I'm the biggest luddite ever. I play records 85% of the time. The rest of the time I'm tooling around Tidal checking out all kinds of music. I have a couple music servers at the shop but they're tweaky and temperamental. They're not entirely intuitive and don't offer Tidal.
I was looking around for a music server that had all the kinks ironed out. It's been a few years since I've taken a gander. Frankly, I felt the same way I did when the format (aka Fadmat) wars were going on with VHS vs. Beta, SACD vs. DVD-A, etc. I really didn't give a damn. I was tired of being a guinea pig. I would just roll my eyes and flip the record. Redbook CD's were just fine when it wasn't offered on vinyl.
What I found was a company based out of Portugal called Innuos. They offer three models, basically a good (zenmini mk.2), better (zen mk.2) and best (zenith mk.2). I decided on the middle one to test the waters. The Zen mk2 arrived after I chatted up the US distributor Mark Sossa of Well Pleased Audio. I met Mark at Axpona last year and knew immediately he was one of the "good guys". The brands he represents are excellent and have that "think outside the box" ethos. The Zen comes with 2TB of storage and the "myinnuos" platform. It was easy right out of the box. I did have to mess around with my network by doing the "unplugging and plugging it back in" method. It didn't seem to like my fancy CAT5 cable either. The cable it comes with is fine. I used the USB input on my Heed Abacus DAC and started ripping a few CD's and playing files off my other music servers which the Zen found instantly.
Then I squeegeed my third eye...
Roon is a subscription based platform that takes ALL of your music and organizes it in one manageable place making everything seamless. The Innuos machine came with a free 60 day trial. I have to say, I'm hooked! The setup was easy and before I knew it, I had everything at my fingertips. Tidal is offered through the Roon software.
This is the future!
This is what I'd always hoped computer audio was going to become. Streaming great quality music is only going to get better as everything is switching over to fiber optics enabling faster streaming capabilities.
Am I giving up playing records? GAWD NO! There are pros and cons to both formats. As much content that Tidal and Spotify have, they still don't have a vast majority of music that will only be found on vinyl. Now I can listen to tons of new music and then go buy the record if I really like it.
The Brinkmann Audio USA Newsletter
Issue #23, November, 2017
Brinkmann Sales Skyrocket! After Brinkmann USA’s busiest Summer ever, sales have continued to grow through Autumn, with no less than FIVE ‘tables and arms sold in the past two weeks alone. Better still, these sales were spread across many Brinkmann dealers and models. One of our newest dealers—Brian DiFrank of Whetstone Audio, Austin, TX—sold both a Bardo/10.0 and a Spyder/10.5 with a RoNt Tube Power Supply within ten days: nice work, Brian!
New Dealers? As Brinkmann Brand Awareness continues to grow, I am being approached by an increasing number of stores asking for a franchise; for the most part, I am turning them down. I take great satisfaction in the fact that we’re dramatically increasing sales with our intimate club of 18 US Dealers. It is my belief that exclusivity enhances consumer demand as well as dealer loyalty and the results prove it. Of course, we will add dealers—I’m not crazy, after all—but we’re not in a rush: when the right candidates present themselves, they will be carefully vetted and I’ll make sure they enhance our brand’s prestige, as well as its sales.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of running into Matt Beardsworth at The Lone Star Audio Fest in Dallas Texas. After a few beers with him, I knew that he wasn't your average audio tweaker. When I walked into his room, my suspicions were correct! His amps are hand crafted using the best parts available and they sounded as good as they looked! It was obvious to me that he designed his amps with his ears. Matt is, after all, an extremely good guitarist!
Skip forward a year later and I again see him at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. By this time, we're fast friends! He even got to witness me at my "hangriest" at a below par Indian Restaurant (sorry Matt)!
Matt moved to Chicago and when I came up to check out AXPONA last year, he scooped me up and brought me back to the Band-Width Headquarters! That's when I really flipped out on what he was capable of! Matt had meticulously made a pair of replica Lansing Hartfield loudspeakers! Listening to his creations, I knew that I had to become his first dealer. I currently have his latest offering, The Kaskode One Phono Preamplifier in the shop!
Have I mentioned Matt is only in his mid twenties and an engineer at Texas Instruments? He's what I call an "Old Soul". He's taken a ride on this mortal coil a few times now. I'm confident that the future of Hi-Fi is going to be just fine.
Below is a link to an interview with him:
I just got the Japanese made Spec RSA-M3 integrated amp in for review! This is Class D done absolutely right! 60 watts into 8 ohms.
Please book an appointment and experience it for yourself!
I just got in the new GrooveWasher record cleaning kits! They look like the old Disc Washers from the 70's, but these have been updated and work like a charm! Records are noticeably quieter. I've been putting it to the test and I can honestly say they work really well. Please, for the love of God, don't use Elmer's Glue or wash them in the sink like dishes. Get one of these along with a good carbon fiber brush and your filthy record troubles will be over. They're $29.95 and the 6 oz. G2 Fluid refill kit is $19.95. Snap Crackle Pops be gone!