More Music. Less TV.

These are trying and distracting times, and they’re likely to get worse before they get better. One thing that’s helped me “deal” has been reducing my TV time. I dropped CATV last year, and the recovery of mindshare has been notable. There’s been a lot less “white noise,” and a significant increase in clearer thinking.

Early 1960s Rek-O-Kut turntable. Identical to my father's.
Early 1960s Rek-O-Kut turntable. Identical to my father’s.

I always have found comfort and solace in music — singing it, playing it and listening to it. My formative music was jazz. My parents owned a small club when I was a toddler, and I guess it’s now safe to let Child Services know that I was often put to bed behind the bar in that smoke-filled space. A bit later, when I was about six, my mother took me to hear Andres Segovia in concert, and I fell in love with the classical guitar — which I studied (unsuccessfully) for about 14 years.

I suck at the guitar, but there was a time when I was a better-than-average singer. I sang with the Yale Russian Chorus, the Cathedral Choral Society and other large and small groups during college, law school and afterwards. In addition, I inherited an addiction to hi-fi from my father, who built his first audiophile rig (turntable and electronics from kits; speakers homemade with University drivers) when I was about four. I’ve always had a “record player”, and still have the first LP my father gave me as a child — Several Shades of Jade by the vibraphonist Cal Tjader.

Anyway, I’ve been powering down over the holidays with music, and thought I’d share (in no particular order) some of the albums that stuck with me this year. I don’t know that any of these was recorded in 2016, but I listened to them in 2016, which is what counts.

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Naim HeadLine Headphone Amplifier and NAPSC Power Supply: First Impressions

(From July 3, 2010)

Reviews of the Naim HeadLine headphone amplifier are hard to come by. And it’s a rare Naim dealer that stocks a $600 headphone amp that requires a $500 external power supply (minimum) to sound its best. There’s just not that much demand. But as a Naim devotee and serious headphone listener, I could not complete my search for a superior headphone amp without seeking out the HeadLine. It took a couple of months to get one on test, but it was worth it.

Naim HeadLine

 NAPSC Power Supply

Like all Naim equipment, the HeadLine and NAPSC are built to military spec. There’s nothing flimsy about their aluminum chassis or the quality of their parts. The resulting performance is my new reference.

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