Moon Audio Gear Reviewer

Ambassador Approved

Official Contest - Moon Audio Reviewers

Congratulations to all of the Winners!

 

Moon-Audio Reviewers: The Road Ahead

After receiving helpful feedback about our Moon Audio Reviewer contest we wanted to share a note about the road ahead and clarify some questions.

One question was about everyone winning. We appreciate how hard everyone worked to "get out the vote" and want to clarify that not every finalist one. Our friend and Ambassador Martin Smith, someone with an extensive social following, didn't "win" an official reviewer designation much to his consternation.

Marty was disappointed since the review contest was his idea, but he continues to write reviews and contribute and promises to do a better job of getting out the vote next time.

We appreciate everyone's hard work and look forward to their contributions. Contests are great and we hope everyone had fun, but we are looking for an elite group of contributors. Contributors willing to go the extra mile for Moon-Audio.com.

We don't know who those "elite contributors" will be...yet.

Once we discover our "elite group" we will share ideas we are working on such as crowdfunding new audio gear, an unboxing app and a way for customers to easily create a Moon-Audio.com store of their own. Official "reviewers" will be the first to see, experience and comment on these and other new ideas.

Our "elite" Ambassadors won't be identified from a single contest. Our most valuable Moon-Audio.com Ambassadors will make important contributions over time and be rewarded with "insider" access (to equipment and new business ideas).

Only Gear?

We hope Moon Audio Ambassadors will contribute reviews of gear they have, have heard or want. Ambassadors should feel free to discuss music they love, concerts they've attended or anything even remotely music related too. Gear is what we sell and create. Music is what we love and why we do what we do.

Now that voting is over and a handful of Ambassadors have been asked to make contributions directly into the Moon-Audio.com bog we can't wait to see what they contribute, write, think and feel.

Thanks again to all who wrote great reviews and got out the vote in our first Moon-Audio.com Reviewer Contest. If you missed the contest don't worry.

Moon Audio is always looking for great contributors who love music. If you missed the contest, but would like to be considered as an "elite contributor" write some reviews or email a blog post proposal to nichole@moon-audio.com.

Thanks and we look forward to the road ahead because it is filled with great Ambassadors, astonishing contributions, cool new gear and great music.

Nichole :)

Meet the Ambassadors

Paul Dmitryev Moon Audio Ambassador

Paul Dmitryev

Favorite Genre / Artist: Rock / Nightwish (for now)

Favorite Audio Gear: Lear BD4.2 with Resonessence Labs Concero HP

Lives In: Mykolaiv, Ukraine

Matthew James Moon Audio Ambassador

Matthew James

Favorite Genre / Artist: Grunge / Ska / Punk Rock

Favorite Audio Gear: Chord Hugo, Fostex TH900

Lives In: Oklahoma City, OK - USA

Jonathan Ly Moon Audio Ambassador

Jonathan Ly

Favorite Genre / Artist: Rock / Pop / Foo Fighters / Red Hot Chili Peppers / Muse / The Killers / Nirvana / Audioslave / Sara Bareilles /Lady Gaga / Kimbra

Favorite Audio Gear: DT 1350 w/ Blue Dragon cable

Lives In: Southern California - USA

Bryan Manuel Moon Audio Ambassador

Bryan Manuel

Favorite Genre / Artist: Sixties(19651975) Psychedelic / Rock / Blues / Progressive / Reggae / Folk / Jazz / PostRock / Progressive / Ambient / Electronic / Dubstep / Art-Rock

Favorite Audio Gear: HE60 (BabyOrpheus)+KGSS AKG K-1000, Stax SR-007 OmegaII Mk1, ‘Joe’Grado HF-1/HF-2(HP-1000), SAC KH-1000

