Special Features

Latest Audiophile Vinyl Reviews – 26 Albums! – Part II of II

Offerings from Pure Pleasure Records, Original Recordings Group, Speakers Corner, Mo-Fi and others, including 45rpm double discs. Jazz & Classical titles in this section.

Published on February 21, 2010

Latest Audiophile Vinyl Reviews – 26 Albums! – Part II of II

Richard
Holmes & Gene Ammons – Groovin’ With Jug – Pure Pleasure Records
Limited PPAN ST32 180 gram audiophile vinyl,  37 minutes ****:

This LP is a live/studio record split with side one containing
three tracks recorded at The Black Orchid on August 15th in 1961 and
the second side was recorded on the same date but at Pacific Jazz
Studios.  The re-mastering was done by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray. 
The players are: Richard “Groove” Holmes (organ), Gene Ammons (tenor
saxophone), Gene Edwards (guitar), and Leroy Henderson (drums).

The “live” side is characterized by some hootin’ and hollerin’ as
well as other ambient sounds that help to bring the listener right into
the performance.  There is quite a large difference in volume on
Ammon’s horn due to microphone proximity and interpretive license.  The
organ is relatively quiet by comparison and sounds much farther back on
stage.  The material shows more variety than the studio side and
includes a beautifully mellow version of “Willow Weep For Me.”  The
last track on the side one is faster in contrast to Willow and to the
bluesy sound of the first track.

The “studio” side sounded very spread out, big and lively.  There’s
good reason that Holmes is known as “groove”–just take a long listen
to the second track—groovy man!  My preference musically leans more
towards the first side, but this side is not lackluster by any means.

Unfortunately, the recording seems somewhat limited on the top end
although the mid-tones are warm and full bodied.  Therefore, sound
would be a B- while music is a B+.  What makes this record special is
the combination of the two lead performers.  Although they can each
stand on there own, together, there is a spark and the result is some
happenin’ material. 

TrackList: Good Vibrations; Willow Weep For Me; Juggin’ Around; Groovin’ With Jug; Morris The Minor; Hey You, What’s That?

-Brian Bloom

Thelonious
Monk Quartet – Complete Thelonious Monk At The It Club – Mosaic Records
MRLP 3001 – 4-LP 180-gram box set, 1964 [Limited Edition Set, 5000
copies] ****1/2:

(Thelonious Monk piano; Charlie Rouse, tenor sax; Larry Gales, bass; Ben Riley, drums)

Recorded live on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 1964, at Los Angeles’ fabled It Club, Monk’s quartet recorded six sets (three each night), that were compiled onto 2 CDs in 1998, as the Complete Thelonious Monk at The It Club.
Mosaic Records has compiled these two nights of sublime Monk onto four
audiophile LPs remastered  from the original three-track tapes by Sony
Columbia chief remixing engineer, Mark Wilder. Kevin Gray at Acoustech
has remastering duties.

This collectors’ edition limited to 5000 pressings, has added four
brief (approximately one minute each) previously unissued Epistrophy
themes, as well as a 10:33 issue of Sweet and Lovely. Therefore the term “Complete” is now as definitive as we are likely to ever have.

Mosaic’s requisite LP size booklet (each is individually hand
numbered), indicates that the recording quality varies in these live
performances depending on the musicians proximity to their microphones
- especially in the case of tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse. Mark
Wilder in mixing the tapes attempted to compensate for the off-mic
issues. I feel he has done an exemplary job, as in listening to these
LPs the feeling of a true live performance is achieved, with a natural
comparison to a live session where artists both approach and back away
from their microphones. I believe that the mixing and remastering here
on LP is an improvement on the two CD issue from 1998. Rouse may be a
bit distant at times, but the aura achieved on audiophile LP is similar
to me as it would be to sitting several tables back from the band stage
listening to a live recording in a small club. I am unable to comment
about the acoustics of The It Club, as to its size and sweet spots for
a listener, and I would imagine that this club has been long gone from
the LA scene. I have no complaints about this 1964 recording as its
value is that of a document of Monk in his prime with Charlie Rouse
halfway through his eleven-year tenure, being in full command of his
instrument and fully in synch with the iconic Monk, ready to switch
gears at a seconds notice.

Ben Riley had joined Monk at the beginning of 1964. He had recorded It’s Monk’s Time,
and toured Europe with the quartet that summer. By October, 1964,
bassist Gales was onboard replacing Butch Warren. The now-completed
quartet recorded the LP Monk, and over four days – Oct 31-Nov 1
and Nov. 3-4 – played first at the It Club, and then at San Francisco’s
Jazz Workshop (now also regrettably long gone as a jazz venue.)

