Analog

Noho Sound Presents Ella Fitzgerald Live vs Vinyl: May 16th

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Join us May 16th at the kickoff party for the Noho Sound Music Series at the HGU New York's Rose Hill lounge, celebrating Ella Fitzgerald in a special event featuring award-winning vocalist Thana Alexa and the MusicTalks Jazz Trio back-to-back with a vinyl listening session on the world's finest audio reproduction equipment from McIntosh Labs & Focal.

THE FORMAT

1) Elad Kabilio of MusicTalks tells Ella's story
2) Thana Alexa & the MusicTalks Trio perform Ella's greatest hits
3) Ron Kain of Noho Sound spins Ella on vinyl, as it was meant to be heard.

Tickets are $25, or free for hotel guests.
You may buy tickets here.

THE PROGRAM
The program features milestone standards that inspired the legendary Ella Fitzgerald and highlight her journey from debut performance at the Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night to her groundbreaking career as one of the most celebrated jazz artists of the 20th Century.

WHAT IS MUSICTALKS?
MusicTalks brings jazz & classical music to an intimate and informal setting. Performed by the finest young musicians, MusicTalks breaks down the barriers between musicians and audience by taking advantage of the intimacy that chamber music provides. With engaging and interactive conversation, the listener is given an experience that truly makes Music Talk.

Learn more: https://www.music-talks.com/

WHAT IS HGU NYC?
HGU NYC is NoMad's coolest new boutique hotel. Located in a striking Beaux-Arts structure, it has welcomed countless guests since 1905, its ornate plaster ceilings telling of legendary parties and infamous patrons of old. HGU now hosts myriad nightlife events, and now the Noho Sound music series, showcasing NY's best live music and classic audio systems.

Learn more: http://www.hgunyc.com/

We look forward to seeing you!

Which Sounds Better, Analog or Digital Music?

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Let's #TBT to a timeless article trying to answer a timeless question:

"Record players have made a comeback over the past decade. Some of the credit probably goes to the hipster trend toward retro everything, but music lovers often claim records just sound better than digital music. I played my part in boosting record player sales after finding my mom’s old record collection in my parents’ house. The collection itself was not particularly exciting, but the possibility of listening to the exact records she had played as a teenager felt like some sort of time travel.

So we bought a record player. I distinctly remember playing The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I had dutifully met the college student stereotype of blasting The Beatles on a regular basis, so I had heard those songs a hundred times. But when the cacophony at the end of “A Day in the Life” came on, it was not the one I had heard before. It sounded much deeper and fuller, like there were new noises in it. I was skeptical of the claim that vinyl sounded better, so I was surprised to be hearing a difference. Being a scientific-minded person, I’m not exactly swayed by one data point, but the experience did pique my curiosity.

So what’s the deal with the vinyl phenomenon? Is it really possible that records just inherently make a fuller sound? To have any hope of answering these questions, we have to start with something more basic: What is sound and how do we hear it?"

Read the rest over at The Atlantic.

Noho Sound Presents: Cinjun Tate of Remy Zero — Friday, April 27th

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Cinjun Tate of Remy Zero and Spartan Fidelity will be sharing a haunting acoustic set for an intimate performance and Q&A this Friday April 27th as part of the Noho Sound Live music series in NYC.

The event will be followed by a listening session of Cinjun's work on the world's finest hi-end audio gear from McIntosh Labs, Sonus Faber, Focal and Devore Fidelity.

Location: Lower Manhattan. Secret until the morning of.
Time: Doors open @ 730PM
This is a free private event with limited space.
BYOB.
You must RSVP.

4/13 Vinyl Listening Party: Dru Cutler

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Dru Cutler

Rock. Straight out of Bushwick.

Noho Sound's Vinyl listening series continues this Friday, April 13th at 7pm with Dru Cutler, a young rocker from Bushwick and founder of the UnitJ warehouse/event space, who will be presenting his newest vinyl live on the world's finest hi-end audio gear from McIntosh Labs, Focal and Devore Fidelity.

