If I hear it, is it serious?
If your ears see,
And your eyes listen to,
Not a doubt you may cherish—How naturally the rain drips
From the eyes!
—Bujutsu Sosho

The much more audio gear I evaluation, the much more fascinated I develop into by the simple fact that as I hear to recorded music, I can near my eyes and see musicians on the phase at Carnegie Corridor, or djembe drummers in a desert by a tent, or a bass take note penetrating the Milky Way. What a reward of consciousness. And what a wonderful hobby it is that focuses my attentions in this way.

In the same way, I’m shocked that in a silent room, I can close my eyes and see the Ramones on stage at CBGB—and hear them participate in, at what feels like entire volume!

Wilder nevertheless: My composer pals tell me they can listen to a musical rating in their head when they’re looking through it on paper. The greatest I can do alongside those lines is listen to my very own voice as I study my possess producing. Moreover, I have a playlist of tracks stored in my head that I can enjoy on demand. I keep this jukebox in my brain so I can opt for my individual earworms. I by no means gave these diverse phenomena substantially believed until eventually recently, when I uncovered that our interior working experience of these sounds does not seem to be metaphorical—nor, as I had assumed, immaterial. Brain scans have disclosed that brainwave-intelligent, the new music we hear in our heads is not actually unique than what arrives in from the outdoors. In accordance to cognitive neuroscientist Robert J. Zatorre, when we hear a track in our head, our brain’s auditory cortex responds as it would if we had been hearing it via our ears (footnote 1).

Presumably, my skill to form these inner auditory photos benefits from some kind of primal cognitive process animated by advanced webs of recollections and associations, rooted someway in the character of harmonicity, wavelengths of sound relevant in integer ratios (footnote 2). Also, I envision my brain is making use of the exact same deep-imagining powers—the same perceptual matrixes—that my forebears employed to make flutes and drums and music.

Recognizing my brain’s means to fabricate appears and visions allows me produce and fills me with hope that you, reader, have an similarly energetic and associative mind that your cognitive procedures are equivalent to mine and most importantly, that you’ve by now had a selection of similar listening experiences. I hope this due to the fact when I generate columns and assessments, it is often my intention to result in seems and pictures in your head when you read my phrases. I want to do that nicely enough that you can put you in my location, just a very little, and imagine how the devices being described might sound in your program.

That level of reviewer-to-reader communication relies on me making use of the correct text, words and phrases that trigger not just precise ideas but seems and images, far too. That’s simpler claimed than completed.

As I generate this, I’m questioning how your mind may well “picture” the sound of a report actively playing on a turntable relative to the seem of a CD or a file streaming as a result of your procedure. Can you summon aural photographs that distinguish analog from electronic? When you examine the phrase analog, do you listen to, inside your head, a specified style of sound? When you see a photograph of a tube amplifier, does it induce memories—precise memories—of listening with tubes? Or does it bring about only believed-ideas?

As for me: When a person mentions a Kondo Ongaku, or a Marantz 8B, or a Mark Levinson ML-2, I can, for at minimum a moment, listen to these amplifiers actively playing new music by speakers. For the sake of this story, I hope you have memories like that.

Audio Hall Analogue A3 Phono Preamplifier
My previous good friend Roy Hall of Tunes Corridor (footnote 3) is a distinguished and common audio-environment identity whose audiophile ears, producing knowhow, and promoting abilities have been tuned over many years. He was born in Glasgow and has known fellow Scotsman and Linn Audio founder Ivor Tiefenbrun considering the fact that he was a kid. (“I knew Ivor when he was however good hunting,” Roy after told me.) In Scotland, drinking malt whisky and actively playing black discs are countrywide pastimes, so have no question that Roy Hall can conjure some wonderful analog and has touched a number of tonearms though under the influence.


At Tunes Hall, all products and solutions are envisioned by Roy Hall then recognized by some others. But never permit that bias you. Superior than most individuals working in our racket, Roy has ears, and he knows what kind of sound he would like to present. He’s primarily attuned to the kind of report players that make listeners really feel very good about the information they are actively playing.

I like Roy for the reason that he is an inveterate storyteller with heaps of overtly snarky shtick. “Sharing whisky at demonstrates and telling folks to go f*#k by themselves is the secret of my achievement,” he states. I’ve snickered a this kind of Roy-prattle for decades (footnote 4).

But occasionally, he annoys me. Roy is aware of that as soon as on a time I was the US importer for Audio Observe, Avantgarde, Tango, and Black Gate—all highly-priced brands—and every time I see him, he pontificates about the foolishness of spending immodest sums on hi-fi. He believes that as well numerous audiophiles are shelling out also substantially for bragging legal rights and trophy merchandise when all they genuinely have to have is a easy turntable, a relocating magnet cartridge, and an integrated amp—all of which Tunes Corridor transpires to offer.

