For the last several years my reference amplifiers have been the Hephaestus HMA 1000 mono-blocks (now simply called the Hephaestus — see my review August 2010) and have performed absolutely flawlessly. I am always chagrined at the looks of incredulity on many an audiophiles’ face after listening to these audio giant killers. How can these diminutive Class D amplifiers sound so good?

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The multi talented Gareth Davies is the superb Principal Flute of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). He’s also a very good writer. His very entertaining and informative book, The Show Must Go On: On Tour with the LSO in 1912 and 2012, is the result of a fortuitous convergence. Davies writes a blog for the LSO website when the band is on tour. His blog, and the recent discovery of detailed diaries written by a few of the members of the 1912 LSO were the inspiration for the book.

The diaries detail the 1912 American tour, a first by an English orchestra. As such, Davies’ book is a tale of two traveling bands, the LSO of 1912 and the LSO of today.

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Mozart — ‘Gran Partita’ Serenade K361 [57:18]
Stuttgart Winds
Tacet 209 (2013)

In early 1780s Vienna, the wind serenade pretty much fulfilled the function that Michael Bublé does today; undemanding entertainment music for would-be sophisticates! Mozart had already written them while in Salzburg – offering strange alternatives to the traditional scoring for pairs of oboes, clarinets, horns and bassoons – and continued to push the boundaries in his newly-adopted city. His final statement in the genre is oversized in every respect; scored for pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons and basset horns, plus four horns and a double bass, its seven movements run for close to 50 minutes. Here, as with many of his other works, Mozart understood that a mixed audience was likely and constructed it in such a way that its tunes give simple pleasure to everyone, while those who listen deeper will find a world of invention and ingenuity simmering beneath.

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Not the most pleasant of subjects, but one that needs a little perspective.



Mark Twain quotation after hearing that his obituary had been published in the New York Journal.

Replace ‘my’ with ‘high end audio’. So much doom and gloom about it, and the numbers just don’t add up. Also, I’ve been reading about its death for 25 years! People said the same about orchestras, the movie theatre, and on and on. In the here and now, I can buy quality turntables from almost 100 companies. Esoteric, single ended tube amps from Europe, North America and Asia. If so inclined, I can order cables costing a mortgage payment from all over the world. And, I can read about audio at hundreds of websites, most amateur but many professional outfits.

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Swanky Boston menswear store, Ball and Buck wanted to create an audio subsidiary with just a few American made products. They approached SOTA Turntables, Bottlehead Tube Amplifiers and Blumenstein Loudspeakers, and Ball and Buck Home Audio was born.

Ball and Buck owner Mark Bollman requested the equipment be finished in wood (available in natural or caramelized bamboo). Bollman says ‘It goes along with that whole philosophy around vinyl music and the warm, true sound of the original composition. It’s a natural sound, so it’s a natural finish on the product.’

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Audiophilia would like to welcome its newest sponsor, Krolo Design.

Mirko Krolo, designer of Tomo Audio Racks, Krolo Platforms and the ‘Enhanser’ cones, believes in the power of resonance control. His rack, platform and cone designs aim to uncover ‘…nuances and details in the music that were not present before. Vocals become more clear and transparent.’

Audiophilia will be reviewing Krolo’s products in the new year. I first ‘heard’ them at the 2013 TAVES show. Krolo’s products were in several rooms and the associated manufacturers showing with Krolo were raving about the ‘drop in the noise floor’.

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Although I vaguely knew that Mojo Audio had a reputation for making high-quality reasonably priced power cables and interconnects, I admittedly did not know much about them nor what else they were known for. So, when I found myself at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2013 in Denver, Colorado, in October, I didn’t have any preconceived notions about what to expect. I was introduced to Benjamin Zwickel, owner of Mojo Audio, now based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and he invited me to a private listening of his show room, along with Audiophilia Publisher Anthony Kershaw and his lovely wife Jan.

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You may have read my review of Antipodes’ seminal DS1 Music Server published last April. I spent a good six months using and listening to the DS1 and came to think of it as the shining source in my digital front end. It was adaptable, very well built and sounded divine. Smooth, detailed, liquid, with the listener seemingly always in a great seat for the concert ahead. A quick read of that review would be instructive in the technology behind the Antipodes’ Music Servers.

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