Introducing KAREN 12!

We proudly welcome the latest member of the JWM Acoustics family!

Karen 12

KAREN 12 1 copy

About a year and a half ago we introduced the KAREN series of turntables and accessories. A series driven by the quest for a sound almost forgotten from my youth. Since then, it has become the most popular product at JWM Acoustics.

In May of 2015, JWM Acoustics introduced the KAREN 3 at Lone Star Audio Fest. A hand built, solid wood turntable based on the REGA platform. Completely designed and manufactured in Hawaii. The idea was to show people that our $1,500.00 turntable could easily perform with tables 3 times the cost. And we did.

KAREN 3 Alans 2 copy

Later that month at T.H.E. SHOW NEWPORT we introduced the next step, KAREN 6. A $2,400.00 analog solution that floored each show goer who entered the room. All agreed that this table pushed way above its price range and had little to no competition in this range period. A constant stream of show goers agreed. In only a few months, this table has now built its own cult following. From the solid handmade hardwood plinth, to the hand tuned power supply it is not hard to see why.


Now, once again, we decided to take KAREN to the next level. An all new concept with parts sourced from all corners of the globe. A collaborative piece that represents our finest table yet. In October 2015 at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest you will see and hear what is possible when things are made to be simple, by hand and purpose driven.

Beautiful, Elegant, KAREN 12

KAREN 12 4 copy

The KAREN 12 plinth is made from a single large and rigid piece of wood. Alone it weighs 30lbs. The KAREN 12 is indeed a large turntable with a tremendous amount of mass for its size. As with all the tables in the KAREN series, the edges are cut at a specific angle to reduce surface vibration. The original vibration damping shape of the KAREN design has been also utilized here, but to larger scale bringing the noise floor even lower than previous models. The signature curved front also serves a purpose in diffracting internal vibrations.

KAREN 12 Control copyAs with the KAREN 6 we addressed the motor and controller in the usual JWM Acoustics manner. With further simplifications and refinement to the vibration damping mechanism and power consistency, we have increased the accuracy and dropped the noise floor even further for the entire table. The motor and electronics are recessed into the underside of the table and treated to isolate from the bearing assembly and quiet the table further.

KAREN 12 3 copyThe bearing assembly, sub-platter and spindle has also been addressed with a handmade system sourced from Argentina and built by Tango Spinner. This polished drive mechanism and bearing has extremely tight tolerances and has proven to add accuracy, pace and depth to the presentation. The three belt pulley system provides copious amounts of torque and drives the two layer glass platter sourced from REGA with command.

KAREN 12 2 copy

The stock arm for the KAREN 12 was carefully chosen to extend the same powerful signature sound the KAREN series is becoming known for. We chose the ORTOFON TA-210 12” static tonearm. We feel this arm/table combination possesses an elegant balance between analytical and soulful. Paired with most any cartridge on the market and you have a machine that will bring musical bliss to your home for many generations to come.

KAREN 12 5 copyAs with all JWM Acoustics products, you may customize your KAREN 12 to suit your own tastes. We have a large assortment of woods and finishes to choose from as well as the desire to build your dream table exactly as you wish. Should you have an idea for something you don’t see on our website, feel free to ask if we can custom tailor your deck for you. It’s what we do.

woods 1We are taking pre-orders for the KAREN 12 now, so feel free to contact us for further details, or a consultation on what we can do for you. We truly believe this playback machine will breathe a new life into your collection and reveal even more information locked in the grooves of every record you play. The KAREN 12 and her sisters should be on your short list of new tables to hear and we can’t wait to share them all with you.


Please join us in October for Rocky Mountain Audio Fest as we introduce the newest member of the JWM Acoustics family.

Beautiful, Elegant, KAREN 12


Final Thoughts On THE SHOW Newport 2015: "There's no place like home. There's no place like home". Closing words.

  Click for more info!

Logo white on black 3 inch copy

Sorry it has been a while. Spending time with my wife and dog has been top priority since returning from California. There is no substitute for family, big comfy beds and snuggle time. Ahhhhh…


Folks, let me tell ya. I have had some great times and I have had some REALLY great times. Without a doubt, THE NEWPORT SHOW 2015 will absolutely be filed in the REALLY great times folder.

First off, I have some thank ya’s to hand out. Not small ones either. BIG MONSTER ONES!

Mom, I can’t tell you enough… Mitch and Rece (our new California team!!!) We love and adore you. Many mahalos for everything. Michael Koetsier from , for the awesome chat about green and sustainable audio. Alun Yun from Silverline for the smiles and friendly listening session. Peter Hansen from Synergistic Research for just being a nice guy. (I’ll giv’m a shot before RMAF!) Rick Vides from Brooks Berdan for being a great hall mate and the fun, but short chat about the state of the industry. Mark Freed, I will certainly heed your advice and also see you in Chicago next year! Paul Mah!!! What a great time I had talking with you! I appreciate all your words and look forward to more of them in the future.

053115-JWM-600 stereophile

To you Mr. Reichert of Stereophile Magazine. Read here. “I’ll take hearts and stars all day long”! I can’t thank you enough for the amazing words in the Reichert Report. The description you used, “Luscious detail” nailed it. There is a secret place that exists somewhere near laser detail and a true warm live experience. We hope to bring each and every music lover into this place.

Your report brought smiles to my wife and I and a tear to the eye of my amazing Mom. The time you spent in our room was above and beyond. For a new guy on the scene, it means the world. You certainly have a new fan out here on the islands and I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

052915-JWM-600 Stereophile


Sasha Matson of Stereophile Magazine! Read here. Your description of the sound coming from the ALYSON AML as “very full-range, with a burnished warm dimension to the sound” is EXACTLY what we are aiming for. Being accurate to the source does not mean that one needs to have laser beams aimed at their ear drums. Nor does it mean the need for 8 foot tall cabinets full of huge drivers. Especially for the recording engineer who must sit in front of monitors for 8 hours a day. Our speakers may have a pedigree that originated in the studio, but we feel that taking the studio-to-home approach in speaker design is working beyond our greatest expectations.

Also, Thank you for recognizing the “hard work” that goes into hand crafted equipment. I for one, never want to see “Hand Made” disappear. The art of building speakers, turntables and other pieces in our shop is taken extremely serious. Except for the machine we use to burn in our logo, no CNC is used at this point and we will hold out as long as we can. If one is to spend so much time and expense seeking out that perfect piece of equipment for their musical passion, it should have all of the same attention to detail as a fine piano or cello. After all, should it not last for as many generations as well?

A giant Aloha and thank you to Michael Koetsier of Read here. I can’t thank you enough for the write up on! Although we are not perfect stewards of the planet, by golly we are trying. My wife Jeanette and a few of her friends, including the amazing furniture maker Thorbin Wuttke, have truly influenced us over the years. They have made us aware of the simple things that anyone can do yet few bother to put in motion. For instance, saving our sawdust for the local farmers. We also create accessories such as Cable Cradles and turntable record clamps from the smaller cutoffs in the shop rather than discarding them. In addition we collect small scraps from other wood workers to be repurposed. As JWM Acoustics grows, we will continue to implement conscience practices to balance our production.

If you are ever interested in how we offset our audio material use by planting trees and donating to the Hakalau Forest Reserve, look me up and I will be happy to elaborate.

Again Michael, thank you and mahalo for the mention and for recognizing our effort towards sustainability. Being green does not require that we compromise quality on the quest for perfect sound. For us, the two just work together. Simple as that.


Last, but most certainly not least. Many, many mahalos to Robert Lee of Acoustic Zen Technologies. I won’t even try to tell you how our time together impacted me. Your kind words and encouragement are so special to me. The huge time you took in my room was above and beyond. The ensuing critique of my work I will cherish for many years to come. From afar and for many years, you have influenced my work and sound. Now, from in front of my own creation. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope to see you again soon. And yes! I too hear the wood in the instruments when played on my speaker systems. I assure you, it was no accident. THANK YOU again Mr. Lee!!!

So many more deserve my MUCHO MAHALO! You know who you are, so hugs!