Sweet and Lovely is a great addition as it finds Rouse
soulfully blowing in a contemplative manner spurred on by Monk and
pushed by Riley’s assertive drumming. Most of the sets played over the
two nights in LA find the quartet playing familiar standards: Bemsha Swing, Blue Monk, Straight No Chaser, Nutty, Blues Five Spot, etc. – but the second night’s sets bring out some less familiar Monk numbers such as Gallop’s Gallop, and Bright Mississippi, as well as non-Monk famous classics such as All the Things You Are, and Just You, Just Me.

Gales is rock-steady especially when he walks the bass on Nutty. Riley is a superlative drummer, who is still active over four decades later, and I believe Gales still may be as well.

The Complete It Club sessions are a great document of Monk at his peak. He had recently been on the cover of Time
magazine. No longer thought to be an eccentric by the full jazz
community, his genius in blending simplicity with angular playing were
now recognized and his use of dissonance no longer was off-putting.
Monk had found his audience, and the relaxed yet complex melodies that
were largely blues-based had found acceptance.

At $100 for a four LP audiophile set, purchase of a limited edition
Mosaic vinyl box set should be thought of as an investment that when
played on a quality turntable will provide pleasurable audio dividends
for years. Highly recommended!

TrackList:
Record One – Side A: Blue Monk, Well You Needn’t / Side B: Round Midnight, Rhythm –a-ning, Epistrophy (theme)
Record Two – Side A: Blues Five Spot, Bemsha Swing / Side B: Straight No Chaser, Epistrophy (theme), Evidence
Record Three – Side A: Sweet and Lovely, Nutty, Epistrophy (theme),
Side B: Teo, I’m Getting Sentimental Over You, Epistrophy (theme)
Record Four – Side A: Misterioso, Gallop’s Gallop, Ba-lue Bolivar
Ba-lues-are, Epistrophy (theme) / Side B: Bright Mississippi, Just You,
Just Me, All the Things You Are, Epistrophy (theme)

– Jeff Krow

Jimmy
Cleveland – Introducing Jimmy Cleveland and his all Stars – Emarcy/
Mercury/ Speakers Corners Records MG 36066 audiophile 180-gram vinyl
LP, 1955 ****½:

(Jimmy Cleveland, trombone, Ernie Royal, trumpet, Lucky Thompson
and Jerome Richardson, tenor sax; Cecil Payne, baritone sax; Hank
Jones, John Williams, and Wade Legge, piano; Barry Galbraith, Paul
Chambers, and Oscar Pettiford, bass; Max Roach, Osie Johnson, and Joe
Harris, drums – Arranged by Quincy Jones)

Jimmy Cleveland was criminally under-recorded as a band leader. He
only recorded six  albums, all in the mid to late 50s – mostly for the
Emarcy label. His debut album was special enough to be added to the
Verve Elite series. A brief review of his sidemen noted above, for his
debut recording, is a who’s who of the cream of the crop musicians
recording during this period. Most of them were members of Quincy
Jones’ fine touring band, which took Europe by storm in the early 60s
and was documented in a Mosaic Records box set and on a Jazz Icons DVD.

Jimmy had a warm, swinging, blues-based tone and all of his Emarcy
issues are collectors’ items. The German audiophile LP company,
Speakers Corner Records, has done vinyl fans a huge service by
re-releasing this Cleveland album. It features crystal clear acoustics
and does justice to the ensemble playing of Jimmy’s all-star group.

Listening  to Cleveland’s lyrical ballad playing on You Don’t Know What Love Is
shows his mastery of the midrange of the trombone. Lucky Thompson
follows with his own gorgeous solo, before Cleveland re-enters to close
out this classic interpretation.

Other special moments are provided by the bowed bass of Paul Chambers on Little Beaver,
and the horns of Ernie Royal and Cecil Payne. Quincy Jones was at the
peak of his jazz talents during his Mercury Records tenure and his
arrangements of these songs make this a special listen. Both the
swingers and the ballads alike ( i.e. My One and Only Love) have a quality that only the Basie, Ellington, and Hampton bands of the period can match.

Recorded over three sessions – which explains the fact of the three
unique rhythm sections – Quincy and Jimmy have created a recording to
honor. Audiophile recordings that recreate with total accuracy the mood
of the master recording do not come cheap. However, for the price of
two commercial CDs, you can have an audiophile LP to treasure that will
stand the test of time. A sound investment in quality….

