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Philharmonic BMR Tower Speaker Review: Strike Gold Twice?

by November 03, 2021
Philharmonic BMR

Philharmonic BMR

  • Product Name: BMR Tower Speaker
  • Manufacturer: Philharmonic Audio
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: November 03, 2021 02:00
  • MSRP: $ 3,700/pair
  • Buy Now
  • Frequency Response: 25Hz - 20kHz (+1.5 / -3dB) anechoic
  • Drivers:

Tweeter: RAAL 64-10X OEM

Midrange: 2 x Tectonic Balanced Mode Radiator 2.5”

Woofer: ScanSpeak Revelator 8”

  • Sensitivity: 86 dB (2.83v/1M)
  • Box Alignment: Mass Loaded Transmission Line
  • Impedance: 6 ohms
  • Crossover:

Linkwitz-Riley 2nd Order Acoustic at 850 Hz

Linkwitz-Riley 4rth Order Acoustic at 3,800 Hz

  • Finish options: Piano Black / Piano White / Mirror Rosewood
  • Weight: 72 lbs
  • Size: H 44” x W 12” x D 15 ½”
Philharmonic BMR Tower Review: The Best Audiophile Speakers You Never Heard Of?

Pros

  • Extremely accurate response over a wide angle
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Subwoofer-like low-frequency extension
  • Classy styling
  • Bargain pricing for speaker of this caliber

Cons

  • Sensitivity is somewhat below average

 

We were pretty stunned at what Philharmonic Audio delivered for the cost in our review of the BMR Philharmonitors a couple of years ago: a phenomenal bookshelf speaker with true full-range extension and near-perfect response on and off-axis. What was more is that the build quality and finish were outstanding and on the level of what would be expected of far more expensive loudspeakers. Sadly, the sale of the BMR Philharmonitors was put on hiatus shortly after our review was published. They eventually brought it back due to popular demand but at an increased pricing, although even at its current $1700/pair cost, we still consider it to be one of the best bargains in high-fidelity audio at the moment.

BMR Tower pair10

Needless to say, the BMR Philharmonitor has its fans, and we were some of them, so it was of particular interest to us when Philharmonic Audio announced the BMR Tower. The basic formula is simple; take the BMR Philharmonitor and tower-ize it. However, as we will explore in the design overview section, the engineering challenges aren’t as straightforward as just taking the BMR Philharmonitor and making it bigger. Nonetheless, Philharmonic Audio has now released the BMR Tower, which they claim offers the same BMR Philharmonitor sound but with a wider dynamic range and deeper bass extension. It’s a lot more speaker and priced as such at $3700/pair. So, the question that it naturally poses is does it still have the same ridiculous level of value that the BMR Philharmonitor does? Let’s take a deep dive into the BMR Towers to find the answer…

Packing and Appearance

The BMR Towers arrived at my doorstep in two large and heavy boxes. Lifting them was a challenge, and I would encourage buyers to have either a dolly handy to move the packaged speakers or a healthy buddy who can help carry them. They were double-boxed with thick edge protectors lining every edge. Inside, there were four thick polyethylene foam blocks to keep the speakers safe from shock on every side. The speakers were covered in a cotton sack to protect them against moisture and scuffs. The overall packing is above average and approaches the level of care I have seen on much more expensive items.

BMR Tower packing

Once unpacked, the speakers surprised me with a finer gloss finish than I was expecting. These speakers are positively gleaming. I received the Rosewood mirror finish, and these speakers look much more expensive than they actually are. They can also be had in a gloss white or gloss black finish. They have a flat front baffle with rounded edges and curves back to a narrow rear baffle that just barely has enough room for two vertically installed binding posts and a label with identification information. The drivers are mounted directly on the baffle and are not set in waveguides or mounting plates. The drivers have a matte black texture and do not visually pop out very much, although I would guess they would stand out quite a bit more on the white finish.

BMR Tower pair w grilles     BMR Tower pair hero2

Philharmonic provides grilles to cover the drivers, and the grilles come in a two-piece set for each speaker: one capsule-shaped piece that covers the midranges and tweeter and another piece that covers the woofer. In my opinion, these grilles look a bit strange and do not improve the bare look of the speakers. I do think the speakers look nice without the grilles. The grilles are bound to be a source of diffraction, so their only useful function is to protect the drivers. If the drivers are unlikely to come into contact with anything in the environment that the speakers are placed in, the grilles would be best left off.

