Boo!

Have a Happy Halloween! It's time to break out those spooky haunted house records and hand out sugary treats! Don't forget to check your candy haul for razor blades, PCP and...the Ebola.
scary

The new Rega DAC-R with Remote!

The Rega DAC-R is a 16/20/24-bit at 32kHz to 192kHz digital to analogue
converter. Incorporating an enhanced version of the Rega designed circuit,
the DAC-R offers the highest possible resolution over all inputs including
fully asynchronous USB with the addition of remote functionality.

rega DAC-R

Harbeth Super HL5 plus. Now On The Floor!!

5563504720_89d1e609da
Harbeth's Super HL5plus produces breathtaking transparency, a huge soundstage and total immersion in the performance. This speaker creates a rich bass and sweet midrange that brings acoustic music alive.

This is the latest generation of Dudley Harwood's original HL-Monitor: the cabinet is still engineered in the BBC tradition of removable 'thin-wall' panels for a totally true-to-life sound.

Retaining the classic 'two cubic foot' proportions found in the very best BBC monitors, the HL5plus relies on the exclusive Harbeth-made 200mm RADIAL2™ bass/mid driver. This produces a big, warm and powerful sound that underpins the incredible midband clarity.

The 20mm main tweeter is augmented by a SuperTweeter for an extended and even dispersion to the upper edge of the audio band.

Al, Paul & G-Luv

photo
I went to The Continental Club with Rega's Paul Darwin (and BFF, Angela "G-Luv" Tragus) to see Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys last night. Al dedicated the set to Lou Reed, played a few of his songs and said, "without Lou, none of us would be standing up here right now". If he comes to your town... GO!

You will get a taste of what "real" Austin music is all about.

alesco

Rega Saturn-R Hootenanny!!! This Friday, October 25th 6-9pm

Here's a bad pic of a Rega Saturn-R "mock up". It's just the casework. You'll be able to hear the real deal at the Rega Hootenanny! Friday, October 25th. 6-9pm. Come drink a few beers with Rega UK's Paul Darwin. Ask him about his escapades (he's gonna kill me) as promoter for The Smiths and tour manager for Tears For Fears!

The Saturn-R is a CD player and DAC. It has 5 digital inputs so you can take advantage of the 192/24 dual Wolfson DAC's on board. Hook up your Blue Ray DVD player, Computer, etc.

Also on hand will be the new Aria phono stage, Elicit-R integrated amp and RP8 turntable!

saturnr

Harbeth 30.1

30

I just ordered up a pair of Harbeth M30.1.

Overwhelming inquires have "forced" me to get these on the floor ASAP! Here's a nice REVIEW using the Heed Obelisk Si integrated amp / X2 power supply and Leben which I also have to demo.

Big Sean

BigLion
As I was opening the shop this morning, some producers from Vice were walking by and asked if I would be willing to host an interview in the shop today. "With who?" I asked. "BIG SEAN.." Nice guy. He even had a bodyguard. I did mention that he could get a Naim system in a Bentley..

He thought the Rega RP3 was nice.

BigSean

stereo squares

SS-logo-150x150

I have your dust cover solution! The Well Tempered Amadeus doesn't come with one. Luckily, I have found an excellent company called STEREO SQUARES. These guys can make any kind of cover you can think up. The Amadeus cover is $299. 3-4 weeks ETA.

Amadeus-300x300

Dale Watson & Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon

littlelonghornsaloon-1*600
Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon – the burnt orange and white dive bar on Burnet Road that’s as “old Austin” as it gets and famous for its Sunday bingo game involving chicken poop – is expected to reopen in early November under the ownership of Austin musician Dale Watson.

Rumors swirled in August when Ginny’s abruptly closed. There was lots of speculation at the time of the property falling to developers but it was soon learned that the bar was going through a remodeling job. When I took a drive by the property at the time there was plenty of evidence of that in the bar’s trash bins outside. In a short phone conversation with owner Ginny Kalmbach's daughter at the time I was told the plan was for the bar to reopen "soon" once the property improvements were complete.

