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  • Cow / Chill Out, World! (Awaiting Repress) Cow / Chill Out, World! (Awaiting Repress) Quick View

    $33.99
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    Cow / Chill Out, World! (Awaiting Repress)

    Being pioneers with a new album created in no more than 6 months, THE ORB are bound to be exposed to fan expectations running high, while quizzical questions about little fluffy clouds and the good old times take over. It's especially jarring as the duo of accomplished soundsmiths Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann has become known for its genre-bending curiosity and surprising sonic detours, exploring experimental soundscapes as well as club-friendly beats. The funny thing is, though, that whatever the context, you know a track from THE ORB when you hear it. Case in point: COW / CHILL OUT, WORLD!, their latest full-length offering - a masterful ambient album that branches out in many directions, but unmistakably sounds like THE ORB in either ear (and probably to your third ear, too).


    The idea was simply to make an ambient album, Dr Paterson explains, we didn't look back and study earlier recordings, but wanted a more spontaneous approach, a focus on THE ORB today, our vibe in 2016. In contrast to their much-acclaimed previous full-length MOONBUILDING 2703 - which took years to prepare and finetune -, the new album was produced over the course of only five sessions in six months, directly following the like-minded ALPINE EP: it got so spontaneous that a track like 9 ELMS OVER RIVER ENO (CHANNEL 9) consisted only of material collected at North Carolina's Moogfest in May - second-hand records from local stores, field recordings, live samples from gigs that we liked, and of course an excursion to the Eno River, which actually exists. This geographic intimacy and the spontaneity are among the top reasons why we love this album so much.


    Herr Fehlmann sees the duo's relentless gigging schedule as a formative influence on the new album: the countless performances we've played in the last years - probably up to 300 - have brought us closer as a musical unit. The spice of our concerts is improvisation - a fertile process that we've brought to the studio, where we operate with very simple rules of engagement (in this case ambient) and go wherever the flow takes us. It's an approach that one might expect from traditional acoustic instrumentation, not necessarily an electronic set-up, but for THE ORB it works wonders: we're quite happy and also a little bit proud that we've reached this level of unscripted levity with purely electronic means. We're finessing ourselves, sort of, always looking for the next sonic surprise that leaves us rubbing our eyes about how the heck we got there.


    Once more, THE ORB's trademark playfulness is on full display on COW / CHILL OUT, WORLD!, and it doesn't limit itself to the multi-layered sampling and psychedelic sound composites that the duo has become known for - you'll find it in the album title as well. The simple invitation (or order?) to chill out (relax? Calm the eff down?) is converted into an acronym - and the cow that you might expect to find on a Pink Floyd cover or with iconic UK chill-out/dance pranksters The KLF. It's not so much an obscure trope coming full circle as a perfect example for THE ORB's multitimbral approach to sound and meaning - a compelling, immersive journey to diverse places and impressions. Each track title is a conceptual work in its own right, playing with multiple references, some of which remain highly personal and mysterious. But the greatest feat of THE ORB's latest outing might just be how all this semantic doodling never gets in the way of the actual listening, at all times directly relating the artists' sonic vitality and cheerful nosiness. Chill out world! and treat yourself to an outstanding new ambient experience from THE ORB.

    1. First, Consider The Lilies
    2. Wireless Mk 2
    3. Siren 33 (Orphee Mirror)
    4. 4 Am Exhale (Chill Out, World!)
    5. 5th Dimension
    6. Sex (Panoramic Sex Heal)
    7. 7 Oaks
    8. Just Because I Really Really Luv Ya
    9. 9 Elms Over River Eno (Channel 9)
    10. The 10 Sultans Of Rudyard (Moo-Moo Mix)
    The Orb
    $33.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
  • Metallic Spheres Metallic Spheres Quick View

    $26.99
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    Metallic Spheres

    Metallic Spheres is the product of a collaboration between David Gilmour, the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd, and The Orb, the renowned British ambient/house collective. Together, they've created a two-part sonic mixture in a range of styles combining Gilmour's unique guitar work and The Orb's crafted sound manipulations.
    1. Metallic Side (24:48)
    2. Spheres Side (25:09)
    David Gilmour with The Orb
    $26.99
    Vinyl LP -Sealed Buy Now
  • The Orb Remixes The Orb Remixes Quick View

    $12.99
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    The Orb Remixes

    My initial excitement when The Orb agreed to do a remix for me was almost too much for me to handle, them being the kings of ambient and all Luckily they delivered and I couldn't be happier with the result. Thomas Fehlmann & Dr. Alex Patterson delivered two contrasting takes on their picks from my 'Principe Del Norte' album. One for the pirate ship and one for the spaceship.