Design Analysis

Much like its bookshelf speaker predecessor, the BMR Tower is a somewhat complex design as loudspeakers go. Naturally, some of the design elements are taken from the BMR Philharmonitor, but some new problems had to be solved. The engineer, Dennis Murphy, tells me that the BMR Towers were more challenging to design than the BMR Philharmonitors. Let’s start our overview of the design with the tweeter, the venerable RAAL 64-10X. This 64-10 is a newer design than what was used in the BMR Philharmonitor that we had reviewed, and it supposedly has just half as much distortion at higher output levels. To describe the tweeter, we will just quote what was written in the BMR Philharmonitor review since all the same commentary still applies:

BMR ribbon close2The BMR Philharmonitor uses a ribbon tweeter by the highly-regarded Serbian manufacturer RAAL. Ribbon tweeters are normally found on expensive speakers and are highly sought-after for their linearity, detail, and high-frequency extension. What makes a ribbon tweeter so special? The answer is the low mass of the diaphragm. Ribbon tweeters work by placing very thin, conductive ribbon that is usually either conductive tracings on material like Kapton or simply a very thin aluminum strip in a tightly-controlled magnetic field between two permanent magnets. When alternating current is run through the ribbon, it vibrates as its magnetic charge rapidly oscillates between positive and negative. Proponents of ribbons claim they are better as high-frequency reproducers than domes because their moving mass is much lower than domes and therefore can accelerate and decelerate much more quickly, and this quicker movement makes for a more realistic sound. However, ribbons have historically had a few disadvantages. Among those disadvantages is they are more expensive to manufacture, and they were fragile, so they were not as capable in midrange frequencies as in treble. They also need a transformer to raise their electrical impedance to a usable level, which naturally raises their manufacturing cost and makes them a larger component. The BMR Tower addresses the low-frequency fragility by just using the ribbon where it is strongest, at treble frequencies and above and not tasking it to play outside of its comfort region.

The BMR Tower uses two Tectonic BMR drivers and mounts them in an MTM configuration with respect to the tweeter. Compared to the BMR Philharmonitor, the additional BMR driver doubles the power handling of the midrange, and since that is where most music “lives,” it is a considerable advantage, especially for those who like to listen at more spirited levels. The MTM mounting arrangement accomplishes two ends. It keeps the midranges at an equal distance from the tweeter so that any vertical off-axis crossover nulls only occur at one frequency band. The midrange drivers will also greatly reduce vertical off-axis dispersion, especially at the upper end of its bandwidth, and that should make for a better match for the tweeter at the crossover point since the ribbon tweeter has such a narrow vertical dispersion. The vertical off-axis cancellation should also reduce acoustic reflections from the floor and ceiling as well. 

The Tectonic BMR midrange driver utilized by the BMR Towers is an interesting piece of technology. Again, we will quote the description of the BMR driver from the BMR Philharmonitor review since it still applies:

BMR Tower md tweeter closeThe ‘BMR’ stands for ‘Balanced Mode Radiator.’ It’s not an expensive component but it is a sophisticated piece of engineering nonetheless. It is an extremely wide-band, flat-diaphragm, 3” driver that uses weighted rings on the diaphragm to dramatically reduce cone break-up. Cone break-up occurs when the excursion of the driver happens so quickly that the cone can’t keep a uniform shape and begins to bend in various ways. This happens to all drivers at high enough frequencies, and the results are that the response starts to get heavily distorted past a certain frequency. The larger the cone, the lower in frequency that break-up will start to affect the response, and this is one of the reasons why midrange drivers are smaller than bass drivers, and dome tweeters are smaller than midrange drivers. Filtering out break-up artifacts has always been a challenge for loudspeaker designers, so any driver that doesn’t have as much of a problem in this respect makes designing a good speaker much easier. The exact method that Tectonic uses to reduce break-up with their weighted rings is rather complex but is explained in this white paper.