We arrived early on Tuesday. We had hoped to get into IMG_6677the rooms early enough to get started with setup and perhaps rest after the long flight from Hawaii. Mom flew in from Texas, but still, not a short hop. Unfortunately, the hotel made it clear that running behind was the theme of the day and we may not get our room until that evening. “OUCH”! Well, no matter. We ended up in the fine restaurant in the hotel lobby. We set up a computer and proceeded to stuff ourselves with pancakes, eggs Benedict and mimosas. I got to tell ya, that was some good Eggs Benny. The mimosa, not so much. It did hit the spot though.

Fortunately, the ring came around 1:00 PM that our sleeping room was ready and we could check back around 3:00pm for our show room. It was sooooo nice to get a shower after traveling overnight. Nap time! Ahhhhhhhh…

THE SHOW setup3The equipment began to arrive and setup began around dinner time. We had the system up and running by 9:00PM. No small feat considering the amount of gear we were traveling with. Wednesday by noon, the dial in of the room was really coming along.THE SHOW setup2 First, we tried and tried to get the best staging possible with a wide frequency range using the JANE JKM. Over and over again, the speaker would either have one or the other, but never both. This speaker must have a large room to breathe in, but I really wanted to give people an idea of what she can do. By 10:00pm Wednesday night, the conclusion was made that I would be shooting myself in the foot by trying to show a speaker made for a room 10 times the size of this 13’X19’ shoe box. The decision to use the ALYSON AML and NET-1 as the primary speakers in the room was made. We left the JANEs in the room on static display. We did manage a few demos for select attendees, but they too agreed that the ALYSON was perfect in the room and I should let them sing. And boy did they sing!

P1014898 PFWe also had two KAREN turntables up and running. One outfitted with one of my favorite cartridges, the Ortofon Windfeld, the other with the amazing Ortofon 2M Black. Using the new Balanced Audio Technology VK-P12 SE Phono stage, both carts sang like the wind. I am so happy to also announce that as of THE SHOW 2015, JWM Acoustics is now offering Ortofon cartridges as package deals on all of our decks! WoooHooo!!! By the way, the P-12 was so good we bought it…


The BAT Phono stage was not the only BAT in the room. I was running the whole thing with the killer REX preamp. As usual, this preamp demonstrated that tubes may be neutral while still allowing for that perfect and lush vocal range we all love so much. I threaten to upgrade to the REX II almost weekly, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it? I’ll revisit the idea with Geoff Poor from BAT before the RMAF, but as it stands, this machine works beautifully in our reference room back on the island. It is nice to have a piece you can count on to deliver the goods, day in and day out. Stay tuned!


IMG_6690The amp was also from BAT. The VK-655 SE was in the house and powering anything we threw at it with ease. You know, it is a brand new amp. Hardly any break in time, except for the LSAF and a few late night sessions at THE SHOW. Yet, it still manages to not sound constipated or rough! I was warned by BAT and a few show goers, that running this new machine could be a mistake, but I have to disagree. The combination of all of these pieces was stellar. The synergy with my speakers was heavenly to say the least. BUY THIS AMP!!! ESPECIALLY if a set of JWM Acoustics is in your future. Great combo…

I was never a big digital guy. Kicking oppo logoand screaming, I am being dragged into this world of Bips and Bops. I was finally convinced that I needed to load J River and begin the task of collecting files. So I did. The verdict is in. I like it. Yes I said it. I LIKE it. Don’t love it, LIKE it. There comes a time in every audiophiles life when he has to admit that one thing may be as good as another, or at least close. Horns verses electrostat. Maggies or Kings. MC or MM. 10101010111010001111000 or analog. I guess 10101010101100100101011000 now has a place in my living room alongside the record spinner. Just need another shelf for the DAC! Speaking of!!! The DAC for the show was the kick butt one in the OPPO BD105D! The files were being fed by my HP ENVY laptop. HOLY!!!!!! That be some good sound folks. If you have the budget for a DAC, do consider the all in one option with the OPPO. You will love it. It was nice to have the option to spin up some of the attendees discs when asked. We actually got to keep a few of them for our own collection! Thanks attendees!!!

nordost logoI can’t forget to mention the cables. Oh the cables. NORDOST was so kind to lend us some fantastic specimens for the last two shows and I can’t thank them enough. We had everything in the room from the Blue Heaven line, up to the Hiemdall II. And I must say. WOW. They just worked in this setup. Not only did people notice their quality, when I did a few demonstrations between levels of cable the distinction was unmistakable and stunning. If anyone tells you there is no difference in cables, invite them over to our reference room for a demo. ‘Nuff said.

You know, I forgot to mention our cable cradles! More of Cable+cradle+mp+large+copy+(2)those little fellas walked out the door than I had anticipated! We sold them to the likes of D’Agastino, Silverline, even Mr. Lee from Acoustic Zen grabbed one because he liked the wood! Since getting home, all the rage is for NORDOST and other ribbon cable users to have a set of the Split Cable Cradles for their system! We love that! The Cradles started as a way to cut down on the waste in the speaker shop. We needed to find a way to utilize as much of our scraps as possible. Mostly because waste is not an option for us. We try to use every part of the tree. To have people embrace the idea as much as they are is wonderful! Even if you don’t believe in the sonic characteristics of lifting your cables away from statically charged floors, the organizational benefits of the cradles is fantastic! Thank you folks! We will make more for RMAF!


Well the show ended and it was time to pack up. Two of our best friends Mitch and Rece showed up just in time to begin the work. It took us until 3:00AM to pack it all up, but we did it! Oh man! We were beat. I crashed HARD!!! Honestly, as fun as this show was, I was so happy it was over. I definitely need the break before RMAF comes along. We certainly hope it draws the crowds we had at THE SHOW. So tell all your friends! Speaking of friends, we made some great ones. We had hundreds of people come through the room. I sincerely remember almost everyone that wanted to engage in conversation. Thank you all!


Thanks to all involved. We will see you next year! Now it’s time to build more stuff…


ortofon logo

Logo white on black 3 inch copy

Lone Star Audio Fest 2015! Mama said there would be days like this...

Before I even begin, let me thank Steven Solazzo for all his efforts with LSAF! Great work man! Additionally, I’m not sure who took all the images in this post but certainly much credit goes to Kelly Parham, wife and obviously cuter half of Wayne Parham and PI Speakers! What a pleasure it was meeting you folks! Mucho mas aloha as well to Dave and Gabrielle Thomson. You two are an inspiration and we hope to see you again soon. OK OK. There are more credits to give out including those earned by my family and friends, but you know who you are. A big hug to all of you! Onward! Click here for details!

Mama said there would be days like this…

look-out-texas-here-we-come copyThen she told me those days would be followed by ones filled with amazing music, art, people and libation. That is exactly what Lone Star Audio Fest was. I can’t tell you enough how wonderful this little known show is. With a little word of mouth and a lot of commitment, this humble show will become something huge one day. Or not! Frankly, this show is one of those things that file neatly into the “Ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category.


This show was a first for us. With the prodding and encouragement of our friends, family and clients it was time to take our products on the road. What better place to do it than back home in the state where it all began for this little company? TEXAS! I had heard about LSAF on a few forums and web pages, but had never attended. When I saw that RAVEN AUDIO, a company based in Texas whose growth I had been tracking with keen interest for quite some time, was making an appearance at this little show I knew I had to look into it.

fostex hornsI wrote letters to Dave Thomson, the owner or RAVEN AUDIO, Steven Solazo who for all intents and purposes, runs the show, and reached out to a few others who had attended in the past. As the show approached the LSAF social network began to grow and come alive. It started to become clear that LSAF was not just another audio show. This was more like a family of music lovers, gearheads and deep audiophiles, who have found a place to share their love and art. I say art, for more than half of this community of geniuses is DIYrs! Not your run of the mill garage type.Blowtorch We are talking the upper crust here folks. For anyone who thinks that the HIGH END needs to come with a gold plated logo and genuine Corinthian leather baffle, think again. Get in the car, plane or train and high tail it to this show next year. You will be floored and maybe a bit upset that those $40,000.00 leather speakers you bought last week don’t measure up! HEHE...

