November 14th: Upgrading the Kappa system
     Three of us (Toby, Steve, Gerard) spent Thursday with the Oppo Blu-ray player. For reasons we've explained, we need a new player for our Kappa system. Good players are rare, today, and Oppo looked like the most likely choice.
     It was. We spent part of the session with our Omega (audio-only) system, comparing the Oppo to a Linn player which cost 34 times as much. We also compared its HDCD performance to that of our computer with external HDCD decoding. No miracles, we're sorry to say, but it didn't embarass itself either. With Blu-ray, it was another matter, and we were stunned by the difference.
     The full story in our next issue.

BY THE WAY: We have new products coming to our Audiophile Store, and this weekend's
Flash Sale is intended to make room. Have a look.

November 11th: Listening sessions startoppo
     We're moving forward toward the release of UHF No. 96. We now have all of the products we will be reviewing. The list includes the Oppo BDP-103, which you see here. Readers have been asking us for a long time when we would be paying attention to Oppo.
     Our hand was forced by circumstances, truth to tell. Our reference Blu-ray player, a Pioneer BDP-51FD, was failing, crashing so hard on certain discs that it could be resurrected only by pulling the plug. A number of months ago, we had saved it by cleaning its laser lens with one of the cleaning discs our
Audiophile Store had once carried. It had worked, but now the player would no longer even load the cleaning disc, and would crash.
     So here's the spoiler alert: we bought the Oppo. At a time when even most famous-name players have become commodities, with the performance you would expect, Oppo looks very much upscale. It also plays CDs, SACDs, DVD-Audio (remember them?), and it decodes HDCD. It is one of the last players to do so.
     Next Monday, Albert will be doing the photography for the issue.

November 5th: Goodbye Harry
     Who knew that Harry Pearson was 77? Still, it did seem he had been at the helm of The Absolute Sound forever, and so he couldn't possibly be in his forties or fifties. Harry died in his sleep yesterday at his home in Sea Cliff, NY.
     His was a voice different from so many of the voices that dominated hi-fi in decades past. He insisted on comparing the sound of audio components to that of live music, not other components. He insisted that reviewers who were not themselves professional musicians submit ticket stubs four times a year to prove they knew what real music sounded like. Oh, and it had to be unamplified music. He would refuse lucrative ads, including those for "known carcinogens." An avid photographer, he would place one of his own Kodachrome images on his back cover rather than an ad. He didn't lack for hubris, calling his company "The Pearson Publishing Empire."
     But empires don't last forever. All magazines became strapped for money, and some 20 years ago Pearson sold his company. He remained on the editorial board, but he didn't much like the magazine's new orientation. Two years ago, now marginalized in the magazine he had founded, he resigned. He set up a Web site called HP Soundings, on which he was pretty blunt of what he thought of the new TAS.
     Love him or hate him, he was a giant.

October 29th: TAVES preview on lineSkeleton
     TAVES is of course the Toronto Audio and Video Entertainment Show. This is the fourth edition of the high-end show, after a hiatus of many years. It's in a new venue. Two of us will be attending on Friday and Saturday, and we will be blogging all about it. The Toronto blog is already on line, though, if you're reading it this day, has no details about a show that has not yet taken place.
     Our office will be closed Thursday through Monday became of TAVES, though a skeleton staff (who doesn't quite look like this) will take care of emergencies. Back to full service on Tuesday. And we are working hard to get pages done for UHF No. 96.
     We have been in the habit of offering an extended Flash Sale during shows, whether they be in Toronto, Montreal or Las Vegas. And we do in fact have a new Flash Sale starting today at 3 pm, which runs through next Tuesday. We think you'll find it interesting.

October 24th: Getting ready for TAVEStaveslogo
TAVES, the Toronto Audio and Video Entertainment show, otherwise known as "the Toronto show. It starts on Hallowe'en.
     Which disturbs us not a lot. None of us is young enough to go trick and treating, and the candy we used to hand out to young neighborhood blackmailers now costs like music files.
     TAVES is leaving the King Edward hotel, where it has been for the past three years, but it will still be right downtown, at the Sheraton Centre. Just look for Toronto's infamous city hall, and cross the street.
     Naturally, two of us will be attending, and we'll have our usual live blog.The blog will be on line with a preview shortly.

BY THE WAY: Is your amplifier sound tired? Have you been thinking about a DAC to connect your computer to your music system? Don't miss this weekend's Flash Sale...

October 2nd: Correcting a typoalphas4
     Typographical errors happen all the time. With each re-reading, we reduce their number to...let's say, half. They never really disappear.
     But we really hate getting the name of a product we are reviewing wrong. We did. The Alpha "S-4" loudspeaker cable reviewed in
the new issue of UHF Magazine, is actually called the S14. That's "14" as in 14-gauge. How did we get it wrong? Well, it's written small, and the days are getting shorter...
     We're especially embarassed, because we liked the S14 so much we added it to our Audiophile Store (you'll see it on our cable page -- it's the bright blue cable).
     "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," wrote Shakespeare. By whatever name we call it, the Alpha S14 is sweet indeed. We corrected the name on line and in the electronic editions of the magazine. If you have the print issue, or if you were among the first to download the electronic issue, just put in the "1" mentally.