    - Prins Thomas, 23rd of Nov. 2016

    1. H (The Orb Heaven Or Hell Remix)
    2. H (The Orb Orbient Mix)
    Prins Thomas
    $12.99
    12 Vinyl Single - Sealed Buy Now
  • Orbit Plus Turntable (White) 4 OPTIONS AVAILABLE Orbit Plus Turntable (White) Quick View

    $309.00
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    Orbit Plus Turntable (White)


    Have 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.


    Performance priced right


    A turntable should be reliable and easy to use, but most importantly it should sound great. High-performance tables can be prohibitively expensive, and budget tables too often sacrifice quality for unnecessary features. So we set out to build a turntable that outperforms its price tag.


    By redesigning classic audiophile components and leaving out nonessentials, we created a remarkably simple table that provides warm and detailed sound. Easy to setup and use, the Orbit delivers a dynamic and distortion-free listening experience.


    A quiet revolution


    The Orbit's low voltage AC synchronous motor provides excellent speed consistency and minimizes pitch variation (wow & flutter). The motor is decoupled from the plinth by a unique rubber suspension that prevents unwanted vibrations from seeping into the sound.


    The Orbit's CNC machined pulley turns an exposed drive belt and plays both 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records. The platter rides on an inverted main bearing - providing superior stability and reduced bearing noise (rumble). In other words, all you hear is the music on your record.


    A perfectly balanced tonearm


    The tonearm is the crucial link between your record and your speakers. To do its job well, it must achieve harmony between tracking force, mass distribution, and rigidity. The Orbit's innovative unipivot arm turns effortlessly on an inverted pyramid of precision ball bearings, and works with the arm's low center of mass to provide accurate tracking.


    Every Orbit comes pre-fitted with an Ortofon OM 5E moving magnet (MM) cartridge, which is balanced by an adjustable stainless steel counterweight.


    Take it for a spin


    The Orbit is ready to play out of the box. Cartridges come pre-installed with tracking force properly adjusted, so all you have to do is turn the table on and lower the arm. A dust cover, felt mat, and RCA cables are all included with every table. Check out the Orbit Basic or Plus, or you can use our Orbit customization tool to select your own color, platter, cartridge, preamp, and add-ons. Parts are interchangeable so you can upgrade down the line and tailor your turntable to your needs.


    Made with love in Boston


    Every Orbit is assembled by hand in our Woburn, Massachusetts workshop. Prior to shipping, each turntable goes through comprehensive listening, wow & flutter, and rumble tests, as well as a 15-point performance evaluation. Every Orbit comes with a one year warranty.


    The vast majority of our parts are sourced within the US. Our acrylic platters are turned in Ohio. Our plinths come from Minnesota, and our metal parts from Connecticut. By keeping our suppliers close and our assembly in-house, we are able to maintain a high level of quality.


    U-Turn Audio
    $309.00
    Orbit Plus Turntable (White) - Add On Options
    Buy Now
  • Orbit Plus Turntable (Black) 4 OPTIONS AVAILABLE Orbit Plus Turntable (Black) Quick View

    $309.00
    Buy Now
    x

    Orbit Plus Turntable (Black)


    Have 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.


    Performance priced right


    A turntable should be reliable and easy to use, but most importantly it should sound great. High-performance tables can be prohibitively expensive, and budget tables too often sacrifice quality for unnecessary features. So we set out to build a turntable that outperforms its price tag.


    By redesigning classic audiophile components and leaving out nonessentials, we created a remarkably simple table that provides warm and detailed sound. Easy to setup and use, the Orbit delivers a dynamic and distortion-free listening experience.


    A quiet revolution


    The Orbit's low voltage AC synchronous motor provides excellent speed consistency and minimizes pitch variation (wow & flutter). The motor is decoupled from the plinth by a unique rubber suspension that prevents unwanted vibrations from seeping into the sound.


    The Orbit's CNC machined pulley turns an exposed drive belt and plays both 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records. The platter rides on an inverted main bearing - providing superior stability and reduced bearing noise (rumble). In other words, all you hear is the music on your record.