Because vinyl + tubes = music the way it was meant to be.

It's BYOB and free, but space is limited, so you must RSVP.

Is This The Craziest Marital Fight Video Of All Time?

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They say love is never hurting someone where they are most vulnerable. This video excerpt depicts the worst case scenario; two people striking each other where it hurts the most. Watch to the end for the coup de grace.

We at Noho Sound recommend a softer approach to resolving marital differences. For example, the traditional IKEA vase or Muji T-shirt are easily replaceable after making up, Couture and tube amplifiers are not.

Watch the video for yourself:

Have you seen or heard of a marital spat more vengeful than this?

Please share in the comments below.

McIntosh Announces MT2 Precision Turntable At $4000

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Noho Sound is thrilled to announce that McIntosh Labs has finally released their long awaited MT2 Precision Turntable. Scheduled to ship in April, the MT2 will retail for $4000.

From the official press release:

McIntosh is pleased to announce our new MT2 Precision Turntable. 

The McIntosh MT2 Precision Turntable combines the latest in turntable technology and design to deliver both superb performance and accurate playback. The MT2 is a great way to upgrade your home audio system to play vinyl albums. 

A full complement of features allows for all recordings to be reproduced with flawless realism. Its advanced electronic and mechanical design will give you many years of smooth, trouble-free operation. A subtle green glow emanates from under the platter and the outside edges of the plinth for a touch of refined ambiance and connection to the McIntosh design aesthetic. 

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The MT2 plays both 33-1/3 and 45 rpm records. It’s virtually ready to use out of the box as tracking force, anti-skate force, cartridge overhang and arm height are all preset from the factory for maximum performance. The remaining setup steps are simple and you’ll be enjoying your vinyl in no time. 

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The MT2 comes with a moving coil cartridge that has a high enough output to make it compatible with not only moving coil phono inputs but also moving magnet inputs. The cartridge’s high impedance and high output voltage ensures noise free musical reproduction. This unique cartridge design features an alloy cantilever and an elliptical diamond stylus with exceptional tracking capability. 

The tonearm is constructed from dural-aluminum with special damping materials and is light weight yet highly rigid. The noise free vertical bearings feature two precision ceramic surfaces with damping fluid; the horizontal bearing is a gimballed sapphire design. 

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The belt driven, solid black outer platter is made from a special dynamically balanced polyoxymethylene (POM) and is over 1” thick. This heftiness helps to both resist and absorb external vibrations that can cause noise during playback; its large mass also provides the perfect flywheel action for stable playback speed. The inner platter is made of CNC-precision milled aluminum. The platters rotate on a polished and tempered steel shaft in a sintered bronze bushing. 

The DC motor is driven by an external voltage-stabilized power supply and is completely decoupled from the chassis, isolating your records from any mechanical interference. Its sturdy plinth has a resonance optimized and highly compressed wood base with black lacquer finish, while the top and middle acrylic plates help absorb unwanted vibrations. 

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A clear, contoured dust cover is included. The MT2 turntable is compatible with a variety of McIntosh phono preamplifiers, stereo preamplifiers, integrated amplifiers and home theater processors with phono inputs; virtually any of our amplifiers and speakers can be used to complete your audio system. 

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Want to hear the McIntosh MT2 in downtown NYC? Call or email Noho Sound for an appointment.

Is Vinyl's Comeback Here To Stay?

 Noho Sound co-founder Chris Petranis contemplates the big issues. Also, records.

Noho Sound co-founder Chris Petranis contemplates the big issues. Also, records.

Is vinyl's comeback here to stay? Everyone at Noho Sound says yes, and Marc Hogan at Pitchfork has written a wonderful article explaining why:

"It was extinct. It was a fad. It was a bubble about to burst. Vinyl has been consigned to the garbage heap of history more than once. Yet it’s still here—and still growing.