As for me, I stay verified in my perception that we usually get what we pay out for, and that if we want to fly superior and desire all more than the galaxy, we have to have a superior rocket.

But Roy is largely ideal: Most audiophiles could stay rather satisfactorily with hi-fi machines significantly humbler than their moi tells them they need. Perhaps a thing as humble as New music Hall’s new immediate-generate Stealth turntable (which I evaluate elsewhere in this situation) coupled to Music Hall’s $1199 Analogue A3 tube phono stage, which I am about to explain.


I have in no way before reviewed a Songs Hall products, but when I noticed that Roy was peddling not only a direct-push turntable but also a sharp-on the lookout tube phono phase with a volume regulate, I had to connect with him.

I experienced to evaluate these products and solutions mainly because within my head I can even now hear Roy and his pal Ivor, several years in the past, demonizing immediate-travel turntables and tube amplifiers. And now he makes each? What is actually next, Roy? Consuming Wild Turkey? Ivor buying and selling his tuned Jaguars for a Jeep Wrangler?

That A3 glance: The Analogue A3 preamp does not glance basic, black, or utilitarian, like preceding New music Hall electronics. It appears to be eye-poppingly vibrant, shiny-anodized, and anthropomorphic, with two caged tubes sticking out from the major like ears and two outlined-in-pink knobs that remind me of cartoon cat eyes (footnote 5). The ideal-side knob is an on-off change, and the still left-hand knob turns an Alps “Blue Velvet” potentiometer, for volume control. There is no remote. The 12AU7 twin-triode tubes are flanked by something unusual: a silkscreened impression of the “A3 Procedure Useful Block Diagram.” Just one of the blocks near the input is labeled “Enter Matrix,” a phrase I might hardly ever viewed in this context (footnote 6).

I freaked and called Roy Corridor and manufactured him swear on his sister’s honor that, whatever it implies, it doesn’t mean the inputs are transformed to digital. (It will not. They usually are not.)

On the A3’s back panel are two pairs of RCA phono cartridge inputs: just one with 40dB get and a 47k ohm impedance for moving magnet cartridges, the second with 60dB attain and 100 ohms for relocating coils. A 3rd pair of RCAs is labeled Output. The A3 chassis measures 10″ huge, 7″ deep, and 3.6″ higher and weighs 6lb. It arrives packed in a durable metallic flight situation.

My initial impressions of the Analogue A3 preamp arrived with it feeding straight (as in, no preamp) the Parasound Halo A 21+ electric power amplifier followed by my Falcon Gold Badge LS3/5as. New music Hall’s Stealth turntable and Ortofon 2M Blue transferring magnet cartridge sparked the input.


Because it was in entrance of me at arm’s reach—no other reason—I performed facet 2 of E. Electrical power Biggs’ Best Hits (Columbia LP MS 7269). 30 seconds in, I began laughing. Not only was this preamp with the cartoon eyes driving the A 21+ quickly, without having obtain support from a line-stage preamp, but it was also sounding silky sleek and harmonically accurate. I was laughing as I listened simply because, in contrast to most moderately priced phono stages, the Analogue A3 was preserving the scale and, most surprisingly, the growling, wheezing, air-shifting textures of Biggs’s “traditionally ideal organs.” I am not joking: The A3 and Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge were pumping out pipe-organ power that seemed too big and the natural way tough to be coming out of my breadbox-sized Falcons.

Footnote 1: “These numerous studies converge on one principal acquiring: that neural activity in auditory cortex can come about in the absence of sound … and that this action probably mediates the phenomenological practical experience of imagining songs.” (Zatorre, R.J. & Halpern, A.R. “Mental concerts: Musical imagery and auditory cortex.” Neuron 47, pp.9-12, 2005.) The relevance of this to Herb’s column is obvious adequate, but the example it provides of scientists battling to encompass subjective phenomena into quantitative work—a issue acquainted to considerate audiophiles—is appealing, as well.—Jim Austin

Footnote 2: See nautil.us/the-requirement-of-musical-hallucinations-2581.

Footnote 3: Tunes Hall, LLC, 108 Station Rd., Terrific Neck, NY 11023. Tel: (516) 487-3663. Email: [email protected] World-wide-web: musichallaudio.com

Footnote 4: His Stereophile Manufacturers’ Feedback are the stuff of legends.

Footnote 5: Though this anthropomorphic impact is offset by the point that the A3’s “eyes” and “ears” are, nicely, offset.—Jim Austin

Footnote 6: In audio electronics, “matrix” is most frequently utilised to explain the mapping of enter alerts to output indicators, commonly when there is certainly a lot more than one of the latter, as in pro-audio mixers. From the diagram on major of the A3, it seems to be referring to exactly that in this article, even although in this situation there is certainly only one set of outputs (L and R channel).