audio

 

I am a big fan of Jonathan Ive, Apple's former chief designer. He is credited for the design of all of Apple's products since the beginning of the millennium: the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iWatch and the Apple Airpods.

These wireless headphones work with Bluetooth and once taken out of their charging case they immediately connect to all Bluetooth devices.

iConvenience

The greatest thing about these headphones is the convenience they offer. Walking to the train or subway still only takes five minutes but now I listen to music, to an audiobook or podcast for four and a half minutes.

Before I did not bother taking my headphones out because untangling them and hooking them up took me the better time of my walk.

 

Needless to say, thanks to these headphones I listen to more books, more podcasts and more music than ever before.

 

Jogging with them is still somewhat risky, I feel. They might stick, but the thought of seeing them disappear in a sewer pit scares me so I always wear them with a hat.

 

Two years ago I remember this moment that I stared at my bookcase, more specifically at those books that I once bought but never read. I felt bad.

No longer! Since reading…ahum…listening to books through the Audible audiobook service had become such a blast I decided to make a list of all those books that had stared me in the face for years and put them on my Audible wish list.

Now, two years later, I have listened to a bunch of them. Reading and listening combined I now average twenty books a year. Even in my university years, I did not come close to that number.

Again I dare to face my bookcase. In a few decades or so I can go back to buying new books...

no longer am I at odds with my bookcase

 

All good things come in threes. Seven years ago I set out on this multi-room audio adventure by using Apple Airport Express devices. These streamers I hooked up to my HiFi and speakers so I could play tunes from Itunes, Spotify and the like over Apple's own Airplay (a variety of Bluetooth) in different rooms of the house. This worked well in spite of the connection cutting out every half hour and in spite of occasional audible lags.

Is this what they call ChiFi?

Additionally, I could only stream one stream to a device or multiple devices but sending one stream to one device and another stream to another in the adjacent room or on another floor proved impossible. All these devices (I had six of them) created their own network, strengthened the existing network or repeated the wifi signal so in the end my wifi home network got all screwed up with devices fighting over the same IP, locking each other out, sharing something that should best be left to an individual device etc.

 

Finally, playing music also heavily taxed the battery of my phone so I had to keep it connected to a charger if I did not want the music to suddenly die. I did not know better and tragically in a situation of ignorance one is in a state of bliss.

 

Then I started reading about Apple's plans to get out of the networking business. Making routers, modems and streamers, they argued, had never been their core business. In the future they were no longer going to produce or support these devices. There I was, left with my six Airport Expresses. I had to look for a sustainable alternative.

 

Fortunately, the inexpensive Google Chromecast HiFi came to the rescue. For less than half the price of an Airport Express, I had a tiny streamer that looked like a minute vinyl record. Attached to its wires it hung in midair and it did its thing over the wifi network. The 3,5mm jack it came with also proved to be an optical input so a standalone DAC could be used to improve the sound quality.

 

Somewhat simplified my setup now looked like this: Chromecast streamer, DAC, amplifier, speakers. Again, the tunes were a'blaring. All was well and I replaced all Airport Expresses (I sold them for a third of what I paid for them even after all those years. Apple products still have the magic quality of people unquestionably opening up their wallets) by Google Chromecast HiFi’s.

 

Then I started noticing inconsistencies. I had my speakers set up as individual rooms (e.g. bathroom) but also as groups so that two or more speakers would play together (e.g. party outside/party inside). Having done this, I noticed that in Spotify certain groups and certain individual speakers kept disappearing. Only when completely rebooting the whole system and sometimes reverting a Chromecast to its factory preferences was I able to play music to it again.

 

Playing from different sources to different speakers also proved impossible. On the whole, I found that the sound stream was more stable than it had been with the Apple products. Since it now used WIFI it no longer drained my phone's battery and I could step out of the house and gladly notice that the music was still playing upon reentry. Although I had improved my multi-room audio experience greatly, I was left with the feeling that I still had a ways to go.

 

This time, however, I wanted to go about it with caution. I only sold two of my Chromecasts (for three-quarters of what I had paid) and invested in two Ieast Prostream products. The Prostream also works over the WIFI network but doesn't use the Google app: it comes with its own Ieast Play app that conveniently bundles all your streaming services. Streaming Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, TuneIn, Deezer, you name it, is all done from this one go-to app. This has the advantage of providing the same visual environment for all your apps.

