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In the new Stereophile, Feb. 2017 John Atkinson wrote on the first page, As We See It, a really good letter explaining that Stereophile will review all audio gear no matter what the price. The rest of the issue does exactly that. Schitt and Rega gear were represented and to me show what Hi-fi can do with affordability and performance.
But, if you do your homework there is a questionable deal within the mags pages. It is Art Dudleys review of the little Norwegian (Little Fwend).This is a small devise which lifts your tonearm up at the end of a record playing on a manual turntable.
Art did his homework in saying it resembled Audio Technica's AT 6006 Safety Raiser. It's almost a perfect clone of the Audio Technica of which I bought in 1980 for 20 bucks new. The Little Fwend costs 249.00.
I had a hard time in algebra and spent some time in summer for a sub-standard performance in geometry so could someone explain the rate of inflation here? I know things cost more than they did yesterday but....do your homework!
One thing that I wished John Atkinson addressed in his letter was who were the people that were able to keep Rockport and YGA's orders backed up. My guess is Saudi Arabia or Dubai, I hope I spelled that right. I've lived in Maine all my 60 years and can't conceive anyone being able to justify the over a 100 grand for a pair of speakers.
I'm not complaining here, I'm just puzzled....sincerely....Mark Korda......read the latest Stereophile, it's really good!
Oslo, Norway, 13. jan. 2017.
Yes, Little Fwend fills exactly the same function as the other automatic tonearm lifters on the market. It takes care of business when you fall asleep, forget a record was playing (yes, you can be a music lover and at the same time not sit in the sweet spot with eyes closed, visualising the fog outside Scott Walkers darkened castle), the fire alarm went off, a burglar outside your window or after 4 hrs of driving on your way to the cabin in the mountains, you think to yourself HORROR! "hmmmm, did I turn off the turntable at all????" (true story, the cartridge in question was a Lyra, with an hourly diamond-wear-charge of about $3.50).... and other numerous other distractions in the modern world.
OK, so far so good - most lifters can take care of this business, but how do they go about it?
The basic function of a Toyota Yaris is to get you from A to B. The BMW M5 will also do this, itīs just a bit more fun. Apocalypse Now or Shark Sandwich? They are both movies (the reviewer of the latter said the following in his review; "I got two words: Shit Sandwich".
You can take the stairs or you can choose the elevator. There are several ways to Rome etc. etc.
I have nothing against the Q-UPs of this world, it is neither a Toyota (car) or a Shark Sandwich (movie).
Little Fwend came about just because the Audio-Technica AT6006 is not in production (they can be found on Ebay now and then for around $200). In 2014 we asked ourselves; Why in the name of love isnīt there an automatic tonearm lifter on the market that lifts the precious and sometimes expensive cartridge out of the dead wax in a civilized and gentle manner, a lifter that is easy to adjust and reposition without sticky, spongy DIY-mounting solutions? Why is there not a lifter that is precisely made with modern tolerances in solid non-magnetic metal? Why is there not a lifter that does not look like garbage?
We went down in the basement-lab to Mariusī vintage swiss watchmaker lathe, looking for the answer. We spent hundreds of hours talking, drawing, making prototypes, testing friction, reading up on Newton, sourcing "NASA-approved" damping gel and I bet (the Norwegian IRSī) tax money for 2015, etc. etc. etc. - that this uber-niche product is something people out there would love. After v.5 was tested over a long period and after extensive research for serial production, we found a precision machine shop in Denmark - We did not consider China or other low cost options, because it was never about saving money or making the most on each sold unit - Itīs about making what we think is the worlds best automatic tonearm lifter. We have not taken a single shortcut to save money, we are constantly reviewing the mechanics and parts, tweaking 0.2mm here and there, experimenting with 50sh vs 60sh hardness in the rubber - just to incrementally tweak and further optimize Little Fwend. If we wanted to make money, weīd start importing frozen pizza (itīs big in Norway).
You say tomato, I say potato.
I hope this explains why Little Fwend cost more than $60.
Have a beautiful day & enjoy the wonders of analog playback!
