July 20: How big a TV?
     It depends. As you can see from this diagram, normal human vision takes in a large angle, but that doesn’t mean your TV screen has to occupy your entire range of vision. Indeed, as we explain in an article in issue No. 99 of UHF Magazine, you don’t want it to occupy anything close to your full peripheral range.
     That’s the final article in the new issue, and it’s now done. We need to place some of your house ads and do such housekeeping as the table of contents, and the issue will be launched.
     If your subscription is still in force, you’ll be getting an e-mail with the download link, and your user name and password. Stand by.

BY THE WAY: On this weekend’s Flash Sale, on line from Friday 3 pm, a terrific deal on power cords. Really good power cords.

July 8: Sound all aroundSiriusBE6
     We’re not talking about film-style surround sound, but about speakers that can project sound over a 360-degree angle, for a seamless stereo image. There are only a few of them, and not all of them perform convincingly. You may recall one speaker that did, from Duevel. Pascal Ravach of Mutine showed them some years back at the Montreal show.
Mutine is still around, though Pascal described himself as semi-retired. He has been building a house in the Laurentians, north of Montreal, and when it is done (in late Fall, right, Pascal?), it will feature a new state-of-the-art auditorium, alongside the current one, for invited clients. He says it will be worth the drive.
The new Duevel speaker is the Sirius BE, based on the Sirius Pascal showed all those years ago. One notable change is the use of beryllium for the midrange driver. The two transparent acrylic devices are not drivers but horns, which will spread the sound over the whole room.
Pascal is still distributing the excellent electronics from Audiomat as well, and he promises new models to be launched along with the Duevel speakers.

BY THE WAY: There is one major article and a a few details to be completed in UHF No. 99, and then it will be launched. It is, as you know, an interactive electronic magazine, and this one will be more interactive than ever. We can hardly wait.

Get a brand new Focus Audio integrated tube amplifier,
built in Canada, at a huge discount,
from UHF's Audiophile Boutique.

June 15: UHF 99 FAQfaq
Q When will UHF No. 99 be sent out?

A In the next few days. In the meantime, can you make sure we still have your correct e-mail address (if it hasn’t changed, we do)? With each issue, we get some notification e-mails bouncing back. Note that your e-mail must be directly accessible: no captchas or other hoops to jump through.

Q Will UHF No. 99 be available on newsstands?

A No. Most newsstands have disappeared, and so there will never be new print issues.

Q What if I prefer reading print?

A Most issues up to No. 97 are still available in print form, and if you don't have them, you'll find lots to read. You can search the list on our back issue page. But mailing rates have risen so much ($10 to $20 and still rising) that we no longer offer print issues outside Canada.

Q If I buy an electronic issue, can I print it out?

A Sure, but you probably won't want to waste $15 of paper and toner to wind up with a pale copy of the magazine. And miss out on the interactive links besides.

Q Are back issues available in electronic form?

A All issues from No. 68 onward can be ordered in electronic form. Earlier issues included such elements as photographs, pasteups and films, and could not be transferred to electronic form. All electronic issues cost $4 (Canadian), plus applicable sales tax in Canada only.

Q is there any difference between Maggie's electronic issues and the new interactive issues?

A No, they're all from Maggie, but issues from No. 98 forward have interactive links, to music or to in-depth information. Because we no longer have to print the magazine, we can take advantage of newer technologies to enrich the reading experience.

Q Can I read the electronic issue even if I'm not online?

A Yes, just download it to your computer or tablet. However, the interactive features require a Web connection.

Q Will you be doing anything special for issue No. 100?

A Yes. We will have a number of articles looking back at the history if modern high fidelity, with roots in the 1940's and 50's. More on that in a little while, but we think it will be a collectors' issue.

May 23: Toronto show vs Toronto show
     We've been blunt about the fact that last Fall's Toronto show was a mitigated success. Which is not what some exhibitors called it. Next Fall's edition will be in a new venue, still close to the airport, still sharing space with things that are not high-end audio.
A few days ago, we told you that the people behind the very successful Montreal show, Sarah Tremblay and Michel Plante, are taking dead aim at TAVES, with a pure high-end audio show inspired by the Montreal Audiofest.
But TAVES is not sitting still. Like the Audiofest, it will feature free admission, and a number of features aimed at audiophiles

Fans of live music will be entertained with various live performances at the show, ranging from jazz to blues and acoustic rock.  For the first time ever, TAVES will also feature live performances that are recorded at the show and then played back through a high-end audio system.  If you’ve ever wanted to compare live music to playback on a high-end system, this is your chance.