 

The Prostream comes with a remote control that lets you program six different sources from all your streaming sources. Now you can program two TuneIn radio channels next to two Spotify playlists and two playlists streaming from your Network Attached Storage (NAS). The only drawback I have when it comes to putting my eggs in Ieast's basket is that this is a Chinese company with a disregard for continuity. If they decide to stop making or supporting these streamers they will not be so kind as Apple to let people know long in advance. Undoubtedly, they will pull the plug without a word.

 

However, I console myself with the thought that for the time being I have a solution that works flawlessly and that if Ieast for whatever reason decides to stop production other companies will produce something equally wonderful Ieast set the golden standard for.

Extra note: this tiny product might be telling a very big story. For the first time, I have encountered a Chinese product (created and manufactured in China) that is better than its European and American competitors. Is this a glimpse of the future? Is this what they call ChiFi?

 

Thanks to this app I go to more concerts than ever before. Why? Simply because now I know which bands are in town.

This app opened up a way to new musical experiences

How does it work? The app integrates with your streaming service and scans your list of favorite artists for upcoming shows in the perimeter you specify. In my case that is 80 kilometers around the city I live in.

 

Based on my list this means I get notified of almost one concert a month. This product has solved a problem in a very simple way and has enriched my life by opening a way to new experiences. What more is there to ask for?

 

For those who do not know what a DAC is, allow me to quickly explain. A DAC converts digital (bits and bytes, ones and zeros) to analog audio (sound). If you stream your music to your speakers you need a DAC because your streamer is digital and your speakers are analog. This DAC is part of your streamer.For those who do not know what a DAC is, allow me to quickly explain it. A DAC converts digital (bits and bytes, ones and zeros) to analog audio (sound). If you stream your music to your speakers you need a DAC because your streamer is digital and your speakers are analog. This DAC is part of your streamer.

created in the tradition of the great gentleman engineers

Since most of today's streamers are inexpensive little pieces of equipment (Google Chromecast HiFi sells for less than 30 euros) the built-in DACs are of poor quality. By attaching a stand-alone DAC to your streamer you bypass the built-in DAC of the streamer and you make sure that the bits and bytes are processed and piped through to your stand-alone device to create music. A DAC does not just pass through the information, making it into sound, it also filters and interprets it.

 

Qualities like sound staging, separation of instruments, the naturalness of sound and clarity are all improved by using a good DAC. Prices of DACs start at around twenty euros but they go up to thousands of euros. The question with these extravagant amounts is whether the extra money you spend weighs up to the possible improvement one can hear. The law of diminishing returns is definitely at play here.

 

To me, common sense is the deciding factor. The price of the DAC should be in line with the other components. That is where Beresford Audio products come in. This British company founded by Stanley Beresford is specialized in building affordable audio products but are most known for their DACs.

 

Their products are beautifully engineered, well-built and they sound remarkable. I will not go into a review of this unit. I lack the qualities but I dare you to find one negative expert review of a Beresford DAC.

There are three reasons for me to choose this DAC. I hear a real sound improvement over listening without a DAC. Secondly, I like the narrative of this product: it’s British like most of my audio equipment, it’s made by a small company that does not advertise but only works with mouth-to-mouth publicity and it’s created by an electrical engineer who, in the tradition of gentleman engineers like David Hafler (Dynaco) and Paul Walker (Quad), personally builds a relationship with his customers.

The narrative is what it boils down to if you do not have the brand to go by, if you don't just look at the price tag and if you are not an expert in the matter. Is this narrative strong enough for me to invest in? When it comes to Beresford it is. I have two (one for the outdoor speakers and one in the bathroom) and they have both greatly improved the quality of sound and thus my musical experience.

 

No doubt you have heard of Jonathan Ive, the man who since the end of the nineties has had a hand in the design of all Apple products. I bet you have not heard as much about Dieter Rams.

 

This is unfortunate because arguably the German has been as influential as the man behind the iPod and iPhone. Not in the least because he is often cited as a major influence on Sir Jony himself.

Rams worked as Braun’s chief designer for nearly forty years and he was responsible for the overall look of its products. We now know Braun as a brand of electric toothbrushes but back in the day, they produced a wide variety of products ranging from kitchen appliances like toasters and coffee makers to office supplies like calculators.

They also, however, produced HiFi. During this era, HiFi products were largely constructed of wood and lavishly decorated with purely decorative ornaments. Braun and Rams wanted to get rid of these superfluous elements and they wanted to create design products, not furniture. The most influential product that embraced this philosophy went by the name of SK55, but everyone knows it as 'Snow White's coffin'.

