Author Archives: Brian Hunter

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

An Interview With Mats Andersen Of QLN Audio

This week’s episode of The Occasional Podcast features a hearty does of education on two way speaker design. QLN Audio recently released an interesting two way configuration, found both in the likely standmount size Signature 3 but also in the floor stander Prestige 3. Mats Andersen is the designer behind the current lineup of Swedish loudspeakers from the company, and offers a peek into some of the thinking that takes place when considering the construction elements. Long is the list of things audiophiles like to debate, but two way vs three way in compact spaces isn’t exactly one that has flown under the radar. There are several unique constraints to consider, especially when it comes to bass reach, response and mid tone muddling.  You can find PTA’s review of the QLN Audio Prestige 3 here, and Audio-Head’s take on the Signature 3 here. Season four is in full swing for The Occasional Podcast, also available for download is last month’s podcast interview with MBL, The Occasional Beginner’s Guide To Digital Audio and our take on the “Loudness Wars” which has been a highlight for the summer. Season three was a memorable one, seeing interviews with such audio legends as Jeff Joseph, Bill [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

A Beginner’s Guide To Digital Audio

The simplest path to destination isn’t always the best, in digital audio and in life. Summer road trips amidst a pandemic drive the idea home. Sure, you can wake up from a mid flight nap to catch a glimpse of the Rockies as you soar overhead, but anyone who has made the trip through Utah to Colorado knows that there is so much more to see from the 80 MPH speed limits of I-70. Likewise, you can buy an Amazon speaker for your kitchen and call it digital audio playback. Audiophile’s might offer another trail to blaze. Intentionally seeking out the extra trouble of carefully selecting separate components, match making and fine tuning the chain. In this week’s episode of The Occasional Podcast, we process that path for the uninitiated. From easy starting points to bigger aspirations and larger budgets, we talk our way through the maze 1s and 0s that is the delight and convenience of streaming and file-based sources. Season four is in full swing for The Occasional Podcast, also available for download is last month’s podcast interview with MBL and don’t forget our take on the “Loudness Wars” which has been a highlight for the summer. Season [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

TOP QNA With Digital Guru Rob Watts

It took some time to nail down an interview with Rob Watts, but at a recent audio show it all finally came together. I had seen a few presentations from the amicable Mr. Watts in his role at Chord Electronics. Since joining the team of the UK-based company product launches have started to sizzle, with solid successes starting in digital products and extending down into portable options with the headphone darling Chord Mojo and Poly. During the interview it becomes quickly apparent that his knowledge of audio runs deep, not only in the digital domain but across all technical proficiencies associated with the hobby. But what is really interesting is his deliberate balance between listening and its impact on design. Rob Watts a fan, and one that is looking to create the best possible sound – at whatever price point he is working with. Our show this week with Rob Watts continues the march into season 4. Season three was a memorable one, seeing interviews with such audio legends as Jeff Joseph, Bill Dudleston and most recently Nelson Pass. We have some even bigger surprises in store for our listeners coming up, along with some pretty insightful explorations and discovery into [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

What Is Mastering? | The Occasional Podcast

Have you ever wondered what the heck Mastering is? I mean, we have tons of “Remasters” available for purchase, but what does that really mean? PTA contributor Dave McNair leads us though the maze of music production and into the final steps of music mastering in this week’s show of The Occasional Podcast. In this episode of The Occasional Podcast we seek to answer all these burning questions and more thanks to Dave’s main gig as a mastering engineer and Grover Neville who also produces and masters. The interview touches on everything from client services to EQ to the evolution of the role over time. Like most of music production, things have really changed with the advent of digital and other advances in recording technologies. The duo also discusses some of the nuances in remastered albums, and sometimes why every remaster isn’t always better the previous version. Our show this week also marks the end of season 3 of TOP and beginning of season 4. Season three was a memorable one, seeing interviews with such audio legends as Dan D’Agostino, Jeff Joseph, Sonus Faber and most recently Nelson Pass. We have some even bigger surprises in store for our listeners coming [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Nelson Pass Interview – Part 2 | The Occasional Podcast

Part-Time Audiophile

Chances are if you’ve been into high fidelity audio very long you’ve heard of Nelson Pass. His big watt amplifiers from Pass Labs make up their own little corner of audiophile history, and his First Watt creations take things down a whole other path. This release of the Occasional Podcast explores the second part of the Nelson Pass interview, recorded directly with the man himself at the 2019 Burning Amp Festival in San Francisco. Special thanks to Pass Labs’ PR rep Bryan Stanton for setting up this interview. It took some doing, but it was a great experience sitting down with Nelson and getting a chance to visit the Burning Amp event. Part two focuses on the latter half of Nelson’s career, starting with the creation of his side project First Watt. Part one is available here, and directly in the embed from the original post. This Nelson Pass interview travels down the path of his long history in the hobby, stopping by notable vistas along the way. It also gets into some of the broader looks at hi-fi, where we are heading – in reaction to where we have been. A lot has changed over the years for both [...]

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Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

dCS Bartók DAC, Part 2 | Review

Part-Time Audiophile

Last I checked, there were over 450 documents labeled “review” on my computer. Of those docs, many qualify as either digital components or straight up DACs by today’s standards. Of those DACs, many qualify as what most audiophiles refer to as “Delta Sigma” with a few less considered to be of the “Multi-bit” variety. Longtime high-end digital company dCS calls the brain of their growing list of digital products (and even their latest creation) a “Ring DAC”. The digital translation of the new dCS Bartók is just a sliver of the hot rod tech packed under the hood, which is a substantial presence in and of itself (in a physical and metaphoric sense).  This review is part two of the greater interaction on Part-Time Audiophile. You can check out Lee Scoggins take on the dCS Bartók in a more traditional two-channel setup here; this article is more about the interaction with the personal audio space. It is an important angle to evaluate, as the all-in-one desktop option here is a concrete step into the headphone arena — by design. Clearly a move with purpose and direction, the recent outreach by dCS into the personal audio space from a marketing perspective is [...]

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Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile