Ken Micallef

Ken Micallef  |  Jan 15, 2021  |  0 comments
Newvelle Records Season Five
Pablo Ablanedo, Dave Douglas, Sullivan Fortner, Elan Mehler, OWL Trio, Rufus Reid, Carmen Staaf, Patrick Zimmierli
Newvelle Records NV025–30 (6 LP) 2020. Reviewed from 16/44.1 AIFF files. Elan Mehler, prod.; Marc Urselli, eng.
Performance ****
Sonics ****½

If Newvelle Records is any indication, jazz's future looks bright. Since 2015, the New York label has produced four series of artist-curated, all-analog, subscription-only box sets of vinyl records with superb fidelity and top-tier musicians performing original material. Highlights included pianist (!) Jack DeJohnette's Return, guitarist Gilad Hekselman's Eyes of the World, bassist John Patitucci's Irmãos de Fé, tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger's Preminger Plays Preminger, and guitarist Lionel Loueke's Close Your Eyes.

Ken Micallef  |  Dec 24, 2020  |  10 comments
During my tenure as a Stereophile writer, I've reviewed a lot of integrated amplifiers. The mostly moderately priced integrated machines I've reviewed have included the Heed Audio Elixir ($1195), Luxman SQ-N150 ($2795) and L-509X ($9495), NAD C 328 Hybrid Digital ($549), Octave Audio V 80 SE ($10,500), Rega Brio ($995), and Schiit Ragnarok 2 ($1799 as equipped). Regardless of price, all these integrated amplifiers engaged my senses and made engaging, dynamic, colorful music from LP grooves and ones and zeros.
Ken Micallef  |  Dec 02, 2020  |  29 comments
The story behind European Audio Team (E.A.T.) is that of one woman, company owner and CEO Jozefína Lichtenegger.

While studying for her MBA at the University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia, Lichtenegger (née Krahulkova) sold vacuum tubes for her brother-in-law, Alesa Vaic, then owner of Czech Republic–based tube brand VAIC. After VAIC shuttered in 2003, Lichtenegger founded her own retail business and engaged 100-year-old tube manufacturer Tesla Vršovice to supply 300B and KT88 tubes made to her specifications. When the owner of Tesla retired, she bought the company. She christened her new endeavor E.A.T. (The original Tesla continues as TESLA ElectronTubes, s.r.o.)

Ken Micallef  |  Oct 28, 2020  |  5 comments
Before starting this review of Rotel's Michi P5, the 60-year-old, Japan-based audio company's recent preamplifier design, I thought it appropriate to consider "What is an audio preamplifier? What should it do?" There are plenty of opinions to be found at stereophile.com:

"What a preamp ought to do, apart from changing volume and switching sources, is as little as possible," wrote Stereophile Editor Jim Austin in his 2017 review of the PS Audio BHK Signature preamplifier.

Ken Micallef  |  Oct 08, 2020  |  2 comments
"The data lords are gathering data and giving it to organizations that then manipulate us with the things they know about us, things that we don't even know about ourselves," says five-time Grammy Award–winning composer, conductor, producer, and band leader Maria Schneider. "They give our data to any company that'll pay for it to manipulate you, specifically targeting your vulnerabilities. It takes away freedom of thought, a true discourse where people are thinking for themselves. Count me out."
Ken Micallef  |  Oct 02, 2020  |  26 comments
Summer!

COVID-19 notwithstanding, summer—warmth, flowers, leaves on trees—has descended on Greenwich Village, my New York City home for the past 30 years. What hasn't descended are tourists, belching motorcycles, behemoth sports cars, beer drinkers, and the usual summer hell-raisers, the sort that would've sent legendary Village bohemians Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs running back to their cold-water flats.

Ken Micallef  |  Aug 05, 2020  |  16 comments
On iconic singer-songwriter James Taylor's 20th album, American Standard, the lanky crooner adapts the classic American songbook to his easy-rolling musical ways. The result is an American mixture of timeless songcraft.

Where some popular singers use the songbook canon to increase record and ticket sales, Taylor has no need to change himself or increase his audience. He's as comfortable as any man can be, having sold many millions of records the world over for almost 50 years.

Ken Micallef  |  May 08, 2020  |  10 comments
In a 2014 profile in the New Yorker, Paul Elie, author of the book Reinventing Bach, wrote, "There it was again: the stinging treble, the spooky overtones, the strings snapping and booming under his hands—the sound of a Tele being played as skillfully and exuberantly as it can be played."

The musician in question was Jim Campilongo . . .

Ken Micallef  |  Apr 17, 2020  |  3 comments
Located outside Glasgow, in a geographical area that's also home to Linn Products and Tannoy Ltd.—and also near the storied whisky distilleries of Aberfeldy and Blair Atholl—Fyne Audio got off to a fast start. A mere three years after the company's 2017 founding, Fyne already has distribution deals in 50 countries and offers 24 products in seven series.
Ken Micallef  |  Mar 31, 2020  |  53 comments
Between the mid-1980s and late 2000s, Stereophile published 14 reviews of loudspeakers from England's ProAc Limited. First came Dick Olsher's review of the ProAc Tablette in 1984. The latest—until now—was in 2010, when John Marks wrote about the ProAc Response D Two.

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