Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tocaro T-shirts are here!

100% cotton American Apparel T-shirts. Black, Red and Yellow Tocaro Flag emblem on the front with a small flag on the back. We have the following sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large and Girl Size. They're $25 including shipping in the Continental United States. Email us at creston@austinhifi.com or call us at (512) 236-9100.

Merce Cunningham: 1919 - 2009

We'll miss you!

(Photo by me after a performance at Art Pace in San Antonio in 1998.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Old Crimsons Never Die...

Brian Lloyd's Crimson Elektrik, circa 1981 (click to enlarge)

Crimson Electronics, circa 2009 (click to enlarge)

It's 1981. Ordinary People wins Best Picture. MTV begins broadcasting. Diana and Charles get married. Ronald Reagan is President and Margaret Thatcher is Prime Minister. A man named Brian Lloyd purchases an amp and preamp that he will use well into the following century.

Crimson Electronics Founder and Chief Designer Brian Powell received this email in January of 2009:

Hello, Brian,

It’s taken me 28 years to get around to thanking you and all concerned for producing the Crimson Elektrik.

I purchased the Pre and Power Amp kits from Badger Sound Services based in Lytham St. Annes. I struggled to raise the cash to buy two CE-1004 boards (£46.04), the Power Amp Hardware Kit (£35.03) and the Power Supply CPS-3 (£19.75), a total of £100.82.

Then it was down to working overtime like the clappers to save for the Preamp Kit, the CPR-1S at £44.50 plus the Hardware Kit at £39.80 (a staggering £84.30!)

As you may have guessed, I still have the original receipts.

But when I fired the kit up for the first time... what joy!

She (my Crimson) has never once let me down in all that time, and still it seems I’m listening again for the very first time, through the past 28 years she has always been there, to give my joy in the good times and to bring me solace in the sad.

Although I still have all my vinyl albums, I changed to CD years ago, and the old girl just took it all in her stride as I knew she would.

My son is a dedicated Naim buff, and has a very esoteric setup, but he discovered his love of Hi-Fi through my Crimsons.

Your design of all those years ago is perhaps what should define Hi-Fi, a system that is not only sweet to listen to but becomes part of one’s life.

I hope you don’t mind my sharing my reminiscences with you, but I thought you might enjoy the moment, and as a special treat, I’ve included a snap of my beloved old girl.

Many thanks for all the joy you’ve given us,

Brian Lloyd

And thank you, too, Brian!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crimson R.M. Music-Link Audio Cables

Crimson R.M. Music-Link Audio Cable was released about a year ago by Crimson Electronics of Great Britain. Scores of prototypes were created before the cable was introduced, and we're happy to say, it's been worth all their hard work. Crimson R.M. Music-Link Audio Cable is the most tuneful and rhythmically accurate cable we've ever heard. It's also extremely quiet and transparent. And it's got the least amount of "grunge" of any cable we know of.

Although the cable is British, it's terminated here in the United States, and custom lengths and custom terminations are not a problem.

Crimson R.M. Music-Link Loudspeaker Cable (click to enlarge)

Crimson R.M. Music-Link Interconnect Cable (click to enlarge)

Crimson R.M. Music-Link Balanced Interconnect Cable (click to enlarge)

Here are some prices for standard lengths and terminations. Crimson R.M. Music-Link Audio Cable is available in custom lengths and terminations.

