Paul: Great Audio Geek

audio geek paul from canada

Describe Your Current Gear

I'm running ROON on a MACBOOK Pro - all files are FLAC, WAVE or equivalents. I also have over 3,000 vintage vinyl albums which I play on a restored Beogram RX. I also have an equivalent collection of minidisks running on a SONY ATRAC DSP Type-R. Digital from the computer comes in through a NUFORCE DAC. All signals go first to a Sansui 1972 800 Receiver. This is a concession to my bias to the warmer sounds of '70's vintage equipment. In my view, no one got it better than Sansui. The processed Sansui signal comes out via the headphones output to a Rotel RC1070 Preamp. This allows me to balance the amount of Sansui influence while enjoying its colouration using the receiver's volume control (the 800 does not have a preamp out). The Rotel preamp runs completely flat and is super clean. It is my MASTER volume control (also conveniently, has a remote). The Rotel has two preamp-out feeds. One goes to a completely restored Rotel 1070 Stereo Power Amp (130 [email protected] feeding a pair of Boston Acoustics A400's. I have always loved the warmness and natural range of the A400's. The second feed goes to an Akai EA-G40 Graphic Equalizer which allows me to dynamically control the sound balance between the two sets of speakers and eliminate any lower end doubling. The Akai signal goes out to a SAE 2200 Power Amplifier (100 watts/[email protected] 8 ohms) feeding a pair of Boston Acoustics A40's. A third set of distant B&W bookshelf speakers are fed by the ADCOM GFA 535 from an unamplified signal off the Sansui. My headphones of choice are Beyerdynamics 770 80 ohms because - believe it or not - they work brilliantly with contemporary hearing aids. Portably, I use a Fiio X5 III feeding a WaveGet Bluetooth inline headphone amp. The FIIO allows me to carry 500 gigs of HiRes music on my international travel.

Musical Moment

First? Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced album. Unbelievable revelation about the depth and complexity of rock music and its blues roots. Keith Jarrett live in concert in Chicago (his temper and all!) - one of my first jazz 33rpm albums was The Koln Concert ( I have it here in front of me) - it was an astonishing immersion into the musical creative mind. Pat Metheny live at a club in San Francisco, what can I say? I've seen Pat twice live and he is a transformative artist. Van Morrison live at a high school in Brighton - even completely drunk, Van is a musical genius, I mean anyone who can improvise like that on a saxophone while barely standing? Oliver Mtukudzi at a club in New York - Oliver is a patron saint of Africa. One cannot help feeling sad and at the same time hopeful than a political artist barely tolerated in his own country, Zimbabwe, becomes the senior statesman for African music as a whole. Bravo!

Favorite Bands

Wow. What tough call. I think Feist gets big points for her attention to sound detailing. Jazz stylist, Patricia Barber. And I think, Bruce Hornsby. Would be a shoot-out with Donald Fagen, Bob James, Bruce Cockburn, Jason Isbell and others...Bruce wins.

Hi-Fi Intro

An elderly black gentleman by the name of George Brown arrived from the American South in my small white town with his young wife and daughter. After enormous hardship, his wife landed a job as a nurse. George had been a technical engineer at Klipsch. He had a prodigious vinyl collection and an AR stereo system. Every Thursday afternoon after school, he would make chocolate coffee for myself and a few friends. Then he would walk us carefully through the history of black music from Africa to New Orleans to Chicago to jazz. As a parting gift when I went to university, he gave me a set of paper plans for exponential folded horn speakers I could make. They included 2" of compressed sand in a pocket in the base. I made them. And thus began my life with audio.

Audio Passion in One Sentence

Yes. We are born with two opposing ears of incredible acoustical capacity. This is technically stereo. Despite attempts at QUAD sound and other oddities, all music since the invention of two microphones and two tracks has been recorded in stereo. The human body (ears and physiology) also has the capacity to sense soundwaves as long as 56 feet (20 hertz) or the low note on a church pipe organ. Or a short as 1.7 centimetres (20 k hertz). This is a gorgeous acoustical rainbow. But only the best equipment can give your ears this full experience of sound. High sounds on bad systems can sound shrill and poorly defined. Bad systems, earbuds, headphones have profoundly uneven energy management, booming out sounds in certain registers and even ignoring sound in others. Most cannot manage the technical challenges of low sounds, below 150 hertz. This results in the 'boombox' sound of misplaced acoustical energy typical of bluetooth speakers, portables and cheap home systems. I respect the work that artists such as Feist and many hiphop musicians expend getting the acoustical spectrum recorded precisely. Not to mention new generation classical musicians such as Sheku Kanneh-Mason. I want to hear their work accurately.


Great Audio Geeks love discussing and sharing pictures of their high-end audio gear, favorite music, and all the latest innovations. For most great audio geeks, their taste in audio gear exceeds their budget. They are never satisfied. Hearing something new in a favorite recording thanks to a new DAC, headphone, or cable fuels their desire to learn, discover, and experience more great sound.

Great audio geeks live on the higher end of the audio gear spectrum, but they may have cheap earbuds too. Everything has a purpose and proper use.

Great Audio Geeks read Stereophile and Absolute Sound, and they probably have an account at Head-fi.org so they can read, debate, and learn. Just as the thirst for new gear is never fully quenched, Great Audio Geeks can never know enough.

Music and gear change quickly. Audio geeks are committed to lifelong learning. Come learn with Moon Audio.

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