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November 24: Toshiba boughttoshibatv
     Making TV sets is a rough game. Even big-screen 4K sets are dropping in price, and now the luxurious OLED sets are becoming a commodity, with makers struggling to get noticed for something beyond price.
     One of the victims of this commoditization is Toshiba, once the dominant maker of top-grade high-definition TVs, but now roadkill.
     Toshiba's TV business has now been bought by Hisense, a large Chinese TV maker. Though the deal includes the right to use the Toshiba name for the next 40 years, we don't know whether Hisense will actually produce Toshiba TV sets.
     This isn't the first time that Hisense has sought to acquire a famous name. Two years ago, it signed a deal with Sharp to make its TV sets. Sharp subsequently accused Hisense of making substandard sets under its name. The dispute is under arbitration.

November 17: The next issue...years
     The launch of the new interactive version of UHF has been a tremendous amount of work, not that we ever thought it would be otherwise. We had to notify our many existing subscribers of the change, and give them user names and passwords, and then code all those user names and passwords into the software. Fortunately, all but a small handful of subscribers have moved over to the new interactive issue. Some have done so reluctantly, but have let us know how important the magazine is to them.
     But we can't rest on our laurels. One of the benefits of the new interactive electronic system is to make the process of publishing more flexible, and therefore allowing us to publish much more frequently.
     So you've let us know that you liked issue 98...but what will be in issue 99?
     We've already begun receiving gear for future tests: a new speaker (from Totem) and a new phono stage (from (Simaudio). We will shortly be receiving a turntable, this one from Oracle. And we'll be finishing up the lineup shortly.
     But we've always thought that the equipment reviews, necessary as they are, were less important than the articles, so what else will be in the issue?
     Paul Bergman will have a major article on getting music from a groove. We'll do a complete analysis of TV screen sizes, and the pros and cons of getting a really big screen. We'll look at the question of whether music really is a human necessity, like food and water. Kathe Lieber is researching The Music of the Resistance, the long history of using music to put an end (unsuccessfully so far) to war. We'll give you a primer on discovering Shakespeare on the screen.
     We'll even have a story about Star Wars revealing details that you may not know.
     Oh yes, the medallion above...did you know this was our 35th anniversary?

November 9: UHF interactive FAQfaq
     A lot has been happening in the past week. We announced the publication of UHF No. 98, the first interactive issue, on November 3, but actually began sending out the previous day. We have been tremendously busy bringing over our print subscribers, giving them user names and passwords, and sending them the download links.
     But we also got a lot of questions, suggesting that either we hadn't explained ourselves clearly enough, or that some subscribers had not read us carefully enough. Hence this list of Frequently Asked Questions.

What's the difference between an interactive issue of UHF and an electronic issue?
We have offered electronic versions of UHF since issue No. 68, but they were clones of the printed issues. As of issue 98, it has become interactive, with on-page links that can't exist in print. Thus it is more than just an electronic version of the magazine.We mean for it to be a value-added product.

What took so long?
We apologize for the long lead time, but we spent a great deal of time pondering just what we would do. Would we do one more print issue in the face of soaring costs and the virtual disappearance of newsstands? If not, how could we make its successor actually denser and more useful?

Will the print issue still be available?
This is the question most asked. No, no, and no. Issue 97 will have been the last paper issue. Of course, back issues can still be had in printed form, but even so that is true in Canada only. Elsewhere in the world, the mailing costs are much higher than our selling price.

I got your e-mail about the new issue, but I still haven't received the link for the download.
That first e-mail was an offer to convert your subscription to the interactive version. Because it is optional (the alternative is to cancel your subscription), we await your answer before proceeding.

You're offering a credit of $2.50 per issue remaining on a print subscription. How does that work?
The credit is being offered because the print subscription cost more than the electronic subscription. If you accept the transfer, we add a credit to your file. Any time you place an order (for a subscription renewal, a book, a recording, or some other product from our Audiophile Store), we'll deduct the amount of the credit. No need to ask for it, we'll do it automatically.