Lives In: Alcona, Ontario, Canada

The Old Mad Dog Moon Audio Ambassador

The Old Mad Dog

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, Chord Hugo

Lives In: Colorado - USA

Jonathan West Moon Audio Ambassador

Jonathan West

Favorite Genre / Artist: Hard Rock, Country, Classical

Favorite Audio Gear: Bowers & Wilkins P7, Beyerdynamic T70p

Lives In: Charlotte, NC

Noah Yedigarian Moon Audio Ambassador

Noah Yedigarian

Favorite Genre / Artist: Jazz, classical and rock / Billy Idol, Norah Jones, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan

Favorite Audio Gear: Sennheiser HD 800 & Astell&Kern AK240

Lives In: Vienna, Virgina - USA


Check out these great reviews:

Chord Hugo

Chord Hugo

I travel for work. I have a big house. I can’t be in only one room to enjoy music, I’m upstairs, downstairs, in the office, doing laundry (HATED IT, but not any more…), in my old lounge chair in the TV-room. I felt that I couldn’t just live with a DAP. It would never have everything I wanted. I needed something to be used with multiple portable sources but also my CD/SACD player. I guess you can see where this is going…

But before we deep dive into the review, let me repeat my "basic path to achieve sonic bliss”. I mentioned it in my last review of the Black Dragon for the Sennheiser HD800. It’s been developed as a framework to lean on when auditioning equipment. I find it useful to have some rules to follow. Remember that these work for me, they may not work for you. Now that’s only the basic path.

If all boxes are checked it gets easier for me to answer the big question: is this better than what I already have?

1. Portability. But still the greatest sound quality possible. This is very important to me. I need to be able to move around the house and spend time listening in different rooms, sofas, chairs. And I need to bring my system to the office. The only stationary equipment I have is a CD/SACD-player and I use it during office-hours for days spent working at home.

2. Versatility. I don’t want to be feel that I can’t try new equipment because they can’t be connected to each other. (Chord Hugo is perfect for my needs. It has multiple inputs that will not stand in the way of using multiple sources. The lack of balanced inputs is a flaw, but will not stand in the way of auditioning new equipment.)

3. Transparency. To come as close to the original recording as possible is a true goal of mine. To keep that in mind helps me differentiate between what type of equipment I like and don’t like.

4. Mastering. I'll always try to get the best existing version of every album I'm buying. Some albums are just very badly recorded/mixed/mastered. It’s good to know, and I try to accept it. For me buying new headphones for certain types of music will only get you half way. Also, I like the treasure hunt. This checkbox is always checked since I now feel I have a broad collection of music from all genres.

5. Trust your ears, not the price tag. That means a lot of work, and a lot of hours spent on critical listening. The improvements are never for free and it’s getting more expensive for each step, but I try not to care too much about the price tag, but to whether I can live without the improvement or not.

6. Accept the passion. I've got a huge passion for music and HIFI equipment. That means always chasing improvements. I've embraced and accepted that fact. Knowing and accepting this has helped me tremendously. I’m not ashamed one bit, and I don’t hide it. My wife calls me crazy, OCD, addict and a whole bunch of other words. I always smile, kiss her on the forehead and say: “I know, I agree but I love it”.

Ok, you’ve taken the time to read through the craziness above, thank you. Now where were we? Right, I was looking for a device that would be the center around which I could build a sonic heaven. Now, the more good you hear about a product, the harder it will get to trust your ears. But remember, you have one mouth and two ears. To listen, and really listen, is the key to finding the equipment I like. I’ve added 5 more rules for me to follow, which you read about above.

Of course this will be all about the Chord Hugo, but you knew that. I read so many great reviews and followed the thread at Head-Fi and I couldn’t imagine a world where such an expensive portable DAC-AMP combo could sound bad. But I’ve been down that road before so I made sure I got it with a 30-day free return. One short listen wouldn’t be enough and the one thing I did was make sure I had a long list of music. And when I say a long list, I mean a LONG list. I went through around 50 albums all in all before I felt safe to say that this is probably one of the best portable DAC/AMPs in the world.

