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Stereophile February 2022


2nd Edition

Analog Corner #319: Paradox Phono 70 Signature phono preamplifier
One privilege of being a Stereophile columnist is the opportunity to cover products from smaller, less well-known manufacturers, including those that don't have wide enough distribution to qualify for a full review. One such company is Victorville, California-based Paradox.

Gold Note PH-1000 phono preamplifier
Gold Note's $11,999 PH-1000 is by a considerable margin the most sophisticated, most configurable phono preamplifier that any audio manufacturer has ever produced, at least that I know of. Remarkably, considering all that flexibility and sophistication, using and adjusting the PH-1000 is straightforward.

Recording of March 2022: Blind Date Party
Bill Callahan and Bonnie Prince Billy--the latter is a stage name for Will Oldham--did not set out to make an album together. They were just trying fill the long pandemic months with music. In 2020, they started singing other people's songs together, broadcasting them to fans via Zoom.

CH Precision D1.5 SACD/CD player/transport
here's a school of thought that maintains that among all hi-fi components, the D/A converter is easiest to perfect or come close to perfecting. Just make sure that every sample is converted accurately, that there's little rolloff in the audioband, that aliased images are suppressed almost completely, and that background noise is extremely low, and you have a top-quality D/A processor.

Thoughts on reviewing
In college, I majored in physics, but I took a lot of theater courses. Not acting--I never had any affinity for that--but all the other aspects of theater: set design, directing, theory of performance, playwriting.

Keb' Mo': "Music Was Mine To Experience"
For all its ghastliness and heartbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has been good to Keb' Mo'. When the virus hit the US, it forced the cancelation of a string of his concerts. "I was getting a little burned out on touring," he confesses.

1st Edition

Questyle Audio M12 portable USB D/A headphone amplifier
There are words that, for reasons I can't fathom, I cannot stand. One such is "dongle." So when Bluebird Music's PR rep emailed me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing a new dongle from Chinese company Questyle Audio, I shuddered.

Rediscoveries #2: Joe Henderson, Blue Note and Beyond
Called "the phantom" by fellow musicians and dubbed the "bearded, goateed astronaut of the tenor sax" by a close friend, trumpeter Kenny Dorham, the enigmatic Joe Henderson recorded five albums for the Blue Note label that are uniformly regarded as jazz classics.

Revinylization #26: Two Charles Mingus LPs
In the annals of jazz, Charles Mingus--bassist, pianist, composer, bandleader, unique, headstrong, and deeply influential in every category--occupies the transit point between Duke Ellington and the post-'60s avant-garde, a station he carved out deliberately.

Fyne Audio F500SP loudspeaker
In my April 2020 review of Fyne Audio's inexpensive F301 standmount loudspeakers, I wrote, "The Fyne F301s impressed with their exceptional rendering of soundstage width and depth, reasonably wide dynamic range, extended low end (for their size), and exuberant, I-can't-stop-spinning-records presentation.

Gramophone Dreams #57: Ferrum OOR headphone amplifier and HYPSOS power supply
I'm deep into audio power amplifiers because they remind me of race car engines. Both power sources are wildly inefficient, converting only a small percentage of their stored energy into work while dissipating the rest as heat and vibration.

Topping Pre90 line preamplifier
There has not been a conventional preamplifier in my main audio system for quite a while, because no multichannel preamp is available that's of high enough quality. Instead, I use the high-precision digital volume controls in my players and DACs and choose sources with a relay-based multichannel analog switch. Plus, I tell myself that no preamp can be more accurate and transparent than no preamp.

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