October 1st: Free edition on lineminicover95b1
We've been doing it for many years: publishing not just our print issue, and then our electronic issue, but also a free edition, through the Reading Room. Like the reading room in a library, our own Reading Room lets you sit down and leaf through any of our magazines, at least since issue 68.
     Since we are still selling magazines (and indeed we must if we want to stay in business), we can't give away quite all the issue. You'll see that some articles begin in English, but then tail off into what looks like Latin (but would have puzzled Horace and Caesar). Even so, there's a lot to read.
     The free issue is a PDF, readable on nearly anything electronic. Maggie's electronic issue is also a PDF. The two are identical, except that Maggie's version is complete, down to the last word.
     If you want a good overview of what we've done, drop by the Reading Room. Or if you want to get the complete electronic issue right now, for $4 (applicable sales tax in Canada only), just click here.

Sept.26th: UHF 95 in the mailminicover95b
     There was a delay getting this issue out, but the printed magazines are now in the mail, and on their way to subscribers. Maggie's electronic issue, especially popular with readers who own iPads or other tablets, came out a week ago.
     By the way, we have big plans for that electronic issue, and we'll be letting you know as soon as we can. We do think that an electronic magazine can be a lot more than just a screen copy of a print magazine.
     We'll be finishing up the free issue of the magazine too. That, as you possibly know, looks just like the paid ($4) version, but only about half of its content is fully accessible. We have plans for that version too, since -- not surprisingly -- it is the most-read version of UHF.
     With VISA or MasterCard in hand, click on this link to
get the print version mailed to you, or click here to get Maggie's electronic version, which is both cheaper and faster
     Better yet, why not subscribe?.

BY THE WAY: It's Flash Sale time again. Until Monday morning, that is.

Sept.19th: Maggie has UHF 95
     Maggie is of course the (virtual) lady who offers the electronic version of UHF Magazine. She has sent out notices to subscribers to her edition, to let readers know that the issue is ready for download.mailfail1
     If you're not a subscriber, you can download the issue as well, for just $4 (taxes in Canada only). It includes our in-depth step-by-step article on making an inexpensive computer into a terrific music source for your system. Just click here to order the issue.
     We'd better warn you, though, that some of our notices are bouncing back, like the one shown at left. If that's yours, it's because you've changed e-mail address without letting us know. It's not too late to call or write, and keep us in the loop.
     The print issue is being prepared for mailing, and will be in the mail this coming week.
     Yes, there's still a free edition. That's the one with articles that are all complete. It will be on line early this coming week.

BY THE WAY: Our Flash Sale has just started, and it offers you an economical way to have superior electronics for the Fall season. But only until Monday morning.

Sept.15th: Goodbye Pioneerpioneer
     Well, actually, we're saying goodbye to just one particular Pioneer product. Our Pioneer BDP-51FD Blu-ray player came into service in early 2009. Over five years it has had a lot of use, and actually we have been nursing it along. We gave it a firmware upgrade (not quite following Pioneer's detailed Web instructions, since they were wrong). When the transport began to misbehave, we used the cleaning disc we used to stock in our Audiophile Store to set it right. And it worked.
     Only now it no longer does. The player began freezing on more and more films, and now it will no longer load the cleaning disc. Some discs, including the cleaning disc itself, make it crash (it is a computer, after all). It crashes so hard that the only cure is to pull the plug.
     Sadly, our relationship is over. In the meantime, a lot of players, even ones with famous names, have become mere commodities, selling for under $100, with performance to match the price.
     We'll be writing about our Pioneer's replacement in UHF No. 96. There weren't a lot of choices.

Sept.12th: UHF 95 comes to Maggie next week
     The print issue went into production on Monday, and will be out shortly. We're just getting Maggie's electronic version ready, and it will be on line next week. Of course, if you have a subscription, you'll get a download link as soon as it's available. Watch your mailbox.
     Why do we need to get it ready? The electronic edition has something that the print issue can't have: it's interactive. Click on a topic in the table of contents, and you go right to the article. Click on an ad, and your browser takes you to the advertiser's Web site.
     We'll also be preparing the free edition, the one some of whose articles are not quite complete. (We have to eat, after all.)
     We're also preparing the renewal notices for readers whose subscriptions are coming due, or have lapsed. We e-mail renewal notices for print subscribers too. If there's no response, we then follow up with a snail mail reminder.
     Of course, you can save us the postage. Thanks in advance.

August 29th: Computers and musiccomputeraudio
Now and then we do this: we take up a major space in UHF Magazine to discuss a major issue we know you want our take on.
     For more than two years, we've been playing most of our digital music from a computer, not a CD player. More convenient? Certainly. Better sounding? Actually, yes. We own one of the best CD players ever made, and it sounds pale alongside a $600 computer sitting next to our Omega music system.
     But you know this, because we've been writing extensively on the subject. Perhaps you have already done the same. Perhaps you've been wondering which ones of our back issues you should order in order to get up-to-date tips on incorporating a computer into your system. We thought it was time we put down in one place everything we know. Or everything we think we know.
     That's what we've done. In a group of densely-packed pages, we've covered why your computer should be a music source, whether you need a dedicated computer just for music, how to set it up, and how to configure the software. You'll be seeing the issue in a few days.
     Computer audio may not be as plug-and-play as a CD player, but it will sound way better. And when you finally get it working just the way you want, you won't ever turn back. We certainly won't.

BY THE WAY: Over this long weekend, we're running an extended Flash Sale. This weekend's sale is one that is unlikely ever to be repeated. Just sayin'.

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