OwlTail

Cover image of beginner audiophile | hifi | gear reviews | stereo | hi-end audio

beginner audiophile | hifi | gear reviews | stereo | hi-end audio

Michael O'Neal and his co-hosts bridge the gap between the clueless big box stores and the snobby stereo shops. Every show is filled with gear reviews, commentary, and interviews aimed to find out what makes a real world difference in your listening experience, how to get the most bang for your buck, and frankly, how to begin experiencing your music in the way it was intended.

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25: Bookshelves + Sub VS. Tower Speakers, and KEF LS50 Wireless First Impressions

Dude.  We're getting the BAND back together!!  Dr. Paul Anderson and I (The OG!) are back for episode 25 of BA.  After catching up, we chat about the incredible KEF LS50 Wireless, and offer our first impressions.  Then, we dive into a few of your questions before the GREAT BOOKSHELVES + SUB VS. TOWER SPEAKERS BAKE OFF.  (The results might not be what you think...)

1hr 3mins

3 May 2018

Rank #1

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15: The Turntable/ Record Player Renaissance, and Why You Should Care

Today we’re talking a bit of turntables, and what it takes to set one up.  Turntables used to be the “gold standard” for listening, until digital files came along.  Now, we are romanticizing the process…and it’s well worth it.  After talking turntables,  We also dig into a question or two, and give you the picks […]

1hr 2mins

30 Aug 2017

Rank #2

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3: A Deep Dive Interview with Andrew Jones, The Speaker Designer Who’s Breaking The Rules of the Audiophile Industry

Today’s show is a real treat.  We got to sit down with Andrew Jones (Of TAD / Pioneer Fame) of ELAC.  We’d first heard of Andrew a couple years ago when he made these insanely affordable Elac Debut B6 Speakers (See Episode 1 for A Review of these $250 marvels) and he continues to break new … Continue reading 3: A Deep Dive Interview with Andrew Jones, The Speaker Designer Who’s Breaking The Rules of the Audiophile Industry →

58mins

25 Feb 2017

Rank #3

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17: Everything You Want to Know About Subwoofers, But Were Afraid To Ask

Ahhhhhh….subwoofers. That “Punch you in the chest” feeling when your favorite song really moves you. Although subwoofers are easy to plug in and turn up loud, that doesn’t give us a true audiophile experience. We want to feel it…but only if it’s being called upon.  So, in this episode, President and Managing Partner of SVSound Gary Yacoubian and … Continue reading 17: Everything You Want to Know About Subwoofers, But Were Afraid To Ask →

55mins

11 Oct 2017

Rank #4

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44: New Gear For Beginner Audiophiles

On this show we talk about some new gear from Elac, Pro-Ject, Audioquest, Amazon Music and more!  

33mins

30 Sep 2019

Rank #5

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8: Speaker Placement 101

No matter how high end your speakers are, you’ve got to put them in the right place to maximize the sound. The old adage says “a cheaper, well placed pair of speakers will sound better than a more expensive, poorly placed set.   In this solo episode, Michael breaks down a few different methodologies of … Continue reading 8: Speaker Placement 101 →

40mins

10 May 2017

Rank #6

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42: Anatomy of an Affordable, KILLER 2 Channel/Home Theater Setup

Today I share the story of a home theater install I did for my good friend Jase Bennett (@jasebennett) of The Ohana Adventure.  They have a youtube channel of over 2.6 MILLION (!) subscribers.  Jase and his wife have 6 kids, and he wanted an amazing place for all of them to watch movies.  We were really shocked by the result of this install! have a look at http://beginneraudiophile.com/gear to check out our recommended gear, and some of the gear we used in the install.   Also, if you are looking for incredible bang for the buck, look no further than SVS Sound! http://svsound.com 

40mins

18 Jul 2019

Rank #7

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45: Being A Kid in the 70's and 80's, and how it Shaped Our Music Tastes, with Brooks Hollan. AudioQuest Cobalt Review

Everyone has a story.  Many of us that were kids in the 70's and 80's had that friend or that kid in school that had all the cool stereo gear.  Today my pal Brooks Hollan (@life_of_brooksie) and I talk about being a kid in a very influential time for planting musical seeds.  We then review the AudioQuest Cobalt...is it the best portable DAC? 

1hr 4mins

26 Oct 2019

Rank #8

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7: Do Speaker Cables REALLY Matter??

On today’s Beginner Audiophile, we “bake off” 4 different speaker cables from Monster, Blue Jeans, Analysis Plus, and Monoprice to see if A: if we can hear any difference, and B: if the difference is palpable enough for us to make a buying decision. We also give an Anthem update, and announce the winner of … Continue reading 7: Do Speaker Cables REALLY Matter?? →

44mins

26 Apr 2017

Rank #9

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13: Songs To Test and Tune Your System With, Backing Up Your Audio, and More!

