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Helios CartridgeHave a question about this product? Please email our audio advisor or call 1-877-929-8729 with any questions or concerns regarding your equipment purchase.
Here is the micro-manufacturing reality:
Although most entry level cartridges from all manufacturers are machine made, ours are hand made. Even so, the reality is that when you are manufacturing something so tiny, that has to perform so well, all of them are NOT the same. If you don't see this statement from other manufacturers, then this is a secret they don't want to share, and quite understandably so.
So.....what does Soundsmith do??
We carefully hand build each and every cartridge, test them, and keep accurate records by serial number of their performance. Those that meet or exceed specifications are sold. But, there are always a few that don't measure well. What do we do with them? We don't sell them. We break them down and re-use some parts that can be used again. Does this cost real money ? You bet. But what it does do is this.....the ones that DO pass our stringent testing out-perform many cartridges selling for two, three, four, or even five times the price. Are we unabashedly proud of our hand-made cartridges??
Moving Iron Cartridges better?? I thought that moving COIL types are the best??
Our cartridges overturn the myth that moving coil cartridges are the only path towards perfection. After all, what is the accepted "advantage" of moving coil cartridges? Low effective moving mass, right? Well, we've got less. Much less. And if you understand EFFECTIVE moving mass, Less IS more. Why is that good? Because when you lower the moving system mass, it's easier to control. If it's easier to control, the stylus can stay in better contact with the groove walls. That's good, because if you can't stay in contact with the groove walls, you can't hear what's on the record.
Phono Cartridge Rebuilding and Stylus Retipping Services Available - Please inquire.$7,999.95Helios Cartridge Buy Now
NegotiationsNegotiations, the fifth full-length album written, recorded, and produced by The Helio Sequence, would sound different had it not been for a flood. In 2009, while touring in support of Keep Your Eyes Ahead, singer-guitarist Brandon Summers got an unexpected phone call in the middle of the night. Back home in Portland, OR, the band's studio/practice space was under nearly a foot of water. Heavy rains had caused the building's plumbing to overflow like a geyser. But Summers and drummer-keyboardist, Benjamin Weikel, were lucky: All of their best equipment was either on tour with them, or racked high enough off the studio floor to be spared.
Still, the band needed a new home. After three months of searching, Summers and Weikel settled into a 1500-square-foot, former breakroom-cafeteria in an old warehouse. They no longer had to work their recording schedule around loud rehearsals by neighboring bands, but were free to create late into the night in uninterrupted seclusion. With twice the square footage, the space also had room for more gear, a lot more gear. They decided to use this opportunity to try something different.
Summers and Weikel, who started playing together in 1996 and self-produced their first EP in 1999, have always been gearheads. But it wasn't until the success of Keep Your Eyes Ahead that they could afford to step things up: The duo spent months (and many hard-earned dollars) retooling their studio. They left behind much of the cleaner-sounding modern digital studio equipment and instruments they'd always relied on, and embraced vintage gear that would color their recordings with a warmer, deeper sound: Tape and analog delays, spring and plate reverbs, tube preamps, ribbon microphones, and analog synths.
As the new studio came together, so did the songwriting. It proved to be the most spontaneous, open, and varied writing process they had ever experienced. Weikel, who was listening to minimalist/ambient composers like Roedelius and Manuel Goettsching, had created dozens of abstract synth loops of chord progressions and arpeggios. The two would put a loop on and improvise together with Summers on guitar and Weikel on drums, recording one take of each jam. Other songs like "One More Time", "October" and "The Measure" quickly formed from rough one-minute sketches by Summers, while the down tempo "Harvester of Souls" was completely improvised musically and lyrically in a single take.
Tempering the free form approach to writing was Summers and Weikel's meticulous attention to production and arrangement. Taking cues from the spaciousness, subtlety, and detail of Brian Eno and late-era Talk Talk records, they moved forward. Listening to the recorded live jam sessions, they set to work transforming the ditties into actual songs. "Open Letter," "Silence on Silence", "Downward Spiral" and the title track - some of the spacier, mesmerizing songs on Negotiations - came together in this way. Summers' one-minute demos were brought to life in collaboration by Weikel spending weeks working on sound treatments and synth landscapes to enhance the songs.