 
  Revelator motor

Revelator coneFor low-frequency production, Philharmonic turned to the Scan-Speak Revelator family of drivers, an 8” bass driver that Philharmonic used in their first speaker, the Philharmonic 3, back in 2012. It has an unusually low resonant frequency of 21Hz for an 8” driver with an 88dB sensitivity. It is a fairly beefy motor section with a 2” thick magnet stack that has a 5” diameter and a 2” diameter voice coil. It also uses a very light but rigid paper cone that is attached to a cast aluminum basket. Its qualities make it a great choice for the kind of alignment it is used in by the BMR Tower: a mass-loaded transmission line. This type of transmission line doesn’t use a cabinet with internal folds for a long, convoluted path like a conventional transmission line but rather places the woofer and port at just the right locations and loads the cabinet with damping material at just the right points so that port produces output at a quarter-wave of the driver’s output instead of an entire cycle behind like a traditional vented speaker. The advantage of a transmission line is that the speaker can gain deeper bass extension and the driver is loaded more precisely for greater control over the cone’s movement. Philharmonic claims the speaker has a 22Hz tuning frequency which is significantly deeper than most ostensibly “full-range” tower speakers that seldom dig under 40Hz with serious power.

BMR Tower crossover 

BMR Tower rearThe crossover frequencies are 700Hz from bass driver to mid-ranges and 3,900Hz from mid-ranges to tweeter. The crossover circuit uses a Linkwitz-Riley 2nd order acoustic slope from bass driver to mid-ranges and a 4th order acoustic slope from mid-ranges to the tweeter. It is not a simple design and features a slew of bulky poly-film capacitors, inductors, and resistors. Clearly, a lot of tweaking was involved to optimize this circuit. The relatively high crossover frequencies will do a lot to keep the mid-ranges and tweeter out of strenuous frequency ranges and ensure that the BMR Towers will be capable of louder playback without putting the drivers into danger or incurring heavy distortion.

The enclosure is made from MDF and is well braced with two rib braces and a window brace. It has a 1 ⅛” thick front baffle, and both midrange drivers have their own sealed compartments. Internally, it is jam-packed with stuffing throughout the enclosure except at the bottom around the port where there is no stuffing, and that type of distribution is needed to execute the mass-loaded transmission line design. This all loads a pretty sizable 3” diameter port that has a 9” length and is heavily flared on both ends. The feet are some brass cones that are attached to a disc end with a ball joint, so they should be able to accommodate most types of flooring without a problem. I am glad that Philharmonic has eschewed spikes here that seem to be so popular in this segment. The grilles are not flimsy and have some solid frames. They are magnetically attached, but, as was said before, these grilles only serve to protect the driver diaphragms. They will not improve the sound, although they probably won’t hurt it in any meaningful way.

Listening Sessions

In my 24’ by 13’ (approximately) listening room, I set up the speakers with a few feet of stand-off distances between the back wall and sidewall and equal distance between speakers and listening position. I angled the speakers to face the listening position. The listening distance from the speakers was about 9 feet. Amplification was handled by a Pioneer SC-55. No room correction equalization was used. No subwoofers were used.

Music Listening

Little KahunaAs always, I started listening to the speakers with music that focuses on the human voice, and the first album I choose for this end was Vana Liya’s “Little Kahuna.” This new release is heavy on Caribbean music styles, mainly reggae, with Liya’s warm voice taking center stage. This is easy-going music, and Liya’s voice is beautifully recorded and mastered which makes this album great demo material for hi-fi sound systems as well as a sheer joy to listen to. How well would the BMR Towers express Liya’s sheer talent and innately gorgeous voice?

The first thing that struck me upon firing this album up with the BMR Towers is how expansive the soundstage is. Some of the percussion is mixed to span across the channels, and on the BMR Towers, they seemed to span across the width of my entire listening room. Liya’s voice was fixed solidly in the center between the speakers, yet the light reverb added to her voice made it seem as though she were singing in a much larger acoustic environment than my home theater room. As an album deeply rooted in reggae, the bass line was thick although not overbearing since this music is too relaxed to go hard on bass, and the BMR Towers conveyed the appropriate weight of the bass as the foundation of the rhythm. Liya’s voice, as well as those of guest singers, sounded rich and natural as did the instrumental accompaniment. The album as a whole was presented with an even tonal balance, and it was difficult not to tap my feet to the catchy rhythms. There is no doubt that Vana Liya has a bright future ahead, and if more people could hear her music as presented by the BMR Towers, that future would be very bright indeed.