If you enjoying spinning vinyl, then you'll love our massive Vinyl Marketplace where you can pick up new releases, audiophile records, older goodies and rare collectible records.  Many analog accessories and upgrades will also be on sale.  This year's show is set to offer dramatically more vinyl and accessory dealers than ever before.  TAVES will even offer a record cleaning service, so bring a few of your dirty favorites!

In the mood to expand your knowledge about high-end audio?  This year's show will offer a series of captivating audio seminars from top industry experts as well as a “Meet the Maker” series of talks from high profile individuals from the industry.  Get to know some of the people behind the products and learn what makes them tick!

Portable music fans will enjoy a great selection of headphones,  portable music players and accessories in the Headphone section of the show.

This fall, the Hi-Fi Audition Room on the main show floor will also receive upgrades which include an increased room size (15.5 x 23.5′), ventilation and a visual improvement from the outside.

With a considerable portion of the audio rooms already sold out, this year's TAVES promises to deliver many new, first-time audio exhibitors and never before seen products.

Two shows, both free, both near the airport, a week apart. What do you think?

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May 9: The Toronto Audiofesttorontoaudiofest
     Well, we knew it was coming. During the brouhaha over the unexpected cancellation of LAAS, the Los Angeles Audio Show, there was much discussion on Facebook and elsewhere over what led to the cancellation. There were articles from Stereophile and Analog Planet. And there was a broad hint of a new show to come from…Michel Plante.
     Now, you may know his name from the long-time (31-year) Montreal show, now known as the Montreal Audiofest. He and Sarah Tremblay once owned it. When its new owner ran it (almost) into the ground, Michel and Sarah came back with less than two weeks warning, and made it a big success.
     Since then, Michel left his day job, and now the two are at the head of a non-profit organization.
     The plot thickens.
     For some years, there has been a Toronto show, called TAVES (Toronto Audio Visual Entertainment Show). Michel and Sarah helped set up the first one, then at the King Edward Hotel downtown. But TAVES branched out into everything but hi-fi: robotics, 3D printing, drones, electric cars, and even mobile homes. The 2018 edition, announced for October 12th to 14th, will be held at the International Centre, near the airport. But it will have competition.
     The Toronto Audiofest, a non-profit like its Montreal counterpart, will be held a week later, October 19th to 21st, also near the airport, at the Westin on Dixon Road. Admission will be free with advance registration.
     Nobody will exhibit at both, we'd guess. So which would you choose?

May 3: Another show buys the farmlaas
     Who is this odd-looking woman with the illiterate teeshirt? We hadn't heard of her until today. She was the organizer of LAAS, the Los Angeles Audio Show. And she has sent out an e-mail announcing that...but let's let her tell it.
It is with sadness and regrets that I announce the cancellation of the 2018 LA Audio Show.
     Once more, I remind you that as Robert Evans stated, "There are three sides to every story: Your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently," but he also stated that "any man who thinks he knows the mind of a woman is a man who knows nothing."
     There have been a series of events much like "Murphy's Law" or even "God's Plan" both on the professional and personal leve that has overtaken my ability to perform at the level I expect of myself and the industry deserves. I put in the maximum efforts I could to absorb the chaos and protect the community, but I have run out of fuel in every sense of the word. My shoulders can no longer bear this weight. 

     Her name is Marine de Rogez-Presson. She says that, for exhibitors who have pre-paid, the cheque is in the mail. After her "explanations" about Murphy's Law, she gets into her real values, which involve Jesus, plus homilies on peace and unconditional love.
     Oh well. Many of us do think that these are too many shows. The Montreal Salon is a winner, and so is RMAF (in Denver), and good things have been said about AXPONA (in Chicago). Perhaps it's not so bad if some of the others fold, but...please, not a month before show time.

Not bi-wiring?
Still using the gold-colored jumpers that came with your speakers?
We have great jumpers made from single-crystal copper..

