Author Archives: Brian Hunter

Al Schmitt, Legendary Engineer and Producer, Dies At 91 | The Occasional Podcast Interview

The sad news hit early Tuesday morning, music engineer and producer Al Schmitt had passed away at at 91. I got a chance to sit down with the music legend to chat about his legacy and upcoming book just a few years ago. I was recording interviews for Stereophile‘s Audiostream Podcast at the time, and Al was equal parts gracious and entertaining during the nearly three hours we spent together talking about his expansive, full life. His work in the music industry spans so many years, and he had so many fun and crazy stories to tell from his professional experience with the likes of Sam Cook, Todo, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney and more. 23 Grammys, to be exact. I’ve revisited the entire interview on this week’s Occasional Podcast to help give a small glimpse at the man who spent almost his entire life dedicated to making music sound better. The Occasional Podcast is making its way though Season 5 with this week’s revisit with Al Schmitt, but don’t miss our conversation from last week’s interview with Elac’s Andrew Jones, or even our interview audio legend Mike Moffat from the season opener. Also available for download is last season’s interviews [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

An Interview With Andrew Jones Of ELAC – The Occasional Podcast

This week’s episode of our seasonal, high fidelity podcast features none other than Andrew Jones of ELAC. While ELAC may be the most current bullet point on his resume, Andrew has a long history making loudspeakers for the hifi masses – including big successes in the budget realm with Pioneer and others. But high value, low cost speakers isn’t the only thing he’s worked on. Andrew Jones’ extensive past includes work with TAD, KEF and more. The Occasional Podcast checks in with the prolific designer for a second time to see what has transpired in his world, in one of the craziest years on record. You can find our first interview with Andrew way back in season one, and get a good since of his history and experience in the industry. Episode 7 covers off on tons of new ground, including Jones’ thoughts on new meta materials in speaker design, the pandemic’s effect on the industry and more. The Occasional Podcast is making its way though season 5 with Andrew Jones, but don’t miss our conversation from last week’s Subwoofers – Tips, Tricks and Setup, or even our interview audio legend Mike Moffat from the season opener. Also available for download is last season’s interviews [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

TOP Talks: Music Servers & How Everything Matters

In audiophile terms, music servers are still an emerging category of digital products. What started with education on DACs (and their role in high fidelity playback) has now moved to a consideration for the true source of any digitally-oriented rig. What gains can be had by upgrading beyond a simple laptop? The Occasional Podcast starts the talk this week in their episode Everything Makes A Difference: Music Server Edition. Host Brian Hunter is joined by digital designer and Innous Director Nuno Vitorino. In more analog mindset, does it make as much sense to evaluate a separate music server in the same terms as one might consider a cartridge to a turntable? Both meet the event at the very beginning of source material. In addition to thinking about the why, Nuno discusses much of the how – including where to get started and what to look for. Much of the enthusiast crowd throws some weight into DIY, but less tech savvy parties will have plenty of information to chew on as well. The Occasional Podcast is making its way though season 5 with music servers, but don’t miss our conversation from last week’s Two-Ways and Integrateds discussion, or even our interview audio legend [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Grado Labs Sits Down With PTA – The Occasional Podcast

Grado Labs has been around since 1953. That’s the equivalent of more than a few lifetimes in audiophile years. In that span, the Brooklyn-based company has produced both revelatory turntable cartridges and also a well-received slew of open back headphones. While times haven’t always been easy sailing for Grado, there is no denying that both the vinyl resurgence and the tidal wave of iPhone playback has been kind to both markets as of late. Its been a wild ride for a hifi manufacturer based in the US, and Rich Grado of Grado Labs sits down with The Occasional Podcast this week to tell their side of the experience. The company has recently expanded in several directions with the launch of a retail site 4ourears.com and the introduction of wireless products fit for the evolving personal audio market. With this week’s episode with Grado, Season 5 of The Occasional Podcast is out with a big start, beginning with our sit down with audio legend Mike Moffat and last week’s How Do You Budget For Your HiFi still available for listening. Also available for download is last season’s interviews with Heinz Lichtenegger, president of Pro-Ject. You can also check out Getting Started With [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

How Do You Budget For Your HiFi? The Occasional Podcast Answers!