Justice LeagueFew genres are as effective as orchestral music for evaluating audio systems, since so much of the frequency spectrum is used simultaneously. If something is over-emphasized, it can usually be easily heard in relation to other elements of the recording. One orchestral work that I decided to listen to with the BMR Towers was the music soundtrack to “Zach Snyder’s Justice League.” The distinction of “Zach Snyder’s Justice League” versus the first release of “Justice League” is particularly important since the scores are totally different. Danny Elfman composed the music for the first release while Thomas Holkenborg aka Junkie XL composed the music for Zach Snyder’s version. Much like the accompanying movies, Holkenborg’s music is darker, heavier, and more grandiose than Elfman’s score, and one reason I chose it was because Holkenborg is not stingy with the use of bass in his scores, which ought to give the BMR Tower’s transmission line design a chance to shine. Indeed, among composers, Holkenborg shows up in our subwoofer reviews almost as much as Hans Zimmer.

The BMR tower had subwoofer like extension.

The soundstage reproduced by the BMR Towers for the Zach Snyder Justice League score was enveloping, and the resultant sound was lush and cinematic. The breadth of the soundstage created by the speakers lent the music a slight symphonic hall effect even though it was doubtlessly recorded in an orchestral recording soundstage. As such, there weren't many precise imaging aspects of the album with the exception of the occasional solo vocalist. The sound was ‘big’ as would be hoped for from such an epic score. The dynamic range was also well-executed, and the BMR Towers had no trouble replaying this bombastic score at spirited levels. The heavy use of bass drums did not trouble the Revelator woofer, and it was able to keep individual bass elements distinct such as the drums, electronic bass lines, lower-pitched brass, and bass violins. Subwoofers were not missed at all. They might have been able to add a more tactile effect at higher SPLs, but the sound that was produced by the BMR Towers was very complete without subwoofers. The spectral balance of the music sounded natural and lifelike, and I didn’t notice anything peculiar or out of sorts. The only oddity I noted was just how deep these tower speakers could dig; they did have a subwoofer-like extension. Most ostensibly full-range towers aren’t really full-range and do give up on the lowest audible octave, but the BMR Towers seemed to be catching the lowest frequencies that this music contained. Overall, Holkenborg’s score proved to be an enjoyable listen on the BMR Towers, and there is no doubt that lovers of orchestral music will love what these loudspeakers can do for their music collection.  

Brabant 1653For vocal work of a more complex nature than a solitary voice, I found a marvelous album entitled “Brabant 1653: Baroque Vocal Music from Brabant” performed by everyone’s favorite Dutch period music group Holland Baroque. In “Brabant 1653,” Holland Baroque demonstrates the personality of religious Dutch music from the 17th century, and how developed it had become despite the fissure between Catholics and Protestants. This recording, released on the venerable Pentatone label in the spring of 2021, has the highest level of production quality and was streamed on Qobuz in a deserved 96kHz/24-bit resolution. High-fidelity audio was invented for recordings like this; how well would the BMR Towers translate these immaculate performances?

The BMR towers products true to life photographically vivid sound.

The soundstage, as presented by the BMR Towers, was clearly rendered, and it sounded as if I were sitting two rows back in the chapel of the church in which this performance was recorded. The singers occupied their various positions that spanned the breadth of the speaker’s placements, and each singer, as well as instrumentalist, imaged with precise stationing. The ambiance of the church came through nicely, and the reverberation seemed to emanate outside of the boundaries of the speakers’ placement. The sounds of the voices and instruments were reproduced with exquisite detail. Everything sounded true to life, and no timbral element was even slightly exaggerated or dulled. The BMR Towers produced a neutral sound, but it would be foolish to mistake neutral for boring; the performance was photographically vivid, and again I find myself amazed at the magic that a simple stereo system can create. These speakers seemed to be a perfect match for this recording, and it is hard to imagine how it could have sounded any better.

SayohimebouIn our last review of a Philharmonic speaker, I wrote about my listening experience with the Japanese artist Sayohimebou with their album “Crystal Lamai.” I figured why not keep a good thing going and listened to another Sayohimebou album on the BMR Towers, this time “卡拉OK♫スターダスト東風” which Google translates to “KARAOKE OK♫ Stardust Dongfeng.” This is electronic music that bursts at the seams with energy and inventiveness and is barely held together by the conventions of traditional music composition. Every studio effects filter is cranked up to max on this album, and the music is heavily reliant on sampling, although the sampled sources are taken way out of their original context. In other words, this is music of a wholly artificial nature, unlike many music recordings that try to emulate some kind of normal acoustic setting. While listening to this album is like taking a train ride to Crazytown, there is still method to this madness, and I was eager to find out what it would sound like on the BMR Towers.