April 11: The cover of UHF 99minicover99
     We're pulling the new issue together, and we will be launching it to subscribers (and to anyone else who wants to order it) very shortly.
     The turntable in the image is instantly recognizable. It's the Oracle Origine, shown here against a background of stars (the globular star cluster in Omega Centauri). Albert Simon, who took the remarkable photograph of the Origine, thought that it looked like the Enterprise cruiser.
     The Origine is by no means the lowest-priced turntable this Canadian company has ever produced — that would be the Oracle Delphi, originally released in 1980, but it has definite high-end aspirations. Ours came with an optional MC1 Blue cartridge from Ortofon.
     You can see from the cover that we have a number of other reviews: a loudspeaker, a phono preamp, a DAC, and two Russian cables. Those cables, by the way, are from Tchernov, and at least one of them will be worth your attention.
     But, as usual, there's a lot more to UHF than technical reviews. Paul German's Music From a Groove is practically a history of what became hi-fi. And another of the long feature articles look at music, and why humans make and desire music when it doesn't appear to have any evolutionary significance.
     We'll also have show reports, from the Montreal show, but also from CES in Vegas, which was very lean on hi-fi news, but rich in home cinema news.
     Issue No. 99 is coming soon. Do you have issue 98? If not, you can
order it here.

April 5: Shooting the UHF 99 cover
     It's been a busy time at UHF the past few days. We wound up the listening sessions (and it was mostly, though not always, a pleasure). And Wednesday and Thursday, Albert Simon was here shooting the photographs, including this one.
     That turntable is an Oracle Origine, and it was sitting for its portrait for the cover of UHF No. 99. We're busy preparing the other photos for publication, and we'll be giving you previews shortly.
     Other products include a phono preamplifier, a DAC, two pairs of cables from Russia, and a compact but potent loudspeaker.
     Everyone knows that UHF Magazine is based in Montreal, but we've never placed a maple leaf on our cover, because we have always wanted to be a great audio magazine, not a great Canadian audio magazine. However, a number of the products in this set of reviews are made in places we can easily drive to.
     Of course, equipment reviews are not all there is to UHF. Expect information you won't read elsewhere.

Get a brand new Focus Audio integrated tube amplifier,
built in Canada, at a huge discount,
from UHF's Audiophile Boutique.

March 28: More pictures
     As in every show, there are products from around the world, but there are sometimes high-end products from near us. That's the case of a system we had seen last year, called Artist Cloner.ArtisticCloner
     As you can see the designers go for color. The loudspeakers are more staidclonerspeaker.
     We first saw the complete Artist Cloner system at last year's Audio Fest. It was then being used for a live/recorded comparison, but since an electronic instrument was being used, it was less of a challenge than it seemed. No such comparison was being made during either of our visits. We liked the room, and we ran across several people who mentioned it as one of the very good rooms at the show. The prices are deep into five digits, however, and several people mentioned that to us as well.
     We first saw the Gershman Posh speakers at the Toronto show. They were superb then, and they were excellent this time too, despite the very bare room, large in area but shallow in height. They were fed by a pair of Oracle turntables in alternation, a Delphi and the much newer Origine. (By the way, the Origine will be featured in our next issue, coming soon.)
     We got into a discussion over the possibility of reviewing the Posh speakers, and we were split. The speakers cost $129,000, far more than any other product we have other reviewed. On the other hand, our reference speakers (Reference 3a Supremas might well cost $60,000 if they were still in production. In any case, they would arrive with issue 100, next summer.
     One of the original ideas at the Audio Fest was the Audiofilles room. "Filles" is of course the French word for girls, and the room featured a system supposedly chosen by several women outside the industry.
audiofilles audiofillesshirt
     The system seemed promising, with gear from Oracle, McIntosh and Totem. The very loud music being played...let's just say we make our living with our ears, and we fled. We also didn't think this was an inspired idea. Yes, there's a gender imbalance in audio, but this rather demeaning idea isn't going to help. We recalled a seminar held at this show some time ago, to discuss why audio doesn't seem to appeal even to women who love music.