Things had been quiet since then but the Austin American-Statesman reports that Kalmbach has decided to retire and long-time friend Watson has stepped in to pay for a $20,000 renovation and relaunch. Country rocker Watson – who just learned he’s going to record an episode of Austin City Limits in late November – played his first show in Austin at Ginny’s 20 years ago and he and his band are the soundtrack to the Sunday bingo games.

Chad Swiatecki

EMT TSD-15

Look what's coming in soon! Art Dudley's review is HERE. The EMT TSD 15 was recently listed as Class A in Stereophile's "Recommended Components" and the most $ensible of the bunch.
511litsen.promo
picture by Matt Rotunda

The new Dynavector P75 Mk3 … it’s Bonza mate!

Phono to line level preamplifier
Total phono solution
Matches any cartridge type
Fully user adjustable
Very low noise
Very high RIAA accuracy
No hum!
Includes patented 'Phono Enhancer' option
Low cost, very high performance

Yeah, it's "Bonza" all right (Aussie for great!). As I've been saying for years, The P75 is one of the best phono pre amps I've heard at any price!! If you want to do it right the first time, don't be daft and getcha one. Pair it with a Dynavector cartridge and experience the ultimate in synergy. $895

Heed Obelisk si mk2 integrated amp w/ Dactil 1.2 DAC and Enigma loudspeakers

Coming to the shop this week!!

With an increasing number of music lovers ripping their existing music library onto computer and the purchasing trend moving rapidly to downloads, the convergence of computers into the high-end audio system is becoming very real. 300 million people now use iTunes as their primary music storage and management system. Software such as Pure Music enables audiophile users to operate the familiar iTunes GUI, controlled via iDevice, but with the ability to play back high-resolution files including FLAC. The compact Mac Mini can now be considered a genuine high quality audio playback device. Together with the iPod and iPhone and an increasing number of PC laptops, the primary colour for Mac Minis is white and for this reason Heed Audio UK has added a white finish to its range of electronics..Whether it be the entry level Obelisk Si integrated amplifier or a full pre/power system comprising the Obelisk Pre, its dedicated PX power supply and multiple Obelisk PM mono power amplifiers, the computer savvy music lover can now match their electronics to the finish of their computer or docked iPod, without having to sacrifice the quality of system they choose

.... Of course the white Heed electronics aren't only designed for Apple computer users, but for anyone wishing to enhance the appearance of their hi-fi system by moving away from the more common black finish. White is increasingly becoming the fashionable colour for a huge variety of luxury products from phones such as the iPhone 4S, to cameras e.g. the Nikon J1 and cars such as the Range Rover Evoque. Heed Audio is quite possibly the first high-end audio electronics manufacturer to offer its products in high gloss white.

that was fun!

The Rega Hootenanny went off without a hitch! The new RP8 is fantastic, as if I had any doubt. I think it should be called RP Great! A completely new direction in turntable design. Paul Darwin gave a great presentation and explained the design benefits and differences compared to the Regas we've seen in the past. The RP8 is a direct descendent of the "cost no object" table Roy Gandy was working on a few years ago when I visited the factory. The skeletal plinth and bracing are just a couple things I saw that are now showing up on the newer RP series of tables. Rega don't design products to just "look cool", there is always a reason behind it.

Just in time for Halloween! Pentagram

"Last Days Here" is the gripping story of a nonfictional Spinal Tap. America's answer to Black Sabbath. Real life Zombie, singer Bobby Leibling pulls a Roky Erickson and comes back from the depths of Hell! Halloween spooky stuff with a happy ending. FOUR STARS! ****

Got my gris gris on..

last night at Stubbs... Galactic! Stanton Moore is such a @#$*ing good drummer!! I neeeed his signature series Bosphorus Trash Crash cymbal. Every time I hear it, I just fall deeper in love. "my preciousssss..."
Galactic Stubbs

Ron Sexsmith and his new Rega rig!

So, here I am at the Toronto airport delayed.. shocking! I may be pining away in a airport bar in Chicago for the night. I'm sure I'll be the "Ugly American" before it's all said and done. Besides the usual airport shenanigans, I had a great time in the Great White North! This tale has a interesting start and a happy ending.

