Jonathan Valin speaking about hearing the Master Tape copy of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper.
I want to be very clear here, because, truthfully, I would’ve swooned if the mastertape of Sgt. Pepper had sounded terrible. Which, BTW, is pretty much the way the album (in stereo) has always sounded, no matter whose version you’re talking about. Anemic in the bass, dry and brittle and bath-tubey in the mids, crudely mixed (very left/right) with obvious manifold overdubs. Oh, there are some variations from cut to cut, but for the most part Sgt. Pepper didn’t make it to Number One on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Rock Albums of All Time—or Number One, with a dagger, in my heart—because of its audiophile-grade sound.
But the sound wasn’t awful. It was anything but awful.
If you think The Beatles couldn’t rock, I truly wish you had the same chance that I had—to hear this mastertape on this stereo via Greg’s Phase 11 machine. Folks, to say that this was a “better” sound, even “an extraordinarily better” sound, doesn’t cut it. This was a revolution.
I don’t know where to begin; the net effect was so overwhelming. Of course, the bass is the weakest thing on vinyl and digital. You hardly even know Paul is playing, much less rocking. But on the mastertape…on the mastertape, boys, it is an entirely different story. Here is Paul’s bass guitar the way you’ve always wanted to hear it—full, deep, incredibly powerful, and so clear and defined in pitch and articulation that it is easy to tell the McCartney was a heckuva player. Same for Ringo’s drum licks—some of which, like the bass, almost literally knock you on your ass with their slam—same with George’s garden of guitars. And the voices! It was like having John Lennon and Paul McCartney in my room with me. It goes without saying that there wasn’t a single cut that didn’t hold surprises in store—things I’d never heard and I’ve heard this album countless times.
Given the importance Sgt. Pepper has had in my life, the whole thing was so amazing it left me agog. I have never heard rock and roll reproduced more powerfully and realistically in my home or at a show in my entire life. And, guess what, it was just the start. Because thanks to Greg and Bruce I also got to hear a mastertape of the anti-Beatles, The Doors, performing “Crawlin’ King Snake” and that creepy “Hyacinth House” from L.A. Woman. When black bluesmen, like John Lee Hooker, sing “Crawlin’ King Snake” or “Back Door Man” the humor comes from the disparity between the “innocent” text and the sexual subtext. When The Doors’ Jim Morrison sings them, there is no subtext—and no humor. There was a reason why they called this guy "The Lizard King."
THE UNITED HOME AUDIO PHASE9 TAPE DECK WINS
AN "EDITORS CHOICE AWARD 2013 FROM
THE ABSOLUTE SOUND MAGAZINE
Award for 'ANALOG SOURCES' 2013
"UHA's Greg Beron is nothing if not persistent. Each year he further perfects his 15ips reel-to-reel tape player
(a highly modified Tascam unit), and each year his latest deck raises the bar on realism in stereo playback.
The most recent top-line version of the UHA-Q, the Phase9, is unquestionably Beron's best yet. With the right sources
(i.e., select Tape Project tapes) it cannot be bettered by any other source, analog or digital.
The Absolute Sound March 2013
Greg Beron of United Home Audio
wins the rare Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg award for 2012!
By David Robinson
Greg, it is with great pleasure that I give you the Positive Feedback Online Gizmo Award for 2012!
This is a very rare award, only given to a single person per year. Our Gizmo Award is a memorial to our good friend and fellow audiomaniac, Harvey “Gizmo” Rosenberg. It is only given to a person whom I believe to have gone way about and beyond in their passionate pursuit of the audio arts. I adjudge that you have done so in your work with your Phasen series of RTR machines, and am therefore officially naming you as this year’s Gizmo Award winner!
For more on the Gizmo, see my comments2012 GIZMO AWARD, all the way at the bottom of the page.
Note that I have not given this award at all since 2009, and missed some years before that. This is a unique award, and goes to you personally, not to your company or to a product.
This is for you.
Congratulations! This is a very rare recognition.
NEW! December 17, 2012
Positive Feedback Online
november / december 2012
My Brutus Awards for 2012
by David W. Robinson
Now here is a thing of beauty! Greg Beron's superb United Home Audio Phase9 RTR machine paid me a visit for several months in 2012. Here you see it outfitted with another 2012 Brutus Award winner, the Reel-Tronix take-up reel (to the left above).
My earliest experience with audio was with RTR decks. In fact, my first stereo system was wrapped around my Sony TC-630, purchased as a junior in high school after working an evening job for nearly a year. I own two RTR decks now, and have two other loaners here at the moment…one a Mike Spitz ATR 102, while the other isn't. So I have a real fondness for open reel. This means that when Greg Beron was willing to send a review sample of his Phase9 machine, I immediately jumped on the opportunity.
The Phase9 is based upon a radical re-working of the Tascam BR-20, a RTR machine with very good availability of parts…a major consideration with RTR decks… and with a number of proprietary (and expensive!) improvements or complete redesigns made to the underlying frame. Fiendish attention is paid to the quality of the parts used…especially capacitors…the circuitry and wiring, and the Unity9 preamp. This last has been advanced towards direct coupling by simplifying and purifying the circuitry of the preamp, allowing a more transparent transmission of the music on tape. Greg claims to have sunk a small fortune into product development and the testing of expensive components, which he has exhaustively tested by ear. He is circumspect about the parts used, but let's just say that with the Phase9, you ain't in Kansas (or Tascamland) anymore, Toto. (For a list of improvements in the Phase9, see the appropriate section.)
The sonic dividends are spectacular. I can cut to the chase right now and say that listening to the Phase9 was outstanding in every way. All tape functions worked smoothly, without a glitch. Using some sample tapes from The Tape Project (thanks Dan and Paul!), Yarlung Records (ditto Bob!), and Opus3 (you too, Jan-Eric!), I got a chance to hear 15ips half-track sound the way that it can and should. Excellent transparency, loads of detail, low noise floor, a tremendous sense of ease, dynamic punch when needed, and gobs of natural musicality.