But as 2018 begins, the business and culture of vinyl stand at an unlikely juncture. After more than a decade of increasing American sales, vinyl’s comeback is no longer a quirky, look-at-those-hipsters novelty. Instead, the bustling ecosystem of turntables and records is surprisingly close to being mainstream. Last year, vinyl was featured in commercials for insurance companies and arthritis pills. It was on “The Price Is Right.” In November, Jack White was able to describe such once-unlikely crossovers during the millennium’s first vinyl manufacturing conference. At the same time, though, vinyl still represents an infinitesimal slice of the $16 billion global recording industry. Even within the shrinking realm of physical media, only one in 10 new albums sold last year was on vinyl according to one industry report—aside from a negligible smattering of cassettes, the other nine were CDs.

Yet the numbers—and observations from industry insiders—suggest that physical records will probably continue to remain a meaningful and lasting presence in many music lovers’ lives. In the years ahead, vinyl will likely maintain its status as a complement to the impersonality of streaming, a scruffy anachronism consistently hanging out at the margins. As of now, here are the big trends from the world of spinning wax..."

Read the rest of Pitchfork's article for yourself here.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.

How To Clean Your Records For Free. Almost.

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I'm not saying this is the best way to clean your records. I'm not even saying this is a good way to clean your records. But is IS a way to clean your records, if you're really, really, really, really careful.

Would you clean your records this way? I'm not sure I would. But not everyone has a record cleaning machine. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

These Guys Care About Music A LOT More Than You Do

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Do you think you care about audio? You don't. At least not compared to these Japanese audiophiles. AudioMatters, one of our favorite under-appreciated audiophile blogs, was kind enough to unearth this gem

Do you know someone who is ever more serious about their audio system than these guys?

If so, please tell us in the comments.

The World's Worst Turntables And Why You Should Avoid Them

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I recently heard that Urban Outfitters is the largest seller of vinyl records in America. Sadly, it also sells turntables that aren't very good for your records. The proof? This amazing thread over on Reddit detailing exactly why you shouldn't place your valuable records on suboptimal turntables.

The list of offenders is crazy.

The Reddit thread's intro alone serves as a warning as to what not to do with that $25 vinyl you just splurged on:

Playing vinyl records is a great hobby. It's easy to get started and you don't need to spend a fortune to do so. However, like any hobby, there is both good and bad products out there at both ends of the price/performance spectrum. In general, a record player or turntable needs to do three basic separate, interrelated jobs to successfully play a vinyl record. Some players perform these three jobs better than others and cost much more for the commensurate research, development, and precision manufacturing costs that went into producing them.

Job #1 Provide a stable, extremely flat, non resonant platform for the record to rest on.

Job #2 Turn the platform and record precisely at the correct speed.

Job #3 Position a stylus and transducer above a revolving groove, allow the stylus to follow the grove and faithfully reproduce the vibrations encoded within.

As one moves up the record player/turntable food chain, more of the build budget gets dedicated to improvements that affect audio quality either directly or indirectly.

Most mass-market turntables are made by three OEM factories: Hanpin, Skywin, and Leetac. They all make a low quality, non upgradable, low performance, budget-friendly, entry level model with built-in speakers, a heavy tracking ceramic or moving magnet cartridge, and a barely adequate tonearm prone to promote stylus mistracking. Even the more expensive mass-market turntables tend to place emphasis on convenience features such as automatic play, sometimes switchable built in phono-EQ, USB connectivity, and cosmetics, instead of design improvements that increase audio quality.

Reasons to not buy these brands/specific models:

• Skipping during playback of loud passages, including but not limited to heavy bass/drums, and/or loud transients due to exceeding the tracking abilites of the included stylus.

• No upgrade options, nor serviceable parts that can be sourced easily other than the stylus and belt.