Principle #10

as little design

as possible

(Dieter Rams)

The SK55 was constructed almost entirely from powder-coated sheet metal with tasteful elm panels. Every detail had to have a functional purpose and it was designed to pioneer a new contemporary language of design. There was one problem though. The hood of the prototype unit was made from sheet metal and tended to rattle at higher volumes. Dieter Rams suggested the use of a plexiglass cover and that seemingly simple decision altered product history forever. Most modern turntables should tip their cover to Rams because without him they would be without shelter and prone to dust.

 

Rams was also the first to design modular HiFi equipment, making it possible to first buy an amp and a turntable and later complement this set with a matching tuner or tape recorder.

My Braun HiFi audio 300 (1969) predates this second invention by a few years. It is a stand-alone HiFi set with integrated amp, tuner and turntable but with separate yet perfectly matching speakers.

It is true to the ten principles of design that we also have Dieter Rams to thank for: innovative, useful, aesthetic, understandable, unobtrusive, honest, long-lasting, thorough down to the last detail, environmentally-friendly and as little design as possible.

 

Every time I turn on these amps, I tip my hat to the genius of David Hafler

I have had the renowned Quad 303 power amplifier for a few years now but recently took it out of my setup in favor of the Dynaco MarkIII mono tube amps.

 

The sound quality of the 303 was superb. Often it is said that this is the best power amp in its class and that if you want to hear sound improvements you have to spend at least 3,000 euros.

 

Yet when it comes to looks it always appeared a bit off to me. Its build is military grade and when you open up the amp you cannot but appreciate the beautifully engineered circuitry. On the outside, however, the industrial look just did not grow on me.

 

Tube amps are something completely different. Power is replaced with subtlety, warmth, and musicality. Admittedly my music became more fragile and vulnerable, more hit and miss, perhaps, but without a doubt more daring and exciting. Jazz and classical music benefit most from this new setup.

 

The Dynacos are monobloc amps, which means that every amp drives one speaker. With Quad ESL speakers this is not a luxury since they are power-hungry and are known for being hard to drive.

If the 303 resembled a streamlined industrial plant, these tube amps can be compared to a laboratory of a mad scientist. That scientist is mathematician David Hafler. His first company's "Dynakits" — preamps and power amplifiers in kit form — were assembled by hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts in the 1950s and '60s, a period when audio was primarily an engineering hobby and most good-sounding gear was built by its owners.

 

Several Dynaco products from that period are still regarded as among the best ever made, including the ST-70, the prototype for most similar designs that followed from Dynaco and other companies.

 

My amps are the direct successors of the Dynaco Mark 2 amp that was featured in a media display in the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington in the 1990s.

Every time I turn on these amps, I tip my hat to the genius of David Hafler. I turn off all the lights and wonder in absolute silent amazement. The sound is warm and intimate, the tubes are emitting an orange glow that seems to say: life is good... 

 

When I wanted to install a 5.1 home cinema system with satellite speakers that did not take up a lot of space and blended in with the architecture, I could only think of one particular brand.

However, every time I listened to these speakers I could not help feeling that I was in a fitting room of a fashion store. Sure there was music, I even recognized the song and yes the speakers were well hidden, but the thinness of the experience left me unmoved.

This was not the way this music was conceived and supposed to be played. I decided I did not want 'lifestyle' but instead wanted music. I went on a search for an alternative. On my list: speakers that were musical but did not dominate the room.

 

The room I am referring to is a rectangular space, 3m wide by 5m long, that should also function as something else if needed (my wife sometimes puts her foot down). Finally, I came upon the Monitor Audio brand. This English brand has been making loudspeakers for decades.

Subconsciously I had already come across their products because the speakers that make up the wall in Alex’s bedroom in one of my favorite movies, A Clockwork Orange, were produced by Monitor Audio. Their heritage, the movie connection, their inconspicuous looks and great build quality convinced me of the fact that this product was not the combined effort of a marketing agency and a lifestyle connoisseur but of passionate people who put the quality of sound at the center of their efforts.

quality of sound first

lifestyle second

or last

When I now watch a movie the images are fused with the sound, the one feeding off the other. The thinness of sound and the casualness I used to associate with tiny architectural speakers I now reserve for the trips to my favorite clothing shop.

 

I am a big Monitor Audio fan. Not only does this brand feature in one of my favorite all-time movies, A Clockwork Orange, proving their audio tradition and heritage, they also devote all of their efforts and pour all of their resources into research and development and thus in the improvement of your audio.