Ron & Rega

I started listening to Ron Sexsmith back in 1995. He is a true master of melody. His songs are earwigs, leaving you humming them for the rest of the day. Ya' know.. good music! I have all of his CD's and always look forward to the next. Ron is actually heading to "Hell-A" next month to work on his newest record with Mitchell Froom. In the past, he's worked with such heavyweights as Steve Earle and Bob Rock. I regularly play his music at the shop. 1., because they always sound good and 2., to turn more people on to his music.

This past SXSW I lucked out and was given a pass to see his documentary, Love Shines and have a few drinks with him afterwards. Here I am face to face with one of my favorite musicians. What do you say? I asked him about his songwriting process (songs just flow into him) and his favorite artists (he's a big fan of 50's Doo Wop!) In the documentary it shows Mr. Sexsmith working with Bob Rock (also a Canadian) and a band of handpicked studio musicians.

Unfortunately, the film depicts Ron in the role of a "starving musician", which is not at all accurate. No, he's not as well known or rich as his contemporaries like Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello or Paul McCartney, but he is very well respected as a songwriter's songwriter.

I'll take the high road & you take the low road..

I'll take the high road & you take the low road..

The next day I'm at The Dog & Duck pub watching a set by The Meat Puppets when someone taps my shoulder. "Are you Brian from Whetstone?" asks a nice British fellow. "I am". "Hey, I'm Paul Darwin from Rega." "Cool, let's get a beer!" After a few pints I tell Paul of my meeting with Ron and his eyes light up. "I love that guy!" he says. "Y'know... it would be so cool if Rega hooked him up with a rig." It took Paul a millisecond to say "Done! But you have to go install it."

jim cuddy

Eight months later I'm on a plane to visit Ron and his lovely wife, Colleen Hixenbaugh. They are both scheduled to perform at Foodstock, a foodie fest doubling as a demonstration for a proposed Mega Quarry. Seems that Canada has a greedy 1% too! They want to dig up limestone and destroy lots of farmland. Ron and Colleen pick me up and we're off to the countryside! We finally get to the fest after getting lost along with Barenaked Lady, Jim Creeggan. Backstage, I got to meet Hayden, Jim Cuddy (from Blue Rodeo), The Barenaked Ladies, Cuff the Duke and Sarah Harmer. The Rock / Folk elite of Canada! It was a great day in between torrential downpours and mud. 28,000 people showed up to eat, hear music and demonstrate the quarry! The only downside was the complete lack of beer. I thought Canadians loved beer! Take off, eh!

punkin'

The next morning I met Ron and Colleen for breakfast and then headed over to the Sexsmith digs to set up the Rega system. Ron got a RP1 turntable with upgrade package, Apollo CD player, Rega Couple interconnect, Brio-R integrated and RS-1 speakers with some Chord Silverscreen cables. After I set it up we put on Ron's newest, "Long Player, Late Bloomer". Ron breaks into a grin and says, "wow, that sounds really great!" Colleen hooks me up with some T-shirts, LP's and CD's I didn't have and we say our goodbyes. They had a big theater gig the next night to get ready for!

music

I spent the next couple days wandering around Toronto. Queens St. West (cool shops), Kensington Market (weed and spice shops), a few record stores and a Hi-Fi shop called Planet of Sound. I caught the opening day of a Marc Chagall exhibit and ate some tasty Italian food at Terroni's. I even saw some music at the legendary Horseshoe Lounge. All in all, a great experience!

drunking

Rock Band 101

IMG_0029Last night I got a text that The Pierced Arrows were playing a surprise free show at my favorite bar, Lovejoys! Hailing from Portland, Toody and her husband Fred Cole IMG_0024have been touring the World for nearly 40 years. They had a band called Dead Moon that were possibly the best rock band of the 90's. Who was running the board? Spot was! Spot recorded much of the 80's punk catalog for SST records and beyond.

NEW Rega Fono Mini A2D Phono Stage

FONO-MINI-A2D-BACK-MAIN

The Fono mini A2D is designed to amplify the signal from a moving magnet cartridge to a suitable level for all line level inputs of an audio amplifier. The USB interface also offers the ability to simply transfer vinyl to PC .

The Fono mini A2D amplifier offers exceptional performance and convenience and will be a valuable addition to any Hi-Fi set up.

