AudioStream 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Tis the season to buy things so we've made a list, checked it twice, so you can choose to be naughty or nice.

Michael Lavorgna's Picks

Janis Joplin, Newport 1968 (Copyright:Dick Waterman)

Dick Waterman Music Photographs ($600 signed print)
What better way to decorate our walls with music! Dick Waterman has taken so many classic shots it's nearly impossible to pick just one. Maybe Mississippi John Hurt? How 'bout Skip James? Son House? Dylan (forever young), The Stones, and on and on and on.

AudioQuest JitterBug ($49)
The AudioQuest JitterBug is the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone using USB to send their music to a DAC. Clean those bits!

Oliver Sacks Musicophilia ($Priceless)
Music heals. RIP Oliver Sacks.

IsoAcoustic Speaker Stands (start at $89.99/pair)
Desktop listener's need IsoAcoustics Speaker Stands if they want to get more of a lift from their desktop music listening experience.

Tannoy Reveal 402 Studio Monitor ($125.99/ea.)
Speaking of your desktop, if you're using your computer's speakers or some Big Box Store $99 wonders, upgrade your musical experience with the Tannoy Reveal 402s. Since I reviewed these lovely little tone machines, their price has been cut in more than half. At $280/ea. they were a steal. At roughly $250/pair they're a gift.

Roon ($119/year or $499/lifetime) + Tidal HiFi ($19.99/mo.)
= the most important music interface and discovery system known to man (at least this one).

Melco N1A ($1999)
If you're looking to get better sound from your hi-fi and you're using a computer and NAS to serve your bits, get served! The Melco N1A can store up to 4TB's worth of music and it does so in a silent way.

Bel Canto REFStream Asynchronous Ethernet Renderer ($2495)
Did I hear someone say they need more than 4TB of storage? And/or you'd rather keep your fully loaded NAS but want to get better sound than a computer can deliver? Think REFStream.

Joseph Beuys Filzpostkarte ($10 or $225)
Art! Not Dudley, Beuys. You can get Joseph Beuys' open edition multiple Filzpostkarte (1985) from the Gagosian Gallery for $225 or you can buy it directly from Editions Staeck for $10 + a couple bucks for shipping. I opted for the latter.

Bill Dixon: Intents and Purposes ($18.80 on Amazon)
If I could recommend one album for you to buy, and I apparently can, this is it. Bill Dixon & Orchestra from 1966 (free your musical mind and your brain will follow).

Red Kap Men's Deluxe Heavyweight Cotton Shirt ($21.99)
Everyone needs a good, cheap, 100% cotton work shirt and the Red Kap Men's Deluxe Heavyweight Cotton Shirt fits the bill. It comes in colors...Get it on Amazon.

Einstürzende Neubauten Coffee Mug (15,00 €)
I have a thing about coffee mugs. Scratch that, I have a thing about most things. One mug that's been on my wish list for years is from one of my favorite bands. Get it from Blixa.

A Whole Damn Hi-Fi ($728.99)
Start with the PS Audio Sprout ($499) integrated amp/DAC/Phono Pre/Headphone Amp and add a pair of the Andrew Jones designed ELAC Debut speakers to taste (bookshelf B5: $229.99/pair, B6: $279.99/pair) or jump up to the floorstanding F5s ($279.99/each).

Akari Light Sculptures by Isamu Noguchi (from $105)
Shed some beautiful light on your listening room with one of Nochugi's '50s paper lanterns. Available directly from The Noguchi Museum.

The Harvard University Phonograph Records No. 3: T.S. Eliot Reading His Poems: Gerontion and The Hollow Men
"Mistah Kurtz – he dead". You can buy the original 78RPM shellac of TS reading his prescient poem "The Hollow Men" for $500 or so, or just hit play [if you enjoy hearing writer's read, check out the amazing UbuWeb].

totaldac d1-tube-mk2 DAC (9100 €)
I'd love to be able to tell you that you can get the same sumptuously intoxicating sound from a less expensive DAC, but if I did, I'd be lying. If you've been really, really good and you want your digital files to sound like music, I know of no better gift toward that end.

Hohner 1896 Marine Band Harmonica ($34)
That being said, you can get real analog sound from this classic blues harp for about $9,600 less.

Happy Holidays!

BradleyP's picture

I've wanted to recommend a Sprout and ELAC Debut speakers to friends looking into buying a hifi, but 32 watts into eight ohms paired with 85 dB efficiency gives me pause. Does this combo actually work well? I've been suggesting 95 dB efficient Tekton speakers or perhaps Klipsch bookshelf speakers as an affordable complement to the modest power rating. (How does the Sprout sound with those DeVores in the barn?)

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...driving the DeVore's:

PS Audio Sprout

Mark Tarone's picture

Highly recommend considering Blumenstein Audio speakers as playmates with the Sprout. They are easy to drive (no crossover) and highly musical. I own Blumenstein's Orcas - love them (I never make it past 12 oclock w/ a Bryston 60 watt integrated - and that's loud listening). Blumenstein's Marlin's are $600/pair, easy on the eye and surely punch far above their price point. Don't have big slam but hit on all other levels to deliver major emotion.

Bill Leebens's picture

We at PS Audio are waiting to receive samples of the ELACs to determine how well they'll pair up with Sprout. I would expect them to go well together; Sprout is a tough little guy, and has driven everything we've thrown at it--including our Infinity IRS Vs!

sordidman's picture

Saw them with Survival Research Labs, under the gorgeous SF Freeway, in the olden times. There was so much power in the white-night-noise, and toes that replaced fingers; - in all their raging glory, with dynamite. You rock heavy beats with that Einstürzende Neubauten reference!

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Wish I had.