IMG_6574I was a bit concerned at first, for the talk on the web and forums were inconsistent. One week the chatter was loud and colorful, the next it was gone. For a small company like ours, this is not very comforting. We have a long way to travel from our home base in Hawaii and 2,000lbs of speakers, turntables and heavy equipment don’t travel cheap. “Will anyone be there”? “Is the show still a go”? Only a few of the questions I kept posing to the groups and to the community at large. I never got a clear answer actually. But what the heck! Even if not a single soul was to show up, WE WOULD! For us, this show would have to become a dry run for the next few shows we have on our schedule. Test run if you will. This was a chance to weed out what we would need for the next bigger and more published audio shows. Time to polish up! As for our concerns of attendance, that most definitely was not an issue…

Setup begins: We were a bit concerned at first, for one of our pallets looked like it had been pushed out of the plane from 30,000 feet into the parking lot of the hotel. Perhaps to save on fuel? Well, it turns out the damage was only minor and was not going to be an issue sonically. Lacquer can be re buffed. For our first show, I think we did OK on time when it comes to unpacking and setup. For the next few shows, we will clearly need to tidy up this part.

show setup123

We were glad to have booked the room 2 days before the opening of the show because we ran into a few issues that nearly had us a “NO SHOW”. While tuning the room, Our Phono stage suddenly lost a channel. NOOOO!!!! Early birds were already entering the room for listening sessions and our finest KAREN 6 Turntable was dead in the water. Luckily, we had a second entry line KAREN 3 already setup with a small MM phono stage to take up the slack for the day. My hat’s off to Balanced Audio Technology. I got Geoff Poor on the horn. He immediately got me on the line with the gentleman who built the amazing VK-P10SE Phono stage, Victor Khomenko. He walked me thru a series of diagnostics to determine the cause of the lost channel. The conclusion was a power supply issue that could not be fixed on the spot. OUCH! BUT WAIT! The next morning, waiting at the front desk was another Phono stage sent overnight! Now you tell me, have you ever had customer service like this? Have you been put on the phone with the designer of any piece of equipment that is down for the count? Have you had a replacement waiting for you before you could finish your breakfast bagel at the hotel restaurant? BUT WAIT! THAT’S NOT ALL! The hotel had a surge that killed the left channel in the brand new VK-6550SE amp we are showing with as well! WHAT?!?! One more call to Victor and that problem was solved in about 5 minutes as well! “HOLY BLOWN FUSES BAT MAN”! Again, I can’t tell you what it means to a little company like ours to have support from a big company like Balanced Audio Technology. Thank you BAT!!!


Breakfast of champions!

Remember the part about “Mama said there would be days like this”? Boy howdy, was that one. Thank goodness Mama was right about the following as well… those promised days filled with amazing music, art, people and libation! That is exactly what LSAF was. My wife Jeanette and I met some of the coolest folks over this long weekend. We would name them all here, but my long windedness would become tiresome quickly if hasn’t already. Let me just put out a blanket ALL THE FOLKS AT THIS SHOW ARE AWSOME!! Each day we shared breakfast with the group, tossed around ideas and talked tunes. Usually, most of us would head to our systems after this in order to get ready for the day. In some cases we were able to get out and see some of the other systems before the spectators would arrive. Not for long though! For a show that is supposed to start at 1:00PM each day… Ummmm… well I think it was more like 9:00AM! In the JWM Acoustics room we had a steady stream of folks from about then till 11:00PM each day! By 11:00AM (which happens to be when the hotel bar opens) that stream of people was also carrying colorful bottles as well. Like I said before, this is a fun show folks!

JWM room We had great music in tow, but of course many brought their own to spin up. A few folks were even kind enough to bring JWM Acoustics into the 21st century and load up JRiver on my laptop and stuff it full of great music. Who knew digital could bring a smile to this old analog geeks face? Well it did with the help of the OPPO BD105D we had in the rack. It turns out the internal DAC is FAR better than I had known! The DSD files streaming from the laptop were divine to say the least. (I better not say too much. I’m trying to sell turntables!) Now it looks like I’m going to need a lesson in organizing all this music into playlists for the next show. One more reason to love analog, alphabetical order is about as deep as it goes! Hehehe.

jwm room 6

jwm room 7The system worked perfect. The REX preamp fed the mighty VK-655SE power amp with gusto. Having one of the quietest all tube preamps in the world powering a true super amp is nothing short of stunning. Put one of the best Tube phono stages in front of that and now we have something to marvel at. Now, pair the famous PW Windfeld from Ortofon on our new KAREN 6 turntable and I simply can’t explain what happens in words. Cables you ask? A full set of Nordost all the way around, including the Heimdall II speaker cables, Blue Heaven and Red Dawn interconnects and power cables. To clean it all up we added a few QV and QK line enhancing units to our power distribution systems.

The results were fantastic. Yes, we already knew what this system is capable of because many of the components are integral to our reference system at home. What fun we had with that conference room and all three of our newest speaker systems to play with! And boy did we play! For the first day, we tried as hard as we could to break in a brand new set of the JANE JKM speakers that had only been put together a week prior to their debut at LSAF. We moved them all around the room trying to get the most out of them. In one spot the imaging literally had them disappear, but bass response was lagging. Move them 5 inches and suddenly the low end enveloped the room, but staging began to lag. This is a common dance we do in almost any environment the speaker will live in permanently. The toughest part of this room was the drop ceiling and lossy walls. The whole room wanted to become an echo-y rumble chamber to say the least. In the end, we decided on a compromise and the entire system locked into place. Ideal? No. Pretty freak’n good for that room? Absolutely! Even on a bad day setup in a cardboard shoe box, this system would still be better than 90% of the systems I have ever heard. The synergy of these components is that good.

jwm room 8

jwm room 9On day two and three we began playing with the other speakers in the lineup. First the ALYSON AML, then the NET-1. It took less than 3 seconds of Fever on Lyn Stanley’s Lost in Romance LP before the entire audience looked back at me and said “NO WAY”! The room locked in with grace and a sense of ease I had not heard even in our studios. We didn’t even attempt to voice the room or go through the usual speaker placement steps. It just worked. Obviously this speaker was a FAR better match for the room than the giant JANE floor stander. Why? Great question! For anyone interested in dropping this kind of coin on a system of their own be advised. Bigger is not always better in your particular room. In this case, you would have saved yourself $10,000.00 between the price of the two speakers and would easily have doubled your capabilities. I have a renewed pride in our smaller speaker offerings, but as always, we recommend hearing our entire line before making the determination we did on this day, in that room.

jwm room 10The fun didn’t stop there! How small can we go was the next question? Well, let’s see! The NET-1s were dropped into the same footprint of the ALYSONs and away we went. REALLY?!?!? A two way mini monitor filling a 4,620 cubic foot room full of people like a full range floor stander is simply not heard of. (Pun intended) The NET-1 did exactly that. I built the damn things and still had no idea of what they could do in a room like this. I heard of such sound coming from our designs, but never paid much attention to what was said. This was not the design goal after all. This was supposed to be a mini monitor turned into a near full range speaker for small environments. BUT I’LL TAKE IT! The little NET performed like a rock star without a hiccup. I am so proud of this little giant killer and will yell it from the roof tops! “Viva la NET”! “Viva la NET”! “Viva la NET”!

Raven Audio:

raven room 1

We had a chance to meet and get to know the owner of Raven Audio, Dave Thomson. I had only seen his equipment in reviews and on line, but as in art and fine wine, this never does justice to the actual piece in person. Trust me when I say you owe yourself the pleasure of giving these pieces a listen. Although our time with the equipment was limited, what I heard in the Raven room was fabulous. What I heard from Raven paired with our speakers was fabulously promising! On the last day before packing up the show, Dave was kind enough to bring down his killer new BlackHawk integrated amp to our room and plug it into our ALYSON ALM and NET-1 Speaker systems. The pairing seemed the most logical for the size, price point and output capabilities of the pairing. With limited time, in less than ideal conditions, every eyebrow in the room was raised and the tiny NET-1 opened up like a Oklahoma double wide in the middle of storm season! No tight lipped brick and mortar mini monitor sound with this pairing folks. PLEASE go hear this amp if you get a chance. The NET-1 is not the most efficient speaker in our lineup, nor does it have the depth capabilities of our larger offerings, but for some reason, in that room, on that day, with that amp, like we never heard, they blossomed.