From the first moments of this album, the BMR Towers painted a scene that resembled a cross between a sugary kid’s cereal commercial combined with recontextualized modern art. Sampled sounds zipped back and forth across the soundstage like hyperactive cartoon characters leaping out of frame only to instantly appear on the other side of the picture. The phase tricks employed by Sayohimebou combined with the extraordinarily wide soundstage projected by the BMR Towers made this musical schizophrenia seemingly extend over the entire front hemisphere of my listening room. The nature of the speakers and the nature of the music both elevated each other to create a truly unique sonic experience, a polychromatic explosion that splattered layers of glowing neon paint on every exposed surface. This music could really throttle bass as well, but the BMR Towers could belt out the kick drums and electronic bass lines with a visceral punch. The precise imaging ability of the speakers were a treat to hear on an album from an artist who is almost totally unconcerned with reality. Sayohimebou is most definitely an acquired taste, but this music is bonkers in the best sense of the word, and the BMR Towers makes bonkers sound the best that it possibly can. I can strongly recommend these refined high-fidelity speakers to fans of bonkers music everywhere.   

Movie Watching

To hear what the BMR Towers could do in terms of dynamic range, I decided to throw on a big-budget Hollywood action movie, and one that I had not yet seen but promised some real sonic fireworks was “Mission impossible 4: Ghost Protocol.” The “Mission Impossible” series has always been a reliable choice for wild action scenes that are not quite so over-the-top as to become cartoonish, and such a major production was sure to have some of the best sound engineering that money can buy. I cranked the volume for this viewing, and the fourth “Mission Impossible” movie did not disappoint for elaborate action pieces and death-defying stunts. The iconic theme song sounded terrific on the BMR Towers. Most of the action scenes were reproduced with liveliness and energy. The car chase in Dubai during a sandstorm was one notable example of that: the deep bass of the wind buffeting alongside the revving of a turbocharged V8 engine. The launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine was another example: the thunderous blast of the launch was authoritatively reproduced by the BMR Towers. For those who want to rock an action movie, the BMR Towers showed themselves to be capable, and they have more than enough dynamic range for normal domestic use. However, with a specified 86dB sensitivity, I might look elsewhere for THX Reference Level dynamics in a large dedicated theater room. I watched “MI:4” at loud levels and didn’t notice any distortion or compression, and I doubt most users would reach the limits of their dynamic range.

Under the SkinTo hear what the BMR Towers would sound like on something with a more exotic sound mix, I watched the 2014 science-fiction movie “Under the Skin.” This Scarlett Johansson movie merges erotic thrillers with sci-fi with a nearly experimental vibe, and it has the sound mix to match. In this movie, Johansson plays an extraterrestrial femme fatale who roams the streets of Glasgow looking for solitary men to lure away toward their doom where they are consumed. The plot may sound like B-movie cheese but it really is merely an excuse in achieving a very particular mood. How well would the BMR Towers assist to fulfill this movie’s goal in mood-setting?

The sound mix turned out to be somewhat more minimalist than I expected, but it was richly textured nonetheless. Much of it sounded like field recordings and was more realistic to human experience than traditional Hollywood sound mixes. The BMR Towers gave these scenes the immediacy required for their effect, and dialogue intelligibility was never a problem, even though everyone had a thick Scottish accent. But the most noteworthy element of the sound was undoubtedly Mica Levi’s eerie score which sounded like a mix between a classic gothic horror film score and avant-garde neoclassical with its use of sustained minor-key strings. To hear it rendered with such exactitude as the BMR Towers could manage was an unnerving experience. If one word could sum up “Under the Skin” as an aural experience, that word would be stark, and the BMR Towers were more than sufficient for capturing the unique soundscape embedded in this movie.

About the author:

James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

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Recent Forum Posts:

ryanosaur posts on November 21, 2021 16:05
Mikado463, post: 1518824, member: 78272
Thanks for the follow up Richard !

The tube amp does look a little funky IMO with the IC's out front ?
How else better to show off your $1000 cables! All the more so since you'll need an extra 3' per to run them around the front!!!

Mikado463 posts on November 21, 2021 15:19
Thanks for the follow up Richard !

