I’m Jonesing for the next one. As such, my anticipation is for Friday mounting and I suggest to all our readers near and far to attend this amazing show.

Denver is a perfect host city. Clean, safe, great food, cheap car rentals, great airport, excellent arts and the wonderful Rocky Mountains on your doorstep. The show will have almost 200 rooms, focused on two channel audio and ‘CanJam’, the foremost headphone/computer music/mobile audio show in the world. The show is supremely well run, and filled with very pleasant, very passionate audiophiles. Live music, seminars, well-treated rooms, accessible elevators, restaurants, meeting places, good coffee add to the show’s great quality.

So, the final countdown begins. See you all there. Audiophilia will be well represented with five staff members.

Watch for Audiophilia’s detailed, walkabout coverage 9:00 a.m. the morning after the show closes.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel
October 10-12, 2014

Register here.


Oct 1, 2014. Walter Hall, Toronto, ON — What a pleasure to attend the opening concert of the 2014/15 Women’s Musical Club of Toronto’s Music in the Afternoon Series. These concerts continue to present the very best Canadian and International chamber ensembles and soloists.

Our treat today was the Toronto debut of Trio Wanderer, a piano trio founded in 1987 by three aspiring French musicians at the Paris Conservatoire. We’ve waited a long time to hear them, but in the interim they’ve won numerous competitions, recording awards, and have been invited for residencies in Aachen, Germany and Copenhagen. A busy teaching load both as the Trio and as individuals fills their busy schedules.

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I must admit, when I first heard that the New York Audio Show had moved out of Manhattan (my home: the center of the Universe!) to the borough of Brooklyn for its 2014 show, I was not happy, and very dubious. But after a while, it seemed to make more sense from both a practical point of view and a price point of view: Manhattan is expensive; the hotel rates are excessive by any standard. Getting a large comfortable space at a more reasonable price is possible in Brooklyn. The population of Brooklyn is the largest of the five boroughs making up New York City, and it contains a mind-boggling array of different ethnic enclaves; there is no lack of great and reasonably priced food and entertainment, and after all, the subway makes it possible to get right back into Manhattan (civilization!) in minutes from the venue: The New York Marriott Hotel at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams Street.

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