My wife and I have mostly given up on the concept of “appointment television,” with but a few exceptions. We always carve out a regular timeslot in our weekly schedule for exactly three shows: Critical Role, in which “a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons”; Taskmaster, a UK comedy panel game show that’s best described as an unscripted version of Squid Game with way less murder and way more laughter; and Baumgartner Restoration, a weekly series that documents the work of fine-art conservator Julian Baumgartner.
Back in 2018, Sumiko expanded its well-known Oyster line of moving-magnet/fixed-coil phono cartridges with four new entrants. Three of these are the Rainier ($149, all prices in USD), the Olympia ($199), and the Moonstone ($299). The only difference between these models is the stylus, which is upgradeable. For example, you can upgrade a Rainier to a Moonstone just by substituting the stylus. The line-up also includes the related but only partially interchangeable Amethyst cartridge ($599). Very recently the company filled a gap in this line-up with the new Sumiko Oyster Wellfleet cartridge, which lists for $449. The extra $150 you’ll pay over the price of the Moonstone gets you an elliptical 0.3 mil × 0.7 mil stylus, nude-mounted on a 0.5mm aluminum pipe.
Format: 24-bit/96kHz FLAC download
Wilco’s first album, A.M. (1995), seemed to suggest the band would move in the direction of alt-country, but the follow-up, Being There (1996), was the work of a band that was eager to experiment and to avoid being categorized. With Summerteeth (1999) and, especially, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002), Wilco veered into the avant-garde so markedly its music has often been referred to as “art rock” since.
Many of the records in my collection date back to the pre-CD days—some back to the 1960s. Most of them have been played a lot over the years. And until 1972 or so, I regret to say, I didn’t have anything with which to clean them. So some are a bit grungy.
One of my favorite puzzle manufacturers is a company called GAN. It makes a wide variety of WCA (World Cube Association) puzzles, but it’s best known for its flagship 3×3s, which most of you would probably refer to as Rubik’s Cubes, although no serious cuber uses Rubik’s-branded cubes anymore.
Had you asked what the most exciting trend in high-performance audio was, say, three years ago, I would have told you it was the increasing adoption of room correction in two-channel audio systems. Had you asked me the same question three years before that, I would have told you one of the things exciting me most was that audiophile headphone manufacturers were finally embracing Bluetooth in a meaningful way.
Note: for the full suite of measurements from the SoundStage! Audio-Electronics Lab, click this link.
I don’t think I’ve ever prejudiced a review as much as this one. It started with an editorial in which I questioned the need for external digital-to-analog converters outside of specific use cases, such as adding digital connectivity to an all-analog setup, or adding support for formats not handled natively by the internal DAC of a beloved piece of gear. Brent Butterworth and I followed that up with a discussion on the SoundStage! Audiophile Podcast, in which we basically concluded that DACs have become a commodity, which is an increasingly common sentiment in the industry. But as I said in my unboxing blog post for iFi Audio’s Zen One Signature, if there’s one DAC that I think has the potential to address all of the relevant use-cases listed above while also being reasonably priced, it’s this one.
Sub Pop Records SP1430
Singer-songwriter Joshua Tillman recorded a number of albums as J. Tillman before adopting the stage name Father John Misty. He has released five albums credited to that name, the newest being Chloë and the Next 20th Century. Misty albums are often crammed with instrumental details that enliven Tillman’s songs, and his latest is no different in this respect. Chloë and the Next 20th Century is carefully and lushly appointed, but this time, Tillman pulls in ideas from several earlier eras of pop music. The result is an album that is a nod to the past while feeling very modern.
Personally, I’ve always liked automatic turntables. Automatic refers to the way they work with records. On most manual turntables, you have to pick up the arm and manually place it in the lead-in groove, hence the name. A semi-automatic will either stop rotating at the end of a side, or in some cases, stop rotating and lift the arm from the disc, but starting the record is still a manual operation.
Although I love my dad with all my heart and get along with him swimmingly, we are very different people, with different interests and significantly different life philosophies. Really, the main things we have in common are our mutual love of Corvettes and our equally unhealthy obsession with the weather. So we spend a lot of time talking about both.