• The included sapphire sylus on many Leetac and Skywin-manufactured players, which has a maximum lifespan of between 65 to 100 hours due to the stylus' softer material than diamond. Yes, you can upgrade to a diamond tipped stylus for increased stylus longevity, but you will still have the exact same problems as described in this list.

• Heavy, inconsistently set, tracking force (Leetac and Skywin tonearms) with ceramic cartridges require vertical tracking force be set at roughly 5.0 grams but is measured anywhere from 4.0 to 10.0 grams. The Audio Technica AT3600L moving magnet cartridge, found on some Crosley models (i.e., the Collegiate) and Hanpin FU-700/R200 OEM models have measured anywhere from 4.0 to 6.0 grams. This can shorten the lifespan of the stylus, specifically the tip, cantilever, and suspension, but also accelerate groove damage to the records. Note that the AT3600L moving magnet's stylus has a recommended tracking force between 2.5 to 3.5 grams.

• Non-adjustable or fixed counterweight that severely limits cartridge and stylus selection (usually to just one).

• Shorter tonearms also experience higher levels of tracing error, where the stylus is not perfectly parallel to the groove, causing audible distortions The short tonearm also further contributes inner groove distortion, where groove speed is the slowest and tracking is most difficult. IGD is audible distortion that affects the midrange and treble frequencies during playback at the most inner grooves near the center label.

Click here to read the rest and get the full list of the worst offenders...

Is Reel-to-Reel the New Vinyl?

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Is reel-to-reel the new vinyl? We don't carry new reel-to-reel hardware, but we've fielded a few calls asking if we did. So we did some digging around what appears to be a growing trend, and came across this recent article in The Robb Report, "The Most Expensive Music of Today Is Recorded on Mediums from the Past," suggesting that reel-to-reel is making a comeback:

"It turns out the audiophiles were right. Despite decades of pundits predicting its demise, analog audio has made a big comeback in recent years, with vinyl records, reel-to-reel tapes, and even cassette tapes gaining interest in the mass market. At the high end, this has led to more interest in limited physical album releases—often produced with painstaking care using esoteric methods—and high price tags. Enthusiasts are spending hundreds on single albums in pursuit of sonic perfection and the chance to own something truly special.

One of the primary drivers behind this is sound quality. Despite vinyl’s imperfections, many discerning listeners prefer the warmth, presence, and emotion communicated through a record—qualities that are simply missing from digital reproduction. In some cases, however, it can be challenging to collect recordings of vintage performances in good condition, so some modern vinyl reissues are mastered from inferior digital sources rather than the analog master tape."

Read the rest of the story and tell us what you think...

Is Vinyl Perfect Because It Isn't?

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Context is everything. I was born in 1971, so I remember life before CDs. I also remember listening to Everything But The Girl on vinyl, which is why I was so thrilled to see this vinyl op-ed written by EBTG's Tracey Thorn, which starts off like this:

"I had to listen to the test pressing of my finished album the other day. This is when you check what the vinyl version will sound like, so you sit very quietly in front of your speakers and, ignoring the songs completely, take note of the overall sound quality and strain your ears to listen out for any excessive surface noise, any unwanted pops or crackles. And, this being vinyl, there are occasional pops and crackles. But are they unwanted? Ah, that’s the question."

"Vinyl has had a revival, you will have read. And part of me can’t help feeling that it’s really the pops and crackles that have made a comeback, securing their place in people’s hearts as some kind of badge of authenticity. The clunk of the needle dropping. The faint hiss before the first song begins. Sounds that, if you’re the right age, whirl you back in time to those first records you owned."

Read the rest of her piece here.

Alex Roy, co-Founder of Noho Sound, Editor-at-Large for The Drive and author of The Driver, has set numerous endurance driving records, including the infamous Cannonball Run record. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Noho Sound Live Presents: Haydn, Paganini & Beethoven — 12/20 @ 7pm

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Noho Sound is proud to host our 11th Groupmuse live classical event Wednesday, December 20th at 7pm. The Noho Sound Live series continues at our soundproofed and acoustically treated loft in Noho, designed specifically for live and recorded music.