 

Other more well-known brands choose a different path. Their focus is on lifestyle and they advertise their products with catchy phrases about invisibility and inconspicuousness.

 

My experience with these products is that when speakers are unseen, they are often also 'unheard'. They create a musical experience so thin I associate it with elevator music and music in dressing rooms in clothing stores: music not to feel but to not feel the awkwardness of silence.

 

Monitor Audio does not believe in cramming sound in a tin. A two-way speaker has two ways, there is no way around that and so it cannot be tiny. However, this does not mean their products are in your face, nor do they suffer from the process of overdesign(ing).

 

These speakers blend in great with their background and have an overall pleasant look. Yet it will always be possible to spot Monitor Audio speakers as the proud source of the music.

Even if you can't see them

you can always

spot them as  proud source of the music

 

Thanks to this amplifier, I set my first steps on the high-fidelity stage.Thanks, NAD. 

To whip the forty-year-old Braun HiFi Audio 300 into shape, I had to tour the country in search of a good HiFi vintage specialist. Something I kept on hearing was: “This sure is a nice looking piece of vintage but it is lifestyle equipment, not an audiophile's cup of tea.”

 

Intrigued by this statement I went down the audiophile's rabbit hole and looked for what audiophiles considered to be milestones in the history of HiFi.

 

One such landmark proved to be the NAD 3020 combining a pre- and power amp under one chassis. Back in 1980, this amp was a smash hit and instantly put the NAD brand on the map. The look is bare-bones basic. The sound is something else again. As soon as you listen to it you remember why budget-minded audiophiles bought more than 500,000 3020s in about three years, making it the best-selling integrated amp of all time.

I love my Braun for its looks, but I prefer this amp for its sound, its less-is-more approach and for setting me, like it did so many others four decades ago, on the path to true hi-fidelity. NAD stands for New Acoustic Dimension, at least for me that proved to be quite appropriate.

 

The name of this DAC refers to the amp that got people into high fidelity audio back in the eighties: the famous 3020.

 

I got it as a tribute to its famous predecessor. It plays everything I throw at it with genuine ease and delivers a wonderful non-fatiguing sound experience.

It delivers a wonderful non-fatiguing sound

 

When I was young I spent a year living in Canada in a city an hour's drive from Toronto. One night a friend asked me over for a game of squash in the basement of his fancy high rise overlooking the city.

 

In the basement, there were squash courts and a giant pool. Being young and easily impressed I was wowed by the whole thing and probably lost the game of squash solely for this reason… what impressed me the most, however, was the HiFi equipment he had sitting in the corner of his condominium.

the aha Erlebnis

I had long been looking for

I would love to say that I remember what the sound was like but I am a child of the nineties loudness wars and thus the only thing I remember was the beauty of the rig and the distinct green light emitting from the amplifiers. Yes, plural. The rack was filled with matching gear.

 

Later I learned he must have had a cassette deck, a cd player, a phono amp, a turntable, a designated power supply, and at least two amplifiers.

 

When I started to build my own set a few years ago I looked everywhere for a similar set. It was only until I came upon the English audiophile brand Naim that I had the aha Erlebnis I had been looking for. There it was. This was the set that had me haunted for years.

Forgive me the wordplay but I cannot help myself…her name was NAIM. I started diving into back catalogs of this premium brand and when I got to the eighties stuff, I finally saw the set that somewhere in the mid-nineties had merged beautifully with the Toronto skyline.

 

The chrome bumper series NAIM made in those years are hands-down the best looking amps ever. They are also half-size (22cm) meaning that you can arrange two amps next to each other on one shelf of a HiFi rack. I now own a NAP140 and a NAC 72. They were typically sold as a set in the eighties and I hope in the future to complement the amps with a matching power source and a DAC.

 

This series is still affordable and in the UK you can find shops that refurbish, test and audition second-hand preloved NAIM products for new lovers.

 

Oh yeah, how do they sound? Well, again, I am not an expert at this but what I can say is that NAIM has made me discover my music anew. Some songs have gotten so much more meaning because of the new depth I discovered listening to the Naim amps combined with the Rogers speakers discussed elsewhere.

 

Durability is one of the ten principles of great design according to the master of industrial design Dieter Rams.

 

This Quad 33/303 combination fully embodies this principle. It stems from 1967 and would prove to be Quad's biggest-selling-pre-amp (33) and their second best-selling power amp (303).

