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    by Published on 01-04-2017 10:54 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Books
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    Inside the Horrific Guns N’ Roses ‘Hell House’

    How a one-room space on Sunset became ground zero for sex, drugs, depravity, and talent in the 1980s L.A. rock scene

    By Mick Wall

    . . .


    Although it was Duff McKagan who had booked what Guns N’ Roses were already calling “the Hell tour” to Seattle, once they returned to L.A. in June of 1985, one thing was clear: with Tracii Guns out of the picture, the band had a leader, and that leader was W. Axl Rose. “Axl always had this kind of vision of where he wanted to be,” Slash would tell me. “What he wanted the band to be. He didn’t like people he thought were trying to hold him back.”

    With Tracii now out of the way, and the other band members unready to challenge a guy so seemingly set in his own mind, Axl was ready to assume leadership. Sure, Duff was determined to keep pushing forward; like Axl, he wanted to rehearse regularly and get the show on the road as soon as possible, but he would yield to the singer in terms of writing. Slash and Izzy, who were more involved in the writing process, were so laidback (and increasingly ...
    by Published on 01-03-2017 11:48 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Preamp
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    Now that 2016 is gone, in the rearview mirror, forever to be forgotten, I look back on some highlights.......just kidding.

    Other than the release of the microRendu and the Holo Spring dac I found little to be excited about in 2016. It sucked! And through it I had my worst health crises (I am fine now, thanks for asking ). But one audio company, a small family-owned business in Sparks, Nevada, kept me toe-tapping in my music, come hell or high water. And that company I discovered in 2015. In fact, I so owe it to the readers of Computer Audiophile to become aware of Shane Duffy's wonderful little company that I thought I would shout it from the hills (no hills here in Cleveland, but just go along anyway).

    PERLA AUDIO! Yes, Perla Audio, the little audio enterprise that had the cojones to introduce new amplifiers and preamps (and a DAC and some wild new speakers) into a very crowded and mature industry segment.

    Perla's ideas started in 2010 when Shane and his family decided to mortgage out the nestegg due to his zeal and commitment that a new set of speakers would impress the audio community. But he needed more technical help and in came his technical partner-to-be, Ronald van Robinson, a 30 year veteran in the industry. Perla Audio was born sometime in 2012, and their first products (while continuing to work on speakers) included an integrated amp called the Signature 50, a dual mono design which, among other features, had no coupling capacitors in the path. It wasn't long that this product got the reviews and awards it was destined for, including my buddy Terry London's wonderful review in HomeTheaterReview.com (Best of 2015 award) and Dick Olsher's large kudos in Absolute Sound ( 2015 Editor's Choice award). ...
    by Published on 12-02-2016 09:36 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    6. AES/EBU Interface,
    7. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    8. Preamp
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    The Mytek Brooklyn is an incredibly versatile audio component. In fact, I can't think of another HiFi component that packs as much capability and technology into a single chassis (OK, the new $5,995 Mytek Manhattan II does but in a chassis roughly twice the size and four times the weight).). In most of the world, a plethora of features is a good thing. In the world of audiophiles, this can be seen as a bad thing. Many audiophiles still have in their heads the idea that they can use a straight wire with gain for preampfification. Such thinking is frequently called "purist." I suppose someone who still rides a horse to work could be called a purist as well. That's a club of which I don't want to be a member. I'm a card-carrying, knuckle-dragging audiophile that's skeptical of products that claim to do it all, but I also have an open mind and recognize solid technology when I see it. The Mytek Brooklyn is definitely a jack of all trades and a master of most. I held off on saying master of all trades because I didn't use the Brooklyn as a headphone amp or a phono preamplifier. All the other technologies and features of the Brooklyn were worked over very well throughout this review period. Overall, I really like the Brooklyn and believe, in many cases, it could be the best component in its class for under $2,000. ...
    by Published on 11-23-2016 09:03 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    5. Preamp
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    I'm going to start this off with an assignment for those reading the review. I hate to sound professorial, or like there will be an exam later in the semester, but it's for your own benefit. Please read my review of the Peachtree Audio nova150 before reading further. There's no need to recreate the wheel and go over the 99% of shared concepts and features a second time. The nova150 and the nova300 have so much in common, that I consider them not just brothers, but twins. Not in the complete Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito kind of way. Rather, more like real twins. One is stronger, better at sports, and receives more accolades. The nova150 and nova300 have the same DNA, just like identical twins, but the nova300 is that captain of the hockey team twin. The nova300 has a bit more going for it than the nova150. Similar to the way that members of the opposite sex may be more attracted to the stronger more athletic twin, audiophiles may be more attracted to the nova300. 300 is more than 150, so it must be better. Right? Or, just like the real world, does the smaller twin have more brains and finesse? After taking the nova300 for a spin for a week, I have no doubt that the stronger twin is equal to or better than the nova150 at everything. When paired with my TAD Compact Reference One loudspeakers, the nova300 had plenty of power to play Nine Inch Nails at 100 dB, with peaks near 115 dB, and play Beethoven's Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 5 in F, Op. 24 at reasonable levels with excellent detail and texture. I had so much fun with the nova300 in my system that I played everything from classical to classic rock to heavy metal to rap to metal rap. I just had to hear if the nova300 was capable of driving my 86 dB sensitive loudspeakers with power, finesse, and control. Test = passed. I hate to demean the nova150, but life isn't fair sometimes. Just like that identical twin who was naturally stronger and more gifted than his brother, in my system the nova300 is simply better. When in doubt, the Peachtree Audio nova300 is the one you want. Period. ...
    by Published on 11-11-2016 11:02 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Books