What about readers who refuse the conversion?
We're happy (and relieved) to say that they aren't numerous, about 15 as of this date, and that's a tiny proportion. Once we have completed the conversion of subscribers who have opted to follow us, we will proceed to the reimbursement of unused subscriptions. The refund will be for the cost of the subscription less the value of the issues already delivered. Refunds will be made by a credit on a credit card, or by cheque, as appropriate. However, Canadian cheques cannot be cashed outside Canada. If a refund to an international client cannot be made via credit card, it will be offered as a credit on our store.

Have you considered the impact on older readers who don't have and don't want a computer or tablet?
Anyone without computer access will have problems with a lot more than UHF. Governments and large organizations now assume that you have your own computing device, or have access some other way, for instance a local library. Many service organizations have resources for those without computers, especially the elderly. Those services are generally free.

Will the changeover mean more frequent issues of UHF?
We believe so. The abandonment of the paper version gives us much more flexibility, and flexibility means speed. For instance, the cover photo of the issue No. 98 cover was taken less than a week before the publication date.

Can I buy issue 98 without subscribing?
You certainly can, just as you always could. Click here to order that one issue for $4 plus any applicable sales taxes. Or click here for a six-issue subscription, for $20, starting with issue 98.


Get a brand new Focus Audio integrated tube amplifier,
built in Canada, at a huge discount,
from UHF's Audiophile Boutique.

November 3: UHF 98 in your mailboxCover98
     In your e-mailbox, that is. We've reinvented the magazine as an interactive electronic publication, able to deliver more information than the print edition ever could.
     The final articles in this long-awaited issue were proofread Thursday morning. By Thursday evening some subscribers were already receiving their download links. By today at noon, everyone had them.
     Well, almost everyone. Inevitably, some subscribers changed their e-mail addresses and didn't let us know. Our e-mails with the links came back as undeliverable. Or at least undelivered.
     There can be one more problem. We know that spam is a time-wasting blight, but if your e-mail address requires some action (for example, a captcha), our system will ignore you. You need to give us an address that we can reach. We also recommend using an address that's permanent, such as gmail. If you use e-mail provided by your Internet provider and you then change providers...well, you can see what will happen.
     We know it has taken us a long time to bring out this issue, and we apologize. We spent a lot of time figuring out what we wanted to do next. And then turning the electronic issue into a value-added product took longer than we had supposed.
     We know we had shown you the cover of this issue some time ago, and it has been long enough that we have redone it. Yes, we still have a front cover (though not a back cover), and we've made the new magazine look as much as possible like the magazine you're used to. We've also used high-resolution photos, as we always did for print, so that they don't fall apart when you zoom in on them.
     Now...on to issue No. 99.

October 27: UHF 98 arrives next weekcabletech
          It's been a long time coming, and for good reason. We've been working hard to reinvent UHF Magazine, and it wasn't as easy as we had thought. That said, we're proud of what we've accomplished, and we think you'll like it.
     Two weeks ago, we e-mailed our print subscribers to let them know that the new interactive UHF would be replacing the print version. We're happy to say that all but a tiny handful of our readers have told us they want to follow us in this new adventure.
     To see all the details of what we've been up to, click on our PDF article. Et nous avons une version en fran├žais.
     The new interactive issue will be sent out next week. We should warn you, however, that a number of our e-mails were returned. If you didn't receive it, contact us with your new e-mail address, and we'll sign you up too.
     The page you see here, by the way, is another of Paul Bergman's articles on what makes high-end audio tick. As you can see, he takes onloudspeaker cables. What you'll read is a little different from what you may have read elsewhere, but that will come as no surprise.
     Unlike the first 97 editions of the magazine, this one is full of Internet links. Click on the blue links, and you'll be sent to in-depth explanations of concepts, or even music.
     Here's the thing. Our original plan, years ago, was not to publ;ish a magazine, but to help you listen to music (and later watch films) at home under the best possible conditions. The magazine was merely the means.
     We can do even better now. And we will.

