Coming in January. Freelance architect 1973-75. Designer & project manager at Basel’s Interfair 1976-78. Senior exhibition designer at Dublin’s MDA 1978-1984. Managing director of Systemworks Ltd 1984-1992…

It’s not what you know. It’s what you can prove. Hello prosecutor for the Crown or State who must present his case beyond reasonable doubt for a jury to convict the accused. His mom will do the talking on motive, opportunity, means. The investigators are tasked to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. A cop show might include planting evidence to tie up what the investigators (think they) know but can’t prove. Such a show might also show how whenever cops like someone too much for a certain crime, their focus can overlook evidence to the contrary. Their approach of making the evidence fit a foregone conclusion renders the pursuit of multiple lines of inquiry a mockery. Really, these investigators are doggedly going down one path and one path only. What’s any of this got to do with hifi reviewing?

An interview with John Darko. Everyone’s favorite video-based hifi reviewer. It wasn’t always so; and not because John’s earlier videos sucked. He didn’t always do them. He started with the written pixel-rendered word like the rest of us; out of Sydney/Australia no less. Then he moved shop to Berlin/Germany and started at moving pictures not furniture. In these two short sentences there’s lots to unpack. Old Charles Darwin was about a mechanism of evolution later condensed to survival of the fittest. Younger John Darko, it seems, is about evolving how hifi reviews—and now also factory tours—are conducted. Whilst darkonian does bear a faint semblance to draconian named for Drako, ancient Athens’ legislator who laid down their first written law, John lays down no laws which anyone else must follow. He follows only his own darkonian beat. That could well connect to survival of the fittest if the written review goes away to render yours truly an endangered species. Dinosaur meet asteroid? In this Zoom meet we learn how much time I’ve got left; and how John evolved his approach over the last 10 years…

Not up that creek without a paddle. The thumbnail shows Jörg neither freaked out nor adrift. Instead he’s having a grand time and the waters he kayaks are mellow. I first met him surrounded by other mellow waters, those lapping the Cypriot beach of Coral Bay. Jörg and his lady were on vacation, we lived there. He and his friend Ralph Werner had followed 6moons from faraway Berlin. Applying common sense, they had rightly determined that if a German living abroad under a strange name and even stranger URL could do it, by Kaiser Wilhelm, so could they…

Getting to grips with the Grzyb. An interview with Dawid of HifiKnights…

KIH #95. Audio myths or misses? For sheer Schiit and goofy giggles, let’s rumble a few. Slow bass. If a woofer is tasked to move maximally 80 times per second, a tweeter 35’000 times, it’s easy to see why in some quarters, woofers are called slow. Whilst with the nekkid eye we’ll never see a tweeter move, we might watch a woofer shudder or try to jump its hoop. Hello, big excursions to move sufficient air for desired loudness. The fact that a woofer’s action can be visible but never a tweeter’s probably pools into the ‘slow bass’ notion as well. But there’s more.

For readers who didn’t know, Kevin Scott and his wife Lynn operate the Living Voice speaker brand and the Definitive Audio retail boutique out of an old textile mill in the UK’s Midlands. Here he and I chatted on various things hifi for 2½ hours from which I excerpted a few interesting tidbits. “A lot of hifi customer long for big rooms but overlook the long reverberation times. Be careful what you wish for. Achieving good sound in a big room is a marvelous thing but also very elusive…”

VR. Virtual reality. Vinnie Rossi. Same thing? Given that stereo playback is an illusion, turning it into a virtual reality is arguably the ultimate goal. Without yet listening to these new components, we won’t know how close they come. Just looking at them is simply suggestive. Elegant. Sleek. Powerful. Timeless.

Regular readers have met Hungarian expat Pál Nagy in my tales of his icOn 4Pro passive-magnetic preamp, of his custom icOn 4Pro SE which he built for me and of the still unwinding story on his Gradient Box in whose genesis I’m marginally involved just by having the nerve to ask for it…

The hifi litany of sequence of importance, from most to less, goes like so: Room → speaker → subwoofer → amp → preamp → digital → power cables → signal cables → power delivery → resonance control → accessories. In terms of magnitude of difference with/without, resonance control done right is actually far bigger than signal cables. But no cables no sound whereas even placing your hifi on the floor makes plenty of sound. Logic demands that this renders resonance control less important. In the absence of sufficient AC sockets for the entire hifi stack, generic power bars are the budget default. One wall outlet generates from 4 – 12 outlets which supply the whole hifi. Turning said outlet multiplier into an AC/DC filter can reap sonic benefits which are relative to the amount of power pollution aka noise on the mains. It’s intuitive that someone living in a downtown brownstone with 30 apartments faces a different situation than Freddie the Farmer whose only neighbors are animals…