March 25: Pictures from the Montreal Audio Fest
     As we write this, the 31st edition of the Montreal hi-fi show is over. The verdict? It was a good, possibly a great show, fully recovered from its near-death experience two years ago, Saturday night ended with a joyous exhibitor/press party.
     Four of us were wandering about, and you may have seen us. Albert Simon had his camera along, and posted some pictures. These two speakers caught his attention.
viennaacoustics russelk

     On the left is a Vienna Acoustics speaker, in the Bluebird Audio room. This brand (from Austria, need we mention?) has gone through several distribution networks, but they've been consistent in one aspect: they always sound good, and even superb. They were playing hjere with Chord associated gear. On the right is aRussel K Red 120, in the Brosseau room. Russell K is British, and has a large range of speakers. This one is a two-way speaker. A smaller stand-mount system has one woofer instead of two.elac

    The speaker is an ELAC Adente (no, that's not a misspelling), the most expensive ELAC speaker since Andrew Jones took over the line (that's him above). Andrew used to be an engineer at Pioneer, but he was bnetter known for the TAD brand of extremely high-end gear. When he left, he became the designer of the born-again ELAC equipment line. He began with inexpensive speakers of modest capabilities (we thought), but the Adante has loftier ambitions, and achieves them. We always liked Andrew's presentations for TAD at CES, because he was demonstrating music he liked rather than the systems he designed. That's still the case. We use the iOS application Shazam to let us what we're listening to. "It pleases me when I can present music Shazam doesn't know," he said.bruzzese    
     Vince Bruzzese was there with his Totem team, and a new three-way speaker, not yet on the Totem site. Totem also had the only video demo of the entire show, with Dolby Atmos versions of rather noisy films, including the MadMax remake. What was really being demonstrated was the Tribe series of home cinema speakers, compact but powerful.
     We're getting more pictures ready, and we'll post them as soon as we can.
     As always, we ask exhibitors what they thought of the show, and whether they were happy to be there. The verdict was pretty much unanimous: good show, great crowds, with a surprisingly good turnout of younger music lovers. That's probably the result of the price of entry for visitors: zero. You may not be eager to pay (typically) $22 for a show you may not enjoy. And not everyone is happy to pay to go into what is essentially a store.
     We have lots more to tell you, both in this blog and in the next issue of UHF Magazine, which is coming soon.

March 22: Montreal Audio Festaudiofest
     This show has had different names across its 31 years (yes, 31 years), but it has been a consistent success. That was true even two years ago, when its owner abandoned it with 10 days warning, and it was saved only by the people who cared. It's looking good — nay, great — for this new edition.
     The picture at right was taken at the 2017 show, and we might as well tell you that it's a tradition that it snows on the show weekend...as it did last year. Even the year it was scheduled in mid-April, a freak storm paralyzed the city.
     Well, not this year. It will be cloudy Friday, and then bright and sunny for the rest of the weekend. So what you'll see from the windows of this walkway is not snow but the ducks that make their home on the rooftop of the downtown Hôtel Bonaventure.
     The Audio Fest opens at 11 pm Friday (see the rest of the schedule on
the show site). Remember that admision is free, because the show is now in the hands of a non-profit organization dedicated to audiophiles and the industry. That means you can invite a curious friend to come and have a look, and a listen.
     Of course, several of us from UHF Magazine will be there for at least two days. Watch for us.

March 18: Music of the Resistance
     We're grateful to the many readers of UHF's print edition (nearly all in fact), who have migrated to the new interactive electronic version. Some have done it reluctantly, but have told us that they would rather have the electronic edition than not have it at all.
     We're busy putting together issue No. 99 of UHF. It will include this article.
     You probably know that music, and its reproduction at home, has been more important to us than mere hardware. This article by Kathe Lieber, The Music of the Resistance, is about the (so far unsuccessful) effort to put an end to war, and the power of the music enlisted in the cause.

The 20th century dawned with such great hope. Surely the world was destined for a bright future, full of peace and prosperity and science and technology, as exemplified by the Paris Exhibition in 1900, where the future belligerents displayed their brilliant new discoveries side by side. But history proceeds at its own peculiar pace, unbidden.

     How could the murder of an obscure aristocrat in Sarajevo in June 1914 lead to a declaration of war just a few weeks later, on August 4? What was going on here? The class system was starting to crumble and the union movement was rising, strongest in France and Germany, to some extent in Italy. Why, the workers asked, should I be sent off to kill people just like me, people who, by some accident of geography and birth, live in a country that’s supposed to be our enemy?

     The jingoistic message and the propaganda finally won over. And off the young men marched to war, millions never to return.

     Music became a potent weapon for protest. There had been no real recording industry before the first world war, but families would gather around the piano in the parlour and sing long into the night. Fast forward to the 1920s, when radio became widespread and affordable, taking music into many living rooms and democratizing music as a new tool in a movement that yet had somehow failed to stop one of the greatest tragedies in world history.