    A perfectly balanced tonearm


    The tonearm is the crucial link between your record and your speakers. To do its job well, it must achieve harmony between tracking force, mass distribution, and rigidity. The Orbit's innovative unipivot arm turns effortlessly on an inverted pyramid of precision ball bearings, and works with the arm's low center of mass to provide accurate tracking.


    Every Orbit comes pre-fitted with an Ortofon OM 5E moving magnet (MM) cartridge, which is balanced by an adjustable stainless steel counterweight.


    Take it for a spin


    The Orbit is ready to play out of the box. Cartridges come pre-installed with tracking force properly adjusted, so all you have to do is turn the table on and lower the arm. A dust cover, felt mat, and RCA cables are all included with every table. Check out the Orbit Basic or Plus, or you can use our Orbit customization tool to select your own color, platter, cartridge, preamp, and add-ons. Parts are interchangeable so you can upgrade down the line and tailor your turntable to your needs.


    Made with love in Boston


    Every Orbit is assembled by hand in our Woburn, Massachusetts workshop. Prior to shipping, each turntable goes through comprehensive listening, wow & flutter, and rumble tests, as well as a 15-point performance evaluation. Every Orbit comes with a one year warranty.


    The vast majority of our parts are sourced within the US. Our acrylic platters are turned in Ohio. Our plinths come from Minnesota, and our metal parts from Connecticut. By keeping our suppliers close and our assembly in-house, we are able to maintain a high level of quality.


    U-Turn Audio
    $309.00
    Orbit Plus Turntable (Black) - Add On Options
    Buy Now
  • Rega Brio Integrated Amplifier Rega Brio Integrated Amplifier Quick View

    $995.00
    Buy Now
    x

    Rega Brio Integrated Amplifier




    Have 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 Brio has a completely new case to house its improved circuits and parts. It now sits in a fully aluminium two-part case which boosts the Brio's heat sinking capabilities and improves on Rega's already solid build quality and reliability. The new Brio has a cleverly integrated headphone socket specially designed to avoid interference with the audio circuit when not in use and as you would expect, a very high specification moving magnet phono stage is built in as standard.


    Throughout the design process the Brio has been meticulously improved in every aspect, from the quality of materials to the manufacturing process, to make this new Brio a step ahead in Rega's engineering and design for amplifiers.


    Brand new case design.

    The sleek and minimal look was designed to bring elegance to Rega's classic style but still harks back to the swooped features hidden away in Rega's past amplifiers. Combining all these aspects makes this Brio case a unique standpoint amongst the competition.


    Re-designed circuit.

    Key improvements have been made to the circuits. The PCB layout has been fully upgraded to handle higher specifications for all critical parts. A second raw power supply has been added to provide further isolation between output stage and the driver stage/line and phono amplifiers. This improves the isolation between high and low level signal stages of the amplifier. Higher specification MUSES operational amplifiers have been used in the line and phono amplifier.


    Headphone Socket.

    For convenience, the Brio has the capability to drive standard hi-fi headphones from the internal amplifier. Adding a headphone socket was only possible by finding a way to reduce its impact on the main signal path so it doesn't disrupt the overall sound quality. We have paid special attention to the switch that deactivates the main speakers.


    Rega
    $995.00
    Brio Integrated Amplifier Buy Now
  • Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 Quick View

    $33.99
    Buy Now
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    Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2

    Aphex Twins 1994 masterpiece Selected Ambient Works Volume II includes barely anything resembling a beat or any sign of typical song structure, yet the album continues to garner adulation generally reserved for holy music. Fans have been testifying on its behalf for nearly two decades, as if it were capable of curing ills or healing the soul. Its synthetic construction belies the intuitive, human, melancholic and uplifting nature of the music.


    Some have speculated the album was intended by Aphex Twins Richard D. James as a farce, as if its Über-minimalism was a joke played on an electronic community that relied so heavily on the beat; an expectation-defying statement from ambient-houses young hero. The album induces varied responses and often from the same person. A listener may go from being incredulous to drenched in tears within the span of a single track. Music critic Frank Owen described the music as veering between an eerie beauty and an almost nightmarish desolation. James himself described it as like standing in a power station on acid.