TrackList:
Side 1: Hear Ye! Hear Ye!, You Don’t Know What Love Is, Vixen, My One and Only Love, Little Beaver
Side 2: Our Love is Here to Stay, Count Em’, Bone Brother, I Hadn’t Anyone ‘Til You. See Minor

-Jeff Krow

2
Degrees East, 3 Degrees West – John Lewis, piano; Percy Heath, bass;
Bill Perkins, tenor sax; Chico Hamilton, drums; Jim Hall, guitar -
Pacific Jazz PJ-1217/Pure Pleasure mono 180-gram audiophile vinyl *****:

This is probably one of the finest albums of cool jazz ever put out
- never mind that it’s just mono. Talk about jazz all-stars; we have
half of the MJQ, part of Chico Hamilton’s quintet, and leading saxist
Bill Perkins, who had such a high standing that the album is sometimes
listed under his name. The album title is a reference to two of the
musicians being based on the West Coast and three on the East Coast.
Taped in one afternoon in a small theater in LA, none of the six
tracks’ tempi rise above a fast walk, but this is more than the usual
chamber jazz.  The swing and power may be understated but it’s there. 
The whole thing moves along on the superb foundation of sensitive and
musical drummer Hamilton and skilled rhythm bassist Heath.  John Lewis
contributes his usual sparse single-note lines, concentrating on
support of the other players instead of standing out as a flashy
virtuoso. The loudest sound is Perkins’ tenor solos.  This a desert
island album in my estimation.

TrackList:  Love Me or Leave Me, I Can’t Get Started, Easy Living, 2 Degrees East – 3 Degrees West, Skylark, Almost Like Being in Love.

 - John Henry

Louis
Armstrong & his All-Stars: Satch Plays Fats – A Tribute to the
Immortal Fats Waller – Armstrong, trumpet & vocals; Trummy Young,
trombone; Barney Bigard, clarinet; Billy Kyle, piano; Arvell Shaw,
bass; Barrett Deems, drums; Velma Middleton, vocals – Columbia mono
PPAN CL708/Pure Pleasure 18-gram audiophile vinyl *****:

This classic Armstrong LP dates from 1955 and was produced by
Columbia’s George Avakian. It was sort of a sequel to a previous very
successful Armstrong album, “Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy.” 
Middleton stands out on some of the vocals and in duets with Louis. 
Armstrong and Waller only played together once but the corpulent
keyboard king made quite an impression on Armstrong, and the two of
them share a wonderful happy-go-lucky life outlook.

Many have done impersonations of Satchmo’s special style, but he
doesn’t do an impersonation of Waller – it’s the sort of tribute that
would have made Fats very happy. He has no trouble incorporating
Waller’s hilarious humor in the lyrics, and the selection of tunes
encompasses some of Waller’s biggest hits. Of course there‘s nothing
quite like Satchmo’s trumpet sound, and it comes across beautifully in
this dynamic remastering on vinyl.  The liner notes on the back are
exactly like the original LP, and there’s lots of them in very fine
print – including the correct spelling of Waller’s closest
collaborator, Andreamentena Razafinkeriefo. How ‘bout that?

TrackList: Honeysuckle Rose, Blue Turning Grey Over You, I’m
Crazy ‘Bout My Baby, Squeeze Me, Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now, All That
Meat and No Potatoes, I’ve Got a Feeling I’m Falling, Black and Blue,
Ain’t Misbehavin’

– John Henry

 

Johnny Hodges with Billy Strayhorn and the Orchestra – Verve/ Speakers Corner Records #V6-8452
180 gram audiophile LP – recorded December, 1961 *****:

Johnny Hodges, alto sax; Billy Strayhorn, arranger and conductor;
Trumpets: Shorty Baker, Cat Anderson; Bill Berry, Ed Mullens, Howard McGhee
Trombones: Lawrence Brown, Quentin Jackson, Chuck Connors
Reeds: Russell Procope, Paul Gonsalves, Jimmy Hamilton, Harry Carney
Piano: Jimmy Jones
Bass: Aaron Bell
Drums: Sam Woodyard
Produced by: Creed Taylor
Recording Engineer: Rudy Van Gelder

It is hard to be impartial when reviewing an audiophile LP recording by Johnny Hodges. To be truthful, Hodges is my favorite saxophonist and likely my favorite jazz musician of all time. His recording with members of the Ellington Orchestra done in December 1961 boasted the addition of Duke’s most able assistant and right hand man, Billy Strayhorn, who co-composed many of the Ellington staples. Having Creed Taylor produce the project and record the two day session at the inimitable studio of Rudy Van Gelder, showed Verve Records’ confidence in this project.