The new Fono mini A2D benefits from an extruded aluminium case and very user friendly front and back panels that make this phono pre amplifier a very easy product to use.

To transfer vinyl to your PC You will need to install a digital audio editor. Such software is widely available as a free download (such as Audacity) from the internet. This is a simple interface which allows monitoring of volume and balance whilst transferring your audio to your PC hard drive.

Audio editing software includes a level meter which indicates the output level achieved when playing a piece of vinyl. You should adjust the output as necessary via the ‘Level’ control located on the front panel. Always take special note of record levels to ensure optimum recording quality.

This is a cost affective version of the MM Fono and based on the phono amplifier as used in the Mira amplifier.

Simply switch on, sit back and enjoy! Now in stock!! $175

Updated Stereo Console by Mark Macek & Whetstone Audio!

IMG_4625
IMG_4630
IMG_4631
IMG_4633

No more whining from interior "designers" or your significant other about "ugly" stereos. Built in just 9 days by Mark Macek, this is the most modern stereo console anywhere! We decided the classic needed an update! Rega RP3 turntable, Rega RS-1 speakers, Rega Fono and Naim UnitiQute are on board. The UnitiQute streams your iTunes wirelessly, has a DAC, FM tuner, internet radio, iPod / USB dock, 4 digital inputs and integrated amp. Control is available from it's remote or from Naim's N-Stream app... yes you can control it from your iPhone or iPad. The grill cloth is genuine Marshall Amp stock. The turntable is isolated from vibration. There's even a couple secret compartments. Yes! These are available! They are custom made and we can retro fit a few different equipment options into it. I'd like to outfit one using a Leben integrated and DeVore 3XL loudspeakers. The reactions we were getting at it's debut last night were great! People were freaking out on it's cool factor. It will be on display at the shop in the near future.

Bye Steve

The most innovative mind of our time has gone to rest. Imagine a World without your iThing. Thanks for the gizmos Mr. Jobs!
stevejobs_newsweek

Mariachi El Bronx


I just picked up their new record. Three color wax depicting the Mexican Flag! CD copy inside. Nice! I think one of the guys from Los Lobos produced this record. It's the freshest thing I've heard in a long time.

Naim Night Was Epic!

It's 10am the morning after Naim came to town. The turnout was excellent. I'd say around 70-80 folks came throughout the evening. The keg of Real Ale Fireman's 4 floated and my head hurts.. I saw lots of folks I haven't seen in a while and met some new ones. It occurred to me that I should probably have a throw down more often.

The Bentley Continental Supersports was beyond nice. Sitting in a $285,000 car made me wish I had gotten into banking. I didn't get to drive it but I revved it up and jammed out to some Alex Chilton. I was going to kick out some syrup induced Screw, but didn't have any. My '96 Toyota truck is worth about as much as the windshield wiper. A big "Thank You" to Jason from Bentley of Austin for bringing the sweet ride by for us to molest.

The Naim gear was great. I think the NDX is going to be a hugely popular product. I've finally got my head around the whole network streaming thing. After spending the last three weeks loading all my CD's into the UnitiServe, I can tell you it's worth it. All my music at my fingertips is convenient. The app works great. The days of whole house wiring are over.

Doug Graham gave various dems throughout the evening between trips to oogle the Bentley. We had the Uniti, UnitiServe, UnitiQute, DAC in one system and 282/ HiCap, 250, NDX and Ovator 400 in another. Switching back and forth over the evening.

I brought Dave & Doug out to my favorite late night taco trailer. A lifesaver. I got to bed around 3:00am...

Here's a write up about the event from The Vinyl Anachronist

IMG_2511
IMG_2548
IMG_2507
IMG_2520
IMG_2533
IMG_2546
IMG_2542
IMG_2549
IMG_2523
IMG_2524

Naim Night Thursday, October 21 6-9pm

Naim UK's Doug Graham and Dave Dever from Naim USA will be coming to the shop October 21st. They will be introducing lots of new Naim goodies fresh from The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Jeff Dorgay from the awesome Tone Audio e-zine will be present as will Jason Schieck from Bentley of Austin who will be showing a Naim equipped car. I bet the trunk won't even rattle! Brad Farbstein, owner of Real Ale, will be bringing a keg of delicious beer. This will be an awesome event!
naim_logo

The Pogues @ Stubbs, Oct. 28th

Going to see Shane MacGowan and the Pogues!! Been waiting years for this!! His bandmate plays a mean lunch tray! Check out the patch on his eye to help with the double vision. Brilliant! What a pro!