raven 2

Next, Dave was kind enough to allow us to bring a set of the ALYSON AML up to the Douglas Connections room to hear them paired up with the Spirit MK2 300B tube mono block amps and Silhouette Reference preamp. Folks, The specks on the ALYSON mean nothing when combined with this system. The true monitor characteristics were apparent from the first track that was spun up. Focus and detail were my first impressions, and then I realized that the low end of the drivers was being taken down to a level by that 300B tube I had not heard before. It is true that the 300 may not have the grip of other tubes I have heard on our speakers, nor the power, but the rumors of that tube bringing chills to your spine are all true. I WILL be looking into purchasing this amp in the future. It is truly a reference design that needs further investigation. Don’t believe me? Look into what Art Dudley said about it in the May issue of Stereophile magazine. Still need more proof of this design. Get off your butt and go hear it. It is impressive.

raven 3

We truly hope to have a chance to hear some of RAVENs other offerings in the future. Not only for the obvious stellar sonic quality, but also for the fit and finish of the product. Perhaps I’m picky due to my industrial design background. This is truly well put together equipment kids. I have a few other reasons for wanting to explore RAVEN as well. This is a true American product built in Texas with love. If you hadn’t noticed, the system we are showing with for the next few events is all American as well. As a proud MADE IN AMERICA company, this means a lot to us. We plan to keep it that way. Lastly, much like JWM Acoustics, it would seem that RAVEN is a family affair. We were so happy to meet Dave’s wife Gabrielle, Mrs. RAVEN herself. Talk about lighting up a room! If you guys are reading this, it was a great pleasure meeting the both of you and we will keep the porch light on for ya if you ever decide to come out to Da islands…

raven4 Enough already! Here are some pics we collected from here and there. Enjoy! We will see you next year!!!




The LSAF 2015 front end.



Long sessions!

Still listening!!!

Festive beverages!

Everyone loves free stuff...

More free stuff!


Digital DJ!


Killer Raven preamp.

Raven 300B Amp was stunning.

More gorgeous Raven gear.

Stereo Clarity room was really amazing.

VanZyle room. Beautiful stuff.

The Usher system was impressive to Net and I both. And she is hard to please.

Usher, Chord, Douglas Connection, Pass.

Fostex done right.

Not sure who this is, but DIY.

Just plain coooooL!

Free Range Full Range Speakers! Really nice to see this stuff.

512 Audio Austin had a really great sound.

OK FOLKS! That's enough for now. Again, big thanks to all responsible for this awesome weekend. Hope to see ya'll next year, ya hear!




Taking the show on the road!

Logo white on black 3 inch copy Aloha! Time to take the show on the road!

Where we headed?!

Click here for details!

After 15 years in HAWAII, in the month of May, JWM Acoustics is coming home to TEXAS! JWM will be showing the latest creations at the Lone Star Audio Fest in Dallas, Texas. The show runs May 1-3 at Embassy Suites Dallas - Park Central, 13131 North Central Expressway, Dallas, Texas, 75243

JWM Acoustics will be showing their newest equipment in the Carrollton Room on the ground floor off the main lobby of the hotel. JWM plans to bring all the music that can fit into a suitcase, but feel free to bring your favorite vinyl, CDs, SACDs or files to hear on the system. JWM’s goal is to introduce as many people as possible to what this growing audio company has been doing out in the Pacific Ocean.

BAT LOGO 2 For the Lone Star Audio Fest, JWM has chosen to bring 3 sets of speakers. The NET-1 mini monitor, the ALYSON AML large monitor and the JANE JKM floor standing flagship. Also included in the collection will be the KAREN 6 turntable and several examples of HI-FI accessories including Cable Cradles in various wood species and sizes.

nordost logo We are proud to say we will be showing with some great American companies as well. The main system will be largely comprised of Balanced Audio Technology, including the REX Preamplifier, VK-P10SE Phono Stage and the newest amplifier in the line, the mighty VK-655SE. Sources will include the OPPO BD-105D Multi reader and files supplied from several storage mediums. Ortofon cartridges will be in use as well! We will have examples of MM and MCs on hand including the 2M BLACK and Windfeld. Cables and Power supplies are being provided by NORDOST and we will have numerous examples on hand to sample, including the Leaf, Frey and Norse lines.

ortofon logo In short, this will be one heck of a system that is guaranteed to raise some eyebrows and the hairs on your neck. The goal was to create a system that was as neutral as possible, with the ability to provide the extreme dynamic capabilities inherent to JWM Acoustics designs. Whether you are a fan of Opera, Rock or Jazz, this system provides a black background from which the performance can project in stunning transient fashion, yet whisper the most subtle detail.

oppo logo So, what is JWM Acoustics?

As some of you know, JWM Acoustics is a custom White sheet Alyson front copyaudio company catering to the individual needs of the client. Each product is handmade and as unique as the person who chooses it. JWM is pleased to create one of a kind pieces that will enhance the life of each person who experiences it. JWM products are not only built as sound reproduction tools, but as instruments that will last for generations.

White sheet Turntables front copyJoshua Weston Miles has a background in visual arts, music, industrial design and audio engineering. Combining them has been a lifelong passion. Miles has succeeded with the products being shown at the Lone Star Audio Fest in May, representing state of the art sound reproduction and timeless design. Each product is designed to be equally at home in the recording studio, home theater or audiophile listening room. Nearly unlimited combinations of custom woods and finishes enable him to design a system that will perfectly fit within your space.

JWM Acoustics is located in beautiful Hawaii on the Island of Oahu. White sheet HI fi accessories front copyCurrently, there are two locations where these instruments are created. The woodworking and finish facility is located in the heart of Honolulu. The electronics, testing and listening studios are located in the town of Kaneohe on the East side of the island. Visitors are always welcome if you would like to see the works in progress. Accommodations for private viewings and listening sessions are available in the Kaneohe location by appointment.

We hope to see you all there.

Aloha, Mahalo and Thank you.

JWM Acoustics (808)349-6661 PO BOX 944 Kailua, HI. 96734

Introducing The Alyson AML from JWM Designs LLC

logo image2 Introducing the Alyson AML:

“Many years ago, our father named a beautiful boat for my sister. Unfortunately that vessel sank and too did the name. I never thought that was fair. It was like my sister had been cheated somehow. I know if my father were still alive, he would have named another vessel for her. I am proud of the machines I build, much like my father was of his boat. I know my systems don’t float, or provide a steady platform for sunbathing in the gulf, but perhaps they should be named for my sister anyway. After all, there was enough pride in my father to name his vessel for this amazing woman. Like my sister, and that boat, I feel these machines are not only powerful, assertive and poised, but delicate and graceful at the same time. So be it then. I give you the Alyson.”

AML blog 3 copy

The idea:

The idea for these machines came while working on another design. A design I am still working on as a matter of fact. They are floor standing, rear horn loaded, transmission line speakersUno designs work copy that I have been building for many years. The design has always been a challenge though. Don’t get me wrong, after 15 years of research and development, they are remarkable. The trick has been downsizing them into a real world size that can be aesthetically pleasing for, well; let’s just say the average spouse. (I hope I’m not in trouble here.) To do this, one must do a ton of dancing with the tuning of the machines. This takes time and patience. Both of which I am running out of. Often, I must take a break from the project and turn my attentions elsewhere. Call it a hiatus if you will. This is my way to get a fresh perspective when I return to the project. This also stands true for my other artistic endeavors. Stay tuned. They will be great indeed. Some day.

In the meantime:

About 5 years ago, several people asked if I had any smaller monitor designs. During this time, I had also noticed a trend toward smaller and simpler systems. In other words, more compact audio equipment that has less of a footprint on the living environment. Also around the samerecording-studio copy time, I had received a phone call from a studio where I had installed a set of my monitors many years ago. They had asked if I was still building and if I had made any improvements or updated the designs I had built for them. Truth is, I had thought about it many times, but the answer was no. I had not put thought to paper on these designs in a long while. Perhaps there was never a demand big enough to sustain building small near field monitors that cost as much as a Hyundai. Building one-offs specifically for the environment the client resides in was always my way. But alas, it may be time to open this can of worms again and see what I can do!

The research begins:

High frequency modules breakdown.

I spent several weeks in the shop revisiting the design I had built for the studio. I built a set identical to theirs and began tearing it down. I found so many flaws in the design, it was almost embarrassing. Not the overall sound mind you, just the overall lack of life and timbre. As a studio monitor these pieces were wonderful, but they would never pass the muster in a real world HI FI system. At least 10 times, “Clinical and flat” was scribbled in my listening notes. But that is what the client wanted! They wanted me to tune this system to sound like “NOTHING!” flat frequency response with as little coloration of their own as possible. The system they would be driving the monitors with was also as flat as it gets with no sugar coating what so ever. Spectral Audio amplifiers and preamps were chosen to feed the system from front to back. Flat, flat, flat…

Why did it sound so bad to me now? Why I ask?!?!

To me it all boiled down to two things. First; my lack of knowledge atAML X-Over 6 copy the time of the original design execution. Second; the lack of technology at the time. The fast and silky capacitors of today simply did not exist. Nor did the amazing new foil inductors and Vishay resistors modern designers use now without a thought. Yes, back then the thought of spending 200 bones on a single capacitor was unheard of, but for a few AML X-Over 5 copymanufacturers. Today, not so much. I’d spend 700 without a flinch if it is what it takes to get “That Sound”. And “That Sound” is exactly what I set my sights on. Don’t forget, the speakers in the studio were more than 10 years old now and permanently installed. I had to do this from 4,000 miles away. Challenge accepted!

I called the studio back a few months later and gaveAML X-Over 3 copy the news about the new crossover system. I made it clear that this may be just what they wanted. “Same system, just with new life and a powerful new sound”. I explained. They took the bait and off the crossover boards went to the FedEx shop down the street. It’s always hard to see your children off for the first time. Especially when some other technician will be in charge of the installation and final judgment. Studios don’t usually mess around and having their main monitors out of commission for two days is a BIG deal. So, cue the fingernail chewing Maestro!

AML X-Over 2 copyShortly after I ran out of valium while waiting on the verdict, the call came. That call set the stage for what I decided to spend the next period of time and energy on. That time ended up being 5 years. “Josh, thank you! This system has never sounded as good. You really should build this design for the commercial market. It may work. How much do we owe you?” Let’s just say he was not as happy as he was when the phone call was initiated. None the less, he agreed it was still one hell of a bargain! Remember those $700 capacitors and inductors I mentioned earlier? I integrated a LOT of them.

What next?

AML blog 1 copySo, here we are. A few years later and several gray hairs to show for it, the Alyson AML is born. Of course, it’s true that a near field monitor retailing for the price of a Hyundai is still a narrow market. But when you tune that monitor to thrive in every real world environment outside of the studio, dress her in some pretty cabinetry, solid hardwoods, piano lacquers and the best components available, now we have something! A design within reach of most music lover’s pocketbooks. One that will also continue to thrill for years to come. You see, these are not just machines to me. They are instruments. Pieces of my industrial design should not be chosen like any other high-end speaker system. No, these are to be chosen as if purchasing a piano that will be in the family for generations to come. That is exactly what these are. Instruments. My pianos. Alyson.

Technically speaking:

AML blog 6 copyAt first glance, The Alyson is a D'Appolito design. Inside it is a whole other ball game. Some call it a MTM, or Midrange – Tweeter - Midrange design. This design configuration was created by Joseph D'Appolito as a way of correcting the inherent lobe tilting of a typical mid-tweeter (MT) configuration, at the crossover frequency. I opted to spend the design hours and Doe-Ray-Me on a time-aligned configuration (Which is featured in all JWM designs). In this arrangement as is found in my smaller NET-1 design, the loudspeaker uses one shallow wave guide loaded driver, a mid-range (or mid-woofer/woofer) for the low frequencies and a shallow horn loaded, ring radiating tweeter for the higher frequencies, with the tweeter being placed above the other larger drivers. The configuration desires 3rd order (18 dB/oct or 60 dB/dec) crossover allowing the drivers to have similar horizontal dispersion, resulting in the absence of any sudden change in directivity with frequency.

X-Over FX2Since it is rare for a tweeter and mid-range (or woofer) to have their diaphragms or acoustic centers in the same physical plane, sound waves emitted by them (of the same frequency) will not reach a particular listening position in the on-axis plane at the same time. Conversely, the MT or TM combination's on-axis plane is not coincident with the physical on-axis plane - it is tilted w.r.t. the physical plane. (Say that 10 times as fast as you can.) The overall effect is that at the crossover frequency (when both drivers are reproducing the same frequency) the sound from both drivers does not acoustically sum ideally at the on-axis listening position. There will, however, be some off-axis listening position where the acoustic sum is ideal - but the listening position itself may be such that it is not practical. Thus, with a typical TM or MT loudspeaker where the drivers are not time-aligned, the main lobe is tilted away from the horizontal.

The direction in which the lobe tilts (i.e., the vertical orientation or angleTM Lobe Methods of the lobe) is a function of the difference or offset between the acoustic centers of the two drivers. In order to remedy this effect, a great deal of measurement and listening must take place. Correcting the time alignment in JWM speakers is not necessarily to achieve a perfect dead center alignment. It is however, another tool in my box for tuning any given design to perform well in most rooms. How often do you sit directly in front of your speakers and perfectly in line with their acoustic center? Never you say? I know!

So why MTM for the AML Josh?

Well, you would think when another mid-range or mid woofer is added vertically and symmetrically opposite to the existing one, the result is that the tilted on-axis plane gets corrected such that the differences between the mid woofer and tweeter planes become immaterial - the on-axis plane is always w.r.t. the tweeter's center. Sure, it makes sense all right. But, time is not always on our side.

X-Over FX3The design requires that the two mid woofers are in exactly the same plane, and exactly the same distance from the tweeter - which is much easier to do physically than in the crossover. Up until recently, there has been a price to pay for this - although the MTM's on-axis response is near perfect, its radiation pattern or main lobe can be much narrower than that of the MT or TM configuration. As a result, the off-axis response (i.e., response at locations vertically away from exactly opposite the tweeter) should be much weaker. There can be obvious and discernible change in tonality at the crossover as one's listening height relative to the tweeter changes, and the effect is perceived more as the listener moves closer to the loudspeaker. In the Alyson AML and many other designs, this is corrected by (1) mounting the mid woofers as close to the tweeters as possible (so that the listening distance is much larger than the distance between the drivers) and (2) operating the mid woofers and tweeter in quadrature, i.e., achieved by ensuring that the tweeter lags the mid woofer by 90° in phase at the crossover frequency, and this in turn can be achieved if the crossover has a 3rd order Butterworth characteristic. To achieve the smallest distance betweenX-Over FX1 the mids and tweeters requires the drivers to have the smallest possible size - but there are design limitations to this (lowest mid-range frequency, for example, will place a lower limit to the mid's diameter). As you see in the Alyson AML, this small driver issue is not a problem, for there is a third way. (3) In conjunction with the other aforementioned methods, I also use the magic of wave guides and shallow horns to not only increase the width of the lobe, but much, much more. I can create a deeper stage effect, more focused dispersion pattern and a faster presentation. In addition the efficiency is increased substantially with the use of these wave guides. Voila!

What is on the inside counts most:AML blog 14 copy

I mentioned the inside of the Alyson AML being a whole other ball game. This is true. Not only does the shape play a crucial role in the design, so do the inside baffles, materials, and damping. In concert, (pun intended) the combination of all the above elements are tuned to the specific task of helping each other compress and release the back pressure of air within the cabinet. These elements must do so without one affecting the others performance through stray vibrations or standing waves within the interior chambers. This also is true of the driver components and electronics attached to the speakers. All work as one.

Let’s start with her curves baby:

There is a graceful curve to both the AML blog 8 copyNet-1 and Alyson AML. In almost all curved cabinet speakers, the initial idea is to avoid standing waves between parallel surfaces inside the cabinet. This is true in my designs. This is but one reason for my utilization of the concept. The curved design also allows me to compress the back wave of the drivers into separate band pass chamAML blog 4 copybers (two in this case) tuned to any frequency I desire. The most obvious drawback to most designers would be the speed of the rear exhaust being out of phase with the front of the speaker. You may have heard the effect in your average boom car going down the street. ONE NOTE BASS, SLOW AND OUT OF SYNC. Well, if you treat the port as an extension to the interior chambers and utilize it as a transmission line, it seems to speed things up and increase the overall efficiency of the lower frequencies! Voilà! What we have is a band pass transmission line design in a compact architecture. It gets way more complicated, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Make it beautiful inside and out:AML blog 13 copy

I cannot stress enough the importance of the materials used in not only musical instruments, but musical speakers as well! After all, they do the same thing don’t they? At least they should. You would not expect a melamine violin to sound like the padauk one in first chair. Or a cardboard bass drum to have the same attack as the shaped maple beauty on the marching field. Thus, you will find no cardboard or melamine in my machines. What you will find is carefully chosen materials. These materials are selected for their damping abilities, resonant characteristics and so much more. My background in the visual arts and industrial design demand that materials I select must also sing to the eye. You would think it stops there, but no. Even the finish plays a crucial role in the overall sound of the machine. Just the specific lacquer used on a violin is crucial to its tone, so is true of the speaker. The bonus of this approach is obvious. The combination of art, audio and design create a product that will satisfy on a multitude of levels for many years to come.

