Kaplan's Korner

March 23, 2018

Good Equipment for Great Listening

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Buying gear because of the music

During this last ten years, as I approach the final third of my life (which I call the fuck-it phase), I have invested some serious time and money into my stereo equipment. And even though I marvel at the equipment itself and the engineering involved, to me, constructing a great stereo system is only essential for one reason — to be able to listen to great music in the best way possible.

Because, listening to music still moves me. That’s always pretty cool. That’s what makes it worth all that time and money.

A year ago, when the Prima Luna Dialogue Premium Preamp came to live with me, the listening experience moved into the oh-yes, I-can-hear-this and I-can-feel-this-phase. I could hear the difference between cartridges and cables. Every record I played sounded better than ever.

I was getting a lot more out of the Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage. I was getting more out of everything. So, it’s been a pretty good year at the RCN World HQ main listening studios (in a corner of my home office). Things sound amazing.

And it got even more interesting when the Jolida FOZ XT-R crosstalk reduction unit showed up. The FOZ XT-R reduces crosstalk caused when your stylus doesn’t line up perfectly in the groove and/or within the cartridge itself.

Crosstalk is the stereo signal from the left side bleeding into the right side, and the right side bleeding into the left side. Hey, crosstalk happens. Using the FOZ XT-R entails hooking it up between the phono stage and preamp. I recommend using quality interconnects.

Calibration was simple and easy. The end result is the best stereo imaging I’ve ever experienced. I was looking for a weakness but could not find one. Sticking the FOZ XT-R in the signal path does not degrade the sound. Not to my ear.

What I heard was space between the instruments that are between the speakers. At $399 this is a worthy improvement. I don’t think I can listen without it.

Kelly’s Lot

Which brings me to the
Kelly Z record I’ve been listening to lately, Rescue: Kelly Z at SlideAway Studio.

Kelly Z (Zirbes) is a Southern California-based blues singer who performs her ass off and who just came out with this lovely slab of wax featuring back up by a very tight band, Kelly’s Lot.

The reason I bring her up is because I believe her. When she sings “Baby, it’s you,” I believe she means it. There is an authenticity to her voice that is compelling.
I don’t think it’s just me either. A number of record store owners I have talked to really like this record. I think they believe
her, too.

To quote Kelly Z, “I think it’s gonna work out fine.” More info at:

Inside Cave Hollywood

image005Our acclaimed author and pop culture musical historian Harvey Kubernik, who has written our cover stories for the last ten years has just published his 12th book, a literary and music anthology Inside Cave Hollywood: The Harvey Kubernik Music InnerViews and InterViews Collection, Vol. 1 recently published by Cave Hollywood.

If you truly love the musical legacy of Chess, Motown and Brunswick Records, and dig Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Turtles, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Lenny Bruce, Andrew Loog Oldham, Carole King, Leonard Cohen, Elton John, Leon Russell, Paul Kantner, Bob Marley, Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim and the sixties sounds of East L.A. then this book is mandatory for your shelves or coffee table.

Available from and Amazon



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