RSVP here: http://grpm.us/bY3zjQ

WHAT IS NOHO SOUND?
Noho Sound is a trio of hi-end audio showrooms & event spaces in NYC created by Alex Roy, Ron Kain & Chris Petranis, industry veterans and music lovers who wanted something better — space to hear the world's best audio equipment, and the live music that is the point of it all.

Learn more @ www.nohosound.com

WHAT WILL BE PERFORMED?
Haydn String Quartet Op. 74 No. 5
Kreisler Schön Rosmarin
Paganini Caprice No. 24
Haydn String Quartet “Lark” 
Beethoven "Eyeglasses" Duo
A Holiday Musical Surprise

WHAT'S A GROUPMUSE?
Groupmuses are something in between classical music concerts and house parties. They are a chance to spend quality time with old and new friends and to lose yourself in a profound artistic experience.

Learn more @ www.Groupmuse.com

This particular Groupmuse will be followed by electronic and disco versions of the music performed, if they can be located on vinyl. If not, a digital download of William Orbit's EDM remix of Barber's Adagio for Strings will be played repeatedly for three hours, or until the last person leaves, whichever comes first. If four or more guests known to each other act inappropriately, Laibach's industrial cover of The Beatles' Let It Be will be played in its entirety.

HOW TO ATTEND
We only have room for 50 people, including friends and community members, so there are limited spots available! To claim yours, visit this early access signup link: http://grpm.us/bY3zjQ

Smoking and drinking is encouraged, but the former is banned during the actual performance so as not to annoy the musicians.

QUESTIONS?
Call or e-mail us.

We look forward to seeing you.

Alex, Ron & Chris
The Noho Sound Family
www.nohosound.com

Why The Pro-Ject RPM 9 Carbon Turntable Is Worth $2,995

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Vinyl is better. Even if it isn't objectively better, it's better. If you have to ask why, then, like jazz, you'll never know.

Our friend Rafe Arnott — one of the best audio writers alive — has written a wonderful review of the Pro-Ject RPM 9 Carbon over at Part-Time Audiophile, and his opening paragraph really captures the psychology not just of vinyl listening, but ownership:

"Playing records is – as my good friend once told me – the audiophile version of the Japanese tea ceremony. It is all about preparation, and presentation. There is a strong visual aesthetic to the act of putting an LP on a turntable, cueing up the tonearm, and dropping the needle into the groove. If you’re not sure of how to do it, it shows, and you lose some of the inherent grace, intelligence and sophistication that having a turntable, and a record collection, connotes in many people’s minds. I mean, let’s not be coy, a well-curated collection of albums is more than just a nod to loving music, one is putting some of their most intimate, and personal moments in life on display with a wall of albums. Hell, even with just a few dozen LPs, one is exposing themselves to a level of critical judgement that many aren’t all-too comfortable in revealing through casual conversations. But playing an album while having a glass of wine with friends can be not only a cathartic emotional act of sharing, it invites empathetic conversation – or at least acknowledgement – of what intellectual stimulus the music invokes in those listening. So, in that sense owning a turntable – and the record collection that shares a symbiotic relationship with it –  is a reflection of one’s personal, mental equilibrium, or lack thereof."

Specs? Details? Some people have to know. Some know they just don't matter. Rafe understands both sides, and his writing is the bridge between them.

Read the rest of his review at Part-Time Audiophile...

How Vinyl Fills A Generation’s Need For Human Interaction

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Why are vinyl and turntable sales going up? Teddy Crimmins of The Chicago Tribune published a brilliant explanation today that starts off like this:

"The record player and the Polaroid camera, both antiquated technology, are making a comeback within my younger generation. These modernly useless machines have been embraced by “hipsters” and have assumed their own spot in a sort of new counterculture.

But what makes people willing to pay for such impractical things?