So… what's not to like? I really hated to pack this up and send it back to Greg… I grieved… but then again, he's already working on the Phase11 for early 2013! I expect to see it sometime next year for a follow-up evaluation.
Exceptional stuff, and a 2012 Brutus Award winner, for sure.
Another Audio Oasis Award for UHA, this now makes 6 awards for the UHA deck!
The Von Schweikert VR-44 speakers, powered by the Jolida Luxor monoblock amps and the Fusion preamp… leading the charge, the United Home Audio Phase11 RTR machine!
You know, ever since discovering this combo a year ago, back at RMAF 2012, I've been more and more taken with the quality of the synergy that the three companies manifest when they're hooked up together. This is the third time that I spent time… which turned out to be extended time… in this room.
Greg Beron of United Home Audio with his Phase11 RTR deck
This room had the Von Schweikert Audio VR-44 speakers; at the other end of the line was the UHA Phase11 tape deck, being shepherded by Greg Beron. In between were the Luxor Dual Mono Preamp and the Luxor Monoblock amps with separate power supplies. All cabling was by Master-Built, a brand that I was not familiar with.
The sound was a delicious blend of open reel tapes of the highest quality on a world-class RTR machine, great tube pre-amplification and amplification, and the typical great sound that VS loudspeakers always provide. The VR-44s filled the room with well-integrated sound… nothing beamy, no obvious evidence of crossover points, with rich bass and nicely extended high frequencies. The Jolida preamp and amp were glorious! Great, clean sound, and none of the stereotypical "tube feel." No spurious noise, no microphonics, no rolled-off euphonia… none of that nonsense! And at (relatively) affordable pricing for audiophile kit! Impressive work, Jolida!
A Von Schweikert VR-44 speaker and Jolida Luxor amp with power supply: magic…
So, after three shows in a row, it's crystal clear to me that VS speakers really work and play well with Jolida electronics, and that superior open reel tape makes for an excellent diet in this system. Greg's Phase11 RTR is at the top-o'-the-heap of open reel machines that I've ever heard. The Phase11 will make a trip here within the next year, so that I can appraise the further advancements that Greg has made. It's really good… all of it is really, really good.
A UHA RTR in Celtic Red!
In fact, this was so good that I promised myself that I would return after hours, and catch a late-night listening session there, DJ'ed by Greg Beron. He shared several of his open reel treasures, while a group of us enjoyed an adult libation. This confirmed my take during business hours: the Von Schweikert/Jolida/UHA tandem is a PFO Audio Oasis! Award winner once more… and without breaking a sweat!
Video by the Audiogon reporters at RMAF 2012
The Von Schweikert / Jolida / United Home Audio room was
a "Staff Pick" in the Audiogon RMAF Special Edition Newsletter on 11/6/2012
Rocky Mountain Show Report
Robert Harley on Loudspeakers Under $20,000
by Robert Harley|Oct 16th, 2012
The Von Schweikert VR-44 Active loudspeaker benefited from a most unusual source: a jazz recording made exclusively for release on open-reel tape made directly from the master. The label, International Phonograph Inc., uses purist techniques and vintage microphones for its tape-only releases which are priced at $150 per title.
The sound had an uncanny sense of realism played back through the latest United Home Audio UHA-Q Phase 11 tape machine.
Confessions of a Part Time Audiophile
by Scot Hull
RMAF12: United Home Audio brings the +5 Tape Deck of Awesomeness
Posted on October 22, 2012
I’ve had this argument before with United Home Audio‘s Greg Beron. Why “tape” — isn’t this just a pointless throwback? Totally redundant to good vinyl? I mean, seriously, why another analog source — isn’t everyone going to digital anyway? These are all great questions in large part because I was doing the asking, but Greg is like Buddha. He just gives me this serene little smile and puts on one of his one-off “back channel” master tapes of, say, The Who’s Tommy (played to a packed room Friday night), and all I’m left with is a steamy cup of STFU. Yes! Because — here’s the bottom line for you. Tape rules. Assuming you can get good tape, of course, which is the rub.
First, let me say that there are ever more places to buy these master-quality tapes (check some of those links to “argument”, above) and ever more vendors exploring the possibility of releasing some or all of their old catalogs this way. Of course, some of these things might mean shelling out $300 or more per album, but if you’re an ultraphile, there really isn’t an option that can touch them. These aren’t mixed or remastered — these are the masters. For the vast majority of music released before, what, 1980-ish, it’s all tape — and here, you’re listening to a copy of that very tape. It simply doesn’t get better than this in terms of playback — better is “live”. So, that’s what Greg’s little machine is bringing you — the ultimate source material played back on a beautifully worked as-new machine.
Tape has several advantages, apparently, and one obvious one is cost. The ultimate in vinyl playback puts $45 LPs on a $100,000+ turntable, arm, cartridge combo that you still need a phono preamplifier for. Here, Greg’s top-of-the-line tape machine, the UHA-HQ Phase 11PB deck, will drop your $300 analog tape onto a $22,000 machine — and it will sound better than that $100k+ vinyl rig. That’s the freakin’ definition of value, folks.
I’m not sure what’s holding me back, other than the fact that I’m nearly broke. Yeah. Hmm. Well, besides that, the only hangup for me is music — I want more. Greg smiles at me, again, as if to say “patience is rewarded”. Soon, grasshopper ….