Ellington and Hodges fans most certainly have either the red book CD or an earlier Verve pressing of this recording, as for many this was celebrating Hodges returning to the Ellington band. Johnny did return to Duke’s orchestra in the early 60s, and recorded with Ellington till near the end of his life.

All that is needed to recommend this audiophile pressing is whether it passes the sound test. I can give an enthusiastic “Yes” to that question. When Hodges emotes on the opener, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, you are hearing the sweetest, most sensual tone in jazz. The sound stage is clear, wide, blessedly free of any defects. Jimmy Jones’ accompaniment on I’ve Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good shows why he was the first choice to play piano in Duke’s absence. The background rumble of the trombones sets off Hodges’ supple lines with baritonist extraordinaire, Harry Carney, setting the mood.

Hodges chose mostly Ellington classics, largely from the late 30s to mid 40s, for this recording. Along with Stardust and Azure, we get a chance to revisit some lesser known compositions from the Ellington songbook such as, The Girl from Joes, and Your Love Has Faded. We also get to hear Hodges’ specialties such as Jeep’s Blues and Juice-a-Plenty.

The German-based audiophile label Speakers Corner Records has a large catalog of audiophile vinyl reissues numbering over 450, and concentrates on mostly jazz and classical music with a smatttering of rock. If you want to wow your family and friends, and have a quality turntable and speakers, you need to go no farther than Hodges and Strayhorn with Ellington band, and special guests Howard McGhee and Jimmy Jones. Supreme bliss follows….

TrackList:
Side One: Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, I’ve Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good, Gal from Joes, Your Love Has Faded, I’m Just a Lucky So and So
Side Two: Jeep’s Blues, Day Dream, Juice a Plenty, Azure,Tailor Made, Stardust

– Jeff Krow

Stan Meets Chet – Stan Getz, tenor sax & Chet Baker, trumpet; Jodie Christian, piano; Victor Sproles, bass; Marshall Thompson, drums – Verve MG V-8263/Original Recordings Group 180g audiophile vinyl, 45rpm 2-disc set *****:

The original 1958 LP was of an all-tube session in February of 1957 that was the first time Getz and Baker recorded together.  It was before the trumpeter’s association with Gerry Mulligan which brought him to the public’s attention.  Getz said of Baker at this time that he sort of carried over to a younger generation the Bobby Hackett concern with the sound – “he didn’t forget the possibilities of attaining a pretty, legitimate sound.” This was a unique and important collaboration of these two golden boys in their heyday.  The steady Chicago rhythm section supports and eggs on the two thruout the album.

All four tracks are head arrangements, just one to a side because of the limited recording time allowed at the faster 45rpm speed; Jor-Du is only eight minutes long!  It’s sort of like playing 78s – just twice as long as a classical 78.  But boy, is it ever worth it if you have a good analog turntable setup!  Back in the beginnings of the audiophile vinyl era, remastered LPs cut at 45 rpm were almost the equal of direct discs, which were (and still are) the last word in two-channel fidelity.  (Even better were the very few 45rpm direct discs, but nobody is fussing with that anymore.)  If you have a good turntable setup (with the ability to switch to 45 rpm speed without major effort) you will find the 2-disc 45rpm versions of the increasing number of audiophile reissues well worth the $50 or $60 cost.

Famed mastering engineer Bernie Grundman handled this reissue, and only 2500 number limited edition copies are being released worldwide. We’re lucky to have it in stereo, since in 1957 few jazz labels were recording anything in stereo yet.  As expected, Chet is stuck in the left channel and Getz in the right channel, but I find a stereo source as clean and wide range as this one works beautifully via either Dolby ProLogic II or DTS Neo 6 for pseudo-multichannel – including a much more normal spread across the frontal soundstage whether or not you have a center speaker there. On the other hand: I have seldom bothered with the Carver Sonic Holography option on my Sunfire preamp because it’s enhancement of most two-channel sources was so subtle.  That’s not the case on Stan Meets Chet: Probably due to the extreme purist mike setup, Sonic Holography adds tremendous depth and realism and even fills in some of the hold-in-the-middle.