Marius & Lasse
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Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum, et cetera, et cetera...
Memo bis punitor delicatum! It's all there, black and white,
clear as crystal! Blah, blah, and so on and so forth ...
I'm still quite happy with my Q-Up and have no intention of replacing it, but I appreciate the clear explanation of your process.
"The passage of my life is measured out in shirts."
- Brian Eno
Perry Mason couldn't have come up with a better defense. You did your homework. But I might invest in a good Ginsu and start slicing pepperoni.
All in good fun anyway. Being made in Norway means the highest quality to me but when I first got in the hobby a audio salesman said;
It's a lot easier to make a great loudspeaker with cost no object but to be successful you must make a great loudspeaker with minimal cost. Schiit Audio comes to mind for an example.
I gave my Audio Technica lifter away to someone last year. I've rebuilt my ARXA recently and am wishing it back. Thats why the price was shocking to me. I'm sure your lifter is built like a tank and I wish you good luck with it.....sincerely Mark Korda
will review all audio gear no matter what the price."
That statement certainly seems more newsworthy than the price of a review of a 'tonearm lifter' for geezers who fall asleep listening to music.
What's next? DACs and other cheap stuff sold direct from China?
Kits? OK, the cheap Chinese gear has hurt the kit business, but there are some left.
I was worried for a moment but "no matter what the price" has these $200,000 speakers covered.
'Audio At All Costs', sez I.
The problem with just using inflation calculators is that the price doesn't just take into account inflation. If you bought a house in 1980 for a whopping $40,000 it should sell today for $117,000. But in fact in Vancouver that house would sell for $1.2million Ten times what it should be selling for.
With that little tone arm lifter - strait inflation says it should sell for $60 if it sold for $20 in 1980. But that $20 device could be spread over thousands and thousands of units sold - economy of scale. Everyone had a turntable. Audiophile or not. That is not the case today - turntables are a niche product - further the cheap tables are likely all automatics. So they have to charge higher amounts as they are going to sell far fewer units. Fewer still at $249!!
And, let's not forget that the U.S. dollar is worth crap these days. "Strong dollar" my ass. In 1980, the dollar would get you about 3 Swiss francs. Today, it barely gets you ONE.
In 1980, the dollar would get you about 3 Swiss francs. Today, it barely gets you ONE.
fly to Zurich for your chocolate craving?
Actually, even though I love chocolate, I don't eat much of it. My weakness is cheese. Seriously, it's almost impossible to find junk cheese in Suisse. I have four vacuum-wrapped pieces in the fridge right now.
And, don't even get me started on the Zurich (ZRH) airport. Geneve (GVA) is much more user-friendly.
Or it could be the Swiss Franc got stronger. I don't know as I don't follow world currencies.
I live in Hong Kong and the HKD is tied to the US dollar. As a Canadian I moved to Hong Kong in 2011 and 1 Canadian was worth $7.8HKD now it buy's $6HKD. So, needless to say I am VERY happy since I basically got a 25% pay raise in the currency difference. Paid that student loan off in four years (would have take 20 years teaching in Canada or the US. Glad I turned the US job down and the UK job and the Dubai job.
It's not a bad idea for Americans to explore retiring abroad. The dollar goes further - medical bills will be much cheaper and with medicaid and medicare and SS about to be completely gutted over the next couple of years heading to New Zealand or Thailand etc might be a good idea.
here is some:
Now we're talking - this Q Up is $50 - less than the 1980 $20 unit which with inflation would be $60 today.
Of course what we failed to mention before was that this is a global economy now - which wasn't the case in 1980. As Toby Ziegler noted in the West Wing - Free trade stops wars...we'll figure the rest out later.
At $50 hell I might buy one now. Except that I live in Hong Kong so I will probably find the knockoff for $12.
How does the Little Fwend at $249 compare to the Q Up at $49? Remember, this is strictly a mechanical device to perform the mechanical function of lifting the tonearm. There's no audio effect, no YMMV, it either works as well or it doesn't.