Baffles, materials and taming the shrew:AML blog 15 copy

AML blog 9 copy

Internally, all kinds of things take place that produce vibration and resonance. Some of these effects are desirable, some are not. I have spent a great deal of time deciding which should be exploited in my designs. I have spent equally as much energy in the pursuit of taming all of them with as little material as possible. Those materials are extremely important though. In some cases, even more essential than the cabinets themselves. Each has been selected from numerous manufactures for their ability to do precisely what I need them to do. No more, no less. Efficiency is the name of the game when taming resonance.

Compressed and layered wings ready for finish

The curved cabinets and stand wing components are made from the same materials and finished in the same way as well. The reason for this was to create a symbiotic relationship between the stand and speaker cabinet. Both components have nearly the same mass and surface area, thus react to vibration in the same way. The shape of both allow for any unwanted stray resonance to be channeled silently down through the stand and terminate in the lower plate. In the rare case any further damping is required; the choice of spiked feet couples the units to the floor and bleeds the vibration away.

People and parrots like shiny things:AML blog 17 copy

AML blog 21 copy

When it comes to the finish on the speakers and stands, I spare no expense. The bodies of the system and stand wings use a 12 layer process, followed by a 6 step polishing regiment. I utilize the latest conversion varnish technology. Each layer is sprayed, dried and sanded. The final coat is then sanded several times down to 3,000 grit. Next, final polishing begins. Polishing is also a labor of love and takes a minimum of 2 compounds before final polishing. This not only provides a durable and long lasting finish, it allows for a deep and rich mirror finish that rivals any piano manufacturer’s proprietary technique. The possibilities are endless as far as solid colors, but if the end user wishes, I can custom match any top finish with automotive lacquers and/or clear coated bases. As long as the damping factor of the coats fit within my acoustic parameters, I’m ready to play!!!

AML blog 18 copyAML blog 20 copyThe hardwood components of these systems are treated in the same way. Hardwoods are picked first for their acoustic properties, then beauty. Form must follow function in this case, but in every case thus far, the two have worked together perfectly. The very same 12 step process is used in the finishing of the hard wood components. Rather than using pigmented primers and bases, as in the body and wings, I use crystal clear sanding and leveling materials to start. Again, each layer must be dried, sanded and inspected before the next. The end result is worth every bit of sweat. Don’t forget, I can create these in any hardwood you wish, as long as it fits within my parameters of the ideal acoustic wood. No, Balsa will not work! Lol…

AML blog 19 copyIn the near future, I will be adding more visual options to each line of speakers. This will include custom veneers, hardwoods and a rainbow of colors to choose from. Depending on demand, I may also choose to keep custom automotive finishes on hand as standard practice. Stay tuned!

The bottom line of the Alyson AML:

My mission was threefold. First, to create a fast and efficient MTM design, utilizing a transmission line and band pass cabinet layout. Second, to provide many options to the end user in finishes and wood. Yes, a high “Wife Factor” coefficient is always a plus! There, I said it. They are easy on the eyes! Third, I believe it important to have my machines HAND MADE and manufactured in the USA! Yes, I have some parts made in Germany, Canada and Denmark, but I feel there is no manufacturer in the US for those certain parts, that can meet my demand for perfection. "YET"! As soon as that is possible, ALL of these systems in my collection will be made here at home in Hawaii. I feel satisfied that I have exceeded my objectives and confident that the listener will agree. As I said in the beginning of this post, These machines are to be picked as if they were a piano for your family. After all, I build them to last for many generations.

Alyson Aml...

Thank you,

Joshua W. Miles

Specifications: Frequency Response: 35-35,000Htz Short term max. power: 600 Watts Long term max. power: 450 Watts X-Over frequency: 2,500Htz Impedance: 4 Ohms Sensitivities: 89dB SPL Recommended amplifier: 40-400 Watts

Questions and Inquiries:

All questions and inquiries, including pricing can be directed to the fallowing addresses. All dealers are also welcome to call at any time. Systems will be available in person as well as at select locations in the very near future. Also, stay tuned for my personal on-line shop as well!

Joshua W. Miles Designs LLC PO BOX 944 Kailua, HI 96744 (808)349-6661 (808)421-9991

Special Thanks:

I would like to send a special and warmhearted thank you to Thorben Wuttke. Owner and master woodworker for Honolulu Furniture Co. Without your MAD SKILLS and exceptional taste, these machines would still be just a scribble on a bar napkin. Much Mahalo!!!AML blog 22 TW



  1. AES 74th Convention, September 1983
  1. "Article by Rane discussing the Linkwitz-Riley crossover, time-alignment, lobing and correction of lobe tilt in TM or MT speaker configurations."
  1. "Biro Technology article showing lobe correction with MTM loudspeaker configuration, and other analyses"
  2. "Biro Technology article, section 3"

Record Review: The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco featuring Nat Adderley

In the words of Ani Difranco: People used to make records As in a record of an event The event of people playing music in a room Now everything is cross-marketing Its about sunglasses and shoes Or guns and drugs You choose We got it rehashed We got it half-assed We're digging up all the graves And we're spitting on the past And you can choose between the colors Of the lipstick on the whores Cause we know the difference between The font of 20% more And the font of teriyaki You tell me How does it... make you feel?

Not so good. Until I dug up this essential gem!

From “In San Francisco”:1959: Riverside RLP 12-311

Players: Cannonball Adderley – Alto Sax Nat Adderley – Cornet Bobby Timmons – Piano Sam Jones – Bass Louis Hayes – Drums

Scale from 1-5. Sonics: 4 Performance: 4.4 Availability: 3.1 Recommend: 5+

It is so easy to forget the greats. It is easier to forget the not so greats, commercialized on today’s charts simply because they wear Revlon, or drive a Jaguar. This over commercialized business was all but nonexistent in the 1950s. Oh it was there, just not being screamed at you from the 80 foot LED screens at every corner. There was a “Word of mouth” thing going on in the jazz scene of the 50s. Like when we used to talk with our neighbors, and let the kids come home when the street lights came on. A time when names like Miles got you tapping your feet before even hearing the needle drop. One sax player would run into another at the barber and whisper in his ear, “Pssst, you know Timmons is gana dig with Cannonball in da ally tonight. Be there at 6:00 sharp. I’ll hode da door”… I wish I had been alive back then. I most certainly would have scraped up everything I had to make the trek to this session. There was no need for anything but a faded poster glued to the bricks out back. No LEDs, no Revlon, no BMW either. Just jazz…

When Cannonball Adderley joined the Riverside label, he was assured that his still-unformed band would be recorded promptly, whenever and wherever he felt ready. The quintet, featuring Nat Adderley and Bobby Timmons, was assembled in 1959 and the promise was kept that October at San Francisco's Jazz Workshop. The memorable result is heard here and it's one of the most exciting, influential, and successful "live" recordings in modern jazz history.

Without a doubt this is an essential jazz recording. The album was recorded live at The Jazz Workshop in San Francisco and released in 1959 on Riverside Records.  Cannonball Adderley was just ending his extremely successful tenure with the Miles Davis Quintet (resulting in the classics “Round About Midnight”, “Milestones” and “Kind of Blue”) when his own group caught fire with this release.  Joined by his brother Nat on Cornet as well as Bobby Timmons, Sam Jones and Louis Hayes, the group scored a monster hit with the Timmons track “This Here”.  The rest of the album is just as solid and paved the way for a very fruitful period for Adderley and the various groups he would front over the next few years. Essentially, many said this recording was the “ONE” that made the man. I wasn’t around back then, but if I had been I would have had to agree. Having a name is one thing, but in this 50s jazz world, the proof was in the pudding.