The album notes are by Nat Hentoff and the two bound-together sleeves are of very heavy card stock.  This is a very classy album all around, with gangbusters sonic quality.  Unlike some of the other audiophile reissue labels, ORG does list itself as the manufacturer of the disc on the back of the album, to differentiate it from the original – if you should ever run into that rare item.

TrackList: I’ll Remember April, Medley of Autumn in New York/Embraceable You/What’s New, Jor-Du, Half-Breed Apache.

John Henry


“Fiesta in Hi-Fi” – MCBRIDE: Mexican Rhapsody; NELSON: Savannah River Holiday; MITCHELL: Kentucky Mountain Portraits; VARDELL: Joe Clark Steps Out – Eastman-Rochester Orchestra/Howard Hanson – Mercury Living Presence 90134 Stereo SR90134/Speakers Corner Records 180g audiophile vinyl *****:

You can’t go wrong with any of the Mercury Living Presence discs, whether on the original (now over-priced) LPs, the excellent Wilma Cozart-produced CD transfers, the approximately 15 3-channel SACD transfers, or the audiophile reissues such as this one. While Feista in Hi-Fi might not be at the very top of the recommended MLP lists, it is a most enjoyable one, featuring four festive orchestral works by four different composers, none of them probably familiar to most listeners, and probably not even available on other recordings. Howard Hanson conducts them as if they are the most important classical repertory.

All the works sound like the sort of thing that would fit well into pops concerts and local band concerts. The Mexican Rhapsody, for example, uses several familiar Mexican folk songs such as the Mexican Hat Dance and La Cucaracha. Kentucky Mountain Portraits is in three movements: Cindy was inspired by the folk song collected by the Lomaxs, Ballad is based on the folk songs Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies and Pretty Polly Shivaree is a noisy conclusion to the three, deriving from the French tradition of people making loud noises on kitchen utensils to “serenade” a young couple on their wedding night.

This MLP didn’t appear on SACD, but I had the CD transfer, which I compared with the Speakers Corner vinyl. Playing the CD thru my Benchmark DAC1, it proved very close to the excellent fidelity of the vinyl reissue, with only a modicum less transparancy and “air.”  However, when I eliminated the DAC from the circuit, the superiority of the vinyl was more pronounced. Neither side of this MLP comes very close to the center label as do some Mercuries, so there was no opportunity to see if the compromise of fidelity as the stylus approaches the label stood out in comparison to the CD.  However, I have noticed on most audiophile reissues that degradation is not as noticeable now – perhaps due to improved mastering techniques since the 50s and 60s.

John Sunier


Rafael Puyana – The Golden Age of Harpsichord Music = BESARD: Branle Gay, L. COUPERIN: Tombeau of M. de Blanrocher, FRANCISQUE: Branle de Montirande, D. SCARLATTI: Sonata K. 381, FREIXANET: Sonata in A Major, BACH: Concerto in D minor after Marcello, BULL: Les Buffons, BYRD: La Volta, PHILIPS: Pavan Dolorosa-Galiarda Dolorosa, ANON: My Lady Carey’s Dompe, PEERSON: The Fall of the Leafe, BULL: The King’s Hunt, ALBENIZ: Sonata in D Major – Mercury Living Presence stereo SR90304//Speakers Corner Records 180g audiophile vinyl *****:

Many harpsichord aficionados and musicologists may turn up their noses at this fine recording due to the Pleyel two-manual concert harpsichord employed by Puyana – who was the last long-standing pupil of the great Wanda Landowska, who also performed on a Pleyel.  With its metal frame, the Pleyel is considered by the experts more of a piano than a harpsichord, and responsible for the disrespect the instrument has received from many. (Recall Beecham’s quip about it sounding “like two skeletons copulating on a tin roof.”) Today’s harpsichords are built closely to 17th and 18th century originals and have a more subtle, richer and less clangy sound.

However, my contention is that the reason Landowska’s recording all sound rather painful is the primitive recording technology used and her performing style rather than her instrument. After all, most of her recordings were made at her home on poorer portable equipment that RCA Victor brought in so she wouldn’t have to go to their NYC studios. While the Puyana recordings are forceful and less subtle, I find them light years better than Landowska’s.

Puyana’s program is well chosen, with a variety of harpsichord “hits” plus less well-known works. The works of both Domenico Scarlatti and Louis Couperin had a great influence on the style of their day. The short pieces by John Bull, William and Peter Philips all come from the famous collection of Baroque keyboard works, The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.  There is a paragraph of notes on each of the selections on the jacket. The instrument has a 16’ stop, which adds welcome bass support and prevents detractors from saying the instrument sounds tinny. The recording was made in 1962 at Fine Recording in NYC and Wilma Cozart and Harold Lawrence were the original producers.

