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

Notes from the New York Audio Show – TOP 5 ROOMS


New York Audio Show: TOP 5 ROOMS

General Impressions

The top 10’s are so the thing these days, or so it seems, the best of the best and all that sort of thing. They are fun and easy to write. So, with the caveat that it really means little, here are my Top 5 Rooms from the New York Audio Show.
If your looking for some new gear let this be a starting point because you really have to match your gear with you, your taste in music, your room, and your budget. But if you don’t really care, or if you have no personality or taste or time, and can’t wait for Episode 21, then you can’t go wrong choosing from these little gems.

Best high-end sounding room: 707 

Well Please Audio, Rethm Bhaava speakersLinear Tube Audio, Aqua Audio, Anti Cables

Some people claim that you can’t really hear a difference with high-end audio. Those people have never heard a real high-end system with a “high-end sound.” Or they just think everything is a rip off. If your confused by comments like these, you must listen to good high-end. It is instantly recognizable. Usually, it’s achieved through some type of planar speakers, or exotic exorbitantly expensive equipment, but not always. There is a sense of magic, pleasure and honor you feel when you hear it. You feel privileged. You hear it in this room. The Aqua Audio and little Rethm speakers are, if I can revive dead expression, awesome.

Most musical room: 714

Audio Note

I knew the Audio Note was going to be good. How could it not be? The engineering that goes into it is mad; Frankenstein mad. I interviewed Audio Note for the podcast, but I admit I was out of my league, what can I say. But when I went back later to chill a bit and listen, I found myself forgetting about the gear and listening to the music. This is how I choose my own gear. If I had to live with a system (from the show) for the rest of my life, and I didn’t have to worry about the cost, this would be my system.

Honorable Mention: 801


Perhaps your not going to be sitting there on the edge of your seat in your dedicated audio room scrutinizing the sound, accuracy, imaging and all that; but you still want your system to sound like a live band is playing in your living room, or tiny apartment while you work on your computer, or chill with an IPA. Maybe money is a concern, or you just don’t care about being in with the audiophile crowd and just love music; maybe you want something a little weird, a little cool, something unique… you just want the music of the spheres man. Then my friend… You want Ohm.

Best Surprise: 803

Plus Audio USA

This little Project turntable with an Ortophon red cartridge sitting on top of a powered heavily dampened speaker, reminds me of an old Mercedes 280SL convertible. Yes, it seems like the perfect Sugar Daddy purchase – fit for the Millennial hipster suddenly into Vinyl, but it’s more than that. Just like the 280SL was. It’s actually really cool.


Best Ugly Duckling: 701

Fidelis AV

I walked into this room and I thought I was in a time warp. The ugly little Harbeth speaker and extraordinary musical sound emanating from them, took me back to the high-end boutique audio stores that used to dot the Bay Area in the late 80s. Fidilis is indeed an old style dealer. Back in the day tailoring a system to the individual was the hallmark of a quality retailer. If you want someone to hold your hand through the process and your ok if you don’t end up with Absolute Sound or Stereophile’s top 10, this is the place my friend. Besides, you know how I feel about top 10 lists.