“the british are coming, the british are coming!”

Rega are pleased to introduce a fantastic new Union flag finish for three of their most popular turntable models the RP1, RP3 and RP6.

All supplied as standard with the appropriate Rega cartridge factory fitted, this new finish is available to order now.


The British really are coming!

Don't you dare miss the Rega Hootenanny on OCTOBER 26th, 6pm with Rega UK's Paul Darwin and Sound Organisation legend Steve Daniels. Come see, feel and hear some new Rega goodies. Drink fresh beer from Live Oak, brewed just down the street and meet new friends! What a great way to begin (and possibly end) a Friday night!

This could be the last hi-fi speaker you’ll buy

by: Steve Guttenberg / The Audiophiliac

Nothing gets older faster than high-tech, but the Harbeth P3ESR sounds so good you may never want to replace it with another speaker. That's no hype; I know audiophiles still using similar speakers originally manufactured in the 1970s.

That's when American audiophiles first fell in love with small British monitor speakers engineered and designed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and manufactured by a number of companies, including KEF, Goodmans, Rogers, Spendor, and Harbeth. Though the speakers were all built around the same design, known as the LS3/5A, not all LS3/5As sounded exactly the same. Back in those days those British companies built all of their speakers in the home country, but that's no longer true for current British brands like Bowers & Wilkins, KEF, Linn, Monitor Audio, Quad, or Wharfedale. Harbeth is one of the few bucking the outsourcing trend; it still designs and builds all of its speakers in house.

I owned a pair of Rogers LS3/5As back in the day, and truth be told, I never understood the monitor moniker. The speakers didn't sound particularly accurate or revealing of recordings' flaws, which is what you would expect from a studio monitor. The speakers made most recordings sound nicer than they really were, which is why 30-year-old LS3/5As are still sought after.

Harbeth's terrific P3ESR is a contemporary equivalent of the LS3/5A. The 12-inch-high speaker feels remarkably solid, and the lovely (real) wood veneer is impeccable. The front baffle hosts a Harbeth-made 5-inch woofer and a 0.75-inch tweeter. Like the LS3/5A, the P3ESR doesn't have a bass port; it's a sealed box design.

Little speakers can sound small and restrict dynamic range compared with what you get from tower speakers, so it came as no surprise that the P3ESR can't rock out, or fill a big room with lease-breaking volume. If that's what you want, the P3ESR won't satisfy. Taken down to a more moderate volume with acoustic music, the P3ESR is a very credible performer. There's a freewheeling quality to the P3ESR's sound that I find irresistible. Voices and instruments sound more completely present and full-bodied than they do with many speakers, even bigger and more expensive ones. Rocking out to ZZ Top is definitely doable, but not to the point that your hearing will be in danger. Deep bass isn't part of the deal, but the P3ESR can dish out satisfying bass without the assistance of a subwoofer. This might be the ideal audiophile speaker for small apartments, and office or bedroom hi-fis. It also sounded spectacular on my desktop, powered by my 30-year-old NAD 3020 integrated amplifier. I didn't have a LS3/5A on hand to do a direct comparison, but I think the P3ESR is a better, more dynamic, higher-resolution device than a LS3/5A.

The P3ESR, in real cherry wood, is expensive ($2,095 a pair), but it's the sort of speaker that you might enjoy for many decades to come. I wrote an in-depth P3ESR review for Inner Fidelity in May. Decades-old LS3/5A speakers on eBay aren't more affordable than brand-new Harbeth P3ESRs, which perfectly demonstrates the fact that some great speakers are terrific long-term investments.

good times

Brought the family out on the town last night. DEVO & Blondie at Stubbs with an after show performance with Residual Kid. Devo and Blondie brought the goods and put on a great show. They've had 35 years of practice. Residual Kid are a local act that proves Rock and Roll is not completely dead. They're not a "novelty act", these kids actually rock and have chops!

Naim UnitiLite.

The UnitiLite offers a simple one-box solution for the listener who is looking for high performance streaming audio, but who also still enjoys spinning a CD or two. With its slimline case, multiple digital inputs, powerful 50W amplifier, and low price point in the UnitiSystem lineup, the UnitiLite will appeal to those who are drawn to the UnitiQute but perhaps want a more traditional design with front panel buttons and a CD tray. $2995 ($3395 w/ FM module)

#1 Record

Some people celebrate with wine. In 5 years from this coming Saturday, I will crack open my sealed copy of Big Star's #1 record and celebrate a half century of life. The countdown continues!

The strange and tragic story of the Garrott Brothers

Hi-fi Legends Lived For Love
Sydney Morning Herald
Sunday May 12, 1991

David Frith

THIS house runs on love," said a sign on one of the walls. It certainly did.

Love of the work that was being done there. Love of music. And family love: deep, passionate, fiercely held and proudly proclaimed.