Lyrically, Summers affirmed the improvised ethos, working deep into the night ad-libbing alone in front of the mic, abandoning pre-written lyrics and instead preferring to create in the moment. His delivery was largely inspired by the starkness and understated romanticism of Sinatra's Capitol era "Suicide Albums", imparting a more introspective and personal tone. "I used to view a lyric as a statement," he says, "Now, I see it more as a letter you're writing to yourself or a conversation with your subconscious."
This collection of shimmering, reverb-heavy songs is a meditation on those inner dialogues (hence, Negotiations) with solitude, memory, misgivings, loss, atonement, acceptance and hope. Most of all, it's a record that serves as a testament to the beauty, blessing, and excitement of a fresh start.1. One More Time
3. Downward Spiral
4. The Measure
5. Hall of Mirrors
6. Harvester of Souls
7. Open Letter
8. When the Shadow Falls
9. Silence on Silence
11. Negotiations$19.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
HeliosThe fourth album Helios from critically acclaimed Denver-based foursome The Fray is released on Epic Records. Of the new music, produced by Stuart Price (The Killers, Madonna, Keane) and Ryan Tedder (Adele, One Republic), Isaac Slade (piano, vocals) notes, Working with Stuart was the best of both worlds. We brought our organic instruments, and he brought his arsenal of electronic antiques. This record is all about running to the front lines of what we've done and pushing our borders even farther. Electronic instruments, drum samples, enormous backing vocals, opening up our writing to folks outside our camp.
'Helios' follows the band's 2012 release 'Scars & Stories' which garnered widespread praise-USA Today called the music more muscular and buoyant, while Rolling Stone noted they're still pumping. The Fray's 2005 debut, featuring the hit single How to Save a Life, went double-platinum and the band earned a 2010 Grammy nomination for their self-titled release. They have made numerous television appearances including Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and many more.
The Fray is Slade, Joe King (guitar, vocals), Dave Welsh (guitar), and Ben Wysocki (drums). The Denver-based foursome formed in 2002 after high school friends Slade and King bumped into each other at a local guitar shop. The band achieved national success with their first single, Over My Head (Cable Car), which became a top ten hit in the U.S., and the release of their second single, How to Save a Life, brought them worldwide fame.1.Hold My Hand
2.Love Don't Die
3.Give It Away
4.Closer to Me
6.Keep On Wanting
7.Our Last Days
8.Break Your Plans
9.Wherever This Goes
10.Shadow and a Dancer
11.Same as You$29.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Helio ParallaxWith effective explorations in time and space, Helio Parallax presents a sound deeply rooted in spiritual expression. True analog electronic music (no laptops) with cinematic landscapes (think Blade Runner meets Miles Davis Elevator To The Gallows sound track) anchored by deep dub/hip hop beats with skilled instrumentation to create an atmospheric landscape coined Sci Fi Dub Noir.1. Helio Parallax
2. Strange Dream (feat. Louque)
3. Another Broken Human
4. Kilgore Trout Dub
5. Soft Blind Pony Ride (feat. Bianca Casady)
6. Speed of Life (feat. Jahdan Blakkamoore)
7. Frank's Lament (feat. Doug Wieselman)
8. Nocturne For Secret Planets
9. After the Flood
10. Happy Helio
11. City of Glass$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Helio SequenceThe self-titled sixth album by The Helio Sequence began
with a friendly competition. Several of the duo's friends
within the Portland, Oregon music scene had been playing
"The 20-Song Game." The rules were simple, playful and
ambitious: Songwriters would arrive in their studios at
prearranged times and spend all day recording 20
complete songs. When they were finished, they'd have a
party, listen to the results and talk about the process of
simply making music in the moment. Brandon Summers
and Benjamin Weikel took the spirit of the game to heart,
and forged ahead writing a new record.
"Negotiations was a very long, introspective process,"
remembers Summers of the band's 2012 Sub Pop LP. "We
shut ourselves off from the world and disappeared down
the rabbit hole. That's how we tend to work, but we wanted
to try something new, open and immediate."
In May of 2014 they began arriving each morning in their
Portland studio with the mission of making as much music
as possible in one month. They just played, recorded ideas,
added layers, and eventually cut the loose takes into rough
shapes, steadily building songs from their cavalier sketches.
When June arrived, the duo sent their 26 finished songs to
31 friends, fans and family members. They asked each
person to rank their 10 favorite tracks. By summer's end,
they had the 10 tracks that shape the breathless and
magnetic The Helio Sequence-a record so named
because it's a kind of clean restart for the longtime pair, a
revamp of their process and a revitalization of their results.