    The albums raw emotional power is built upon the influences of Brian Eno, Erik Satie, Steve Reich, Terry Riley and The Orb. Each of its tracks has an elegiac and desolate feel far removed from the tooth-rattling, drill-n-bass or abstract electronica for which James was originally known. The soft, nimble flow leaves one in a tranquilized state. Throughout the album, James resists the temptation to layer the sound with beats or samples. Instead, he relies on swathes of sound and harmonics and almost-implied pulses. When the music does incorporate subtle industrial sounds, rhythmic drums or muted samples, it is only to affect a menacing feel in the textures.


    Remarkably, for an album that is often perceived as difficult, Selected Ambient Works Volume II is quite accessible. Featured in films, commercials and video games, the music continues to offer an entry point for listeners new to the ambient genre while remaining a classic touted by connoisseurs.

    No tracklist available
    Aphex Twin
    $33.99
    Vinyl LP - 3 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Orb Weaver (On Sale) Orb Weaver (On Sale) On Sale Quick View

    $17.99 $14.21 Save $3.78 (21%)

    Buy Now
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    Orb Weaver (On Sale)

    The third album by the Parson Redheads, Orb Weaver showcases the most vital and inventive elements in the canon of West Coast psych-folk. Under the guidance of producer Scott McCaughey (the Minus 5, R.E.M., the Baseball Project), the Portland, Oregon-based foursome expands its sonic palette in every direction - dosing their rootsy power pop with extra psychedelia, fiercer rock, frothier pop and, as always, buoyant vocal harmonies and tasteful, powerful guitar interplay.
    1. Arcish T
    2. To the Sky
    3. Every Mile
    4. Borrow Your Car
    5. I Never Sleep
    6. Runs Out
    7. Latigo
    8. Lost Again
    9. Beginning
    10. Small Change
    11. Times
    12. Give Yourself Away
    The Parson Red Heads
    $17.99 $14.21 Save $3.78 (21%)
    Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy Soundtrack Guardians Of The Galaxy Soundtrack Quick View

    $24.99
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    Guardians Of The Galaxy Soundtrack


    Includes 12 Songs Plus The Film Score


    In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous
    Ronan. In order to evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a group of misfits including Gamora, Rocket, Drax the Destroyer, and Groot. But
    when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand - with the
    galaxy's fate in the balance.

    LP 1
    1. Blue Swede - Hooked On A Feeling
    2. Raspberries - Go All The Way
    3. Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky
    4. David Bowie - Moonage Daydream
    5. Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around and Fell In Love
    6. 10cc - I'm Not In Love
    7. Jackson 5 - I Want You Back
    8. Redbone - Come and Get Your Love
    9. The Runaways - Cherry Bomb
    10. Rupert Holmes - Escape (The Pina Colada Song)
    11. The Five Stairsteps - O-O-H Child
    12. Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell - Ain't No Mountain High Enough


    LP 2
    1. Morag
    2. The Final Battle Begins
    3. Plasma Ball
    4. Quill's Big Retreat
    5. To The Stars
    6. Ronan's Theme
    7. Everyone's An Idiot
    8. What A Bunch Of A-Holes
    9. Busted
    10. The New Meat
    11. The Destroyer
    12. Sanctuary
    13. The Kyln Escape
    14. Don't Mess With My Walkman
    15. The Great Companion
    16. The Road To Knowhere
    17. The Collector
    18. Ronan's Arrival
    19. The Pod Chase
    20. Sacrifice
    21. We All Got Dead People
    22. The Ballad Of The Nova Corps. [Instrumental]
    23. Groot Spores
    24. Guardians United
    25. The Big Blast
    26. Groot Cocoon

    27. Black Tears
    28. Citizens Unite
    29. A Nova Upgrade

    Various Artists
    $24.99
    Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Transgressor Transgressor Quick View

    $16.99
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    Transgressor

    Quiet Company's fourth full length record Transgressor is the much anticipated follow up to the critically acclaimed We Are All Where We Belong (2011). Recorded in 14 intense days of live tracking at the state of the art Orb Recording Studios in Austin, TX, the band captured a guitar-driven larger-than-life sound, recruiting producer Matt Noveskey (Blue October, IAMDYNAMITE) and mix engineer Tim Palmer (U2, Pearl Jam, Bowie). Muse's characteristically introspective writing style is in full force as he tells tales of love, despair, pain, and redemption, reflecting on his marriage, from burgeoning young love to a relationship tested through time and life on the road. The result is Quiet Company's most mature, explosive, and exposed collection to date.
    1. Seven Hells
    2. The Most Dangerous Game
    3. Mother Of A Deal
    4. The Road To Perdition
    5. Understand The Problem
    6. Kindness
    7. I Heard The Devil Say My Name
    8. A Year In Decline
    9. Wherever You Take Me
    10. The Virgin's Apartment
    11. Midnight At The Dairy Palace
    Quiet Company
    $16.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Harvest Harvest Quick View

