Tag Archives: eric franklin shook

Stille Grender from 2L Recordings | The Vinyl Anachronist

Thought I’d get a jump on holiday music for 2021 with Stille Grender, the latest from 2L Recordings in Norway. If I had received it just a couple of weeks ago, it would have easily been my favorite Christmas recording of 2020. (Insert obligatory bah, humbug! here.) But for some reason, possibly an issue with customs or just the holiday shipping crush, Stille Grender arrived shortly after the New Year. Look at it this way–if you still have your Christmas decorations up while you’re reading this, it’s probably still okay to listen to it. Here’s another reason for me to listen to Stille Grender on January 5. (My new neighbors already had their doubts about me.) This is another beautiful and technically brilliant recording of a pianist (Tord Gustavson) accompanying a children’s choir (Det Norske Jentekor) as they sing Christmas carols. (This album even starts off with “Carol of the Bells.”) What’s not to like, right? Well, Stille Grender arrived at the same time as the Acora Acoustics SRB 2-way monitors with dedicated SRS stands. The flagship Acora Acoustics SRC-2s just received our rare Summit Award from reviewer Dave McNair–which was quickly seconded by NC neighbor Eric Franklin Shook. I’ve [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Focal Kanta No. 2 Loudspeakers | REVIEW

The Focal Kanta No. 2 (website) speakers first caught my eye at an RMAF a year or two ago, speckled up in a brilliant citron yellow and sounding, well, swell. The sound was performing that tricky balancing act between leaping out into the room and providing a picture into a recording without launching full-scale ear assaults. Intriguing. I made a mental note of it, filing away the experience into my aural-cerebral notebook.  Words and Photos by Grover Neville Fast forward to this year, and when Focal-Naim America approached us about a review and gave us a choice of pretty much their entire lineup I knew immediately which one I wanted to hear. A little while later, though not much later–Focal-Naim America’s shipping department is fast —I had the Focal Kanta No. 2s in house.  A floorstanding speaker is a bit like a full, traditional American Thanksgiving Day meal. It serves up everything, satisfies all our pleasures, including the guilty ones, and generally departs with the same sense of gravitas and satisfaction it entered with. So too was the Focal Kanta No. 2 a hefty and satisfying listen, though it’s with considerably less satisfaction that I say goodbye to it. Set-Up [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Chario Constellation Cygnus Loudspeakers | REVIEW

Hi-Fi reviewers like reviewing products that sound good to them. I’m no exception. If I can’t hear a component before actually getting it, I’m always a bit leery. So it was a welcome and pleasant surprise when I fired up a pair of Chario Constellation Cygnus speakers (website) in my listening room. After the hit parade of excellent loudspeakers I’ve recently had the pleasure of reviewing, it was a relief to find out that the relatively unknown (in the US) and modestly priced Cygnus ($3,700/pair) is no exception. Ciao mio adorabile amico The Cygnus is a mid-level offering in Chario’s entry-level Constellation line of speakers. The gente at Chario have been using fine Italian craftsmanship to make a LOT of different speaker models, and they’ve been doing so since 1975. There are four separate lines including Academy S, Aviator, Constellation II, and a limited edition Belong series. Within the Constellation line alone there are four different models named Lynx, Delphinus, Cygnus, and Pegasus. Must be some frequent espresso breaks happening at the Chario factory to get all those speakers ready to ship. Words and Photos by Dave McNair The Chario Constellation Cygnus is a three-way comprised of a 1.5” soft [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

FOCAL Stellia Headphone, Arche Amplifier | REVIEW

I don’t listen to headphones like the Focal Stellia (website). Okay, let me back up—I listen to headphones all the time, just not for pleasure, but rather to check my work in the studio and occasionally to make eq decisions on a master. Words by Dave McNair and Nan Pincus When Eric Franklin Shook asked me if I wanted to review some headphones, I said “Uh, I don’t think so.” “Wait, these are special ‘phones—the Focal Stellia AND their killer headamp the Arche,” he says. “Okay, I’ll give it a shot,” I reply since I know Eric to be the best at deciphering the fake news you can trust. Dave McNair’s Take So here I am with these gorgeous, French-made beauties. The Focal Stellia headphones look like they’d be at home on location at the season’s showing of the new Chanel or YSL line. Not too blingy but a certain unmistakable French elegance in fit and finish. After I whipped up a batch of Coq au Vin and got out a bottle of vintage Bordeaux, I sat down to listen to some Serge Gainsbourg. Tonight, the headphones will deliver you the words I can’t say The first thing I did [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

The Music List: Is It Really Necessary? | The Vinyl Anachronist

A few weeks ago, I found myself editing an equipment review and I got to that section. You know the section, the one where the reviewer gathers up copious notes on the music used during the review and condenses it into a survey of sorts. I call it the Music List. In this particular case, the Music List went on and on and eventually became the largest section in the review. I asked myself an important question—do we really need all this? Is it necessary to discuss the fabled drum solo by Steve Gadd on “Aja” as extra punchy on a particular pair of speakers? Or how easily we can hear Yoko’s back-up vocals on “Obla-di, Obla-da” through the latest DAC? Maybe. I published a review not too long ago, and I didn’t mention any particular pieces of music in the “listening” section—on purpose. Within a few hours of publication, we received a comment on the website: “What music did you listen to? How are we supposed to put your review in context?” And I came to the realization that we all expect reviewers to go on and on about the records they listened to, a linguistic touchstone for the [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Vimberg Amea Loudspeakers | REVIEW