The Helio Sequence is a renewed push forward for the
band, depending on an effortless kinetic energy. It points
to the pop that's bound Summers and Weikel for so long.
Indeed, there's a delightful candor to The Helio Sequence,
an openness that is a rare and special feat for a band about
to enter its third decade.
"It's less about curating yourself or trying to put yourself
across how you want to be perceived," says Summers. "It's
about having a conversation with people and giving them
something that's who you are."1. Battle Lines
2. Stoic Resemblence
3. Red Shifting
4. Upward Mobility
5. Leave Or Be Yours
7. Inconsequential Ties
8. Seven Hours
9. Phantom Shore
10. Never Going Back$20.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
$24.99 $17.49 Save $7.50 (30%)
Galactic Octopi (On Sale)Helios Creed's first album in five years, Galactic Octopi is a space rock masterpiece that is more than worth the wait! With LUX VIBRATUS on bass and ALEPH KALI on drums. Double vinyl, gatefold sleeve.LP 1
1. Galactic Center
3. Warp Slip
4. Star Streaker
5. Terra Firma Thurma
6. We're Flying.com
7. Red Chopper
1. Observation Outpost
2. Psylent Encounters
3. Stranger In The Manger
4. Terrestrial Manifestations
6. Galactic Octopi$24.99 $17.49 Save $7.50 (30%)Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Alien SoundtracksSpecial Limited Edition vinyl reissue of the seminal 1978 Chrome album Alien Soundtracks which was the first to feature the aggro-guitar stylings of Helios Creed. Includes the classics Chromosome Damage and All Data Lost.1. Chromosome Damage
2. The Monitors
3. All Data Lost
4. SS CYGNI
5. Nova Feedback
6. Pygmies in Zee Dark
7. Slip It to the Android
8. Pharoah Chromium
9. ST 37
10. Magnetic Dwarf Reptile$18.99Vinyl LP Reissue - Sealed Buy Now
$37.99 $26.59 Save $11.40 (30%)
Superior Catholic Finger (On Sale)Starting with a random snippet of evangelist preaching isn't necessarily the newest of touches in music, but putting it at the beginning of a track called Monster Lust has its own appeal. Creed's second solo album was his conscious return to the more zoned-and-stoned style of Chrome, though given how there was a fair amount of that on X-Rated Fairy Tales it would be more accurate to say that on Finger Creed just decided to let everything run riot. Tempos are often more stretched out than before, effects are tweaked and then tweaked again; in short, it's everything that a lot of rock music both mainstream and underground in 1988 was generally avoiding. With new drummer Ted Preuss helping out with returning bassist Duran, Creed leads his merry men into another fantastic bout of aggro-death-science-fiction snarl. Creed's low, vicious voice perfectly suits his abrasive feedback and more, while the rhythm section can both pound out things in a metal-punk style or just go with the flow. Who Cares is one of the best in the latter vein, with heavily flanged drums mixing with the simple but effective basslines as Creed goes off with both guitar and distorted vocals. Thick blasts of feedback that fill up the mix in both rhythm and soloing often remain the way of things for Creed; Too Bad, with its quick, almost punky verses, is a great example of him at his most crazed. The title track is one of Creed's best, a slow-and-low number with another great taking-off-to-Mars solo from the band and some disturbing rumbles down deep in the bass. Sometimes things maybe get a bit lost along the way -- The Cookie Jar descends into some aimless bits before picking up the groove again -- but otherwise Creed once again is flying high.