    $21.99
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    Harvest

    The smooth, deep groans of lunar gravity. Salt-soaked ropes swing against hollow masts. An orange helium balloon floats above the city's amber glow. Patrick is only mildy drunk, and enjoying a cigarette when she walks past. He stops her to share his joy that this purring orb is actually the harvest moon. Kansas City's Andrew Plante presents four tracks of focused guitar work on this 45rpm, 12 vinyl release. The mysterious songs mine deeper into the caves he first explored on his Sonic Meditations cassette releases. Limited to 250 copies on glass colored vinyl.
    1. The Moon to Guide by Day
    2. Earthshine
    3. Unbroken Communion
    4. Damnation is a Lie
    Andrew Plante
    $21.99
    Colored Vinyl 45 RPM LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • EarthEE EarthEE Quick View

    $17.99
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    EarthEE

    THEESatisfaction's EarthEE is the follow up to awE naturalE, the alternative
    R&B group's critically acclaimed debut. EarthEE was recorded in Seattle and
    Brooklyn, and features guest appearances from Shabazz Palaces, Meshell
    Ndegeocello, Porter Ray and Taylor Brown. EarthEE was produced by
    THEESatisfaction and Erik Blood at Protect and Exalt Studios: A Black Space and
    mastered by Adam Straney at BreakPoint Mastering in Seattle.


    "Igbo beaded mail, Dinkan Scarification, Ashanti repetitive leaping. It all

    bounces. So too should you

    Neo-Ancient Nubian aphorism.

    Once in Time, in an emerald veld of near solitude, Two met.

    One Cat and One Stas. Born under different signs. Destined to shine under

    the same moons.

    They agreed, upon meeting, that the old force fields rooted in sonics were

    necessary once again.

    They commenced to make.

    It was cold out. They made. It became warmer. They continued. The orb

    shone from above with intensity. They continued to make. The trees shifted

    hues and shed...They made.

    In this din, this mantra of making, they became Sisters of a very specific rite.

    Loyal.

    Ethereal. The foundation of empires lost and regained.

    In this din the force field grew.

    The first time I saw them they glowed. They were palpable amongst the flat.

    Regal in a manner that is now mostly forgotten.

    Yes, Queens.

    Not generic in that description either. Specific.

    As in the Queens of some Where. The Queens of some Thing.

    Sorceress Queens who dealt in aural incantation architecture.

    Possessors of keys to deeper feelings. Unlockers of healing.

    I became a devotee to the sonic altars they had, and continue to construct.

    One Cat. One Stas. Past Lovers. Present Friends. Future Deities.

    THEESatisfaction. Exalted heavenward (outward, spaceward) upon the aurally

    offered

    blood price of heavily scented continuum.

    They made me for you.

    Enjoy,

    EarthEE

    P.S. Change is inevitable and necessary. It is the precursor to transcendence.

    by Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes

    1. Prophetic Perfection
    2. No GMO (feat. Taylor Brown)
    3. Planet for Sale
    4. Blandland (feat. Ishmael Butler)
    5. Fetch/Catch (feat. Taylor Brown)
    6. Nature's Candy
    7. EarthEE (feat. Ishmael Butler, Porter Ray, Erik Blood)
    8. Post Black Anyway
    9. Universal Perspective (feat. Meshell Ndegeocello)
    10. WerQ (feat. Meshell Ndegeocello)
    11. Sir Come Navigate (feat. Tendai Maraire)
    12. Recognition (feat. Shabazz Palaces, Erik Blood)
    13. I Read You (feat. Erik Blood)
    TheeSatisfaction
    $17.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Wyndsor Phono Amp Black Wyndsor Phono Amp Black Quick View

    $2,495.99
    Buy Now
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    Wyndsor Phono Amp Black


    Creek Audio has a long history of making fine sounding Phono pre-amplifiers.