The Vimberg Amea (website) loudspeaker is a two-way, stand-mounted loudspeaker. I’m bringing this up first for a very good reason. When I first arrived at the front door of the Part-Time Audiophile headquarters more than two years ago, Scot Hull asked me what I wanted to review. The first thing out of my mouth was “world-class two-way monitors,” or something like that. If you know me, you know I love the little two-ways, especially when they don’t sound like two-way stand-mounted monitors because someone put some serious effort into the design. As a result, I’ve reviewed all sorts of wonderful two-way monitors that strive for state-of-the-art performance. They don’t reach down to 20 Hz (or even 45 or 50 sometimes), but they do such a great job at everything else, and I can think of about four or five of these li’l loudspeakers that I could buy and enjoy for the rest of my life without clamoring for something that goes a little deeper in the bass. I’ve even said as much in a couple of recent reviews. I did not expect the Vimberg Amea. (No one does, I’ve heard.) I knew it was going to be special—I’ve heard Tidal [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Acora Acoustics SRC-2 Loudspeakers | REVIEW

After living with Acora Acoustics SRC-2 loudspeakers in my listening room, I consider these speakers to be the newest member of a very small group of speaker systems that are the absolute state of the art in music reproduction. For the last few months, I have witnessed firsthand the incredible coherence, stunning presentation of spatial information, wide and smooth bandwidth, and limitless ability to reveal dynamic contrasts. The SRC-2s produced the finest sound I’ve yet heard in my system. There, I’ve said it. So what’s left to say about these? Plenty. Prologue I first heard Acora Acoustics in February of 2020 at the Tampa Audio Expo. I had assigned myself multiple rooms to cover for Part-Time Audiophile. Our own Eric Franklin Shook invited me to visit several additional rooms, Acora Acoustics being one of them. That first day I was quite impressed by the SRC-1 that was set up in one of the two Acora rooms. Super clear and clean sound, much larger than expected out of a modest-sized yet visually striking two-way floorstander, even with that granite cabinet. That granite! The entire line (SRB, SRC-1 and SRC-2) of Acora Acoustics speakers feature cabinet construction made from a particular type [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO Turntable | REVIEW

Debutantes Wear White Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon EVO landed on my doorstep in what seemed like mere minutes after I’d been asking Managing Editor Eric Franklin Shook, “They want me to do a turntable review? But why not Dave, or Marc?” Though my serious journey into vinyl has only just begun this year, the Pro-Ject table was the perfect place to start. I’ve had a quick succession of lent tables, cartridges and phono stages in-house in the last few months, and under the careful tutelage of the rest of the PTA team, and some of my friends in LA who are vinyl-cutting engineers, my knowledge has been growing exponentially for all things groovy. I have had vinyl on the brain. Words by Grover Neville Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon EVO is the newest iteration of their most popular turntable, this time with the works added: new motor suspension, height-adjustable damped aluminum feet, a new steel and TPE-damped platter, and a Sumiko Rainier cartridge. This is a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon table taken to a whole new level. One of the curious things I’ve noticed about hi-fi is a distinct disconnect between price and what I like to call “thinking inside the box.” No, this [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

McIntosh Announces MA12000 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier

BINGHAMTON, NY (PTA) — Our own Marc Phillips shot me an email yesterday morning with a heads up on the new ‘behemoth sized‘ integrated amplifier launching from McIntosh Labs. Along with the forwarded technical info and photos, a simple message from Marc that read, “I wanna review this so hard.” Having not even opened the first document or cracked the seal on any of the photos, I knew this was something serious. I immediately reached out to fellow staffer and columnist Nan Pincus for her reaction to the new 350-Watt MA12000 Hybrid Integrated from McIntosh Labs, as she had recently published a fantastic interview (found here) with McIntosh Labs President & CEO Charlie Randall, where she sought his perspective on the turntable side of hi-fi, and how McIntosh connects with consumers. Nan’s initial unbridled reaction to the sheer size of the MA12000: “A mad scientist made a microwave that forgot it was a microwave and self-actualized its way into being an integrated amplifier.” Upon seeing just a picture along with some brief details of the new MA12000 Integrated, reviewer and columnist Dave McNair had this to say: “Wow! I wanna get one, and I’ve never lusted over McIntosh before.” Given [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Part-Time Audiophile now featuring Contributor Columns

PART-TIME AUDIOPHILE INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS — We are proud to announce, the greatest addition to our Part-Time Audiophile website toolbar in over a decade—we bring to you, the Contributor Columns! It has been discussed amongst our staff of writers and decided that now-better-than-never is the perfect time to update our website’s navigation toolbar, thus making our editorial content that much easier to find. The new COLUMNS tab and included drop-down menu contains linkage to all of our favorite Part-Time Audiophile editorial columns from the past, present, and future. With our existing brain-trust of audiophile experts, hi-fi industry veterans, technical gurus, journalists, explorers, gourmets, thought leaders, and historians on the writing team, we felt it was time to set our rich column archives free from the search bar and entrust them to the navigation toolbar for quick access. The Contributor Columns For all of our long-time Part-Time Audiophile column readers, please know this: we appreciate your investment of time (and ad-clicking) towards our success, and for your patronage we bring forth some of our most revered content for a second (or third) helping. Returning to the stage are columns like Scot Hull‘s Publishers Desk, along with lifestyle columns like Nina Sventitsky‘s Reluctant [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile