RIP Harry Pearson (’hp’ to his loyal readers).

Harry coined the term ‘high end audio’ and much of the lexicon audio reviewers use today. He founded The Absolute Sound in 1973, a giant of print audio magazines.

Simply, Pearson was the finest writer we’ve had in our business. Elegant, fluent, charming writing that always managed to capture the essence of a component’s sound. He will be greatly missed in our community.

photo credit


The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Sony Classical
2 CDs (2:01:46)

Everyone knows Lang Lang. And everyone knows that Mozart sorts out the men from the boys. So, it was with some excitement when this confluence of man against music on a silver disc appeared on my desk.

Sure, Lang Lang has the chops and charisma to carry off Rachmaninov and all the great Romantics but could this 2013 UN Messenger of Peace have the musical depth to perform music that Artur Schnabel suggests is ‘…too easy for children, and too difficult for artists.’ Men from boys.

The review period did not begin well. As I looked at the uber cool Lang Lang on the cover, hair tousled and thumbs thrust defiantly in jeans, with the ridiculously pretentious title ‘The Mozart Album’ (almost as bad as those God awful jazz titles ‘So and so “meets” somebody’), I thought this may be more marketing than music. And then my eyes wandered down to the fine print. And it was the finest print — Vienna’s masters and one of its greatest conductors, the uniquely brilliant Nikolaus Harnoncourt as collaborators. The young ruffian on the front cover was in the very best hands.

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Deezer last month, now TIDAL launches high definition streaming in the UK and the US (with an agreement in place for a further 50 countries).

‘The ideal service for those who care about quality, TIDAL welcomes music lovers to enjoy its extensive library of 25 million-plus tracks, 75,000 music videos and curated editorial articles, features and interviews written by experts. Ad free and available now for a monthly subscription of $19.99.’

The specs.

Lossless quality (FLAC/ALAC 44.1kHz / 16 bit - 1411 kbps)
More than 75,000 music videos
Curated Editorial provided by experienced music journalists and industry experts
Dedicated apps available for iOS and Android phones and tablets
Web player for PC/MAC

The players.

Anthem, Airable by Tune In Media, Astell &Kern, Audeze, Audiovector, AudioQuest, Auralic, Aurender, Bel Canto, Bluesound & NAD, Dan D’Agostino, Definitive Technology, Denon HEOS, DTS Play-Fi, Dynaudio, Electrocompaniet, Harman Omni, HiFiAkademie, ickStream, JH Audio, Linn, McIntosh, Meridian, MartinLogan, Paradigm, Polk, Pro-ject, PS Audio, Raumfeld, Simple Audio, Sonos, Steinway Lyngdorf, Wren Sound Systems with more to come.



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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Michael Levy of Alta Audio arranged for Merrill Wettasinghe, the head of Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, to bring his Veritas Monoblock amplifiers to my home to audition them with Mike’s Alta Audio amazing stand mounted FRM-2 speakers in a home environment. We also had the opportunity to compare them to my reference Hephaestus Harpocrates SE monoblocks.

Wettasinghe, Levy and Karl Sigman from Audiophilia all took part in our listening sessions. This was my first meeting with Wettasinghe and his products and I was very curious to hear how they stacked up against my reference. The Harpocrates amps are miniscule ‘giant killers’ and weigh in at 3.5 lbs each and have been my reference amps for about a year. The Veritas are about three times the size of the Harpocrates and weigh 33 lbs each, almost ten times as much. Both are class D amplifiers.

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Due to a move to the west coast, Audiophilia will be unable to cover the 2014 TAVES show. We’ve covered them all since inception. It will be much missed for the TAVES show always presents the best of the audiophile world in one of the loveliest of settings, Toronto, ON. As such, if you are in the area or even a flight away, the show and its exhibitors will not let you down.

The show is run exceptionally well. This year, the location as has changed to the Sheraton Centre Hotel. I’ve not been there before. I loved the previous location, the King Eddie Hotel for its class, grandeur and solid rooms. Plus, the Sunday buffet is the most renowned in Canada. I’m sure the TAVES team has the Sheraton hopping and the location will be just as well thought out.

Highlights include: over 300 brands of consumer electronics; free seminars – topics include audio, video and digital photography; a ‘New Technology Arena ‘ (3D Printing, Replicating, Oculus Rift, Tesla, Mind Control Devices + more); ‘Jolt!’ Art Gallery curated by OCAD U, York University, Centennial College and the Brockton Collective; and, of course, a dedicated Portable Audio / Headphone space.

For more information about TAVES or to purchase tickets, please visit the TAVES website. Tickets are $22 for a one-day pass and $30 for a three-day pass. TAVES runs from Friday, October 31st to Sunday, November 2nd.

Sheraton Centre Hotel
123 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON


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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