    Dating back to the company's first product, the 4040 manufactured in 1982, and more recently the fine sounding OBH range of stand-alone Phono pre-amps, Creek has always applied extra attention to this part of an amplifier's circuitry to obtain the best performance and price. The complexity and accuracy of previous Creek in-built and external Phono pre-amplifiers has always been balanced to suit the total cost of the product and to match the grade of performance versus price.


    Creek's first step towards a no-compromise Phono Pre-amplifier was introduced in 2006 when it produced the Destiny Phono Card. This plug-in circuit was exclusive to the Creek Destiny integrated amplifier and was limited to running from the amplifier's own power supply. Its performance proved exemplary, due to the new circuit design, which utilised very high performance Op-Amps and Balanced SSM2019 integrated amplifiers, with extremely accurate passive components to achieve accurate RIAA EQ. To make it work within the limited confines of an integrated amplifier, it squeezed both left and right channels onto a small 4 layer PCB, using surface mount technology.


    The success of the Destiny plug-in Phono board led to the development of the Wyndsor Phono Pre-amplifier, as a no compromise stand-alone product. It is built into the same stylish case as the Wyndsor LP1 Speed Controller, which is used to power Creek's high-end turntable.


    In order to provide the best performance, left and right channels are built on separate PCB's.


    Each channel has dedicated power supply regulation to completely isolate it from the other channel.


    Unbalanced input and outputs are connected via high grade gold plated RCA sockets.


    Balanced input is possible via dedicated 3 pin mini DIN sockets. Tone arms and some cartridges can be wired specially in balance configuration and soldered to the DIN plugs provided with this product.


    Input selection, cartridge loading and gain are all fully adjustable from the front panel High quality gold contact relays are used to switch all the functions and are driven from a dedicated, stand-alone, high quality linear power supply to isolate them from the analogue pre-amp circuitry.


    The front panel display indicates which functions have been selected. A micro-controller based control interface is accessed through a rotary input selector and push buttons. Several types of cartridge with different parameters can be programmed and the user can name and store them as pre-set numbers in the unit's memory. It is possible to write up to 16 characters on the display for each selection. For each entry the display will show the cartridge name and type, plus a full description of loading, gain and input type. The display can be adjusted in brightness or turned off completely.


    Mute will short the output of the pre-amp, to enable the user to change a record and cut the volume in a convenient way and return to the previous level by pressing the Mute button again.


    The Phono pre-amplifier uses a newly developed Wyndsor power supply unit, with separate supplies for analogue and digital circuits. Turning the pre-amp on and off from the mains is achieved by the switch on the front of the power supply or on the back of the pre-amp.


    This product is not eligible for discount.


    Creek Audio
    $2,495.99
    Wyndsor Phono Amp - Black Buy Now
  • Open Book (Pre-Order) Open Book (Pre-Order) Quick View

    $18.99
    Buy Now
    x

    Open Book (Pre-Order)

    Fred Hersch has long been acclaimed as an exploratory artist, an outspoken activist, an influential educator and a uniquely revelatory and lyrical pianist. As one of the most expressive voices in modern jazz, Hersch has never been shy about letting listeners glimpse his most intimate thoughts and emotions. In September, however, Hersch's fans will be treated to even deeper, more revealing insights into the story of the renowned pianist when he publishes his much-anticipated memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz. As a companion piece, Hersch decided to present an equally direct and vulnerable glimpse into his private musical thoughts with his 11th solo release, Open Book.

    The seven pieces on Open Book (set for release via Palmetto Records) offer some of the finest, most unguardedly emotional solo music that Hersch has created in a career unique for its profound poignancy and passion. Recorded in a South Korean concert hall on a superb Hamburg Steinway concert grand piano, the album captures the vital essence of the revelatory adventurousness and intense beauty that have made Hersch one of the most important solo artists in jazz. With more than 40 albums to his credit as a leader or co-leader, Hersch remarkably continues to discover new areas of inspiration and depths of feeling.

    For the last two and a half decades I've been pretty open about who I am, what I like and what I'm dealing with at times, Hersch says. But I've always got to dig deeper, and I thought this might be a chance to make an album that's a window into the kinds of things that I play at home or don't play in public all that much.