Loudspeaker Cable (with German-made M.C. banana plugs)

(all prices per pair)

4 feet: $ 437.60
6 feet: $ 486.40
8 feet: $ 535.20
10 feet: $ 584.00
12 feet: $ 632.80
15 feet: $ 706.00
20 feet: $ 828.00

Interconnect Cable (with ETI Bullet Plugs)

(all prices per pair)

0.5 meter: $ 320.00
1.0 meter: $ 360.00
1.5 meter: $ 400.00
2.0 meter: $ 440.00
2.5 meter: $ 480.00
3.0 meter: $ 520.00
5.0 meter: $ 680.00

Balanced Cable (with Neutrik XLR connectors)

(all prices per pair)

0.5 meter: $ 457.00
1.0 meter: $ 537.00
1.5 meter: $ 617.00
2.0 meter: $ 697.00
2.5 meter: $ 777.00
3.0 meter: $ 857.00
5.0 meter: $ 1177.00

Try a demo set of Crimson R.M. Music-Link Audio Cable

If you'd like to hear Crimson Audio Cables in your hifi system, call on one of the Crimson Audio Cable dealers listed below or contact us at creston@austinhifi.com or (512) 236-9100.

David Michael Audio
Royal Oak, Michigan
(866) 961-4423

Don Better Audio
Cleveland, Ohio
(216) 375-1393

Hifi Logic
Maplewood, New Jersey
(973) 313-9080

Real Life Designs
Hamilton, New Jersey
(888) 445-7533
(609) 689-1754

Venice Audio
Venice, California
(310) 437-0515

Wellington Audio
West Palm Beach, Florida
(561) 798-1059/ cell: (561) 389-3455

The Twelve-Dollar Power Cord

We're always looking for a good $800 power cord to sell (who doesn't like to make money?) and the only criteria is that it has to sound better than the Twelve-Dollar Power Cord (made by Volex) that we currently sell. So far we've tried some pretty high-endy power cords but none of them have been as good as the lowly Twelve-Dollar Power Cord.

Hopefully, we'll find a High-Dollar Power Cord that sounds better so we can start making a decent living; until then, you can order the Twelve-Dollar Power Cord by e-mailing us or by calling us at (512) 236-9100.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Temporary Soundmuseum Portable Turntables Collection

The Emide Singles Turntable (click to enlarge)

This morning, while I was wasting time hard at work, I came across The Temporary Soundmuseum Portable Turntables Collection. It's a fun website that features "vinyl culture & sound art". There's a manifesto that's in German, but the basic idea seems to be that "With the fall of the Vinyls disappears also a special part of our culture" (translation by Babel Fish.)

The site doesn't tell us anything about the turntables; just the names and some nice photos. I think they're great fun to look at. Make sure you have a look at the rest of the site.

Here are a few more turntables from the collection:

The Philips Mignon (click to enlarge)

The Asco 30 Prinz (click to enlarge)

The Asco 30 Prinz (click to enlarge)

The General Electric Show -and-Tell (click to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Recent Ebay Highlights: The McIntosh MPI-3

(click to enlarge)

It's easily the coolest piece of hifi gear ever made: The McIntosh MPI-3 (Maximum Performance Indicator). It doesn't pass audio; it's just a scope. The one pictured above recently sold on Ebay for $510.00. I'd love to have one, but am waiting for one that's easy (read: cheap) to get. I see the MPI-4 more often than the MPI-3, but the display on the MPI-3 is much cooler. Apparently, the MPI-3 had tubes and the MPI-4 was solid-state (you could see the tube-warmth!) Anyway, the MPI-4 was considered an improvement as it was a dual-trace oscilloscope that could show either or both channels plus it displayed power level with a peak/hold feature. Whatever. It wasn't as cool. Antonio Ceretti has a picture of an MPI-4 so you can see what it looks like:

(click to enlarge)

It seems that the display tubes for both the MPI-3 and the MPI-4 are available on Ebay. Here's one for the MPI-3:

(click to enlarge)

Marantz offered tuners with scopes for a while. Here's a video of the scope in a Marantz 2110:

This is a pretty good approximation of the display in the MPI-3, except the MPI-3 display was green, not blue and the Marantz display is smaller than the on in the McIntosh. Anyone have any clue what the Marantz is displaying? Is it a stereo phase meter or something?

I've heard Technics had a tuner with a scope but I couldn't find anything on the internets about them.

How Compact Discs™ are made

Ever wonder how Compact Discs&trade are made?