Saturday October 20, 2012
Lots of reel-to-reel players on display and in use throughout the weekend. if you think LP's take effort to play, try loading tapes and selecting tracks in hurry. I did spend a really fun evening in the United Audio Room late on Friday listening to the complete three-tape presentation of The Who's Tommy, played through impressive Von Schweikert VR44s and a prototype Jolida tube monoblocks that were eye-catching in white finish with blue lights. The ample supply of beer and wine clearly helped proceedings with a lively audience and air guitar flourishes, shouts of 'yeah' and various jerky body movements accompanied the Moon-driven rhythms and Townsend riffs. Late stayers were treated to a similar run through a tape of Sgt Pepper too. Not sure how late everyone stayed but I would love to have heard some of the music on hand that I know better but I never got to hear their tape of Kind of Blue. The sonics here suggested to me that with tape you hear enough into the recording to recognize the limits of The Who's playing abilities back then - the rawness was all there. Good fun.
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2012
October 25, 2012
in Audiophilia Visits/Show Reports
by Anthony Kershaw
Von Schweikert VR 44 loudspeakers ($25K) with Jolida Luxor mono amplifiers ($8K) and UHA tape deck ($22K).
As usual, Mr. Schweikert was fastidious in his equipment matching. And the tape deck looked and sounded wonderful.
United Home Audio is the expert source for everything Analog in the USA.
Turntables, tonearms, phono cartridges, phono preamps and of course
the award winning UHA reel to reel tape decks.
THE CAPITAL AUDIOFEST 2012 - Press Coverage
Capital Audiofest—Day One
By John Atkinson • Posted: Jul 14, 2012
United Home Audio’s second system, albeit at a much higher price point, worked better with the room.
MBL’s 116F speakers ($32,000/pair), driven by MBL 9007 monoblocks ($42,800/pair) and an MBL 6010 preamp ($26,500),
wired with Celtic Silver Dragon interconnects (UHA-Q Series 9PB deck, $14,500, to preamp),
Tara Labs Zero interconnects ($15,000/pair, preamp to power amps), and Tara Labs Omega speaker cables ($12,000/pair),
sounded, in a word, magnificent, de Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat, from a Tape Project tape open-reel tape reproduced
with well-defined soundstage width and depth, uncolored mids, well-controlled lows,
and high frequencies that were optimally balanced for the large room.
Capital Audiofest 2012 Show Report
Coverage By Scot Hull of Part Time Audiophile
July 17, 2012
United Home Audio
United Home Audio had two systems setup in the large, square room, but I only was able to hear one on
Friday, the $32k 116F MBL driven by $42,800/pair MBL 9007 mono amplifiers and fronted by the $26,500 MBL 6010 preamp.
The imaging was superb and eerily 3-D, and totally immersive. If you haven't had the experience of a good MBL demo, it's like taking a bath in sound.
Crazy. And that wasn't even the story here. The story was the UHA-Q Series Phase 9PB Open Reel Tape Deck.
This $14,500 deck is a dual-mono rig and the current top of the United Home Audio line.
Over the course of the weekend, think I listened to the entirety of the Opus 3 Sampler Tape.
This is some of the most liquid, effortless, extraordinary sound I've ever heard at a show. Come to papa!
By Lewis Dardick
United Home Audio as in prior shows presented a very natural / realistic sounding system, which was likely attributable in large part to the front end I heard consisting of the
United Home Audio UHA-Q Phase9PB open reel tape deck ($14,500). I don't remember my old reels sounding nearly this good. But it made me think about reentering the tape
extravaganza. I am sure that it didn't hurt that the deck was being driven by the MBL 6010 ($26,500) and MBL 9007 amps ($21,400 ea) into MBL 116F speakers.
All in all I kept on thinking about how smooth the system sounded with a three-dimensionality close to live music.
Confessions of a Part-Time Audiophile
Capital Audiofest 2012:
United Home Audio
Posted on July 29, 2012 by Scot Hull
MBL is different. A lot of brands talk about a 3-D sound stage, or about it’s depth or width. When you hear a well-put-together MBL system, these modifiers suddenly seem to have actual meaning. This is what a reviewer is most likely referencing when he tosses such terms around. Look, don’t get all prickly - it’s just important to recognize who does what, and MBL “does” the 3-D imaging thing in a way that a non-omni speaker can only dream about. It’s really quite entertaining. As I alluded to, I found the imaging kinda freaky, like looking out of my window box to find the orchestra. Like, right there. Hanging. In space. In front of my seat. Like I said, freaky.
Enter the $14,500 dual-mono UHA-Q Series Phase 9PB Open Reel Tape Deck. This is the current top of the United Home Audio reel-to-reel line. And it was courtesy of this flashy machine, shown here in white and a stunning red, that I was treated to some of the most liquid, effortless, and extraordinary sound I’ve ever heard at a show. Feel free to quote me on that.
I almost feel compelled to point out that $14,500 is peanuts compared to some of the turntables I’ve run across lately — turntables that still need tonearms and cartridges in order to do what the UHA deck does.
So, here’s the net-net. Greg Beron has the best quality music I’ve heard at an audio show. Yes, I’ve heard the Tape Project demos, and yes, they’re quite good. Greg has those.
I mean that Greg has piles and piles of one-off masters. Yes! Let’s just say that this gives him an enormous advantage over his fellows and call it a day. Add that to a superlative rig, set up well, in a room that doesn’t bring the hate, and you’ll have what I had during the Capital Audiofest here in 2012 — true joy. Of course, some would call that expression a “shit eating grin”, but those people are crass and boorish.
It’s a good thing Greg is such a nice guy. I feel a bit like Oliver, “please sir, can I have another?” waiting for him to beat me around the head and face with a large, wooden spoon.
Click on the picture below to read the entire review, interesting stuff!