I’m not going to speak about all the technical mumbo-jumbo. Sure, I like reading specs but I much more enjoy reading Michael Cuscunas notes for Milt Jacksons only session for Blue Note as a leader. So, you can just click this link: http://chordelectronics.co.uk/products-info.asp?id=92 and indulge in inputs/outputs or whatever you want to know from a technical perspecive. Chord Hugo has inputs enough to check the second rule of "basic path to achieve sonic bliss”. It lacks an analogue input, but there is not many sources on the market that I’m interested in that will leave you with that option only, so I’m good.

Portability? Well, I’d say that Chord Hugo will check the box for the portability that I am looking for, namely to move around to different places in the house. It’ll allow me to set up an audiophile listening station wherever I want to. I love it! Battery time is more than enough to cover. I rarely sit for more than 3 hours anyway.

What about transparency? It takes quite a lot of listening to get a true answer in my opinion. Some equipment will completely alter the way you look at transparency. Chord Hugo is such a device. I needed a big variety of albums, and I needed to go back and forth with other devices to find the answer. For me, Chord Hugo is truly transparent. I don’t agree with the fact that it sounds like a tube amp or close to vinyl; breath-of-life type of sound. To me it’s truly transparent – end of story. Check.

Mastering; not an issue. Check. Chord Hugo sounds fantastic with all kinds of music.

Trust your ears not the price tag. What about the sound?? Oh my. Chord Hugo can handle whatever music you throw at it, and it will be a good match for any type of headphone. It drives Sennheiser HD800 perfectly so I can’t see the need for any other amp. Furthermore I feel that adding an external amp will alter the sound of Hugo and I don’t want that. I want it to sound exactly like it does. Chord Hugo has a bold and transparent soundstage. It’s meaty with meaty music, it’s crispy with crispy music. See what I mean? Transparency! This is how Chord Hugo sound, together with HD800 with MY EARS: “As the artist wanted it to sound”. I mean mastering engineers, mixing engineers and producers will to their thing, but this is the feeling I get from Hugo. It makes me happy to know that I’m very close to the original recording session.

Accept the passion. Chord Hugo made me stop for a while. I almost became a bit sad. What to look for now? But it’s all coming back after a while of course. Sources, cables, headphones…

Well on the DAC/AMP side I’m happy for now. There’s nothing on the market that can check the boxes like the Hugo – in any price range. If there is, please let me know.

– Gustav Lindqvist


Shure SE846

Shure SE846

These are by far my favorite piece of audio gear I've every personally listened to, for they fit everything I look for in a monitor and leaves no cravings for more rather the fulfillment of satisfaction. I am referring to the highly regarded Shure SE846. The first thing I noticed upon glancing at the box was how the drivers are independently tuned to attain exactly the specified range the engineers are wanting which corresponds directly in the amount of crossover you receive which is seemingly absolutely none. These are also the most detailed monitors I've ever heard, leaving no detail unmentioned, then the soundstage, oh my goodness the soundstage. I didn't think it was even possible to possess one this massive in a monitor especially in a product that's just the entry point into the elite class of headphones. I love, truly love these monitors for I get chills when I talk about them let alone when I have them in my ears letting them drift me away to the performance I choose.

On more of an objective side (even more than the previous paragraph), these are also the most all rounded headphone I know of. First they're sweat proof so feel free to have a super hard workout in them, looks like it's about to rain don't worry about it, these won't even flinch. For those who like to listen when they go to sleep these are completely flush with most ears so feel free to lay on your side all while being completely undisturbed from ear pressure, and on that not those bikers who are annoyed for not being able to listen to music fret not they fit again flush against most ears so no worries about the helmet rubbing or breaking it.

I can't stop praising these for nothing I've heard to date gives me more fulfillment on a portable setup for these really go the extra mile and adds different filters so one may tune them to fit their desired sound. Me personally, usually have the “bright” filter on which is a perfect complement to the true sub-woofer these have, but when I'm wanting accuracy I equip the neutral (reference) filter and relish in the rich unbridled detail. Then for the bass heads the “dark” filter will give you enough bass to rattle your teeth.