The wholly Raal? If you’ve not hibernated for a few seasons—in which case, good morning to ya—you already know. Serbia’s Aleksandar Radisavljevic of Raal Ribbon fame shocked the flagship headphone space a few years ago with the release of the world’s first true ribbon earspeakers. Sucking up to 7 amperes into a most unreasonable 0.4Ω, his original solution for them was an impedance converter box. This small box one strapped onto a speaker amp of at least 100 watts. The ribbons played jack in the box. Voilà, the latter’s network of series/parallel resistors transformed the impedance our amp saw to a standard and fixed value. Simultaneously it burnt up most the amplified signal voltage as heat. After all, these ear speakers don’t need fistfuls of watts but buckets of current. Mission accomplished. Safe high current delivery into a virtual short whilst the owner could pick from a vast array of suitable speaker amps. Case closed?…

In April 2021, Lars Kristensen and Michael Børresen invited Flemming Rasmussen to their Aalborg facilities of Audio Group Denmark, the umbrella organization for their three brands Aavik, Ansuz and Børresen. Lars and Flemming go way back to when Lars still ran a hifi store. Michael and Flemming share a love of fly fishing and often go out for a day on the salmon which invariably involves…

Shazam. Cowabunga. Hot damn. Whatever your patois of agreeable surprise, if you’re a double-crossing 2.1 hifier—high flyer?—you’re aware that doing our deed in the high-end two not multi-channel realm has few options particularly in the analog domain. After all, how many preamps can you name which build in a fully adjustable hi/lo-pass filter to properly integrate a subwoofer?…

KIH #93. Incredulous. House brands. In audio retail, it used to mean a brand exclusive to a chain of franchised stores. In reviewing, it could mean a brand very popular with a publication. In that virtual sense, we’ve had a few house brands over at 6moons. Here are three handfuls: Acoustic System Int. Bakoon. COS Engineering. Cube Audio. Denafrips. Gallo Acoustics. Gold Note. Kinki Studio. Mark & Daniel. Metrum Acoustics now Sonnet Audio. Red Wine Audio now Vinnie Rossi. Rethm. sound|kaos. Wyred4Sound. Zu. Over the years, we enjoyed whatever new model these brands bowed though Anthony Gallo has since vacated the field. Either way, it’s made these brands and others like them predictable successes in the sense that in the hands of designers with such consistent track records, one felt assured an assignment that would be fun, satisfying and exciting to share with the readers…

We usually don’t indulge them, not even April 1st. But today is the exception. Let’s see how long it takes you to catch on…

It’s all good, man. In the wake of a recent review, a reader asked whether I’d keep its speakers or go back to my old ones. Then another asked whether in such decisions I at all consider unobtainium vs mainstream relative to my readers’ ability to relate. These questions became today’s jumping-off place. It will be obvious. Reviewers aren’t officialized by exit exams from any degreed multi-year university course, not even by get-rich-quick evening seminars from that online college in American Samoa. ‘That’, if you didn’t make the connection, was a nod at Bob Odenkirk’s title character of Better call Saul. Prior to his Breaking Bad career, he’d joined his older brother’s law firm and to advance beyond mailroom clerk, gained his law degree by mail-order course from a third-rate institution. No, writers who review for a part-time or full-time living simply converted their hobby into a job…

There are nomadic and settled peoples. As typical householders working from home, we’re the latter; except that we move house on a regular basis. In that sense it’s as though a nomadic memory from lives past still inserts an influence and preference. Now it’s that time again. This latest move was prompted by our Irish landlords. Living in London where their kids attend university, Brexit’s new realities now have them want to come home. Existence thus knocked on our door with the familiar whisper. “Pack up and get ye going again.”

It’s no secret. I love to integrate a subwoofer by filtering both it and the mains via mirror-imaged low/high-pass filters. In the 2-channel space, analog solutions like Wilson Audio’s and JL Audio’s are rare and become expensive outboard crossovers. In the digital domain, I’d heard of Linn and TotalDAC. Today I became aware that…

Hifi hookworms. A DAC’s sound is not (solely) dictated by its chip. Output stages and power supplies can have even more of an impact. Input stages too. And yet consumers cling to chip info because a make/model provides a hook on which to hang one’s expectations. Alas, power supplies and I/O stages don’t come with manufacturer/model info. So no expectational hook. That was the Darko(ne) suggesting a new KIH feature. Scratching just beneath the surface…

Plus 1. It’s a shorthand invite for bringing arm candy to a party. Today’s post reads minus 1 and the arm candy subtracted from our ongoing hifi party is Mrs. Wagenknecht’s hubby Glen. Here’s what happened…

Mind the gap. Hamburgers or humbuggers? Dark specs are specs which hifi manufacturers don’t publish because they offer no bragging rights; or specs that apply non-standard tolerances or definitions. With the first, we must be informed enough to ask directly. With the second, we must pay attention to the small print. In no particular sequence, here are a few dark, colourful and hazy specs for your amusement…

I hear it from more and more industry contacts. There’s a growing…

An interview with Ivan Liu. For readers who didn’t know already, Ivan Liu is the chief engineer and owner of Kinki Studio, a high-end value brand that launched in China in 2008. It’s being globally marketed by Vinshine Audio’s online boutique in Singapore. Their Ken Ng acted as our mutual translator…

Work smart, not hard. It could be the same thing. But today is about when it’s definitely not…