United Home Audio's second system below
The second system featured the $6,000/pair Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Concert Grand Speakers. A $1,299 Jolida JD 302 integrated at 50wpc.
a $5,500 Clearaudio Ovation turntable with a$1,200 Benz Micro Glider cartridge, wired into a $2,500 Fosgate Signature phono preamp. An $1,100 Jolida JD-100 CD player.
Silver Circle Power conditioner.
The $9,600 UHA-Q Series Phase 5 PB tape deck, special show finish.
The Part Time Audiophile
Coming off the MBL side of the room, this system was, well, rather different. It was warm, for one thing, with a lush sound that was quite cozy and easy to listen to.
With the lights turned so low, we had some serious mood sneaking around. Hello, baby. How you doin’?
THE Show Newport Beach, 2012: My Audio Oasis! Awards
by David W. Robinson
The view in the Von Schweikert Research/Jolida Audio/United Home Audio room
Picture by David Robinson
Eureka, all over again!
This was a combination that I had encountered at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2011. It had surprised me there…an audio ambush!
Not Von Schweikert Research, of course. I've had tons of experience with the VSR line since the days of the breakthrough VR-4 and VR-4 Silver back in the '90s. I have personally reviewed them, owned some of them, and have heard most of the rest at shows for many years now.
Greg Beron of United Home Audio with his brilliant UHA RTR machine, outfitted with Reel-Tronix take-up (left reel).
No, what had surprised me was the combination of the VSR-44 speakers (a re-visiting of the classic VR-4) with the reasonably-priced over-performing Jolida tubed electronics, being fed by a United Home Audio reel-to-reel machine, spinning a pile of nice titles from The Tape Project, Opus3, and others.
Bruce Brown of Puget Sound Studios and Greg Beron of United Home Audio
I don't have a complete system list for this room; this is what I do have.
Von Schweikert Research VR-44 loudspeakers, $22,000/pair passive; $25,000/active
Jolida Fusion preamplifier, $1099
Jolida JD 1000CRC Integrated Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier, 100 WPC, no price given
United Home Audio UHA-Q RTR machine; no information given on the model number; contact UHA for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Just like last October at RMAF 2011, the sound in this room was arresting: superior RTR recordings from The Tape Project, Opus3, and others. ¼" half-track tapes in abundance… unmistakable reference-grade elegance on the source side, of a certainty! Once you've spent some time with open reel tapes, you're not easily fooled by so many of the digital standards that claim to be exceptional (all PCM, by the way), but are not.
Bruce Brown of Puget Sound Studios and Greg Beron of United Home Audio
with the UHA Phase9PB tape deck at THE Show Newport 2012.
Photo courtesy of David Robinson PFO.
Confessions of a Part-Time Audiophile
Newport 2012: United Home Audio presents
Von Schweikert, Jolida and a lot of analog tape
Posted on June 24, 2012
One of the joys of the Internets is that all the things you have ever said, anywhere, about anything, are all right there to haunt you. Forever. All my once-favorite, now forgotten, punching bags can come for a visit years later and just sit on comments I no longer remember and, if asked, would probably vehemently disavow.
Like this one: “I don’t get analog tape.”
I forget where I wrote that, and no, this gap shouldn’t be taken as a license to go digging. But here’s the thing. Analog is cool. Here’s another thing. Tape can sound fantastic.
No, it doesn’t have to sound fantastic or anything like that. There’s nothing inherently superior about the format over, say, vinyl. But I have heard, over the last year since United Home Audio’s Greg Beron took a club to my thick skull, no less than a dozen rooms at various venues, all playing some near-master tapes and to say that the sound quality was “excellent” is to rival the British in how much understatement can be loaded into a single word.
Here’s my issue. I have serious philosophical problems with paying several hundred dollars for a single album. It’s really no more complicated than that — tape is expensive. It’s the most expensive way to hear your music, and to me, that’s just absurd. Sure, yes, you can buy all your tracks from Amazon or iTunes if all you wanted was cheap. Good means getting a $8 CD.Very good can mean ferreting out the $12 remastered version. Excellent means a $15 SACD or maybe a $20 vinyl LP. Some say — I don’t, but some do — that moving past this “generic” level requires you to go get yourself some of the fancy new issue/re-issue $30 LPs you can get from Acoustic Sounds, some super-duper SACD release, or best of all, a 45-rpm reissue, like those that Chad Kassem over at Analog Productions is making serious waves over. But these start at $50! $50 for an album is a lot of dough — but $250? Yikes! Run for the hills!
It’s probably not surprising that there’s another way to think about these things.
A very fine turntable can be had for $400. The Pro-Ject Carbon comes with a tonearm and cartridge, so you’re pretty much ready to go, and you can start playing all your super-expensive 45-rpm records right away and have yourself a ball.
And when you’re ready, you can upgrade that turntable, arm and/or cartridge. This, folks, is where the rabbit-hole starts. Take the blue pill, and somewhere along that path, you may find that your $15k turntable with the $5k tonearm and $4k cartridge just really isn’t doing it for you anymore and what you really need is a $27k turntable, a $12k tonearm and a $15k cartridge.
Suddenly, $250 for an album doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. Especially if you can avoid all that.
The argument for analog tape can run this way. I’m sure you know that most of the very best analog tape machines simply aren’t made new anymore. The stuff you’re most likely to see at an audio show, say, are modded refurb units of discontinued lines from yesterday’s mainstream audio brands. These units are cobbled together, the crappy bits discarded, the motors upgraded, the tape-heads completely reworked, the caps replaced, a new PSU crammed in, and the next thing you know (ta da!), you have a stunningly accurate playback machine. And best of all, comparing the price tag of this top-end custom analog tape machine to a top-end vinyl playback rig will require you to remove trailing zeros from the price tag. Yes, by comparison to the rarefied and esoteric world of audiophile vinyl playback, analog’s other white meat can seem downright cheap.