In closing, I recommend these to absolutely everyone. They have an amazingly durable build quality that (I've proven) can take workouts, drops, tugs, RAIN and if ever you do somehow manage to break the cable, they're detachable. For being one of the oldest audio companies around, and American, these have never left me disappointed.

– Jonathan West

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HiFiMan HE-560

HE-560 - The Headphone of Choice

How many times have you rifled through your collection of headphones looking for just the right sound signature for that new lossless track just recently downloaded from Pandora? The choices seem endless and you hope that you don’t spoil your listening experience with too many unsatisfactory listening tests and too much time expended. Wouldn’t it be nice to simply pick up one pair of headphones (I always wondered why a singular set is referred to as a pair – but that’s another topic). Well, the not so recently released HIFIMAN HE-560 nicely fits the bill.

First off, the 30% lighter weight (when compared to similar planar magnetic headphones) due to the utilization of single-sided magnets and the improved comfort from the velour pads, and the nominal clamping force, make these headphones one of the most comfortable, as corroborated by many hours of relentless listening sessions.

The improved efficiency of the drivers makes them far less power hungry as compared to HIFIMAN’s flagship the HE-6, although they do benefit from a moderately powerful amplifier to really make them shine. They have a smooth, open and extended sound signature with well extended, textured mids and detailed treble which results in airy yet natural vocals. Pace, rhythm and speed was good on all points with the HE-560. A spacious soundstage and very good instrument separation provides good impact and the bass goes deep and hits with a strong punch. Considering the very clear midrange, somewhat sparkly treble and fast, tight but deep bass, these headphones offer a very crisp and clean sound.

For a planar, the sound is very fast with a strong attack and somewhat protracted decay. HE-560 has a clean and smooth signature that makes the sound flow with ease, making these headphones very addictive. From excellent detail retrieval and crystal clear and well-textured vocals, to a spacious soundstage and good instrument separation, to an impactful, tight and authoritative bass impact, these headphones will meet the needs of the discriminating audiophile, and are able to confidently address the nuances of many musical genres. Their level of comfort, good build quality and ergonomic design are unparalleled. They are the headphones I find myself drawn to most regularly, and with great satisfaction. At $899.00 I cannot think of another competitor that can offer the same level of quality at that price level and the HE-560 also has some nice qualities that eclipse the competition. This headphone exceeds my expectations and is worthy of my recommendation. They are definitely the headphone of choice!

Equipment Used:

HIFIMAN HE-560 (with Focus Pads)

DAC – Music Fidelity M1 DAC

AMP(S) – Headroom Maxed Out Home Headphone Amplifier
- SAC KH-1000 (AKG K-1000)
- Schiit Audio – LYR

– Bryan E Manuel

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CEntrance HiFi-M8

CEntrance HiFi-M8

I had a dream. A dream of portable, but powerful amplifier, that will be able to drive even power hungry headphones with great authority and confidence. And luckily, I've found such amplifier, moreover, it's a DAC also, and that's $700 CEntrance HiFi M8.

I don't like "sandwiches", made of player and amplifier or DAC, I think there are many good DAPs on the market you can use on the go. So, for me, "portable" amplifier means that I can easily take it with me. In my backpack. And use it with my laptop wherever I stop for work. So, big size and weight of HiFi-M8 doesn't bother me (and it's pretty big).

Big size is necessary for this unique device to deliver it's great power. On high gain it is able to output up to 1.4 watts to 32Ω load (peak value, average is about 1 watt), and that's a lot. It can drive vast majority of headphones, even power-hungry plannars are great with M8. Thanks to 3-positional gain switch, this device can be easily used with sensitive IEM. I've heard some complaints about hiss, but with all my earphones, noise was almost not audible.

Besides gain, you can select output impedance (1Ω, 2Ω and 11Ω) and boost bass/treble a little bit with 3-positional switch on back side.

M8 is very versatile device. You can select 4 possible output optionss (4 pin XLR, dual 3 pins XLR, etc.) and two input options (iOS compatible USB and optical S/PDIF). Also, all M8s have 3.5 mm headphone output and most of them have 6.3 mm socket. My version is for iPhones, as I'm a big Apple fan.