RECAP Pogues were GREAT! Shane still delivers the goods. Go see them in your town!

NEW QUADRASPIRE RACKS NOW AVAILABLE!

image-hifi-racks-hifi-stands-hifi-furniture

This past summer I got to visit Quadraspire in Bath, England. Eddie Spruit produces excellent racks that clearly make a difference. These racks are well built, modular, Interior Designer friendly and great value. Now available are the new Q4 EVO, Sunoko-Vent and the new QV-60 speaker stand.
Quadraspire

ALL IN ONE COMPACT SYSTEMS!!

unitiabout

This has been a year of CHANGE. No, our government is still a mess but my shop has many new groundbreaking products. Some of my long standing views on things like power conditioning and "all in ones" have changed. There are now two "all in one" products in my arsenal that actually make sense. I realize that not everyone wants or needs a huge rack of gear. Some people just want a simple system that doesn't take up a ton of real estate. These are ONE box systems that only need a pair of speakers! Bliss!
*
naim uniti

*
primare DVD i10
*
HCC173.primare.wood01-420-90
*

REGA’S CA$H FOR CLUNKER$ PROGRAM!!

SATURN-SILVER

From October 1st through December 31st, REGA is conducting a CA$H FOR CLUNKERS TRADE IN!!! Bring in ANY CD / DVD player, working or non working, and get 15% / $150 off a APOLLO ($995 / $845) or 25% / $599 off a SATURN ($2395 / $1796) CD Player!

*
A PROPER MOTORCYCLE
*
Here's Vinnie outside of Lovejoys Pub with his 1951 Velocette that he rebuilt down to the last gasket. I love British motorcycles as much as their Hi-Fi. This bike is in the same league as a Vincent.. you know that Richard Thompson song "Vincent Black Lightning 1952"? Vinnie has one of those too! It's funny, the Hi-Fi World and Motorcycle World run parallel in so many ways. The music lover who has tons of records and the "audiophile" w/ 3 boring CD's VS. the bike owner who actually rides and the poseur "biker" who trails his Orange County Chopper behind a Winnebago....
*
IMG_0273
IMG_0262
IMG_0267
IMG_0268

KUDOS C-30 are HERE!

As promised, the flagship Kudos C-30 are now at Whetstone Audio.  Come hear why reviewer Paul Messenger now owns a pair as his reference!  These are so good, I sold a pair half an hour after I set them up!!!

*

Kudos recently won THREE Hi-Fi Choice awards!  The C-1 won Silver for speakers in the $2K-4K range, The C-30 won Gold for speakers over $10K (yes, they beat out B&W) and the S-50 speaker stands won Silver

*

All of these award winning products may be seen and heard at the shop.

*

 

 

 

Austin Chronicle Critic’s Pick Award!

After years of preaching the virtues of good, sensible sound systems I got an award!
dscn5996_2.jpg
"Never mind the big-box stores with 1,000 multipiece systems all from the same mold. If you love the sound of music when it comes across warm, clear and true, there's a system at Whetstone with your name on it. Isoblue! Rega! Cyrus! Music to audiophile's ears - but without the snooty snottiness. A treat for the eyes too as each tower is an architectural feat of art and machine. Can't decide what to play? Proprietor Brian stocks an impressive collection of vinyl worthy for such towers. The local brainpowerthat's geeked out to the tunes of well-honed gear here cannot be measured in decibels. What can be measured is the trust, knowledge, reliability and customer service that has kept this shop of audio dreams in business and a local favorite for 13 years."

Train nearly collides with shop!

Yesterday I was talking with someone at the shop and when we walked outside we saw this! The weird thing is that we didn't hear it. The first engine went over a loose track and it popped up piercing the gas tank of the second engine, derailing them both. Luckily, no one was hurt, but it took 45 minutes for the Firemen and Cops to show up!
trainderail2-100407_2.jpg
*
MORE PICS HERE!