As the guys over at Affordable$$Audio keep reminding me, “cheap” is relative. Okay, “reminding” may be a bit gentle, but the point is well taken. So, buyer beware, analog tape isn’t for the faint of … wallet. That said, should you get bit hard by the analog bug, tape may well turn out to be the cheaper of the two paths.
And as far as paths worth exploring … well, I’m certainly curious. The quality of the tapes that you can get is pretty much mind-blowing. One off from masters? Check. No weird pressing issues, encoder/decoder deterioration? Check. Never having to worry about VTA, SRA and azimuth? Check! So, for those of you believing that sources are the most important link in your chain, that fervently worship at the altar of truly superior source material, that are relentlessly inspired to push your audio experience as high up the ladder as you can go, for those that just love the “fiddly-bits” in audio’s high-end, well, as much as it pains me to have to publicly change my mind, analog tape might have to find a place in that short list.
Enter United Home Audio.
Greg was showing off his top of the line $14,500 United Home Audio UHA-Q Series Phase9PB deck. I’ve written about these decks before — shown here at Newport in a new, very schwanky all-white skin — but for those curious, pricing for a UHA-Q deck starts around $7,000. Check ‘em out — I plan to.
While I’m at it, Greg sent me this up to date list of sites that sell reel-to-reel tapes:
The Tape Project
Opus 3 Records
International Phonograph Inc.
Master Tape Sound Lab
From one end of the playback chain to another, leaping in a single bound, brings us to Von Schweikert. The $25,000/pair of the new VR-44s shown here are actually “active”, in that the there’s a 300w amp in each cabinet driving the two woofers. Want to use your own amps? A non-active version is available for $22,000. For some reason, there’s still not a lot of info online about this speaker (it debuted at RMAF last year, so maybe availability just started or something), but it’s big, authoritative, and refined-sounding.
Jolida electronics filled out the rest of the rack. An $1,100 Jolida Fusion preamplifier and a $3,300 JD-1000P “Limited Edition” amplifier provided the power. The JD-1000P LE is all new, and part of a “brand new sound” that Jolida rolled out in 2011. Here’s Greg talking about the new amp:
The Limited Edition amp is basically a JD1000P in a new chassis that has a more rounded smooth seamless look, more modern I guess. It also has special circuit modifications engineered by Jolida’s Vice President Jerred Dunkerson assisted with listening feedback by Jolida’s President Mike Allen and my humble self. It incorporates new types and values of resistors, capacitors, and a secret treatment of output tube circuitry that required about 25 different trials of electronic part values and types. This all occurred over a three-month period and was comprised of many long listening sessions, lots of trial and error when you are looking for a certain sound. Mike and I are quite critical and outspoken so Mr. Dunkerson probably wished he never started the project especially when the cussing and drunken brawls ensued. However in the end there was a design objective and a price objective, the price was not to exceed $3500. It finally landed at $3300 and we all three like the sound, all is good.
Also new in the rack is the prototype of the Jolida Fusion DAC/Transport, which should come in around $2,300. Again, from Greg:
There is no final info yet on the DAC / Transport, however the first production run should be here this year. Here is what little I know so far.
It will have a built-in transport for the disc users.
It will have 3 other digital inputs switchable, USB, Coax, Toslink
The new Burr Brown 1794 chipset 24×192, also with galvanic isolation, very cool.
Six vacuum tube output 12ax7, 12at7, 12au7, per channel in a fully balanced output design.
Both XLR and RCA out with a possible coax and toslink output as well.
SOUND & VISION Report: T.H.E. Show Newport 2012
The best stuff from last weekend’s L.A. audio show
By Brent Butterworth
Posted June 4, 2012
United Home Audio
Photo: Brent Butterworth
The hippest source device for audiophiles these days isn’t vinyl, it’s reel-to-reel tape. Several companies rebuild them to audiophile standards. This one is A Tascam VR-20 rebuilt by United Home Audio. It costs $13,500 in a version with hot-rodded playback heads and amps, or $17,000 with both playback and record tweaked out. “If I could just put on a CD and get this kind of sound, I wouldn’t bother messing with tape,” United’s Greg Beron said.
In the quest for great analog reproduction, the hottest source in Newport was the reel-to-reel deck.
United Home Audio Reel to Reel
by admin on April 17, 2012in Reel to Reel
There is a real (reel?) resurgence of old technology that is not limited to the humble (and in my opinion flawed) turntable. Reel to Reel tape decks are back and back in a big way.
United Home Audio is offering a range of reel to reel decks with outstanding audio performance that analogue lovers will lust after, and they leave turntables in their wake.
Having heard these machines at the CES trade show, I can say with absolute certainty that these machines are superb, both sonically and in terms of build quality.
Martin Logan 5.1 surround system & The UHA Phase1 tape deck.
(Yes I said "Phase 1" owned by Ray Satcher in Jacksonville Fla.
The Phase1 was our first generation deck we developed 6 years ago,
the UHA decks are now improved 8 generations with the Phase9.)
Five Martin Logan CLX ART loudspeakers. $12k each/$24k a pair.
Five Martin Logan Depth-i subwoofers with CLX crossover (@47Hz) to make the CLX “full range”. $2200 each (crossover board is another $150).
Two Martin Logan Descent-i subwoofers. $3500 each.
One Krell EVO-707 3D Surround processor. $31,500.
One Krell EVO-403e three-channel power amplifier. $25k.
One Krell EVO-402e stereo amplifier. $18,500.
One Krell Cipher SACD/CD player. $12k.
One fully tricked out tape deck: “Phase 1" from United Home Audio.
One full reference line cable loom from Transparent Cables. ~$250k.