The world of the Garrott brothers, hi-fi heroes extraordinaire, which came to an abrupt and tragic end the other day, exhibited it all in a way that could be unsettling to the casual visitor.

Handwritten notes, apparently scrawled and pinned up daily, plastered the walls of the houses that John and Brian Garrott shared with their Filipina wives, Teresita and Normita.

"Darling, I love you," read one in the hallway. "I love you, too," answered another in the kitchen. There were more in the workrooms.

And while Brian Garrott quietly set up microscopes and John Garrott began passionately explaining their work, Teresita, in hotpants and singlet, would drape herself across her husband's shoulders, embracing him with a fierceness that belied her tiny size.

"Darling, show Mr Frith what a real diamond tip looks like," she would whisper in his ear.

"Darling, I will," John would say, gently disentangling himself.

Though they were little known in their own country, the brothers Garrott were respected round the globe as the undoubted top experts on diamond styli: the fragile tips that ride through the grooves of LP records.

Audiophiles from all over the world sent their phono cartridges to the Garrotts to be upgraded. Working with stereo microscopes and precision tools, they painstakingly removed the diamond tip and replaced it with one of their own specifications.

"We're not technicians here, we're micro-surgeons," John Garrott told the rare visitors to their house. "We're doing hundreds of transplants a year."

At a cost of up to $400, they guaranteed they could make any cartridge, no matter what the cost, sound better.

If you didn't agree it sounded better after Garrott microsurgery, the brothers offered your money back.

Part of the secret was in the diamond itself. Seen under the microscope set up by the passionate Teresita, the diamond tips of even the most expensive cartridges showed up as lumpy dull grey products with pitted moonscape surfaces.

A Garrott diamond by contrast was everything you ever expected a diamond to be. Sharply cut and faceted by precision lasers in Japan and Germany to the Garrott Brothers' specifications, its mirror-polished surfaces reflected light with dazzling brilliance. No wonder they sounded so good.

Patiently Brian Garrott - the quiet one - would align the new diamond and fine tune each cartridge. The tiny cantilevers on which the diamonds were mounted would be replaced, rewired and realigned: micro-surgery indeed for minute items.

The close-knit brothers knew they were the best in the world at what they did, and they could be arrogant about it.

They never advertised; they were disdainful, contemptuous even, about marketing. Clients had to find them, which could be difficult indeed as they moved from Tasmania to Avalon, to Little Hartley in the Blue Mountains, and finally to the South Coast.

But somehow the word spread. Every day little packages arrived from all over the world - the US, Japan, Britain, Germany, South America, Yugoslavia -as audiophiles entrusted their phono cartridges to the mail and the Garrotts'loving care.

The brothers had begun fiddling with cartridges as a hobby while working in Britain in the mid-1960s and found to their astonishment their products out-performed some of the best-known equipment in the world.

They returned to Australia in the early 1970s ("It's still the best place to live despite the national disease of lack of confidence in Australian products," said John) and in 1974 began their diamond replacement service.

Later they also developed their own cartridge, the Garrott P77, which sold for about $200, but outperformed many imports costing more than $1,000.

They always lived together and worked together at the same home - an arrangement that continued after they met and married Teresita and Normita.

The marriage came relatively late in life, but it was a genuine love match, in doubles. The notes on the wall were evidence of that.

Diamonds, they say, are forever. But human life and health and happiness are built of more fragile stuff. Sometime last year the music began to wind down for the Garrott family.

By February this year John Garrott knew he was dying of a heart condition and unable to work. The business closed. They returned parcels unopened.

For a while Brian thought of continuing to work alone, but then rejected this; everyone had always done everything together or not all.

About two weeks ago they reached the final decision. Soon afterward, at the lonely farmhouse near Bega where they had finished up, one of the four connected a hose to the exhaust of the family car. One of them turned the switch.

And that was that: terminal silence in the house that ran on love.

All four died as they had lived: together. You can only guess at the anguish and torment that must have surrounded the wives' decision to accompany their husbands in this final tragic journey.

At first Brian and John would have tried to argue them out of it. But the women were fiery little ladies, intensely loyal and deep in their convictions. They would have been insistent.

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Buddy Holly would've been 76. In my opinion, he is the real father of Rock & Roll. The quality of work he left behind is amazing. He was only 22 when he died. If you ever find yourself in Lubbock, Texas, do yourself a favor and check out the Buddy Holly Center.

The Q Up is Back!

Remember these from the 80's? I was pretty stoked to run across this today on the net. Every time I wake up from a night of debauchery and I see my Dynavector going round and round at the end of a record, I cringe. You know you've done it too! Passed out on the couch and waking up to tha-thunk, tha-thunk. Over and over. Is your cartridge ruined? Probably not, but you slept through some of it's life because you spaced. I actually went out of town once... that's another terrible "no-no" story in itself.

I have some ordered and on the way so you don't have to join a 12 step program to save your cartridge! $60