Soundwise, M8 is often called "gain with wire", you just plug headphones, and you'll get them driven at maximum possible level. This amp doesn't ad anything from itself, just your headphones and music. And great driving power. It's hard to describe HiFi-M8s sound, because it doesn't have it's own coloration and accents. It's musical, it have great stage, it can drive almost everything.

That's why this CEntrance amp for me is like a dream come true.

-Paul Dmitryev

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Sennheiser HD8 DJ Headphones

Sennheiser HD8 DJ Headphones

Reviewing:
Sennheiser HD8 DJ Headphones (with a pair of Sennheiser HD700s for A/B comparisons)
PC with Soundblaster X7 sound “card”
Music ripped in FLAC (or Spotify 320kbps for genres I don’t collect and listen to often)

Albums:
Another Eternity by Purity Ring
Language by The Contortionist
Vows by Kimbra
Skelethon by Aesop Rock

Sound quality

To me, they are a bit bell curvy. Treble is bright and sparkly. Flood on the Floor by Purity Ring has some very high pitched tones that isolate and stand out. The bass has mass. Tight, not boomy. The mids are a little slow (like listening to music underwater, but to a much smaller extent) and get a bit lost, but in tracks with sparse instrumentation, it’s not as noticeable.

Hip Hop and Electronica really shine. Details are fantastic. You can hear the breathy vocals of Megan James (Purity Ring)…in quiet parts, you can hear the sound of her tongue in her mouth…the pronounced plosives…you feel like she’s next to you.

To my ears, these headphones don’t shine with Progressive Metal (or really any other Metal genre). Rock fares better, but metal is such a wall of sound, it’s like the headphones can’t handle all of it at once. To be fair, I don’t think of Metal when I think of DJ headphones. I’m only speaking to the versatility that anyone would look for in a pair of cans. I want to cover as many genres as I can to see which ones stand out as good fits for the Sennheiser HD8s.

Gaming audio (explosions, sword clashes, gunshots, orc battle cries, etc) is average. I didn’t hear anything new that I couldn’t hear with less expensive cans.

Female vocals stand out and perform better than male vocals.

Acoustic guitar is accurate and punchy, but doesn’t benefit from a large sound stage. Same for Classical music. It doesn’t sound inaccurate, only massed together. Given a choice, I’d prefer open-backs for any acoustic, symphonic, or orchestral music.

Build/Comfort

Sound isolation is fine, but you aren’t in an isolation chamber. I can faintly hear my mechanical keyboard while I am listening to my test bed tracks.

The clamping force is my only real negative with these cans, but I have a large head. I may have to stretch these out a bit if I ever want to spend an entire evening listening to dance music. If you have a normal to small head, they should fit like an expensive pair of leather gloves.

The build quality is phenomenal. I don’t know that I own another pair of headphones that are built as ruggedly, yet beautifully as these.

– Matthew James

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Sennheiser HD700

Sennheiser HD700

The HD700 is one of Sennheiser’s latest open back headphone production models. The HD700 is aesthetically pleasing and has many sound characteristics which are quite attractive. The headband is constructed from multilayer vibration damping materials which lower any possible cross talk from ear cup to ear cup. The ear pads are built from a high quality microfiber surface which is very comfortable. The HD700 has the perfect amount of head clamping pressure, allowing you to extend your long listening sessions, without any discomfort involved.