In general, I think that Martin Logan is probably not my go-to for surround sound music. The lateral dispersion just wasn’t there, which meant that the sweet spots were rather few in number, and if you were out of line, you were out of luck. That said, image lock was not a problem for those in the sweet seats. I’ve never heard such precision in a sound stage. EVER. But … as with the AIX Records demo, images themselves weren’t always proportionate, especially when we went to sound in the surround. Of course, as with the AIX Records demo, I couldn’t have cared less! This was seriously cool! Pink Floyd DSOTM? Woohoo! Bring it!
But my favorite part of the demo were the stunning — and I’m not using the word lightly — stereo recordings from The Tape Project.
The one-off-master of Bill Evans may well have been the best reproduction I’ve ever heard, anywhere, of anything. It was breathtaking.
The UHA Phase1 tape deck Axpona 2012
CES 2012 at T.H.E. Show in the Flamingo Hotel main floor Red Rock 1 room.
United Home Audio was at CES 2012 and there was an absolitely incredible interest in R2R.
The response to R2R has hit a fever pitch at this show, we were mobbed by interest.
The room was busy constantly and at times there were three customers lined up
waiting to discuss R2R. So many people were eager to hear the new Master Tapes
and we even had offers from international customers to sell all the Master Tapes we brought right now for cash!
There are new recording companies gearing up to issue Master Tapes!
Representatives from these new recording companies were gravatating to the excitement
over R2R in the UHA room. They even had some great demo tapes and they were using the UHA decks to
demo the tapes for distributors worldwide. They were equally surprised by the level of interest
in Master Tapes and left the show eager to get started on their own tape projects.
There was great sound in the room, natural texture and great layered dynamics!
Quintessence Shadow speaker $35K & PBN 400wpc Mono amps $15K each & Silver Circle Power Conditioner
NEW January 2012
The Absolute Sound Magazine
January 2012, Issue 219
by: Jim Hannon
When the DL3 was coupled with the remarkable UHA-HQ Phase6 reel-to-reel deck and playing mastertape duplicates from The Tape Project, I was in sonic heaven!
The massed strings in Exotic Dances from the Opera were sumptuous and finely detailed, and rode on a cushion of air across a soundstage of such tremendous width and depth that it came surprisingly close to the dimensionality of my highly-modified reference preamplifier. The highs were naturally extended and balanced without any grain or forwardness , allowing the timbre of instruments like woodwinds to remain seductive yet lifelike; at the same time, the DL3 tracked the demanding dynamics swings of the music with aplomb.
When I listened to Dave Alvin on Blackjack David [TP-002]. his voice and guitar had such immediacy and palpability that I felt, at times, that I was listening to a live performance. It doesn't get much better than that! While the UHA-HQ deck is the best front end I've had in my system, the DiaLogue Three kept pace the this outstanding analog source on multiple levels.
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2011
United Home Audio new Phase9 tape deck
Jolida's new Fusion 211 tube monoblocks and Fusion Preamp
Von Schweikert VR-5 Anniversary MK2 speakers
Celtic Silver Pendragon Cables
(Photo from TAS web site taken by Jonathan Valin)
If you would like to see more and larger photographs of many of the loudspeakers reviewed, go to:
Synergistic Research “The Music Cable” and Enigma II power supply,
Clearaudio Master Innovation turntable,
UHA-Q Phase 9 reel-to-reel tape deck.
Stereophile Report from RMAF 2011
Filed Under: RMAF 2011By: John Atkinson• Posted: Oct 20, 2011
The United Home Audio room at RMAF featured Von Schweikert speakers driven by Jolida electronics,
this time the Von Schweikert VR5 Anniversary Mk.2s ($30,000/pair), Jolida Fusion preamp and Fusion 200W tube monoblocks ($6000/all three).
But my eye was drawn to the UHA Phase 9 tape deck, which was playing some Series 3 releases from The Tape Project,
specifically Nat Adderley and his band performing "Work Song." One of the better-sounding rooms, I thought.
United Home Audio, Jolida, Von Schweikert Audio,
win a RMAF 2011
from Positive Feedback Online!
By, Dr. David W. Robinson
Editor-in-Chief, Positive Feedback Online
A grand system: Jolida Fusion System Preamp and Fusion 200 WPC Monoblock Amps, Jolida Fusion 200 DAC Transport prototype,
Von Schweikert Audio VR-5 Anniversary loudspeakers, and United Home Audio UHA Phase 9 tape deck.
I have been following the Von Schweikert line for a very long time now. As a matter of fact, I've owned several of the VR speakers over the years (VR-4, VR-4 Silver, VR-6),
and have evaluated/reviewed several others (the very fine VR-9's, and the VR-5's).
Albert had the VR-5 Anniversary Edition on display; I was familiar with them, but I had not heard them with Jolida electronics before.
The results with the United Home Audio UHA Phase9 open reel tape deck and the Jolida Fusion preamp and monoblocks were really impressive.
There is always something very special about open reel tapes… this is where I started in audio, while still in high school…
and the overall effect was smooth, richly harmonic, dynamic, and commendably transparent.
(I have to admit that I am completely unfamiliar with this company and this tape deck, and had no time to dig in on it while at RMAF 2011.)
I sat there for a while, just soaking in the music. It was so good that I forgot to check the titles of the classical recordings that we were listening to!
The VR-5 AE's were providing rich, involving sound, with little to fault in terms of musical values. Reasonably compact speakers…
but full-range performance! This is the real thing, amigos…Albert Von Schweikert and company have produced a real marvel here.
I'm going to have to look into Jolida… that's a lot of bang for the audio buck!
And I guess that I really should see if United Home Audio is interested in a review of their Phase9 sometime, eh?