Episode 2 of The Occasional Podcast tackles that much asked question: How does one allocate resources to each component in a HiFi system? Should speakers get most of the kitty? How about cables? We explore all this and more in the latest episode, along with the help of Jonathan Derda from MoFi. What do you think carries the most weight in a system? Let us know your experience in the comments. Whether its amps, sources or even some of the more fringe elements of the high end, there is plenty to get into the weeds in this episode of the show. Jon presents an interesting take from his experience, laying out the basics down all the way down to items that are usually included in ultra high end rigs. If you have ever wanted a little direction in terms of overall budgeting for this hobby, this week’s episode will have something for you. Season 5 is out with a big start, beginning with our sit down with audio legend Mike Moffat, but also available for download is last season’s interviews with Heinz Lichtenegger, president of Pro-Ject. You can also check out Getting Started With Vinyl Playback, The Occasional Beginner’s Guide To [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

List Of Black Friday Deals For Audiophiles

It’s been a long November, but the good news is that online shopping has really matured to a new place this year. Black Friday is no longer an early-morning-riser experience, but one that kindly spreads out the experience across several days. While big box retailers continue to offer big deals on TVs, a few hifi brands also take part in the festivities. Our sister site Audio-Head.com has taken up the torch to collectively push all the relevant links, codes and deals into a single page for your perusal. Some options you might see from last year, like Music Direct’s 15% off all music, but several others have popped into new norm for retailers including ATC and Westone Audio. Happy shopping fellow audio lovers, may the gods of HiFi shine brightly upon you and yours this holiday season. Audio-Head’s List Of Black Friday And Cyber Monday Deals for 2020  

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

LSA HP-2 Ultra Headphone | REVIEW

One of the great things about high performance headphone audio is that there is such a diverse selection of great sounding gear now. Back in the day (oh, 30 years or so) there were far fewer options on the table. Now, one would have to listen every day of the year to make it through all the variety in headphones that promise high fidelity within a personal space. This review of the LSA HP-2 ($799) covers one of that market’s newest entries. It’s not perhaps the most widely known option out there, but it definitely has its place among the enthusiasts’ high expectations for headphones in the $500+ category.  The headphone itself is sourced from the Russian-based manufacturer Kennerton. Under the LSA moniker, Underwood HiFi now offers their own take on the headphone line via three options. The HP-2 sits in the middle of the lineup and is based around Kennerton’s Gjallarhorn model. The website describes it as containing “a superb new horn-loaded 50mm driver with a bio-cellulose and paper membrane with a graphene coating”. It is a closed-back design with ear cups that appear completely made of wood, with a small vent hole located near the center of a [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

A Beginner’s Guide To Buying A Turntable (And Records!)

Even if you are a seasoned veteran of analog listening and learned everything you need to know about the subject back in the 60s, this week’s episode of The Occasional Podcast has something for you. Joined by Jonathan Derda of MoFi, Episode 8 of Season 4 holds enough information on the subject of vinyl to fill the memory banks of several TI-85 graphing calculators. This guide to turntable knowledge offers some really interesting insights for any vinyl lover. If you are new to the hobby, or are thinking about getting into record collecting – we have something really special for you. Follow the link here or check out the embed at the bottom of this post for a full rundown of everything you need to know to join the growing throngs of analog enthusiasts. It is perhaps on the biggest growing sectors in all of audiophillia, and for good reason. In our increasingly digital and virtual world, few things give you the substantial and tactile feedback as pulling back the sleeve on your favorite album and carefully dropping the needle into the groove. Apply heavy doses of cover artwork in sizes that look like actual art, and you have a [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 Headphone | REVIEW

To some, describing a headphone as “fun” is akin to the kiss of death. The calling for linearity occasionally spurs dynamic swings in opinions, and even greater judgments in the comment sections and forums. Whatever your preconceived notions of the term are, the Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 is a fun headphone to behold, to hold… and to hear. If you take a look through the company website, the first thing you might notice is that there appears to be a wide array of customizations and one-offs associated with the single-model headphone brand. And why not? At an asking price of $2,600 a piece, there appears to be enough margin to squeeze out some really cool bespoke feelings for purchasers. Rosson Audio Design even goes as far as to individually number each piece. My review sample was labeled 39/100 on the outside case.  For those who haven’t been following the market trends of modern audiophile headphones for the past 20 years, founder Alex Rosson got his start in the personal audio industry with Audeze. The influence of those designs can be felt throughout the RAD-0, but in a way, some of the differences feel like an extension, rather than a facsimile [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Marantz Sits Down With PTA, Behind The Scenes Of Vinyl Nation

This week’s episode of The Occasional Podcast is a serious double header. Not only do we have an interview with the directors of the the documentary Vinyl Nation, but we also sit down with the president of Marantz AND their Technical Director to give a full look at the company’s new direction. Marantz has recently taken up a different exterior look with the recent launch of a new product line and the team from Marantz virtually stops by the TOP offices to throw down what’s up with the company and the new direction they are taking with their products. While audiophile movies are few and far between, a recent documentary film takes a closer look at record collecting and its rapid growth of the past 10 years. Vinyl Nation creators Kevin Smokler and Christopher Boone pulled some interesting subjects for the release of this informative piece on the recent adoption of spinning platters and their physical medium counterparts. There is likely more than a few surprises to be found for your average audiophile, you can stream the movie from virtual storefronts at the film’s record store and arthouse movie theaters at the Vinyl Nation website. A portion of the documentary’s [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile