Thad Aerts
HifiZine writer and reviewer

Pedal Power

Once the weather gets warm and the days get longer in my part of the world, I try to ride my bike to work once a week. I would do it more than once a week but my job is 30 miles away in a different town than the one in which I reside. Today was my first commute for the year. As I was preparing to depart, I plopped my Sennheiser earbuds in my ears and began to wonder what I would listen to. I’ve gotten a lot of new music lately but as I toggled through the selections in my brain, nothing sounded appealing. So, I began scrolling through the stuff on my iPod and within seconds came across the 2009’s Ray Barbee Meets The Mattson 2. I hit play and of I went.

It must have been destiny because listening to this chill, modern-day jazz recording was the perfect, and I mean perfect soundtrack to the first half of my ride. As I hit the recently-deserted-for-summer UNL campus, the third track “Short Strokes” began, which is a somber piece that perfectly expressed the lonely landscape of an eerily anti-hustle and bustle major college campus. As I made my way out to the country side, the mood that the record creates further found a perfect companion in the sunny, still, 75 degree, late spring Midwestern evening. Not to kick a dead horse but the whole thing really was perfect.

All good things must come to an end as did Barbee and the Mattson twins playing. I pulled off the highway onto a gravel road for some water and to make my second selection. As you can read in an earlier post, I have been listening a lot to Donald Harrison’s This is Jazz Live at the Blue Note, not so much for Harrison’s playing, but more for Ron Carter’s, who is one-third of the trio. Unfortunately, This Is Jazz hasn’t found its way onto my iPod yet, but Carter’s Dear Miles has been on there for years. Selection #2 was selected and pedaling resumed. I can’t say it was undeniably fitting as Barbee and the Mattson’s but it was a close second that accompanied me as I rode (literally) into the setting sun. I love interactive experiences with the music we love such as this one that I had tonight. And, oddly enough, it really had nothing to do with being an audiophile.


Readers' comments

    I enjoyed your review of the Luminous passive preamp.I saw you listed an AMC 2030 on your wquipment roster.I owned one in the 90’s and had it crap out due to an overheating internal part a few times.How is the amp’s reliability now.

  • Hey Al-

    Upon getting it a number of years ago (secondhand) I sent it off and had the tube sockets (that had the EL34’s permanently soldered in) replaced with conventional ones and had bias pots installed. If I remember correctly, shortly after getting the thing, I had a problem with it that prompted me to have this done – but I prob would have had it done anyway. Who solders tubes to a circuit board?!?!? Anyway, since then I have had no problems with the amp though I don’t use it a ton – or at least not nearly as much as my AMC 2100.

    Thanks for writing-


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