    Over the last year or so, I frequently had these feelings and a desire to make something with my hands. I thought about getting into woodworking, even though I have less than zero skills with the craft. I didn't really understand these feelings, but they were very strong. I use the word feelings rather than the word thoughts because this was coming from inside me and I couldn't wrap my head around it. I had an innate desire for something real. It turns out, I had an analog itch that was screaming to be scratched.

    I put down my Canon 5d MKIII digital camera, picked up my Hasselblad fully manual analog camera and shot a few rolls of Fuji Velvia slide film. I shipped the exposed film off to be processed, scanned, and printed. The anticipation of seeing what I had created was delightful. I waited nearly two weeks for the results to arrive home. Upon receiving the prints, I had a realization. While the final images were nice, they weren't the main reason for my happiness, my new found enthusiasm for analog, and my sense of fulfillment. Nostalgia also had little to nothing to do with this feeling. It was all about being human and connecting with something real, something tangible, something analog. It was about using more of my senses and being more human, as opposed to the binary digital life I lead on most days. Smelling the film as I placed it into the camera. Hand-winding the film within the A12 camera back. Hearing the distinctive rear auxiliary shutter of the Hasselblad 503CW camera body as I depressed the metal shutter release button. And finally, seeing, touching, and smelling the finished 5x5 prints upon their delivery from the mailman. This was a physical human experience from beginning to end. ...
    by Published on 11-03-2016 02:49 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    4. AES/EBU Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
    Article Preview



    Reviewing or writing about updated versions of products is something I rarely do. For the most part, I am just not as interested in the incremental updates so often placed into audio components, as I am interested in products that are new or significantly changed. I've been disappointed in the past to learn of manufacturers who release "Mark II" of a product only because a single internal component of the original version is no longer available. It's just as disappointing to see the unaware spend hard-earned money on such an upgrade. This type of thing happens across all industries. It's the nature of capitalism and consumerism. Fortunately, we are in the golden age of the Internet, where people can freely publish opinions about products without any trouble. We've all see numerous follow up reviews of version 2.0, where the writer says the upgrade isn't worth it or the upgrade didn't make any difference. Oh wait, today is November 1st, not April 1st. I can't recall ever seeing such an article. Back to my distaste of wasting virtual ink on incremental version upgrades. Aside from my skepticism about such upgrades, my lack of interest would no doubt lead to lackluster articles. Ever try writing about a topic with which you have zero interest? If the piece turned out good, you're a much better writer than I. Working for myself, I have no boss breathing down my neck to get a follow up review done. Without such pressure, I physically can't write such an article. It's just not in me. How does any of this relate to the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series 2? The DAC is obviously version 2 of the original, but in this case I can't not write about the RS2. The difference in sonic quality between Series 1 and Series 2 is substantial. This difference makes the decision to upgrade from from S1 to S2 a no brainer, and puts the Alpha DAC Reference Series back into play for people who may have written it off based on previous listening sessions. The Alpha DAC Reference Series 2 is easily Berkeley Audio Design's finest work to date and a reference by which other DACs will be measured. ...

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