     By the way, the artists in the page spread above are: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Paul Robeson, Joan Baez, John Lennon, Peter, Paul & Mary, and the cast of the musical Hair.

Not bi-wiring?
Still using the gold-colored jumpers that came with your speakers?
We have great jumpers made from single-crystal copper..

March 1: UHF 99 listening tests underway
     We have a good lineup of products for review in the next interactive issue of UHF Magazine. We spent Wednesday with a phono preamplifier, the Moon Néo 310LP.
     This is by no means the first Moon phono preamp we have experience with. We've reviewed the LP5.3, and an earlier version of the 310LP. Like the others, it has no external controls. There is no on-off switch, since Simaudio recommends keeping it warmed up and ready to go There is no switch for MM and MC cartridges, when it comes to that. You need to open the unit and set jumpers to what you need (there is, of course, the obligatory warning on the back panel not to do that).
     What's new? Simaudio says that the power supply has been beefed up, and accordingly it has discontinued the optional outboard power supply, the 320S. Power supplies matter, and we get that.
     The whole story will be in our next issue, comng soon.
     Got issue 98?
Pick it up here and download it.

Not bi-wiring?
Still using the gold-colored jumpers that came with your speakers?
We have great jumpers made from single-crystal copper..

February 8: UHF's next reviews
     With issue No. 98 of UHF Magazine in the hands of most (but not yet all) subscribers, we are bringing issue 99 together. And it will include, as usual, a number of equipment reviews.
     Among the products to be reviewed are a new speaker from Totem, a phono preamplifier from Simaudio, high-end cables from Russia, and...this gadget.iRig
    What is it?
     You may remember that, years ago, we had reviewed the Edirol UA-25, a compact box you could attach to your computer, Mac or PC, and make your own digital recordings. Since then, we reviewed the ADL GT-40 Alpha, a kind of Swiss army knife that included a DAC, a phono stage, a preamplifier, a headphone amp and — yes, an analog-todigital converter. You could use it to make your own recordings.
     This device, from iRig, can do the same thing, but it has another trick up its sleeve. It can run on batteries, and you can do the actual recording on your tablet or your phone. And it includes pro features, such as 48 volt phantom power for a pair of professional microphones.
     Of course you'll want to know how good it sounds, and...well, you know us. Quality sound is what we're all about.
     The same issue will include an article on the ways music is important to humans. (We know it is to you, and of course to us). Paul Bergman will review the history of getting sound from a groove (Edison did it first, and we still do it today). And Kathe Lieber is working on a major article tentatively titled The Music of the Resistance. It's about the role that music has played in the (as yet unsuccessful) struggle to put an end to war.
     If you're a subscriber and you do not yet have issue No. 98, drop us an e-mail.

January 25: Record launch at Simaudionameless
     The well-known Canadian audio manufacturer is not new to sponsoring recordings. You can see Simaudio's Moon logo on early recordings by singer Anne Bisson, for instance. Last night, a new singer made her debut at the Simaudio lounge, Dominique Fils-Aimé.
     Her music could be classified as rhythm and blues, or as urban music, but last night she was accompanied by a small jazz group, piano and bass. After she had done some numbers from the recording (which will be out in CD and streaming next month, LP in March), we were invited in small groups into the Moon listening room to sample the Nameless CD.namelesscd
     The effect was quite different, with more instruments, and with a plethora of impressive studio-conceived perspectives. The Moon setup showed it to good effect, with a pair of Rockport speakers driven by Simaudio's impossibly large (and expensive) Moon 888 monoblocks. There is certainly lot of bottom end on this recording, provided by the bass and the percussion. The phase effects give the music a wraparound sound that draws you in. Happily, though, it doesn't obscure Fils-Aimé's voice, nor the emotion of her lyrics. This is a very good first album. More on it in UHF No. 99, coming soon.
     We were interested in lending an ear to the 888 monoblocks, and we wondered what makes a pair of them worth over $160,000. Well, they're large, much larger than they look in photographs, and theirs gigantic power supplies allow them to feed several horsepower into very low impedance loads. Simaudio recommends getting a pair of 240 volt circuits installed for them.
     Amplifiers this large typically sound closed off and opaque, loud but not loud enough to let you hear everything you think you should hear. Not these. Simaudio has sold several pairs, mostly in Asia, but of course they're not meant to be a mainstream product.