It’s interesting that the cover art on the 1995 CD reissue supervised by Wilma Cozart has the photo of Puyana performing in a garden reversed and more washed-out vs. the cover of both the original and Speakers Corner LPs.  The CD has first of all the advantage of offering five more tracks than the LP, totaling over 74 minutes length. I still had in my collection the original Mercury vinyl release, and in comparison to the Speakers Corner reissue the major difference I could point out was slightly more surface noise between the tracks on the original vs. the reissue.  The original also had a very slightly greater nasal quality of tone than the reissue. The grooves are cut just as close to the center label on Side 1 of the reissue as they are on the original vinyl. Comparison of the CD reissue with both two vinyls showed them extremely close in sonics, except that there was more low end support and a somewhat more natural sound on the vinyl than on the CD version, although the CD had less background noise.

 - John Henry

DVORAK: Piano Trio in F minor Op. 65 – The Jung Trio (Jennie Jun, piano; Ellen Jung, violin; Julie Jung, cello) – Groove Note 180g double-disc 45 rpm audiophile pressings GRV 1043-1 [Also available as stereo-only SACD: GRV1043-3 [www.groovenote.com] *****:

This piano trio is a milestone of chamber music, uncharacteristically serious for Dvorak – written during a time of crisis for the composer. It is also strongly influenced by Brahms, from whom Dvorak received support, mentorship and inspiration. A mighty contest of moods is heard in the first movement Allegro – an epic sonata. Its dark themes are strongly Slavic. The scherzo brings in the bold Bohemian dance, the Furiant. The slow movement is in the form of an elegy that may refer to the death of his mother, which occurred shortly before the writing of the Trio.  The Finale is again dark in tone, with rhythmic ferocity.

The recording was made live direct to 2-track 30 ips analog tape in June of 2008 and the vinyl reissues were mastered by Bernie Grundman.  In doing a comparison, I heard entirely different equalization between the 45rpm vinyls and the two-channel SACD. The vinyls have more bass support, a richer sound, a more natural-sounding piano, and a slightly rolled-off extreme high end. The SACD sounded cleaner and clearer, with more extreme high end, but less of the rich bass sonics. With a slight adjustment of the bass end the SACD would be very close to the vinyls. The two channels were reversed between the two; not sure which is correct.

John Sunier

The Ultimate Analogue Test LP – Analogue Productions 180g audiophile vinyl AAPT 1 [www.acousticsounds.com] *****:

Back in the golden age of vinyl there were many different test LPs available – all rather similar to one another. Analogue Productions decided to create a modern test disc that hasn’t been done before, and have succeeded. It specifically addresses the turntable, cartridge and stylus. It is more highly technical and designed for professionals than most previous test LPs. The signals on it have specific imiplications for calibration of turntables and cutting lathes. It is suggested the disc be used together with an inverse RIAA device such as those made by Hagerman Technology and KAB USA. The user is also asked to test just one channel at time to avoid interference between channels. Also, first the rough tracking force, VTA, cartridge alignment and geometry most be set up accurately. The first side starts with a 1 kHz reference tone to establish a base level for measurements. There are then Azimuth, High Frequency and Low Frequency Adjustment tracks, and this side ends with both a VTA adjustment tyrack and a standard wow & flutter test signal of 3150Hz.

Side 2 of the disc opens with an anti-skating test and suggests that both channels should be viewed on an oscilloscope to see that any distortions appear equally on both channels. Tracks 2 and 3 are pink noise designed for both lateral and vertical demagnetizing. It is suggested both tracks be played five to ten times every 300 hours of normal LP playback. Track 4 is a loud 1kHz signal, out of phase, which should cancel out when switched to mono.  Track 5 is to find resonances in the tonearm/cartridge interface as the signal is switched to mono and sweeps up and down from 10Hz to 1kHz.  The last track is a silent groove to isolate bearing rumble and turntable isolation. There should be little or no thump transmitted to the speakers when you gently tap on the rack or turntable base. It could also be used to experiment with various turntable isolation methods. There are no music tracks.

I found both the silent groove and the anti-skating test very useful, and I’m sure if I had all the other gear the other tracks would also prove very functional.

- John Sunier




on this article to AUDIOPHILE AUDITION!

Email this page to a friend.   View a printer-friendly version of the article.


Copyright © Audiophile Audition   All rights Reserved