Back up and running with a new season – Editing decisions



After the move to California I’m finally able to get a new episode up. Episode 30 will be from the Capsule Show and features Conrad Bradford. I’m in the process of making an editorial decision here. If you can comment below and let me know what you think.

I’ve decided to shorten the podcast to be between 30 and 40 minutes, and in this episode I interviewed the first three people before Conrad showed up. When Conrad arrived I gave him a very directional microphone: a Sennheiser MD 431 II. In our first interview he kept aiming the mic at the ceiling between himself and the speaker. If I had given him the usual EV 50nd that would have been fine. But be that as it was now I have to make the decision whether to keep the interview. There is a lot of background noise but the interview is reasonably interesting. It’s with a hat maker. What do you think? I’m inclined to leave the interview in. I usually only cut out an interview if it’s really bad and this one is boarder line.

Leave your comments below. Or email me at



Tom Howell

Seeking Researchers and Scientists & How I Quit


I changed my home page from Welcome to “For Those Who Must Know”

I was trying to create an invitation on but it was wanting money I don’t have. So I ended up not doing it.

But I did come up with a revelation.

Here is what I was going to publish:

"The UnCommonCore Podcast is seeking anyone who is willing to participate in a sit down interview for out podcast. We'd like you to talk about yourself and your most recent research or study.

Some of out audience is chronically curious. Those who must know. Our subjects and methods change to satisfy that curiosity.

Most of our listeners stumble upon us. If they don't hear anything they recognize they simply move on in search of something they find more comfortable. But we are here for those who stay because they seek the unfamiliar. We are here for the explorers.

The premise is, we all know our own culture but when it comes to the cultures and subcultures of others, most of us are culturally illiterate. But this can change if we are willing to step outside our comfort zone and listen to others talk passionately about things we've never cared about before but that they care about immensely.

If this sounds interesting to you please email me and we can go from there."

But I didn’t, I just changed  the welcome.

Q the pug is a dog who at a very young age would always poke his head around the corner to see what was going on. We lived in Thailand at at the time and Fah, the girl I was seeing then, would say “He must know”

It was true. And so must we.

Tom’s Recommendations for Getting into High-End Audio


The Entry

I will title Episode 22 Entry to Expert because it’s allowed me to re-conceptualize what an entry level system, and an expert level system might look like. In this little piece of advice, I’ll go over the entry level for those just getting into it. This is based on many years in and out of the hobby and what has made people, including myself, happy and unhappy.

If your just thinking of getting into High-End Audio and don’t want to spend over $5000 and you want to own a turntable the difficult part is finding a good phono-preamp. Most turntables are going to be around $1600. That’s the price of the Technics SL 1200GR. You can also get a Marantz. However, there are a lot of other turntables at this price that are very excellent such as the SOTA, Rega, VPI and Well  Tempered. Many audiophile turntable companies have entry level turntables at this price. Listen and play what you will be listening to. Some high-end turntables have trouble tracking some old records that are warped or scratched. As mentioned in the interview the strength of the Technics is it’s build and flexibility. It will play almost anything. And, by the way, get a record cleaning machine.

On the other end of your system are the speakers. Once you settled in on your turntable, I’d then recommend you settle on speakers. Not all people will advise you to go in this order but I do and I’ll explain why later. For around $1000 you can pick up the cool looking and fashionable Tozzi ones at $445 or Twos at $1095 or for around $2000, you can pick up something more traditional like the Harbeths, the exceptional Audio Note or something impressively exotic like the Martin Logans or the down to earth Ohm. If you want to go used you may find something like Vandersteen, Spica, Celestion, Acoustic Energy, B&W, Thiel or ProAc. Take your time. This is the most crucial stage. If possible, try a pair in your listening room before you buy.

I’m not making suggestions for complete systems like Stereophoile or The Absolute Sound does because they match systems and most people want to customize the system a bit and end up making variations. With high-end the tricky thing is getting equipment that works well together. Once you start changing the recommended system configuration you change the synergy they accomplished. And they’re probably not the best choice for you.

The reason you want to start with the turntable is because this is your source. If your source is a CD player or streamer, I’d focus on this first. Like Linn used to say, if you can’t get it in in the beginning there’s nothing you can do to bring it back later. The reason I go for the speakers second is because they, more than anything else, are going to characterize your music. They introduce the highest level of distortion or variation. Getting something you like here is crucial.

Now you have the difficult part. If you didn’t want a turntable you could bump it up significantly to the Electocompaniet at about $3000. With a turntable you’ll need a phono stage, which I recommend, so you’ll have to get the entry level integrated such as the Marantz or Technics interviewed. But there are a lot of good integrated amps at this level including the Outlaw, Peachtree, Rega or even the NAD. You will need to match the amp you choose with the speakers and cartridge. This is why simply getting the recommended list amp isn’t going to work. Most good dealers will let you borrow the amp to try it with your chosen speakers. Few will let you borrow a turntable or speakers – though some will. If you have the turntable and amp in your house it’s a lot easier to tune your system by choosing the electronics. And it’s fun. If you get stuck consider used.

My final recommendation is that once you’ve decided on your system to rid your house and life off all those magazines and your browser of all that research. Forget about it. That stuff will mess with your head. All the gear mentioned here is exceptional. Once you’ve found the perfect system for you – enjoy the music.

Episode 21 is up After Re-Mastering



There are two versions of Episode 21 available. I was unhappy with the mastering of the version published March 1st and still available on venues connected with the Mastering Studio I use. These include Apple Music and Spotify. All other venues such as iTunes and Stitcher should have my own remastered version published on March 3rd. This newer version meets Broadcast loudness standards. (If you know what that means)

Here is a link to the PRX remastered version. The Episode page will be up momentarily.

New York’s (High-End) Audio Show : Part 1 | Season Premier | Featuring Electrocompaniet’s new EC Living | Technics’ legendary turntable returns with this year’s SL 1200G & SP 10R | CNET’s Steve Guttenberg talks audiophile culture past and present, NPR and the new Trombone Shorty record.
UnCommonCore Podcast Season 3 is set to expand it’s reach. This season starts off with this new series on the New York Audio Show.

In this first episode