 

For many, this combo formed the heart of their Quad system. Combined with electrostatic speakers they formed an especially formidable team that would establish Quad as the UK's most venerable HiFi brand for decades to come.

 

Today, not only can you still buy these amps at a reasonable price, but you can also easily get them serviced and even upgraded. The community of Quad fans provides you with all the information, tips, tricks and spare parts you might need.

Come to think of it, they will probably outlive me...

Having amps that, come what may, can always be repaired gives me such a wonderful feeling of relief and reassurance. Come to think of it, they will probably outlive me...

 

At last, the Quad 33 set is complete.

This is the original tuner that accompanies the venerable Quad 33 preamp and the 303 power amp.

A few months later I was also able to get my hands on the original solid teak wood sleeve, manufactured in the 1970s to accommodate the 33 & FM 33.

 

When this wooden case came up for sale I felt I had to get it to complete the Quad 33 set. The Quad 33/303 combination and the Fm33 tuner were without a home before this shelter came along and I knew it would not come along often.

 

The build quality is great and the dovetail joints on the side of the sleeve are proof of top quality craftsmanship. The industrial look the Quad combo used to emanate is now somewhat lessened and its sheer power and musical prowess are camouflaged.

 

The quality of understatement that I associate with English design has been restored.

 

These speakers are not exactly wife-friendly. When I got them my wife immediately asked me whether they were radiators. Her next guess was that they were the backs of chairs.

 

When she heard they were the esteemed electrostatic speakers produced by the famous Quad company, she was not impressed.

Still, they grew on her and now that she’s heard their natural sound, I don't believe she wants to trade them in for something less conspicuous.

they are not exactly

wife-friendly

but the wife loves them 

 

Rel makes subwoofers. That's it. Nothing else. No distractions. Nothing to steal their focus, their thunder. They are not kidding themselves and the world that they can be good at everything. They just try their best to conquer their bit of the world and that bit is bass.

They have been a British manufacturer of high-end award-winning sub-bass systems and subwoofers for use in two-channel and home theater systems for over 25 years. These subwoofers are known for being the utmost in reliability, coupled with a natural sound uncommon in the category.

Rel makes subs

That's it 

Nothing else

After reading many reviews about the lack of bass my Rogers LS3/5a speakers were able to produce I decided to hunt for a Rel Quake. These subs have often been paired with Rogers speakers and have never disappointed. Neither did this powerful sub in my setup.

It proved difficult to find a model in the same cherry wood finish as the speakers but I managed to find it and now the Rogers and the Quake have become a great trio. The addition of the Quake has made my setup more versatile. Now I can also enjoy music that benefits from the deep low sound.

Going back to purism is easy. If I want to go back to the most natural sound the Rogers can produce, I just switch off the Quake with one switch at its back.

 

If it is good enough for BBC concerts I reckoned it was good enough for me.

Founded by Jim Rogers in 1947, Rogers quickly made a name for itself with natural-sounding loudspeakers. In the early 1970s, the British Broadcast Company required small monitor speakers for use in restricted areas outside broadcast vans during location recording. Rogers created the LS3/5a speaker.

 

They were such a success that the production could not keep up with the demand so Rogers agreed to let other commercial speaker companies build the LS3/5a. Aside from Rogers, other manufacturers licensed by the BBC to produce the LS3/5a included Chartwell, Audiomaster, Spendor, and Harbeth.

 

The LS3/5A was Rogers' most successful loudspeaker, and to date, 50,000 pairs have been built worldwide.

If it is good enough for the BBC...

 

Your playlists are everywhere

One reason why people stick with their streaming service is the fear they have of losing their personal playlists.

 

With Soundiiz that fear is a thing of the past. This service lets you convert playlists from one platform to another.

 

If your playlists under three hundred songs, you can use the free version of their service. If you have longer playlists it is wise to prescribe to their service and pay a fee.

 

It turned out that the rule of three also seems to apply when selecting a streaming service. Spotify works great but there was a pull to a more audiophile-oriented service.

 

It was not as if the sound difference would be noticeable, but a service targeting the audiophile would also have a more audiophile selection, right? Try searching for classical music on Spotify and you know what I mean. You get different versions of Für Elise, a few Chopin concertos and if you are lucky some Pavarotti and Callas. I admit that I somewhat exaggerate to make a point.

 

What you do get is user-created content. Playlists created by others are great. They make us nostalgic for the days of the mixed tape. Especially wonderful I thought was watching and enjoying a tv-series and then listening to its playlist created by a fan.