I have the most experience with the record player, having asked for one a couple of years ago for my 16th birthday. At first, my parents didn’t understand why I would want this bulky machine that would take up place in their basement. Why would I want to spend my money on the giant pieces of plastic they would have to find somewhere to store when I could have a nearly infinite music library on my computer through Spotify?

To answer this question I need to describe my first experience in a record store.

It was a hot summer day when my friend Zack and I walked down the streets of Evanston to Vintage Vinyl on Davis Street. The cold metal door to the musty room creaked as I pulled hard to open it. In front of me lay a voluminous quantity of wooden crates packed with cardboard squares organized alphabetically. I walked down the aisles running my hand over the sanded wood, stopping to sort through the giant colored albums."

Read the rest over at The Chicago Tribune...

Noho Sound & Groupmuse Present MusicTalks: Spanish Guitar

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Noho Sound is proud to host MusicTalks at our 9th Groupmuse live classical party on Friday, December 1st, 2017 at 7PM at a secret location. The Noho Sound Live series continues at a soundproofed and acoustically treated loft in Chelsea, designed specifically for live and recorded music.

RSVP directly here.

WHAT IS NOHO SOUND?
Noho Sound is a trio of hi-end audio showrooms & event spaces in NYC created by Alex Roy, Ron Kain & Chris Petranis, industry veterans and music lovers who wanted something better — space to hear the world's best audio equipment, and the live music that is the point of it all.

Follow Noho Sound on Instagram & Facebook

WHAT IS MUSICTALKS?
MusicTalks brings classical music to an intimate and informal setting. Performed by the finest young musicians, MusicTalks breaks down the barriers between musicians and audience by taking advantage of the intimacy that chamber music provides. With engaging and interactive conversation, the listener is given an experience that truly makes Music Talk.

Follow Music Talks on Instagram & Facebook

WHAT WILL BE PERFORMED?
Guitarist Colin Davin will tell the story of the guitar in Spain from the Baroque to today, showcasing the extraordinary colors of Spanish folk music. For the finale, Cellist Elad Kabilio will join for a performance of Manuel de Falla’s masterpiece Suite popular Española.

As in every MusicTalks program the concert will offer introductions to the composers and their works, musical demonstrations, and fascinating anecdotes. Here's a video teaser.

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Colin Davin

Guitarist

WHAT'S A GROUPMUSE?
A Groupmuse is something in between classical music concerts and house parties. They are a chance to spend quality time with old and new friends and to lose yourself in a profound artistic experience.

Follow Groupmuse on Instagram & Facebook

LOCATION
Secret until the day of. You will be e-mailed after you register at this link.

HOW TO ATTEND

We only have room for 60 people, including friends and community members, so there are limited spots available! To claim yours, you must register here: http://grpm.us/RVzhkg

WHAT TO BRING
BYOB. Please dress casually and bring at least $10 to pay the musicians at the event.

Smoking and drinking is encouraged, but the former is banned during the actual performance so as not to annoy the musicians.

We look forward to seeing you.

Alex, Ron & Chris
The Noho Sound Family
www.nohosound.com

Want to hear what a $37,500 turntable sounds like?

Noho Sound’s Ron Kain, Alex Roy & Chris Petranis invite you to an exclusive listening event hosted by Grand Prix Audio's founder Jesse Luna. Come to Noho Sound and listen to your favorite records while learning the technical ins and outs of why the $37,500 Monaco v2.0 turntable outperforms turntables at any price point.

(By any price we mean bring your 300k turntable and find out.)

Let's be serious. Most people have never heard a good — let alone great — analog rig. Call it what you will. Stereo. Hifi. Hi-end. Just come over and hear the one of the world's best 2-channel setups. Drinks will be served. Food? Not so much. As in no.

Taking 20 RSVPs. You must announce your record of choice to be granted access.
7-10PM at our Cooper Square showroom.
Email or Call us if you want to join!

Best,

Alex, Ron & Chris
The Noho Sound Family