Intoxicatingly simple | 3 guitars!

3 Amigos?  Maybe, but clearly 3 darn good guitarists!

3 Amigos? Maybe, but clearly 3 darn good guitarists!

I stumbled upon this album this week, and I have to say that it has been one of the finest musical discoveries for me here in 2012.

The album, Friday Night in San Francisco with DiMeola, McLaughlin, & DeLucia, has been nothing short of spectacular for me to listen to.  ORG has done a mighty fine job with this reissue, and while I don’t have an original to compare it to, I do find it to be incredible treat to listen to!

The ambience of the live setting really comes through in this recording.  At times it almost had an audiophile quality reminiscent of Jazz at the Pawn Shop with all of the ambient noise and activity picked up during the live concert recording.

Overall sound quality seems quite nice.  Again, without an original reference it is difficult to comment.  But the sound is solid.  That said, one thing that I do wonder about is if the original recording was as good as it could have been.  There are times when things seem ever so slightly muffled.  Particularly when you hear the crowd.  This is not the case with the guitar playing.  But it is something I’ve noticed and have wondered about.  Still, if you figure the recording was likely miked for the 3 guitarists, then it makes sense to me that the other would be an after thought.

Ultimately, if you fancy yourself a guitar lover, do yourself a favor and grab this album.  It’s well worth the price of ~$55 for the 2 lp’s inside the gatefold cover.  You’ll really enjoy what must have been an amazing evening that Friday night in San Francisco way back when…

With the platitudes done, let me quickly comment on the quality of the pressing.  First, I note no discernible issues.  I’ve run these 2 albums through my system a few times now and everything just pops ever so nicely!  The music really jumps from the system.  The packaging is also really nice.  Kudos to ORG on a fine job.  ORG pulled together Bernie Grundman to master this from the original analog master tapes.  The album was then pressed at RTI.  Packaging is solid, and extra props to ORG for putting together the gatefold!  Included are 2 top quality static eliminating linings of top quality.  But there is one down side – BOTH side “B’s” for my albums have a quirky label tear or rip right around the spindle.  Go figure!  Other than that – NO complaints.  Now back to my concert with Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, originally recorded recorded at The Warfield Theatre on December 5, 1980, in San Francisco.

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Parting is such bitter-sweet sorrow

Today I pack up and send along to the next select individual a set of speaker cables that really impressed me. Candidly, I’d rather just keep them here…

These are either a final beta release or the gold master release for Sablon Audio of its soon to be released Panatela Speaker Cable. Sablon’s Mark Coles was kind enough to share these with me before they head out on their journey to a few others he’s sharing this pre-release version with. I suspect that after he gets their feedback he’ll make the decision on whether these are the GM or a final beta. If you ask me, they might as well be GM’s. They were that good!

Regardless of what their status is, I am grateful that he gave me the opportunity to first listen to the pair shown here!

Jonathan Franklin | © Franklin Six

Sablon Audio's new Panatela Speaker Cable

While I had them I was able to compare them to my existing “reference” cable, the Auditorium A23. My initial impressions were quite favorable, and as I reflect back on my experiences with them and my notes from listening, I would quickly say I REALLY liked these! I’ll get to an abbreviated review in the near future, meaning sometime Q2 2012…. I have a few other reviews in the pipeline that need to be posted. But it’s not a stretch for me to say that Mark hit another one out of the park with this new product.

Great work, Mark!

Getting to the APD DAC review…

I’m wrapping up my thoughts on the AcousticPlan Digimaster DAC and finally plan to put fingers to keyboard for a lay person’s review.  This has taken a little longer than I expected, but I really should not be surprised.  This side endeavor is just that, a side activity and not my main priority.

In the interim, I thought it might be helpful and interesting to put in context my DAC samplings.  To begin with, my sampling is limited.  There’s the standard garden variety non-sense, then a Grant Fidelity specialty Tube entry level product, a MHDT Havana, and I’ve had the Rega in my system for a trial run.  I have also owned a few Oppo players, including the current reference BDP 95.

Using this for some perspective, I can share at this point that the APD is in a completely different league.  Frankly, I was never really impressed or pleased with any DAC that I’ve heard or owned.  Sure, they sounded nicer than an iPod, but nothing to really make you go wow, like I do with vinyl.

The APD, however, gives you reason to go wow!  Is it on par with vinyl?  Well, not exactly, but wow!  For now, until I finally get a review completed, let me just say this, unless you can afford one, don’t ever listen to this DAC.  Otherwise, you may just find yourself bummed and coveting the APD!

AcousticPlan DigiMaster DAC