January 19: Turntable back in actionlp12
     It's no secret that we enjoy listening to vinyl and to everything else too), so our two reference turntables need to be operational. That's doubly true because we are about to do the listening sessions for UHF No. 99, and a phono preamplifier is on the list of products.
     But the turntable we use most, our Linn LP12, had serious problems. Was it the cartridge? Was it the lead wires on our Alphason tone arm? We installed new lead wires, and listened again. No, it really was the cartridge, putting out a strange, low-energy out-of-phase signal. It's a London Reference, and it will need a factory rebuild. So be it...it has had a lot of use, and we love it.
     So we installed a Goldring Excel, the same one that is on our other turntable (an Audiomeca J-1). The verdict? Our Linn sounds glorious once more. Frankly, we had missed it.
     Oh yes...the light over the turntable.
     It was originally a quartz lamp. with a transformer right in its base. But we couldn't leave it on while playing music, because the transformer's magnetic field got into the audio. The new lamp uses cool LEDs, and its own transformer is down on the floor. Much better.

January 13: After CES


     The record may belong to Saxe Brickenden of Canada's Evolution Audio. He says this was his 46th consecutive CES. Granted, CES used to be a twice-a-year event (the "summer" one was in Chicago), but even so...
     VPI turntables were at CES 2018, but VPI's Mat Weisfeld was not. The reason: he and his wife Jane were expecting any day. So Mat is holding his own Micro-CES in New Jersey, along with a few friends who brought along their own products: Joseph Audio, Totem, Rogers Hi-Fi, Transparent Cables, etc.


     It's not uncommon for companies to have demo suites off-site (typically, the Mirage, Caesar's Palace, the Golden Nugget), but rarer to have it on the other side of the continent.

January 12: CES 2018 is over


     The Consumer Technology Association, which organizes a number of shows, and notably CES, is going to say that this year's edition was the biggest version yet. They always do, except for the period following the 2008 crash. For high-end audio, however, CES has been shrinking more and more each year. This year the exhibits were almost entirely on a single floor of the Venetian (the palace above). And there is no longer a T.H.E.Show, the alternative exhibition that CES was trying to shut down.
     We've covered this year's CES at a distance, because the number of exhibitors was so small. Even worse is that so many of the people we would have wanted to meet weren't there.
     So how was the Venetian this year? Better than might have been expected. Bill Leebens (of PS Audio) was touring for what he said was the last time ever, and initially found the crowds thin. He reported bigger crowds later, perhaps because by now his expectations were low. Ray Kimber was delighted with the people he met and the business he wrote up, but then you'd expect that. With so few exhibitors, visitors have few places to go.
     Half a dozen years ago, there was a rumor that, with Vegas no longer the bargain destination it once was, CES was looking for somewhere new. Orlando was mentioned, though it wouldn't have the facilities for this huge show. Singapore was also mentioned. We think the rumor was put out by CES itself, to put pressure on some of the greedier hotels and casinos. But it could still happen.

January 11: Laser television
     And so...the contest seems to be between OLED television (Sony and LG) and microLED. But there's a third system: laser.


     Sony was of course first to show a Laser TV projection system. It was expensive, but the wow factor was breathtaking. There's a second entry, this one from China, HiSense. This projection box can sit just 19 cm from the screen. The heavy keystoning of the image is corrected electronically. This year's HiSense projector has built-in sound as well, from Harman/Kardon.
     The price? Well, last year's version cost $10,000, and we know that TV technology keeps dropping in price.

Get a brand new Focus Audio integrated tube amplifier,
built in Canada, at a huge discount,
from UHF's Audiophile Boutique.