 I would have to agree with the idea that this groundbreaking album launched "soul jazz", according to NPR, bridging "the gap between bebop and funk". Producer and jazz critic Orrin Keepnews described the album as "the birth of contemporary live recording" and in May 1960, Time noted that the album's then 50,000 copies sold was "phenomenal for a jazz record", raising the album to the bestseller charts. Music critic Scott Yanow describes the album as a "gem […] essential for all jazz collections." I couldn’t agree more. From the first few rhythms on “This Here”, I knew there was something special about to happen in my listening room. I was wrong; it hit me deeper as the tune began to grow. By six minutes into this twelve minute track, I was no longer sitting in my chair. I was standing back of it, in total bliss. I believe I picked up a set of drum sticks and just held them in front of me, eyes closed, frozen in the moment. Wow…

The album was originally released by Riverside Records; the album has been reissued on CD several times since 1991 by Riverside and OJC. Remastered versions of the album include extended cuts of several of the songs on the original, including the retitled "(A Few Words by Cannonball...And) This Here". I have the original copy in front of me. I have listened to the CD release, yet firmly believe the vinyl is a far better way to take in this stellar record.  In the late 50s and early 60s Cannonball enjoyed unparalleled popularity, marked by the commercially successful Riverside releases of first his quintet and later his sextet (Yusef Lateef was the 3rd horn). The sessions were frequently recorded live, included spoken introductions by the ebullient Cannonball, featured mostly "accessible" tunes, and showcased at least one crowd-pleaser (This Here, Sack of Woe, Jive Samba, Mercy Mercy) that was also released as a hit single.

These sessions are memorable less for the individual solos than the fire of the ensemble, anchored and propelled by perhaps the best walking bass player in the business, Sam Jones. When I listen to these recordings, I can't help but lament the absence of such ensembles on the scene today as well as be reminded of the relatively tough times Cannonball would encounter in the late 60s and early 70s, when he had trouble booking the group. How is that possible? If only those clubs knew then what we do now. There is no doubt it would be the other way around with this sudden interest in 50s jazz amongst a younger generation now. A happy thing indeed, but possibly too late. Who do we have that can stand out like the musicians on this album today? Let me know if you find some. I need more!!!

"Live in San Francisco" is an exemplary session, certainly the equal of any of the other recordings by Cannonball with his own group. If a choice is to be made, another unnamed reviewer stated, “I would personally favor the recordings with Victor Feldman on piano, rather than Joe Zawinul or Bobby Timmons, the pianist on this particular session.” I can’t say I would agree. The group is the group on those numbers. You change just one element and it becomes something entirely different. One change and this album may have never been recorded.  Regardless, with the renewed interest in "acoustic" straight-ahead jazz, any of the recordings should be required listening for the ensemble sound alone. Rarely have I heard such a synergy between members of similar groups today. It just worked…

Like I said before, the tone was set with "This Here" and rocked the house with "Spontaneous Combustion". The solos by each member of the Quintet were fantastic. It was an opportunity to see Bobby Timmons who did the arrangements for "This Here" or as Cannonball stated he "corrupted" it to be "Dis Hear." What I liked about the LP (and now the CD) is that each song was not edited, the songs were allowed to the full length as was performed live. The unity of this group absolutely did bring down the house as, now the LP is doing the same in my home. It was amazing how the group would play in three quarter time with such precision that it makes a person jump-up and dance. (Or stand there with drool on your chin and a set of sticks in your hand like me. (Dork)

 Bobby Timmons solo on "Spontaneous Combustion," had more than a bit of "church gospel and R&B" in it. Putting hands in the air and letting out the occasional “Praise the Lord” is entirely acceptable behavior for this tune. It reminds me of when I would ride my bike down to a small black church on 17th street in Galveston Texas. It had a small white picket fence where I could lean up my bike, hop over and sit under a side window unnoticed. I could sit there for hours and hours, just letting the Sunday pass with the sweetest sounds of gospel filling my ears. I miss that time dearly and this brings it all home for me.  Julian "Cannonball" Adderley and brother "Nat" Adderley complemented each other while playing together or on solo. The Quintet was welded together in all six of the selections and is great for the ears. "Cannonball" had incredibly rhythmic solos, "Nat’s" jubilant playing accented by drummer Louis Hayes and bass player Sam Jones on most of the numbers, really moved those in attendance inside and those outside of the Jazz Workshop. Now, it moves me all the way out here on the rocks of Hawaii. Modern technology “ROCKS”!!!

I know I could live with this album for a lifetime. It is truly one of those rare pieces of history that changed everything. All jazz lovers will miss "Cannonball" and his brother "Nat." In the meantime we are given these beautiful recordings of the group’s appearance in San Francisco's Jazz Workshop. This album shows why Adderley's group was a pacesetter in funky soul-jazz and proving that they could outswing most of their competition. DO NOT pass this one up while flipping through the stacks at the record shop. It is an absolute MUST for any Jazz collection. Actually, for any collection period… This gem is essential!!!!

Keep your records clean ya’ll!!!


PS. The recording itself, is stellar as well…

Associated equipment: Analog: JWM Designs LLC MAG-lv/VPI/Rega/SL-1200/Funkfirm/SME Turntable (Custom built) Shelter 201, Ortofon 2M Red and 2M Blue, Shure 97XE phono cartages Hitachi FT-2 Tuner (Custom modified JWM Designs LLC) Digital: Oppo HD 980H, HP dv7-4183cl Notebook (extensively modified JWM Designs LLC) Amplification: Musical Fidelity XA-1 (Custom modified JWM Designs LLC) McIntosh MC2105 and MC2125 amplifiers (Custom modified JWM Designs LLC) Sound Craftsman DC2215 Differential/Comparator Equalizer Speakers: Klipsch Cornwall II (Custom built)Front Klipsch Tangent T50 (Custom built) Rear JWM Designs LLC JMSW12 Servo driven subwoofers (X-2) Each with 1,340 watt custom built HYPEX digital amplifiers Cables: Audio Quest Columbia and Colorado interconnects Kimber Kable 12HT speaker cables Audio Quest NRG-4 IEC power cables Dedicated 200A power source from mains panel feeding PS Audio Power Port Classics 20A 1 bottle of Barefoot Moscato!

Summer art!!!!

Well, it’s that time again. Summer is upon us. Time to put away the hammer and saw, dust off the paints and stretch some canvas! Those who know me well, see that summer is my time to create. When I thrive! The best works I’ve ever done were created in this time. For me, summers is the time for sloughing off the energy robbing vampires of the rainy season and seek out those truly intellectually and creatively stimulating individuals. A time to greet the sun with early morning walks at the tide pools. Taking the colors we saw in the rain forests of winter and mix them with the morning sun of the season. When the flowers and mountain apples are a plenty and the warm feeling of a perfect wave spawn the next painting. Sunday morning brunch with egg’s benny and a mimosa. White shirts and a north shore polo match. The smell of fresh Sex Wax on a hot long board.  Summer is for love of the world around us and the ones open enough in there heart to feel it. BRING IT ON!!!!


Where to begin? Rite here! I just finished a huge project that took many months of time and energy. The results are fabulous. Also plenty of fresh studio space ready to be filled with colorful memories. After all, that’s what our creations really are! Memories captured in time. We take all those colors, shapes and faces and words and everything and solidify them into the work, as a marker in eternity. Some are happy, some are angry. Some are sunny, some are dark. All legitimate though. All are relevant! All will speak volumes…


So, what is on the palette this summer? MIXED MEDIA!!! A revival of something old and a touch of something new. First will be a series I began years ago that I never was able to bring to fruition. A combination of photography, printmaking, oil, ceramic glazes, acrylic, melted rubber and dyed textile art. Yes boys and girls, textile exotic fabric. I messed around with this on the side all threw school, as well as at the South West School of Arts and Crafts. While teaching in the sculpture department I used to sneak over to the fabrics girl for some inspiration. After the prep was done, that same fabric was taken over to the photo department to be silver dyed. This enabled me to expose images directly into the fabric itself. That was only the beginning though. Some were stretched and the real fun began. Well, without revealing too much of the proses to you, let’s just say, I’m excited as hell!!! Time to put on the lab coat and get back to creating something amazing!!! (I’m glowing!) YES!!!