Jolida Fusion preamp: $1099
Jolida Fusion monoblock amps: $6000/pair
Von Schweikert Research VR-5 Anniversary Edition loudspeakers: $27,000
United Home Audio UHA Phase9 tape deck: $17,000
Anything that gives me such a an exceptionally pleasant, relaxing audio experience at RMAF rates an Audio Oasis! Award in my book…done!
The Jolida Fusion Monoblock: 200 Watts of 211-based power!
More Late Breaking News From RMAF!
Mr. Wechsberg only highlighted 3 room out of the 400+ rooms at the show!
RMAF 2011 - At a Snail's Pace
by Mike Wechsberg
Some audio magazines give you real time blogs from the floor of a show like the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, while others rush to publish as soon as the show is over. Well, here at PFO we writers are not paid to be fast, just accurate and interesting. So, here I am more than a month after the show writing yet another article about some old news. Editors David Robinson and Dave Clark have already posted the definitive PFO articles in pictures and words about this year's "fest" (just click their name's to read the reports). My motivation in writing this article is to convey some impressions about audio equipment, audio shows and the audio industry in general, that I hope give you something to think about.
I have attended all but two RMAF fests since they started in 2004. Each one has been better than the last in some way. This year I heard fewer mediocre sounding rooms than in the past. As these annual get-togethers continue in the same venue (Denver Marriott Tech Center) I think the returning exhibitors "figure out" the exhibit rooms and how to get decent sound in a small rectangular hotel room. Even on the first afternoon of the show, when the time to experiment with setup is short for everyone, I heard excellent sound virtually everywhere I went.
Over the three days I got to spend quite a bit of time in a few rooms. One of these was the room shared by Von Schweikert Audio and Jolida, Inc. I haven't been a fan of Von Schweikert speakers over the years, but the combination of VR-5 Anniversary Edition Loudspeakers with Jolida tubed electronics playing the Beethoven 9th Symphony on a United Home Audio open reel tape machine was spectacularly realistic and involving. The sound had great dynamic range and just the right blend of tonality, detail and spaciousness. I was exhausted at the end of the recording, just like I am whenever I hear this music in a concert hall. The equipment in this room was not cheap, but the cost was far from the most expensive setups at the show yet this room left me with one of the strongest impressions. Bravo to the folks who put this room together.
Jim Hannon visits the studios of Paul Stubblebine Mastering and Michael Romanowski Mastering.
Paul and Michael use an incredible array of custom room treatments for The Tape Project mastering studio,
and it undoubtedly is a major factor in their ability to produce such incredible-sounding tapes.
"One of the keys to the great sound was that Bob Hodas, working in conjunction with Paul and Michael, effectively took the room out of the equation. He said, “"We settled on a basic room size and then on several occasions throughout the construction process measured the room to determine what acoustic treatments would be required and where the speakers wanted to be placed.” Bob contends that for any given room there is really one "best" spot for the speakers and listener. The goal was to create a room that was controlled but still produced an open and natural feeling. Without getting into too many specifics of his secret sauce, Bob used a combination of absorption and diffusion on the walls to pick off some first order reflections, while maintaining the room energy and hung some bass traps in the ceiling that according to Bob, “work in a broadband fashion.” He employed a Meyer SIM3 analyzer to examine the impulse response of the speakers and then the room’s reflection patterns. Phase and frequency response were studied in 1/48th octave resolution, and final adjustments were done with some highly modified Meyer parametric filters. Bob says that using this method, facilitated by the flexibility of the Focal Grand Utopia EM modules, he could fine tune the system to exactly what Paul and Michael wanted in order to hear the detail and linearity needed for their mastering work."
While this system costs a mint, it demonstrates how close one can get to the sound of a live performance (or the sound of the master tape) with great source material, a formidable playback chain, and a room that doesn’t choke the life out of the music, yet gets out of the way. I found myself leaving with a newfound respect for all the source and system elements, particularly the Focal Grande Utopia EMs and the VTL Siegfrieds, and what Bob, Paul, and Michael have achieved with the room acoustics.
"you can get surprisingly close to capturing many of their remarkable sonic attributes with a first-rate quarter-inch deck,
such as the marvelous United Home Audio UHA-HQ Phase Six with its upgraded electronics. When playing Tape Project tapes
(among others) through this retro tape-based front-end, my own home system has never sounded better. In fact,
the UHA tape playback system will be the subject of an upcoming review I’m preparing for The Absolute Sound,
so that I’ll hold my comments for now and share them with you when the review comes out later this year."
Posted by: Jonathan Valin at 12:12 am, January 12th, 2011
The ABSOLUTE SOUND web site
Posted by: Jonathan Valin at 12:12 am, January 12th, 2011
Nola made its usual top-flight showing with the superb $55k Baby Grand Reference ribbon/cone hybrid that I reviewed last year.
Driven (as usual) by ARC and sourced by Greg Beron’s fantastic United Home Audio reel-to-reel tape deck,
the Baby Grands sounded fantastic—fast, detailed, dynamic, deep-reaching, transparent, with a vast soundstage.
Of course, none of this was a surprise,
UHA HQ Reel to Reel tape decks at the Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2010
Posted on The Absolute Sound web site
at 6:06 pm, October 25th, 2010
RMAF 2010 Most Important Trend
The resurgence of reel-to-reel, promoted by the Tape Project and dealerships such as
Maryland’s United Home Audio
has to be the most surprising development in high end audio.
The tapes offer extraordinary resolution, free of grain and boasting immense
soundstage depth and an immaculate treble, when they’ve been well-recorded.
Posted on the Absolute Sound web site by:
6:06 pm, October 26th, 2010
I’ll conclude with Carl Marchisotto’s $25k NolaMetro Grand Reference,
which combines an open-baffle ribbon tweeter with an open-baffle Alnico-magnet midrange and two
6.5-inch magnesium woofers in a ported floorstanding enclosure. Like so many other exhibitors,
Carl was using a tape player (one of Greg Beron’s United Home Audio modified Tascams) as a source...