Qobuz helped me discover new genres, bands and songs.

Another great function of Spotify was the radio function. You start with a specific band and after having played a selection the algorithm would come up with suggestions that I miraculously also liked or started to like. Spotify weekly, 30 songs the algorithm thinks you will like, was equally wonderful.

 

However, in the end, I felt this was not the way I wanted to listen to my music. I passed my subscription onto my wife since I was not ready to remove Spotify from my life completely and I tried something different.

 

After a short fling with Apple Music, I ended up with Tidal. Its stress on audiophile quality, the curating by actual people and the fact that I was supporting the underdog sold me to Jay-Z's sideshow, Tidal. I liked it until I did not anymore.

 

Their focus on rap, hip hop and R&B might be what young people enjoy, but I thought it was too unbalanced. When it comes to music, I learned, bleeding edge is just not for me.

 

Because the Ieast Play app I use (see Audiocast Soundstream) also comes with support for a service I had not heard of called, Qobuz, this service piqued my attention.

 

If Ieast likes Qobuz and I like Ieast than I should try Qobuz, right? It is like a friend of a friend is your friend, sort of. Qobuz is French and like Tidal it offers extreme sound quality.

 

Unlike Tidal it does not confine itself to the hippest genres but instead aims at fans of classical music and jazz. With its 40 million songs there had to be music I was going to like, so I gave it a go.

 

When the Qobuz app opens it lets you choose your genre or genres. Based on this choice your home display changes and you get different new albums and suggestions. Since I unchecked the hip hop box, I no longer get these suggestions.

 

However, if I for some reason I feel like my life is not complete without the discography of Drake I can just check the hip-hop box and Drake appears. It is that simple. Less American, more global.

 

I have been using Qobuz for more than a year now and it is just great. It has made me discover genres, bands, and songs I am so grateful to Qobuz for. The only thing I dread is that, since the streaming services world is a dog-eat-dog world, I will one day wake up and try to open Qobuz just to get the notice that they did not make it. Hopefully, this shout-out will help them!

 

A small inexpensive amplifier that delivers pure unapologetic great sound is what this Bantam Gold amp is all about.

 

Temple Audio products are hand-built in the best British audiophile tradition and therefore the quality is excellent. The Bantam Gold is housed in a precision-made, all-aluminum enclosure, CNC machined for a perfect fit. It has virtually no distortion so the music you play through it comes out the way it was intended.

 

This amp seems to have it all: control, timing, soundstage width and depth, clarity, detail and, most importantly, musicality. It is the last point that makes it so addictive. I tested it with a wide range of recordings and everything is just so enjoyable.

True hi-fi without

breaking the bank

When listening everything comes together nicely, giving the overall impression similar to attending a live concert. I use this amp in the bathroom with small Monitor Audio satellite speakers and in my garden combined with the somewhat larger Monitor Audio Outside speakers. On both occasions, especially in tandem with the Beresford DAC, listening to it is a true feast.

 

This amp is tiny, it stores away nicely and can be left powered on inside a cabinet or on a shelf somewhere. This is truly plug-and-play hardware. There are no controls apart from the power switch that doubles as a high gain volume control.

 

The best thing, of course, is that surprisingly enough you get all this high fidelity without breaking the bank.

 

A movie that defined me as a young man is Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, based on Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella of the same name.

 

It is hard to put my finger on the exact reason why that is the case. I was not swayed by the ultra-violence, of that I am certain, nor by the dystopic plotline that I did not fully grasp in my teens.

 

As a reason why I love this movie, I settle on its overall aesthetic created by John Barry. The combination of colorful seventies interiors mixed with science fiction elements, the otherworldly (yet fascism-inspired) costumes, the haunting soundtrack all created a perfect storm in my head.

 

What tipped me over the edge, however, was the incredible HiFi equipment in this movie. Alex, the main character, listens to Beethoven’s Ninth on a wall of Monitor Audio speakers and alternates between two sources of music.

as a young man I knew

I would own one

someday

On the one hand, there is the microcassette player, a musical invention that never saw the light of day, on the other hand, sitting on Alex's bedroom side table, the viewer gets a glimpse of the Hydraulic Reference turntable invented by the British audio genius David Gammon and produced by audiophile brand Transcriptors in 1963.

 

Although I did not see it turn in the movie, this turntable with its six gold plated brass platforms made such a lasting impression on me as an adolescent that I subconsciously knew I would own one someday.

info@first-world-products.com

 

© Passionately created in Brussels, Belgium 2020

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