 The second series of the summer of 0-12, will have to be a surprise. I don’t want to get closure on the work before I even begin. I find too much talk before the process gets rolling, tends to lower the inspiration level a bit too low for me. So keep your shorts on! Patience grasshoppers. Patience…

OK then, that’s all I wanted to say for now. I’m just excited and had to tell someone. I hope all of you have the same glow about summer as I do. I also hope you all get out there and experience the world. Suck up some inspiration! It’s all around you. It’s rite in front of you. Can you see it? It sees you. Now reach out to it and let it play inside your heart.


You won’t regret it...

Happy creating!


Do you remember that song?!?!?

  It never ceases to amaze me how drawn to music we humans are. What is it about this structured combination of sounds that can have such a powerful influence over not only individuals, but entire cultures? The human brain, as well as most living creatures, evolved to detect sounds as a survival tool. Now, that same tool is used for detecting and comprehending scale and structure of all types of music! From a simple ring tone to a large scale symphony, then find the meaning and beauty that lies within the piece. Why? Styx Grand Illusion 180 gram vynal pressing

6 months ago, I came across an LP I had not even thought about in 20 years. No, make that 25. After taking a quick look at the liner notes and cover, I sat back for a listen. Before the first note hit my ears, I could remember the style and instrumentation, yet not the melodies and solos. After listening to the entire LP, something extraordinary happened. Later that day, and every day since listening to the album, I could “hear” the entire record in my mind, virtually note for note! When I say note for note, I really mean it. Complete and total recall of every aspect of the music, including drum fills, bass licks, phrasing in the solos, as though the last 25 years were suddenly erased. Simply hearing this record again unlocked a memory that had been filed away in my brain nearly an adult lifetime ago. Why?

diatonic flutes

If you know anything about data and music you can understand just how much “data” 45 minutes of music represents. How much other important information about your life can you recall from 25 years ago? Why in God’s name would the human mind allocate the significant resources necessary to store this music for so long and in such intricate detail? Even more astonishing than the fact that the human mind could hold on to such detail in these combinations of sounds for 25 years is that it would. Why?

Divje Babe Flute 63,000 years old

Let’s get scientific for a moment. From this perspective, every physical or intellectual function exacts a price in “overhead” for maintaining that function in terms of calorie intake and a myriad of other biological needs. So, any capability that does not directly contribute to the organism’s survival quickly disappears from the gene pool. Moreover, that saved brain capacity could be used for other functions that could more directly aid in survival. A simple example is we’re highly attuned to discriminating faces, understanding expressions on those faces, and remembering faces. The survival benefit in this is obvious. Being that said, what is it about music that is so important that our brain has developed a capacity to understand and remember it? Why?

mammoth-ivory flute 43,000 years old

  At its heart, I believe music is communication, and communication is vital to any species that relies on social organization. We have examples of instruments that date back 43,000 years. Despite the rigors of Neanderthal life, our ancestors found time to create music. There are artifacts that show, not only did our ancestors create and play instruments, but they had then worked out the diatonic scales to a precise hole-spacing in a hollowed out bone. This hole-spacing corresponds perfectly to a contemporary diatonic flute. Moreover, that diatonic scale has been with us since the dawn of music suggests the basis for responding to certain musical intervals has been common to humans for eons. Ahhhh…

concert flute

There are many authors and studies into the neurological effects of music. It is uncanny how the evolutionary biologists also come to many of the same conclusions why music matters so much. We are still a long way from completely understanding why we are such a musical species though. You should try a little experiment of your own. Grab a random LP out of the rack and take a close look. Try to hear what is on the piece before playing it. Next, play it in its entirety and just see if you get the same recall as I did. I found that the more I practice this, the better my mind taps into those dusty files and plays the memories more clearly. Much like a built in tape machine. Who needs a stinking IPod anyway? Save your money and buy a new needle for your deck. I guess until the smart guys in lab coats figure it all out, we will just have to look at our musical minds in wonder. Better yet, REMEMBER THAT MUSIC!!!!

PS. It was Styx-The Grand Illusion on the turntable. Love that record!

The best speaker you ever heard…

Sony Dream Machine 1 About a year ago, I was asked by a fledgling Audiophile: “Josh! What is the best speaker out there today!?!” What? That’s like asking what your favorite cheese cake is! What is the “BEST” Ben and Jerries’? What is the “BEST” Ferrari? Better yet, who is the “BEST” Jazz band? I asked him, “If you had to choose between listening to Miles Davis Kind of Blue on a bed side Sony Dream Machine (circa 1982) on an AM station, who’s transmitter was 300 miles away, or A Flock of Seagulls on a dCS Debussy front end, followed by all Ayre’ gear, powering through a set of burned in YG Acoustics Anat III Pro towers, What would you choose?” You could cut through the silence on the other end of the line. “The answer Grass Hopper is the ones you are enjoying right now.”

A Flock Of Seagulls

  The point is this: There are so many machines out there. They come in all shapes and sizes. These days, they also come in every color of the rainbow and more. Do you want the cutting edge of a tweeter that has such a high frequency reach that you could open your garage door with it? Perhaps you are looking for the subtle glow of the silk dome. Mid bass punch? Perhaps a more delicate kiss with the tweeter is more you style. Sub terrainian reach from a set of fat subs? For me, I prefer the “NON-SUB” approach from my subs. If I can hear them, they be too loud and simply are not natural.  Horns? Planers? Domes? Paper or carbon fiber? MDF or aluminum? Let’s not forget Beryllium! (Anyone out there had a chance to hear those diamond inverted domes in the Avalon Isis?) You get the idea. All are the “BEST”, for what they were designed to do. All were designed by someone. All have what that someone thought was closer to the actual performance in a given listening environment.  


Yes, we crazy audiophiles are always looking for Nirvana. We spend hours upon hours searching out the gear that gets us closer to, well, “THERE”! We want to experience that performance in our own home. Yes! That’s it! “THE PERFORMANCE”! This is all about the performance. If you don’t love music, what is the point? We love music with such a passion; we try to hear more of it. We strive for that “LIVE” sound we heard at the concert last night. We want to hear the woman in the 13th row with the sniffles. It brings the performance texture and a sense of realism. We want to hear the soft pop and tickle of dust on the record. It makes it sound like there is a woman in the 13th row with the sniffles! Sounds strange to most, but this is what it is about. Live music. MUSIC!!!

All Ayre' System. Perfect...

  So, back to my friend. We had a long discussion of this approach to audio. MUSIC! Being that this kid is half my age, he always thought good sound came from little silver discs, or more recently, bits streamed to an IPhone. Well, it was only recently that he discovered those bits BYTE! I can’t tell you the joy in my heart when he said all his recordings sounded compressed and dull after getting a taste of the 180 gram pressing of Tool-Lateralus. (Which should be in every audiophile’s, err, tool kit) ”Hallelujah!” Not only that, he heard it on a $350.00 second hand Techniques SL-1200 fitted with a Shelter MM cartridge, (roughly $175.00) Bellari tube phono pre-amp, ($250.00) Musical Fidelity X-A1 ($400.00) and a pair of Silverline Minuet Supreme speakers ($600.00) I think the cables were Audio Quest. His excitement was through the roof, so I couldn’t make out what he was saying to well. This was a guy who actually thought you needed to spend 100K on a system to run an IPod packed full of compressed crap to move the soul. (For-mentioned system would set you back a cool 380K) Nope!

dCS debussy

  I made these suggestions to him, for I knew he was on a budget. Also, I have heard, and own some of the same gear. I just knew through experience, they would sound good together. When you submit to this thing called “Audiophilia”, you will understand, all gear has a sonic signature. The trick of approaching “Nirvana” is to create a synergy between all the components own characteristics and build that “LIVE” experience. As for my friend’s system, sure nuff! I also know what he likes to listen to in his tiny little room he rents in Makiki. When you are sleeping, eating, studying, dating, and whatever else in the same 12x12 space, there is no need for a huge set of Wilson Alexandria XLF, or even a sub for that matter. The system fits the space and the “MUSIC” the owner loves most. Simple…

MilesDavis-Kind Of Blue


 A few months later, I asked my friend, “What is the best set of speakers you have ever heard”?  After a long pause,,,,,,,, “mine!” he said.

 Enjoy them my friend…


Associated Equipment:


Bellari VP129

Shelter 501 II

Musical Fidelity X-A1

Silverline Minuet Supreme