FWIW, I have a Q Up on my VPI Traveler, and it works flawlessly.
"The passage of my life is measured out in shirts."
- Brian Eno
...I tried one of those back in the day.
It works fine as long as the sticky tape on the bottom holds out.
i used a Stylift just like the one that AD mentions in Stereophile. the little round adhesive was enough to do the job and never gave out.
the Q-up has more area for adhesive so i see no prob there.
Could you not just use blutak instead?
For the same 100$, I'd buy the new Rockwell 6s safety razor in All Stainless Steel.
It is 'adjustable' coming with 3x double sided back pieces which give a total of 6 different blade exposures for the tenderest skin to being able to shave BigFoot.
DE blades are cheap and durable these days. I'm experimenting and for 0.10$ per blade, the Gillette Silver Blue is wonderful. The Japanese Feather Blade is also wonderful but 2x the price.
Too much is never enough
Far worse...Sphile skewers another non advertiser. Poor E.A.R. and Dan Meienwald.
I've never read a bad word about any EAR product in any publication ever.
And anyway, it seems the player was faulty. That said, any manufacturer who doesn't fully check a piece of equipment for submitting for review deserves what ever they get!
> it seems the player was faulty.
We received another sample in time to include a follow-up review in our
March issue. Yes, that first sample was faulty - it had apparently been
sent to other reviewers before Art Dudley. While I understand the economic
incentive for a distributor to limit the number of samples he has sent out
on loan for review, as Stereophile is the only publication that measures
the sample, it would make sense to send us a fresh out-of-the-box sample.
This is not unique to EAR, please note. We have reviews of 2 speakers
about to be published where it appeared that other reviewers had already had
the samples in their possession before they were sent to Stereophile. The
distributors are rolling the dice.
That being said, what could another reviewer, even a sloppy one, do the unit that would raise the output voltage by 2V, which if I am not mistaken raised flags for Dan Meinwald.
I agree. For Sphile, a magazine that does measurements, an out of the box unit is the way to go. Penny wise, Pound foolish.
> what could another reviewer, even a sloppy one, do the unit that would
> raise the output voltage by 2V, which if I am not mistaken raised flags
> for Dan Meinwald.
It does seem unlikely that a previous reviewer had damaged the player in
such a manner that it would raise the output voltage. But an alternative
hypothesis is that there were wrong-value resistors in the circuit and
neither EAR nor Dan Meinwald have effective QA.
I know it's been a while, but have you or anyone from Stereophile ever made further comments re: Art Dudley's laudatory review of the Air Tight ATM-1s (Nov. 14), the measurements of which indicated it was, to coin a term, "broken."
Having started several businesses myself, I can only respect his having published his own magazine. I personally never found Mr. Dudley's writing nor sonic impressions especially compelling. His writing seems to me to have a hard-to-define yet real tone of condescension or a presumption of superior something-or-other.
Was there ever any final word on this? I searched the forums here but most references were to ATM 3 or ATM 2's.
not so much about EAR, but about the reviewer who listened to the unit before Dudley. Assuming that the part was defective prior to it being sent to the previous reviewer (I think a safe assumption since EAR would not likely insert a bad part, and then send it to Dudley), and assuming that the prior reviewer's use did not cause the problem (which, according to your prior post would be unlikely), I'd be interested to learn the name of the reviewer who listened to the unit before Dudley so I could read his or her listening impressions. Though I am not holding my breath.
That could potentially be a major case of being caught with your pants down. I'd also be interested to know whether EAR contacted that prior reviewer and politely advised him or her that perhaps it would be best to, um, delete the review.
Here you go. This is a good bet. Though no way to know for sure without
the serial #.
An unequivocal rave. 5 stars to boot.
Well, to be fair, it is hard to assume there is sub par Q&A from one sample, but there is no doubt it should never have left the factory out of spec.
Also, Tim P's designs are excellent and I have seen his gear in countless recording and mastering studios and I know a boat load of super star musicians who have had him build custom gear.
But of course this does not excuse a defective, expensive disc player and DAC from being sent for evaluation.
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