    The album arrives during a momentous month for Hersch. On September 12, the esteemed publishers Crown Archetype (Penguin Random House) will release Good Things Happen Slowly, Hersch's bravely confessional memoir. The book covers the pianist's meteoric rise in jazz from his sideman days alongside masters like Art Farmer and Joe Henderson to his gradual recognition as one of the most individualistic and innovative artists of his generation, a ten-time Grammy Award nominee and winner of countless accolades including being named a 2016 Doris Duke Artist as well as the same year's Jazz Journalists Association Pianist of the Year. But it also frankly reveals his story as the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician, tracing his path through hedonistic post-Stonewall New York City to the dramatic two-month medically induced coma in 2007 from which he emerged to make some of the most stunning and captivating music of his career.

    Later that month Hersch will reprise his ambitious Leaves of Grass full-evening piece at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Room, the first time the song cycle has been performed in New York City since 2005. Vocalists Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry will reprise their roles from the original project, which sets the verse of American bard Walt Whitman. The legendary poet's timeless ode to the miracle of nature and openhearted love of all beings seems especially vital in our present socio-political moment.

    The centerpiece of Open Book, and the spark that ignited the album, is the nearly 20-minute improvisation Through the Forest. Unique in Hersch's extensive discography, the stream-of-consciousness gem is a miniature masterpiece of narrative development, a compelling journey through an abstract, glimmering landscape, revealing that in his early 60s Hersch continues to take creative risks and daunting inventive leaps.

    The creation of Through the Forest was as unplanned and spontaneous as the music itself. In Seoul for a pair of solo concerts during a break in a tour of Asia with his esteemed trio, Hersch overslept during an after-breakfast nap and rushed to take the stage at JCC Art Center Concert Hall for his afternoon performance. The titular forest is, in part, a jetlag and coffee-fueled dreamscape through which Hersch wanders, applying his vivid powers of observation to unusual terrain. I was a little groggy, my defenses were down, and rather than fight it I just gave in to it, Hersch recalls. I'd never really done anything of that length in public where I had no agenda and was able to stay in that zone for such an extended period of time. I realized it was something special, something different that might be the core of an album.

    Through the Forest became the leaping-off point for an album intended to be singularly divulgent and reflective. A few months later, Hersch returned to the same hall and recorded the remainder of Open Book alone in the empty venue (with the exception of Benny Golson's classic Whisper Not, taken from a concert during that return engagement).

    The album opens with the stark musings of The Orb, taken from Hersch's autobiographical music-theater piece My Coma Dreams. A love letter to Hersch's longtime partner, AIDS activist Scott Morgan, The Orb is the final dream depicted in the show, and in this solo rendition becomes a nakedly heartfelt outpouring of raw but tender emotion. The mood then takes a turn for the playful and swinging on Whisper Not, a longtime staple of Hersch's repertoire that here becomes a vibrant, virtuoso marathon of thematic exploration.

    The piece also serves as an ideal mirror to the album's other composition from the pen of a jazz icon, Thelonious Monk's Eronel. Hersch has long been recognized as one of the premier interpreters of the Monk songbook, but despite including one of the iconic composer's pieces in every one of his sets for most of his career, Hersch had never tackled this particular tune, co-written by pianist Sadik Hakim. Monk's original stride-inflected lines come in for a dizzying array of variations in Hersch's endlessly imaginative take.

    The music of Brazil has also been a constant in Hersch's career, in particular the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, the subject of one of the pianist's earlier solo efforts, 2009's Fred Hersch Plays Jobim. Picture in Black and White is a new addition to that repertoire, majestically transformed from a bossa nova feel to a crystalline hybrid with Chopin's last nocturne. On the other side of Through the Forest in the album's symmetrical structure comes Hersch's own classical-flavored Plainsong, a spare, lyrical piece composed in the bucolic setting of the MacDowell Colony, the inspirational artists' retreat in rural New Hampshire.

    Open Book ends on a meaningful ellipsis, Billy Joel's moving And So It Goes. In title alone it's an apt conclusion, suggesting an embrace of life as lived and hinting at its open-ended continuation. The full lyrics, which Hersch has performed in duo settings with singers including frequent collaborator Kate McGarry, remain unspoken here but obviously deeply felt in every note. I connect with the sentiment of the words, Hersch says, and it felt like a good benediction to the whole album.

    1. The Orb
    2. Whisper Not
    3. Zingaro
    4. Through The Forest
    5. Plainsong
    6. Eronel
    7. And So It Goes
    Fred Hersch
    $18.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
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