October 20: Bryston's push for active speakersbryston21b
     The original Bryston Model T speaker (the biggest one) was a passive loudspeaker, like most speakers. That is to say, it had an internal crossover network made up of capacitors and other parts. You can still get it that way. But at recent shows, including TAVES in Toronto last weekend, Bryston was showing an active version, one with an amplifier channel for each driver or driver group. With an electronic crossover replacing the passive one.
     Now, Bryston is an amplifier manufacturer, and the cynics will say that this is a plot to sell more amps. In fact, active speakers do offer a real advantage. To make active speakers easier to implement, Bryston makes the 21B amplifier, shown here, with three channels. Two of them can drive a pair of active Model T's. And the six-channel 22B can do the job all by itself.
     We have to say that the result was convincing., despite the rather poor rooms at the Toronto Congress Centre. Particularly impressive was Jean Guillou's organ arrangement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, a recording that is notorious for including a 32-foot (16 Hz) pipe. Impressive.

October 18: Gershman's super speaker at TAVESposh
     Gershman is a small Canadian loudspeaker manufacturer, and its flagship speakers (the Avant Garde and the Black Swan) are expensive. This is not exceptional. High-end audio is expensive, if only because the products are made in limited (read: small) quantities. You know about the economies of scale? This is the opposite.
     If you remember the Gershman Black Swan, you'll know that it is built in two sections. The superior section, which is on stilts, contain the midrange and tweeter. Underneath it, but not touching it, is the large box with the woofer. The new speaker, dubbed the Posh, works the same way, though that is not obvious from the photo, or from a cursory examination. Three of the drivers are in the superior part, and it is supported by the elaborate aluminum structure. Down below is the subwoofer.
     The room was difficult, as were all of the rooms at this show, but the Gershmans managed to make it sound rather fine. The source was a good one, the Oracle Delphi VI in its latest incarnation, with amplification by Krell. We thought this was the best Gershman room ever, and one of the very best at this year's TAVES. We were in no rush to leave, and sat through several selections, including Hugh Masakela's Stimela and Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence.nofood
     The bad news: this is not a budget speaker, unless you consider the word "budget" to have a meaning unknown to us: $129,000.
     It was a good thing there was some good music to feed our souls, because there was nothing else to feed us. This was the first convention centre we have seen that has nowhere to get a sandwich, a bowl of yogurt, a coffee or even a bottle of water. We were directed to two nearby restaurants, a Tim Hortons (of course) and a Subway. And if you wanted to bring back a drink for a tired exhibitor, you were greeted by this sign at the front door.
     There were other complaints too. The Centre, eager to protect its remarkably ugly carpeting, would not allow exhibitors to use dollies to transport equipment. When you know that some of the speakers on display weigh 150 kg, you can see the problem.
     Ah well. We were happy to be visitors, not exhibitors. After hours, we could go hunt up a meal in a good restaurant. Couldn't we?
     Did we mention what a wasteland Etobicoke is? Most airport areas are, in fact. Fortunately, there was a pretty good steak house next to our hotel, which was itself in renovation.
     Even if this was a thin show, we have lots more to tell you about.

October 16: Back from Torontotavesregistration
     This was the fourth venue for
TAVES (the Toronto Audiovisual Entertainment show) since its beginning. The first three shows were at the King Edward hotel, right downtown. TAVES then moved to the Sheraton, right across from City Hall. In 2015 and 2016, it went far north to Richmond Hill, not really Toronto at all. And this year it was at the Toronto Congress Centre...not to be confused with the Toronto Covention Centre. This venue is not downtown but near the end of the runways at Pearson International Airport.
     We remember that, a long time ago, an audio show was situated near the Montreal airport. It wasn't a happy experience. This venue was no mere hotel, but a large convention centre, with all the trappings. Oh, except what you would expect: somewhere you could get a coffee or at least some water. Nope, not here. We'll have more details shortly, but we were happy to see the back of this show.
     By the way, the centre is in Etobicoke, nominally part of Toronto, but long an independent suburb. We suggest that it host a convention of city planners...to see how not to do urban planning. Etobicoke is a wasteland, not suited to humans. And even less to music.