-All Music Guide1. Monster Lust
2. Mustard Dog
3. Superior Catholic Finger
4. Too Bad
5. The Bridge
6. Who Cares
7. The Cookie Jar
8. Weekends$37.99 $26.59 Save $11.40 (30%)180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
$37.99 $26.59 Save $11.40 (30%)
X-Rated Fairy Tales (On Sale)Recorded with a fairly straightforward backing band (bassist Mark Duran, synth-player John Carlan, and drummer/keyboardist Bill Roth), Creed's first solo album still turned out to be something touched with the unmistakable mark of Chrome. The production was often murky and strange, effects processing was everywhere, Creed's vocals sounded on the edge of sanity, and, of course, the guitars. Still creating one massive rock surge after another, with feedback piled on top of feedback and, likely enough, more pedals than anyone had ever seen at any one time, Creed showed once again why his guitar-god reputation exists in the first place. That his first solo album continued the true vibe of Chrome where Damon Edge's own use and abuse of the name made him a laughing stock probably wasn't that surprising in the end. Creed himself thought of this album as a more stripped-down, less stony affair, but it's mostly a matter of splitting hairs from an outside perspective. Considering that the title track itself is an acoustic guitar-led acid folk number with appropriate crumbling guitar noises in the background and post-hippie vibes everywhere, one has to wonder what Creed considers to be really stoned music. The most crisp the album gets is with the rhythm section, which often has a good full-bodied punch to it (and if anything sounds a bit like the work of Can, one of Chrome's inspirations). There's a little less stuff about alien takeovers and lurking gods outside the solar system and the like -- there's even a semi-cover of the old Chuck Berry classic Johnny B. Goode -- but then again one almost-dancefloor number is called Sex Voodoo Venus, so go figure. Showdown is also a pretty focused, rhythmic number notable for chunky riffs rather than extended soloing, while the You don't like me/I don't like you lyrics are pretty funny (and maybe about Edge -- and who could blame him?).
-All Music Guide1. The Descent
2. Un-Human Condition
4. X-Rated Fairy Tales
5. Blood Red
6. Mystery Room
8. Sex Voodoo Venus
9. Money Man
10. Johnny$37.99 $26.59 Save $11.40 (30%)180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
Rega Aphelion CartridgeHave a question about this product? Please email our audio advisor or call 1-877-929-8729 with any questions or concerns regarding your equipment purchase.
The Aphelion is the third generation of Rega's unique moving coil cartridges.Taking the technology developed from the latest Apheta 2 to the next level, our engineers have fine tuned every aspect of the original design.
Aphelion features a new boron cantilever and super high-powered, neodymium magnet and a coil meticulously hand wound on an iron micro cross that is fifty percent smaller than the original. The weight reduction of the generator allows us greater freedom to track the vinyl groove accurately ensuring even more detail is extracted from the vinyl.
The Aphelion is housed within a completely redesigned, single piece, aluminium black anodised body and protected by a CAD designed, clear rigid cover to protect the internal fine wires, making handling whilst fitting, safe and risk free.$4,995.00Rega Aphelion Cartridge Buy Now
Dolls of HighlandKyle Craft grew up in a tiny Louisiana town on the
banks of the Mississippi, where he spent most of his
time catching alligators and rattlesnakes instead of
playing football or picking up the guitar. He's not the
product of a musical family, and bands never came
through town. It was only a chance trip to K-Mart that
gave him his first album, a David Bowie hits compilation
that helped inspire him eventually to channel his
innate feral energy into songwriting and rock and roll.
That self-made talent drives every note of Dolls of
Highland, Craft's exhilarating, fearless solo debut.
"This album is the dark corner of a bar," he says. "It's
that feeling at the end of the night when you're
confronted with 'now what?'"
Craft knows the feeling well--Dolls began to take shape
when everything he took for granted was suddenly over,
including an eight-year relationship. "All of a sudden I
was left with just me for the first time in my adult
life," he says. He ventured far away from the ghosts of
his home in Shreveport, Louisiana to make a new life
for himself in Portland, Oregon, living under a friend's
pool table while he demoed new songs and tried to
determine what came next.
The album was tracked at a home studio in Shreveport,
where Craft briefly returned for an intensely-productive
reckoning with his past. "I dedicated the album to
Shreveport and called it Dolls of Highland for all the
girls and ghosts in town who influenced it so strongly."
Craft then returned to Portland, where Brandon
Summers and Benjamin Weikel of The Helio Sequence
helped move the album from its DIY beginnings to a
more fully realized work. Craft played most of the
instruments on the album, and the record captures the
power of his live performance.
And then there's Craft's unforgettable voice - "I'm
fully aware that I have a very abrasive, very loud voice,
but Bob Dylan is the one that taught me to embrace
that," says Craft. Craft's talent and singular creativity
move the conversation into new and unpredictable
places. And this album is very much about moving
forward. "After everything fell apart, it didn't take very
long for me to learn who I was and what I should be
doing," says Craft, who is walking out on the other side
with Dolls of Highland.1. Eye of a Hurricane
4. Lady of the Ark
5. Gloom Girl
6. Trinidad Beach (Before I Ride)
7. Future Midcity Massacre
8. Black Mary
10. Dolls of Highland
11. Jane Beat the Reaper
12. Three Candles$18.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now