The Sennheiser HD700 tore up the 44.Khz FLAC files and spit it out as if it were nothing. During the very deep listening session, the most spurring point about these headphones was that they were fully capable of organizing and laying out the instruments in the song “Dream On, By Aerosmith.” This allowed me to identify whether the artist was in front, behind, to our left, or to our right. Simply put, for the given price, the sonic performance and separation of instruments, was highly admirable. These headphones would be best suited for the audience in search of dark bass with a roaring thump along with a very detailed upper range of the highs in the treble. Speaking of treble the treble from these ‘Cans’ were satisfying but the highs, oh the highs, were undeniably gorgeous. Having the strong feeling of the presence of a live band is exceptional, but being on stage with the guitarist, singer, and drummer is a whole new world which is what these headphones are capable of delivering. The HD700 are one of the most forgiving and ear-fatigue free headphones on the market to this date. The strong influence of the bass is a great benefit factor for those seeking audio enjoyment for countless hours in one sitting. During my ownership of these headphones, it was clear to me that these headphones sound significantly more colored than its younger siblings, the HD600 and HD650. As a note, the HD700s are much more attractive sounding with Moon-Audios dedicated external amplifiers. Adding these amplifiers to your collection is highly recommended as the impedance level of these HD700 headphones is approximately 150ohms.

– Noah Yedigarian

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Blue Dragon Headphone Cable

Beyedynamic DT 1350 w/ Blue Dragon Cable review - True Neutral

Primary genres listened to - Rock, Blues, R&B, Rap, Orchestrations.

For me, the Beyerdynamic DT 1350’s hold a particularly special place in my collection. Being only 23 and having only been exploring the vast depths of high-end audio for the last 6 years, the 1350s were my first successful foray into the realm. I had played around with universal IEMs in the mid to high end range, but had not done enough research about source, lossless, amps, or DACs to fully utilize them. And while the current set up I have is modest, the DT 1350’s still sound golden. And with that, lets begin:

Packaging/Accessories
With an original MSRP of $299.99, the DT 1350s are on the more costly side of the Supra Aural (On-Ear) headphones. Additionally, the packaging itself is sparse, an included case makes sure that you’ll have something to carry around your DT 1350s with, but its certainly nothing to write home about.

The Blue Dragon Cable, however, is certainly going to catch eyes, and ears. The striking blue color of the cable will certainly catch the attention of the passersby, but the Blue Dragon is not just flash. The construction of the cable is absolutely top notch, extremely durable, and weeds out one of the major problems with stock wires: microphonics. On the move, you’ll hear the audio, and nothing else, even if the cables move around you or brush against another surface. The cables do not affect the sound in the slightest, lending themselves to the DT 1350’s neutral sound.

Construction/Durability
Constructed out of metal, the durability of the DT 1350 is never in question. Having had to replace parts do to unusual circumstances (read: embarrassing user failures), the availability of parts from Beyerdynamic has definitely helped me keep these cans going well passed my clumsinesses attempts at a premature demise. The head pads and the ear pads do their job of not making the cans difficult to wear, but again also are not standouts here.

Portability
The included case makes bringing the cans around a much simpler task than simply risking potential damage carrying them without a case, or constantly having them wrapped around one’s neck. The lightweight design makes it very easy to carry the DT 1350 around without feeling burdened.

Sound
And what review wouldn’t be complete without an analysis of the sound. The DT 1350 is a neutral sounding can, letting the details speak for themselves. The bass sounds great, without overpowering the mids and highs. It’s a very full sounding bass, it doesn’t linger on, nor does it fade too quickly. If you are looking to emulate the car shaking bass feeling, these are not the cans you are looking for.

Highs sound appropriate, breathy voices retain their allure, high energy voices deliver that energy without overshadowing everything else

Soundstage is great, but could be a smidge wider, giving the sonics slightly more breathing room to stretch.

At 80 ohms impedance, the DT 1350 is an ideal can for an on the go listen. It can be driven primarily by a smartphone/media player that does not necessarily fit into the category of “audiopohile DAP,” and provide a wonderful musical experience. It also benefits from amplification, although it isn’t a requirement.

Wrap up
The DT 1350s are a wonderful can. They are a wonderful jumping off point for someone looking to start out into high end audio, but still provide a nice experience once you’ve adventured past them.

– Jonathan Ly

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Fostex TH900 Silver Dragon

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 now that I’m 64.

– The Old Mad Dog

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Reviewed Gear

Reviewed Concerts & Festivals

Weezer

The Frey

Seventh Day Slumber

Hillbilly Days

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