Get a brand new Focus Audio integrated tube amplifier,
built in Canada, at a huge discount,
from UHF's Audiophile Boutique.

October 6: Toronto show coming
     It's called
TAVES, and it opens on October 13th for a three-day run Of course, we plan to be there.
     The past two years, TAVES had forsaken its downtown venues in favor of Richmond Hill, in the distant suburbs. This year it's back in Toronto, but only sort of. The Toronto Congress Centre (not to be confused with the Toronto Convention Centre, is at 650 Dixon Road in Etobicoke.
     There will be a lot more than hi-fi at TAVES this year. The show is even getting together with a show and sale of recreational vehicles. We're told, however, that audio showrooms will be first class.
     Another show opens today: the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver.

BY THE WAY: Since we're on our way to TAVES, we're starting our weekend Flash Sale early.


Not bi-wiring?
Still using the gold-colored jumpers that came with your speakers?
We have great jumpers made from single-crystal copper..

September 29: Totem turns 30totemstaircase
     It was in 1987 that UHF Magazine received an early sample of Totem's Model One speaker. We liked what we heard, and once it was in production we were the very first to review it. We have published several Totem reviews since then, and there will be another in issue No. 99.
     So it really has been 30 years since that early beginning, and that called for a party. It was held on September 27th at Totem's spectacular building in Montreal. Of course, Totem designer Vince Bruzzese was there, showing the innards of some of his latest creations.Bruzzesse
     It was a noisy party, we might add. The home cinema room, which was showing a Transformers movie, was actually one of the quiet spots.
     Our last visit to the Totem building, we realized, was for the 20th anniversary, and that was of course a decade ago.
     Issue 98 of UHF is coming in the next few days. Among the products to be reviewed in the following issue is the Totem Signature One. It's larger than the original we reviewed all those years ago, but it is similar in configuration, and also in ambition.
     Here's to the next decade, Vince.



 


Not bi-wiring?
Still using the awful gold-colored jumpers that came with your speakers?
We have great jumpers made from single-crystal copper.

September 1: Home cinema preampmaestrom9
     Audio Control is best known for high-end car audio and test instruments for installers. It does make home audio components, however. The latest is the Maestro M9.
     Of course it has support for the newer technologies:Dolby Atmos, DTS:XTM and Dirac Live room correction technology. It can handle 4K Ultra HD at 60 frames per second, and it's compatible with HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2. There's nbo men tion of 3D, which appears to be on its deathbed. Again.
     The price? In Canada it's $8,400.
     Yes, we know, though it is by no means the priciest home cinema preamp on the market. It's been tempting to use a receiver as a preamp (Onkyo, Marantz, Yamaha, etc.), and substituting better amplifiers. But receivers no longer come with preamp outputs.

BY THE WAY:
The Flash Sale is extended this weekend, for Labour Day. It features music recordings, digital cables and blank recording tape.


August 31: The end of Nitty Grittynittygritty
     A lot of companies make machines for cleaning LPs. The original is probably the Keith Monks. It is certainly the most thorough, using a time-consuming multi-step process. Its very high cost limits its popularity. You find it mainly in museums and broadcasting networks.
     For many audiophiles, a more affordable alternative has long been one of the Nitty Gritty machines. You put the record on its small turntable, push a button to apply the cleaning fluid, and then turn on the vacuum cleaner to pick up both fluid and dirt.
     The company was founded in 1981 by three audiophiles. In latter years, it has been run by the production manager, Gayle Van Syckle, who is now reported to have health problems. The company will now shut down.
     We reviewed the top model, the one that cleans both sides of the record at once, some years ago. We found it very effective, but deplored its combination of high price and somewhat shoddy construction. We even carried it briefly in our
Audiophile Store, until it became clear that some on-line outlets were underselling our cost price. In the meantime, a number of competing machines arrived, some of them more capable, and others less expensive. Still, Nitty Gritty was first in bringing LP cleaning to a wider audience, and it still has a large fan club.


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