NEWSLETTER – MAY 2017
NEWSLETTER – APRIL 2017
Welcome to our first newsletter. People have been asking for years to access our incredible knowledge J All joking aside, we are able to listen and compare hundreds of different products. So why not share our impressions of some of them. This month we also have album recommendations, upcoming products and brands, Brand spotlight. Enjoy …
Listening Impressions: Totem Sky
I had a couple of other products in mind for my inaugural write up. However, I finally did a proper listen on these and to put it mildly they blew my mind. We make it no secret that we are huge Totem fans. For me, that goes back to way before I was a dealer for them.
For some of their models (always my favorites) you have to put in a bit of work to get them to really show their magic. Like what? Sometimes they want a fair bit of power. Picky with room/positioning. Picky with the tonal character of the overall system. Cables (I’m looking at you Metal and Fire). Ultimate volume is limited, especially in larger rooms. Let me make it clear that none of their speakers have ALL of these characteristics. Usually only 1. 2 at the most.
This brings me to my first and probably biggest attributes that makes this speaker so amazing. It has NONE of those. And it still has that Totem musicality that we all love so much. Don’t get me wrong, they definitely respond positively to taking care of these things and are transparent enough to show you any changes, but they somehow never punish you for a less than ideal set up.
So now that you know what they won’t do, let’s talk about what they do do (not doo-doo). Going through my listening notes, the first thing I have listed under the positive section is “everything”. They are so tonally balanced top to bottom. Nothing about the speakers character draws you attention away from the music. So engaging and yet they don’t seem to have typical flaws that draw your attention away from the music.
There is one other attribute I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t discuss … bass. Other than Joseph Pulsars (about $9,000) I have never had a speaker completely surprise me with bass quantity combined with quality relative to its size. Don’t get me wrong a lot of small speakers can do a good job of thumping along, but it’s always overblown or are lacking in the PRaT department and always distract from the musical flow. Not here. When the music calls for it, these little speakers POUND. But they are fast and tight at the same time. AND they will do this in a large room, which explains their incredible performance at TAVES in that massive room. So even though they are quite small, I don’t think of them as a bookshelf speaker.
I could go on all day talking about the Sky’s amazing attributes, but for the sake of time and space I will mention a couple of other qualities I have written down in my notes. Vocals, flexible positioning, imaging, ability to play as loud as you want and PRaT. To sum up I will quote my listening notes under the negatives section: “not a damn thing”.
Album of the Month: Doug MacLeod – You Can’t Take My Blues
If I had written an “Album of the Month” review any time over the last 10 years it likely would have been Doug MacLeod and likely this album. For numerous reasons. The biggest one being it’s one of those rare finds of music you want to listen that is also really well recorded. My test for music you WANT to listen to, is do you only listen to it in your main system? Or does it make it on your portable player? in the car? on your phone? …. I’m sorry, but I have and will never listen to Jazz at the Pawnshop on my iPod. Not so with Doug MacLeod. He has a few album that make it on most of my playlists for portable listening.
I started with this album because this is the first album I bought by him. After discarding a lot of music recommendations from most audio magazines as Audiophile and not music lovers music, I purchase this on the recommendation of UHF Magazine (if you don’t know them, check them out now!). I won’t get into breaking down each song here. But I will mention a couple. The song You Can’t Take My Blues is one of my reference songs for listening tests and I have literally listened and analyzed it thousands of times. And I still enjoy it. While it has so many great things going on that I enjoy, I use it to test PRaT (Pace, Rhythm and Timing). If your toe ain’t tappin’ to this song, something is wrong. With you or your system J. The other song that I absolutely love is Things Will be Better, You’ll See. A slower pace song, that I have always found beautiful, and has stood the test of time with me. Not something easy to do. Check it out, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Ever wonder how we choose our brands and products? We bring them in and play with them. Ideally this is something we borrow. Usually we have to buy it with our hard earned cash. For every product that we recommend (see Sky review above) we reject numerous others ( I have folders full of disappointing reviews). So, here are a few items that we have been trying out and are showing promise:
– We are really excited about a $600 tube integrated. Yes, there are dozens of these on the market. Most are seriously lacking in sound and build quality. This one seems to be an exception. And I think that they did it through some wise decisions. Low power (13 watts), straight forward design (class A/B push pull), stripped down (2 inputs, no remote, no DAC or phono). At its price, we are liking it so far. But we will have our tech look it over before committing.
– Bryston BP-2 Phono with PS3 power supply. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t Simcoe Sound recommend EVERYTHING that Bryston makes? Nope. For example, ask our thoughts on some of their Pre-Amps. Either way, we assess everything.
– Portable Music Player that does 192/24, DSD, Bluetooth 4.0 with APT-X out and in. Up to 256 GB storage. $199. Shanling M1. Need I say more?
– Elac Speakers …
Brand Spotlight: Rega
A friend of Simcoe Sound, turned me on to these videos (see link below). Thanks Barry. I have always respected Rega. Mostly because of their value which ranges good to absolutely spectacular. After watching this, I can start to understand the “absolutely spectacular” value. It’s a 5 part series:
29 Essa Road,