On today’s show Harris and Michael talk about songs and albums they use to “test and tune” their systems.  We also briefly talk about a couple pieces of gear we are testing: The AudioControl Rialto 600 integrated amplifier, and the NEXDrive Spectra Headphone DAC/Amp.  Mike talks about his home setup with Kodi and Airfoil, and … Continue reading 13: Songs To Test and Tune Your System With, Backing Up Your Audio, and More! →

50mins

26 Jul 2017

Rank #10

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9: Getting The Most Bang For Your Buck on Stereo Gear, With Harris Fogel

Harris Fogel (http://maceditionradio.com) joins us for a chat about how he became an audiophile, what kind of gear to look at, and how he’d spend $1500 to get great sound!           Gear Guide, Topics & Highlights: Philip Glass – Glassworks Album Polk Speakers Ampzilla Dynaco Hafler Amps Luxman Turntables TIDAL audioquest … Continue reading 9: Getting The Most Bang For Your Buck on Stereo Gear, With Harris Fogel →

56mins

23 May 2017

Rank #11

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34: Setting Up A New Room | The Great DAC Bakeoff | Listener Questions

Dr. Paul Anderson is back on the show!  We are setting up his new place in LA, and spent many hours dialing in the room.  We chat about what it takes to set up a new room, in terms of speaker placement, what to listen for, etc.  We had some really surprising results, especially with subwoofer setup and what it did to Paul's Harbreth monitors.   Then, we listened to a number of different DAC's (digital audio converters) and the results were also REALLY surprising!  Everything matters! 

58mins

12 Feb 2019

Rank #12

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35: 2019 Audiophile Gear "Bargains"

Today Dr. Paul Anderson and I go through the best "bargains"  (in quotes because some are quite pricey...but still relative bargains to the competition) in audio in 2019.  Please pardon my cough...I was nursing a bit of bronchitis on this episode!  Remember to follow our Instagram account at http://instagram.com/beginneraudiophile.

36mins

26 Feb 2019

Rank #13

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23: Buying Older Gear, Marantz AVR Review, Setting up your Audition Songs, Your Questions…

Patrick Norton and Michael O’Neal catch up on the latest news, what gear is in the review funnel, and talk about the Elac Debut 2.0.  Then we talk about how to set yourself up to audition gear at a stereo show or a conference.  Michael reviews the Marantz SR7009 and we talk about how to […]

1hr 8mins

4 Apr 2018

Rank #14

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6: Resolution Demystified, Oppo Sonica DAC/Streamer Review, What is The WAF?

On today’s Beginner Audiophile, we start by explaining the WAF, audio file resolution, and Michael gives an aptX update.  Then we jump into the review of the OPPO Sonica DAC and what made a huge difference while we tested it. Finally, we dig into your questions. Gear Guide, Topics & Highlights: 04:26 – KEF LS50 Wireless Speakers … Continue reading 6: Resolution Demystified, Oppo Sonica DAC/Streamer Review, What is The WAF? →

57mins

11 Apr 2017

Rank #15

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4: The Great Subwoofer Bake-Off, and Nicholas Brown of SVS

On today’s show, Paul and I test out various ways to integrate a subwoofer into your 2-channel and multichannel system, including doing the infamous “subwoofer crawl”.  We also check in with Nicholas Brown from SVS live from CES, and have a special announcement about winning a great pair of 1moreUSA earbuds! Gear Guide: 10:36 – REL … Continue reading 4: The Great Subwoofer Bake-Off, and Nicholas Brown of SVS →

1hr 3mins

14 Mar 2017

Rank #16

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22: Talking Amps & Watts with Patrick Norton, The Winner of the 1moreUSA Triples, & Your Questions!

Episode 22 of Beginner Audiophile is jam packed! Patrick Norton Co-Hosts this one with Michael O’Neal.  We talk about the reality vs. myth of amps vs. watts in amplifiers, dig into reviews of the Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless and the Hive Home Security System, answer a few listener questions, and announce the winner of the 1moreusa.com […]

1hr 14mins

8 Mar 2018

Rank #17

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24: The Headphone Show! CanJam 2018, "Bang for the buck" cables, Joe Harley of AudioQuest, and More

Today the boys wrap up what they saw and heard at CanJam 2018 in Los Angeles, including tons of mini product reviews.  We strapped on Sennheisers Orpheus $50,000 headphone system to mindboggling results.  And chatted with Joe Harley about being one of the founders of Audioquest, what gives you "bang for the buck" in audio cables, what it's like to hit a home run with a device like the DragonFly, and more!! 

1hr 3mins

16 Apr 2018

Rank #18

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29: Hi-Res Music on Your iPhone, Marantz SR8012 Review, How To Build Your System, and More...

On today's episode Michael O'Neal (@solohour, @beginneraudiophile) starts by talking about how to get Hi Res music to play on an iPhone.  (It's not as simple as you might think!) Then Patrick Norton (@patricknorton) jumps on to talk amplifiers.  Mike reviews the SR8012 Receiver, and they wrap up with a couple of listener questions, including how to build your system...speakers first or front end first?  

1hr 2mins

25 Sep 2018

Rank #19

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12: Wireless Technologies, USB DAC Review, New Music Recommendations

On today’s show, after catching up with Harris and Michael, we talk about DTS-PlayFi and other wireless home technologies, give some feedback on the ELAC UB5, Harris reviews the AudioQuest Dragonfly and the Night Owl carbon headphones, and introduce you to some great new music that just came out.   Gear Guide & Links Niagara … Continue reading 12: Wireless Technologies, USB DAC Review, New Music Recommendations →

1hr 7mins

12 Jul 2017

Rank #20