Excellence from On a Higher Note and British Audio Guys

Together, distributor Philip O’Hanlon of S. CA-based On a Higher Note (OAHN) and Neil Strickland of British Audio Guys, a dealership in Sherman Oaks that specializes in British brands, set up an extremely pleasing and musical system. While O’Hanlon cued up tracks, Strickland was available to explain to showgoers the ins and outs/whys and wherefores of Graham Audio loudspeakers, which he used extensively as a BBC engineer.

This was one of several rooms to partly rely on the excellence of tape, here played on a SonorouS ATR 10 Mk II tape deck ($32,000). When I entered, the gentlemen were playing Shelby Lynne’s “Just a Little Lovin’.” Standard audiophile fare, yes, but superbly recorded stuff that, on this system displayed a lovely array of colors and superb midrange. The voices of the fabulous Betty Carter and Ray Charles also sounded, yes, fabulous. So was the ideal bite on the horns and brass.

A track from the LP, Roy Gaines’ I Got the T-Bone Walker Blues—a recording produced by Joe Harley and mastered by Bernie Grundman, sounded equally alive and vital on top yet smooth. An excellent showing.

Also doing the honors: Graham Audio LS8/1F speakers ($11,500/pair), MoonRiver 404 Reference integrated amplifier ($5995) and MoonRiver 505 phono stage ($5995), Bergmann Audio “Modi” air-bearing turntable with “Modi” air-bearing linear tracking tonearm ($17,000) and Hana ML MC cartridge ($1200), Artesiana Audio “Treated Glass” turntable platform ($3850) and Prestige rack, Cardas Audio cabling, and some really fine DJing on the part of Philip O’Hanlon.

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