French Vintage Hi Fi is celebrating its first birthday today!
It has been quite an adventure (and a challenge at times...) to dig into memories of great products and recounting stories of past and more recents audiophile pleasures.
It has also been quite a success as we now command a steady flow of visitors from over 60 countries, some spending up to an hour to read my prose...
Even better is the fact that we now rank on www.alexa.com, the worlwide reference in terms of one's identity on the Net.
Merci beaucoup to all of you.
I hope we will be able to give you even more information, more relevant to your passion and wider in scope.
To this effect, I am opening a new page to talk about the real reason which HiFi exists: to reproduce music!
I was going to call the new page "software" but instead I have settled on "Music".
This new page will also be on a blog format, so you easily find an artist, a composer, a particular ensemble or a record company. we will endeavour to review analogue and digital formats and will indicate this in the "categories" navigation pane.
Tell us what you would like us to talk about in the near future, or if you have a particular product you would like us to talk about.
We will also accept and publish your own reviews of such vintage products.
The main criteria to be published is to have a real ownership of and experience with such a product.
If you are a manufacturer, we would like to hear from you as well, as it is sometime difficult for us to access information on vintage products.
So, again thank a million for visiting and click here for our first "Music" instalment!
Lucky boys and girls, you are getting another post from me this week!
Here is a copy of a press release from Cabasse:
International Dynamics Australasia (IDA) has been appointed the sole and exclusive distributor in Australia for Cabasse. ‘Cabasse has a rich history of innovation and excellence as a loudspeaker manufacturer, and a wide range of lifestyle, conventional and custom speaker products in multiple price categories,' said Michael Thornton-Smith, of International Dynamics. ‘We're both excited and proud about being appointed as the new Australasian distributor. Founded 1950 by George Cabasse, the brand has developed to represent great technological innovation and impressive acoustic performances as a result of extensive experimental research and the endless possibilities enabled by the fact that the company is one of the few that manufactures its own drivers, in-house.' Thornton-Smith told Australian Hi-Fi Magazine that International Dynamics will be distributing the entry-level Oceo, mid-level Idea and high-end Artis lines. Availability and pricing will be announced later this year. For further information, please contact Cabasse at International Dynamics Pictured in previous post: The Cabasse ‘La Sphere' is a four-way active design using a 25mm dome diaphragm to reproduce frequencies between 4–25kHz, a 127mm P2C ring radiator for the 800Hz–4kHz range, a 203mm ‘duocell ring' that handles 150–800Hz and a 558mm bass driver for low frequencies (20–150Hz). The crossover is a DSP type, using a Sharc Analog Devices 32-bit floating point processor. The crossover slopes are variable around the points at 24–70dB/octave.
NOTE from French Vintage HiFi:
And if you buy a pair of Spheres, George Cabasse own's son, Christophe will come to your place and do the tuning for your room.
Hopefully, he will bring a good bottle of French red wine or Champagne with him...
Can't wait to go to Melbourne for a listening session (that should happen mid-April...) Stay tuned!
Well, this is not MY reference system...
But it was certainly very adequate to listen to the new Martin Logan Ethos!
Thanks to the very friendly and knowledgeable team of my friend Adam Carlino at AudioConnection, I think I was the first person in Sydney at least to have the chance to listen to these fabulous speakers.
I will summarise my findings by saying it is the first time I am considering upgrading from my cherished Microphase speakers in the last 25 years...(yes, I know, I am biaised!)
But let's start at the begining:
I currently use a REGA P1 (in its NAD jacket...) with the new RB250 arm(I also have a REGA P3 - vintage 1984...currently on loan to my daughter) and a recently acquired Ortofon RED MM cartridge feeding a NAD 7140 receiver (1984 vintage) used only as a preamp/FM Tuner and then into my Bryston 3B (1994 vintage).
I use a Pioneer DVD/SACD player as a digital source.
I also recently got an iPhone than I am keen to try as a pure digital source.
I have been very happy with this system for many a year and even after visting the HiFi show in Paris, I didn't find anything that took my fancy at a reasonable price.
I have been investigating upgrading my preamp and am considering buying either a NAD C165BEE (#1500$) or a Bryston BP26 with a MM phono stage (#5000$ for comparable features).
So the question is: Is it worth spending an additional 3500$ to get a complete Bryston amplification, or should we spend that money on upgrading the front-end, namely the turntable?
Obviously, it is only by trying the different combinations that you might be able to find the answer, and this is almost impossible to achieve as it would be almost impossible to find all this gear at ONE dealer, willing to spend the time to put such a system together with the hope that one might something out of this exercise.
My ideal and theoritical reference system today would look like this this:
Michell Orbe turnable with Origin-modified Rega RB250 (as the one fitted on the rega P1/NAD555), probably fitted with a Grado Platinum (6500$)
Bryston BP26 with external power supply, remote control and phono stage (4500$)
Bryston 3B power amp
Martin Logan Ethos (10000$)
Total price of the upgrade: 21000$
My second choice would be to upgrade my Rega turntable with Isokinetic kits and arm using Origin Live mods and Grado Platinum cartridge, a new C165BEE NAD preamp, my current Bryston 3B amp and Microphase speakers - that would cost me around 3000$ and would probably satiate my appetite for a better system for many years to come. And that is a 700% price difference!
Will I get a 700% improvement in my listening pleasure???
I let you be the judge...
In the meantime, my current system is MY reference system as I know perfectly all its weaknesses and strengths and this is totally adequate to review other systems against it
BTW, the Martin Logan Ethos are the best value for money speakers I have ever listen to and they provide REAL music and enjoyment:
It was really fabulous to see the expression of surprise and delight on my dealer's face as we listened together to a live recording of "Private Investigations" from an old Dire Straits album called "Alchemy" and my best test record...
It was recorded in 1983 on a Rolling Stone mobile studio and is a magical piece of music, engineering and it was (unknowingly at the time...) my first encounter with Australia, as Brett Whiteley, one of the most famous Australian painter, did the artwork for the cover.
Brett Whiteley in this particular work could be labeled as the Aussie Salvator Dali, my most favourite artist of all times (Album Vertigo VERY 11 #818 243-1)
Just found out that this is now available as a DVD/Blu-Ray album (http://www.mark-knopfler.info/d2010.htm). My birthday is coming soon...
Guess what: I got an email yesterday from Focal to update me on their new website address!. They also have revamped the website quite interestingly.
So here it is: www.focal.com
That's great news as the previous domain name (focal-fr.com) was obviously a bit parochial...
I wonder how much it cost to buy back this domain...
Anyway, this is great news and a tribute to the export success of the company.
I have also been enticed to post a link to more information on the Grande Utopia, than I am more than happy to give it to you: http://www.focal.com/en/home-audio-loudspeakers/utopia-iii.php.
There is also what we call a microsite dedicated to the Grande Utopia EM:
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.