January 10: Sony televisions
     The Sony presentations was a lot less dramatic than those from Samsung, LG and Hisense, but in part that's because Sony, long lagging in TV technology, was leading, in at least some categories. Sony has been building OLED sets (buying panels from their competitors, it should be said), and it has been able to claim leadership. The new OLED sets, including the one shown here, uses Sony's X1 Extreme Processor, offering (says Sony) unprecented brightness but also deep blacks.
     It's impossible to gauge image quality at a show, of course, and we're disturbed that Sony, like its competitors, continue to use images like this flower array rather than real-life scenes. Can we please see a human being on your screen? One with plausible skin tones? Flowers and flowing liquids look wonderful, but that's not what any of us will buy a high-end TV display to watch.
     Among other products Sony was showing was a full-frame camera with a silent shutter. The silence means the camera can be used at such events as golf tournaments. Of course, the silence may also be an advantage shooting in the dressing rooms...
     The worst thing that can happen at CES is a power break. And there was one at the Last Vegas Convention Center in the middle of the day Wednesday.
     It lasted about two hours, but its effect was felt throughout the day. CES evacuated the south and central halls, and by the time power was restored a lot of people were enjoying their third margaritas. It seems Vegas had been three month without rain, and then got a flash flood that took out a major transformer.
     But don't mention, climate change. That's a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

January 10: Technics SP-10 turntable returns
     Two years ago, Panasonic drew the attention of audiophiles by bringing back one of its classic direct-drive turntables, the SL-1200. It was a limited edition, which has since gone into full production. But there was no sign of the top Technics table, the SP-10. That turntable was used in radio stations (for one thing, it could hit full speed within an eighth of a turn). Some audiophiles loved it too, and would mount it in a special base, made from granite or some other dense material. Well, Panasonic is at CES, and the SP-10R is the latest incarnation of the famous turntable.


     You'll notice that there's no space for a tone arm. That means whatever arm you choose will have to be mounted on the base. Unless you choose a base that is absolutely rigid, you'll be losing musical detail hand over fist. The picture doesn't show a record mat, probably so you can admire the brass platter. Technics tables usually came with thick rubber mats, and they lost a lot of detail as well.
     We don't know the price, but the original SP-10 wasn't cheap, and the new SP-10R probably won't be either. Despite that, we expect there will be a waiting list.

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January 10: Samsung goes even bigger

     LG tried to upstage its major competitor (that is, Samsung) by launching its monstrous 88-inch OLED set before CES had even opened. But now CES is on, and Samsung has done some upstaging of its own. This new set, aptly named The Wall, has a diagonal size of 146 inches. That's about 371 cm.
Of course, that's absurd. You couldn't bring a TV that size into anything smaller than a château...or a ballroom at the Mandalay Bay. This is another "mine is bigger than yours" moment.
     But that's not truly the point. The new Samsung is an LED set...a real one. That means it's not just a standard liquid crystal set backlit with light-emitting diodes, like nearly all current TV sets. Rather, it uses arrays of tiny LEDs to form the actual image. Is that the future? It might be. It is, at any rate, the likely alternative to OLED.
     Samsung, as usual, drew laughter for its increasingly ridiculous refrigerators. Not content to have fridges whose contents you can view on your smartphone when you're at the store, it now has a model that "knows" what it contains, knows the taste and food allergies (if any) of family members, and suggests recipes.
     Stick to TV sets, Samsung. You may be on to something.

January 6: LG at CES
     CES is about to get underway in Las Vegas. No, no one from UHF is going. The hi-fi section of the show has been shrinking year by year, and can now be thoroughly covered on the first day before lunch.
     One aspect of CES we miss, however, is the launch of new TV technology. There may not be a lot of money in retailing TV sets, because they’re now such a commodity, but a lot of money is poured into the displays at CES, especially by such companies as Samsung, Sony, HiSense and LG.
     But why wait? CES opens on the 9th (with press events on the 7th and 8th), but LG has already shown its latest and biggest TV set. This is it.
     It's billed as an 88-inch set. That seems an odd size, and its not a much rounder figure in its metric equivalent, 223.5 cm. That's big, big enough that you’ll probably need to remove a window to get it in. And if it breaks down, you won't want to hear a technician says he has “to take it in to the shop.”
     It’s s an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) said, of course. LG is the world's biggest manufacturer of OLED panels, and it sells them to its competitors as well, including Sony and Panasonic. But that's not all. It’s no mere 4K set, but an 8K set. That's 4,320 pixels high by 7,680 pixels wide. That's a lot of data. So where do you get an 8K signal?
     Well, if you're in your living room you don't. Some studios do master their material in 8K, but there’s no medium for getting it to you.
     Which may not matter, because we don't expect this gigantic set to turn up at your local Best Buy or Costco. It's a statement, to convince you that if you're looking for the manufacturer with the goods, LG is it.

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We have great jumpers made from single-crystal copper..

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