Favorite Genre / Artist: Rock / Pop / Grateful Dead / Rod Stewart / Frank Sinatra / Joe Cocker / The Rolling Stones / The Doors
Favorite Audio Gear:Fostex TH900 hardwired with the Silver Dragon V3 headphone cable
Lives In: Colorado - USA
The Old Mad Dog
"Believe it or not, my love affair with music started at the age of two in 1953 with How Much is that Doggie in the Window? by Patti Page. It is the one thing I can remember before the age of five (5)."
Why Michael is an Ambassador
I always loved the sound of music so much that I set out to see any and all groups live and in person starting from early on. From Wayne Newton, Cleo Laine, Ann Margaret and Frank Sinatra to the Grateful Dead, Rod Stewart, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Squeeze, Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones and the Doors – you name them, I’ve seen and heard them in person, the LIVE sounds indelibly etched in my memory.
When I started collecting records and compact discs (I’ve got about 50,000 songs currently), I noticed something missing – that live sound. That set me on a mission to try and replicate the live sound at home. I tried Audio Research, Crown, SAE, Spendor, Stax, Electro Research, Mark Levinson, Rogers, and Quad – again, you name it and I probably have owned it and sold it. However, my pursuit is not a hobby of trying different dealers and manufacturer's various products, it is a pursuit of my love of the sheer sound of music.
Nothing makes me happier than to hear “Ripple” at 96/24 through HiFiMan's HE-560's powered by the Schiit Bifrost and Lyr. It makes me hear and feel the driving rain and the smell of fresh “grass” on September 3, 1972 at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado and “Ripple” wasn’t even on the set list that day.
I recently ordered my Fostex TH900 hardwired with Silver Dragon V3 headphone cabling and it will arrive from Moon Audio very soon. I can hardly wait to travel back to May 1, 1975 to hearing and re-living the spontaneous standing ovation during the middle of Sinatra singing “My Way”.
We Love Michael because...
Great audio experiences come from a variety of sources and Michael is knowledgeable about many. From a mobile setup to a desktop headphone setup, Michael has tried many setups and will be helpful to music lovers, audiophiles and comparison enthusiasts alike. We know Michael will provide a valuable insight on headphones and all things hifi as we continue to grow this community.
Chord Hugo, Fostex TH900 and all the Silver Dragons
I’m Turning 64!
“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?”
Do many audiophiles remember those words from Track 9 of The Beatles eighth studio album? For those who don’t, it is on a rather famous album, “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band”.
Music to me, as opposed to most audiophiles, is not so much about the sounds emanating from equipment but about the music itself. Yes, I’m turning sixty-four (64) on March 24, 2015. It was approximately one week prior, during 1971, at the age of twenty that “Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play” at the Denver Coliseum. Good Lord, that show rocked!
There was a triad of groups that evening: the Grease Band, the Small Faces and Savoy Brown. History has not been kind to any of them. Yet, it may have been the greatest concert act of all time. From my aging memory I remember the Grease Band's lead guitar player, Henry McCullough, a role he later occupied in Paul McCartney's Wings; the Small Faces had two gentlemen who had just left the Jeff Beck Group. One was a relatively unknown singer calling himself Rod Stewart, the other a guitar player, Ronnie Wood, who would achieve fame playing, and still playing, for the Rolling Stones; and the last group, Savoy Brown, who had a pair of singers named Dave. One would take quit, taking the lead of Fleetwood Mac, before the Buckingham / Nicks era, while the other left and formed a group calling itself Foghat.
I suppose enough name-dropping is enough because none of them cause me to remember forty-four years ago on March 14, 1971. I remember a young guitar player named Kim Simmonds.
For those not familiar with their grandfather's music, Kim Simmonds was a self-taught guitarist, learning by playing along to classic blues albums. He neither played Afro-American Mississippi, Chicago or Delta blues nor did he play Led Zeppelin styled “Rock Blues”. The kid knocked down the house by being at the forefront of innovative, electric, English styled blues – “Sunday Night” from an album entitled “Savoy Brown – Looking In” – a young man stood solo to give his band a rest and earned a standing ovation from 9,000 people a third of the way through his classic piece, five minutes and twenty-three seconds of pure joy.
The recorded song itself, well, it starts slowly with a Clapton-esque or BB King styled love affair with standard shrill notes then turns into a pseudo jazz piece before becoming something out of the Godley and Crème songbook with Indian tom-toms thrown in for good measure. Try and imagine Steve Vai meets the Oscar Peterson Trio and the Lone Ranger's pal Tonto and you’ll get the idea. Absolutely the most memorable live instrumental solo performance I’ve witnessed.
The sound for those audiophiles who are still with me? It depends.
First up is “Sunday Night” played back on the MacBook Pro Fidelia, Schitt Lyr 2, Schitt Bifrost Uber and HifiMan He-560's. Still a great song, great rocking, a lot of fun and brings back a great memory forty-four (44) years later. This setup produces a very eclectic sound on planar magnetics, but maybe a touch too much iTunes type of a sound. Great sound, sadly compressed and a tad flat.
Second up is a replay using the same MacBook, JRiver Media Center 20, Chord Hugo and Fostex TH900's with Silver Dragons everywhere. Now we’re really talking! Or, maybe listening. Kim Simmonds comes alive here. There's a wide, open soundstage. Every note of the guitar is readily identifiable. The bass beat that comes in is no longer tom-toms. They are replaced by a full on drum kit with high hats, kick drums and the sound of Kim Simmonds inside my head. The back-end of the song isn’t the Oscar Peterson Trio soft sound with a blues wail out front; it's actually a set of drums and a cowbell. The Chord Hugo with Silver Dragons setup really brings out the best in anything and adds nothing. Yes, it delivers “more cowbell!” Even the younger audiophiles should remember “more cowbell.”
I’ll always love music a thousand times more than the equipment, admittedly still listening to and/or buying all of the new gear. I can remember the sound of songs that I’ve heard live and will always judge audiophile equipment by its ability to reproduce what I’ve heard and not by what a manufacturer wants to tell me I should be hearing.
Yes folks, I’m long winded, arrogant, opinionated, get caught up in nostalgia, have more recordings than any human should have a right to own, love to turn everything into a short story and don’t always play well with others. But for me, it's what keeps me young and married to a wonderful wife who supports my music hobby and running off to Moon Audio for more of the good stuff.
My wife, she still needs me and still feeds me now that I’m 64.
— The Old Mad Dog