On the orchestral tracks I listened to (dubbed from LP by Berone), the sound was just terrific.
Open, detailed, dynamic as all get-out, and quite realistic. Another one of the best sounds at RMAF.
Positive Feedback Online
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2010 - This is a Dogma- Free Zone
by Myles B. Astor
Jolida & UHA:
This room, using the Tape Project tapes played back through the $15,000 United Home Audio Phase VI modded
Tascam deck was easily one of the best, modestly priced audio systems at RMAF
Interestingly, the $3750 von Schweikert VR-33 speakers, sounded their best in the Jolida room being driven by the $2000
Jolida JD P1000 100 wpc tube amplifier and $1000 JD3000B balanced circuit tube preamplifier. The electronics acquitted themselves well with little evidence
of the soft upper octaves and muddy bass often associated with entry level tube electronics.
NOLA & UHA:
Marilyn and Carl Marchisotto brought to Denver their $25,000 Metro Grand Reference speakers replete with their
Alnico extra long stroke 6½ inch midrange drivers and an Alnico ribbon tweeter. As is Carl's custom, he used ARC electronics to drive his speakers;
the speakers really demonstrated excellent dynamic range, soundstaging and low frequency extension.
Teaming up with Marilyn and Carl at RMAF was Greg Beron of United Home Audio whose highly modded Tascam reel-to-reel decks provided tunes.
United Home Audio Tascam decks are now available in four color schemes including Black/Gold, Red, Silver and Turquoise.
The Stereo Times
By Clement Perry
Pimp My Deck! UHA designer Greg Beron has a sure winner in his fancy modified decks. Bravo!
The Nola / United Home Audio (UHA) room, that featured Audio Research electronics, was among the larger suites at this years RMAF.
It was easy to be lured into the warm and sumptuous sound being produces by a pair of
UHA decks that were being operated by an I pod based remote.
It was among the better sounding setups as well. Something about hi-rez analogue tapes that's
very easy on the ears without the usual suppression of the upper frequencies.
RMAF 2010 Room 2021
with NOLA Speakers, Audio Research, Nordost Cables
RMAF 2010 Room 2020
with Jolida, Von Schweikert Speakers, Celtic Silver Cables
The Absolute Sound Magazine
The Tape Project and The UHA-HQ Tape Decks Review
By Jonathan Valin
...recommends several machines - including huge studio quality Amprex and Studers, as well as smaller "prosumer" machines from Technics and Otari.
I myself highly recommend the modified TASCAM decks from United Home Audio
which I gave a Golden Ear Award to in issue 202.
...on the best Tape Project titles,
it is without question the most realistic source component I've tried.
It is also exceedingly easy to use and a snap to setup.
...you will get more dimensional imaging, finer low-level resolution, somewhat truer timbres, simply phenomenal dynamics, astonishinly wide and deep
soundstaging, and greater overall realism on select 15ips tapes, and on the best of them, such as the Arnold Overtures, you will, as I said above,
get a sound that comes closer to the sound of a full orchestra in a real hall than any other recorded medium I've heard.
You've been reading quite a bit about the UHA-HQ decks:
1.) You've read The Absolute Sound Magazine review.
2.) Heard about The Tape Project Seminar by Paul Stubblebine at UHA.
3.) Seen the Golden Ear Award in The Absolute Sound Magazine.
4.) Read about the "Best Source Component of Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2009".
Now it's time for an audition!
We provide the ability to listen to our decks 6 days a week at UHA.
Buy with confidence, at UHA we actually invite you to listen before you buy.
The UHA-HQ Phase5 Reel to Reel tape deck
wins a "Golden Ear Award" for 2010
from The Absolute Sound Magazine!
First Capital Audiofest 2010
The United Home Audio room at The Capital Audiofest
Click image below for more info and pictures
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2009 NEWS:
Jonathan Valin from
Tha Absolute Sound gives
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2009
Best Source Component Award to
The new UHA-HQ Reel to Reel TapeDeck!
Best Sound of Show:
Vandersteen Model 7, with the Nola Baby Grand Reference, the MBL 111F,
The Nordic Tone, the Lotus Group Granada,
the Anat Reference II (Parish room only), and the GamuT S-9 runners-up
Best Introduction (or Speaker I Hadn’t Heard or Don’t Remember Hearing Before):
Lotus Group Granada, The Nordic Tone, the Haniwa HSP2H07 (tie)
Best Source Component:
The UHA-HQ 15ips 2-track tape deck from United Home Audio ($10k)
and Tape Project tapes in the Nola room.
Well…in my neck of the woods a bargain ain’t exactly a bargain,
but I did hear Odyssey Khartagos sounding mighty damn sweet in somebody’s room
Biggest Improvement Over Previous Shows:
Focal Grande Utopia and Vivid G1 Giya (tie)
Biggest Improvement During the Show:
Wilson Sasha W/P
TAS, avguide.com web site forum postings:
Rex (not verified) -- Tue, 10/06/2009 - 17:40
How did the Nola Baby Grands perform when fed by your personal CDs?
Did they even have a CD player set up?
Jonathan Valin -- Wed, 10/07/2009 - 01:27
To tell you the truth I was so entranced by the sound
of the tapes I don't know if Carl had a CD player.
The Baltimore / Washington D.C. Metro
Audio Society meeting Dec.5th 2009
at United Home Audio 12:00pm.
Paul Stubblebine from "The Tape Project"
conducted a seminar on
The Tape Project Master Tapes!
It was a great seminar, too bad it snowed all day!
Click on the picture for details
Mike Allen UHA / Paul Stubblebine TTP / Greg Beron UHA
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