The tube amp does look a little funky IMO with the IC's out front ?
Swerd posts on November 21, 2021 12:57
Here's follow-up from the recent Capital Audio Fest. The Absolute Sound sent at least two people to the show. One of them, Andrew Quint, had some nice things to say about two different speakers. Both are Dennis Murphy designs.

First, the Philharmonic Audio BMR Towers

"Philharmonic Audio is a DC-area company but definitely not one of the “tinkerers” that Alan referred to above. The brand doesn’t have a dealer network but has a worldwide constituency for its speakers. The new BMR Tower ($3700) is a transmission-line design employing a Revelator woofer to produce a reported in-room response down to 25Hz. In a system including a Topping DAC and preamp and a Hypex SMPS1200A400 power amplifier, the speakers fared extremely well on both large-scale orchestral and chamber music. On the basis of sonics alone, the speakers are a bargain; add in the exquisite carpentry and finish and they become an incredible bargain.“

Next was the Salk BePure 2. The photo, unfortunately, was not of the the speaker, but of a 40 wpc tube amp used to drive the BePure 2. The amp cost more than the speakers!

”Time spent in a Salk Sound room rarely disappoints. Jim and Mary Salk were playing a two-and-a-half way floorstander, priced at $6000, that’s so new that it doesn’t actually have an official model designation. (Salk was leaning towards BePure 2—because the speaker has a beryllium tweeter and utilizes two 6? woofers sourced from Purifi in Denmark.) Amplification was provided by a McGary Audio SA2 ($7985), a Class AB Ultralinear output-stage stereo tube amplifier that puts out an honest 40Wpc into an 8-ohm load, when KT88 tubes are used. The DAC was an Exogal Comet ($2500). As always, the caliber of the woodworking and finish was second to none. Natalie Merchant’s rendition of “The Peppery Man” with a gospel quartet was completely absorbing."

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/capital-audio-fest-2021-andrew-quint

Andrew Quint’s Best Of Show
Best Sound of CAF 2021
The Voice that Is: Ideon/TIDAL/Siltech
Best New Product
Salk Audio BePure 2 loudspeaker
Best Value
“Actually Fairly Inexpensive” division:
Philharmonic Audio BMR Tower loudspeaker ($3700/pair).
“It’s All Relative” division:
Alta Audio Alec loudspeaker ($10,000/pair)

Not bad for 3 day's of work!

Another TAS writer had more to report, including mention of the $85,000 Kharma Midi Equisite speakers. I only mention that because @Mikado463 had asked about them.
https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/capital-audio-fest-2021-alan-taffel
tktran303 posts on November 14, 2021 21:59
D Murphy, post: 1515450, member: 88657
Ya think? Looking at the 2012 price list, you could grab a pair of the Mini's for only $56,000/pair, or go a little upscale with the Classique Signature for a mere $125,000/pair. Need speaker wire? You can line up a pair of 2 meter runs of Kharma Enigma Extreme Signature cable for only $32,500. Act fast while the last.






I wise fellow once said to me

"The price race is another problem. If I look at, say, loudspeakers, companies like Kharma put out speakers that are 10 times as expensive as a about 1/10th as well designed. The relativism that rules in a market as utterly democratic as the high end allows situations like this to exist without anyone inside that market asking questions. How are we to establish supremacy in a market that's so saturated and where everything goes? Tough, eh?"
Danzilla31 posts on November 14, 2021 21:56
Swerd, post: 1515345, member: 5544
My last comment about the Capital Audiofest is about vinyl record sales on the lobby floor. I passed through once before leaving that day.

An old Beatles album caught my eye – Yesterday and Today. I bought that album sometime in 1966. For those who don't know this bit of trivia, that album was first released in the US with this controversial cover photo:
51336
It was soon withdrawn and replaced with this:
51337

My album has the second photo. The used album for sale at the CAF had the same photo, but the price tag said $550!! Apparently the second innocuous steamer trunk photo was pasted over the controversial butcher photo. The guy selling the records showed me several features that made identifying the paste-over job easy. As soon as I got home, I found my album, and sure enough it was clearly a paste-over version as well. Hmm … $550 could buy me some medium grade boutique speaker cables.

Even better, my album is mono, not stereo. In the upside down world of oddball collectors, that should make them even more valuable.
Thank you for all the writeups I bet that was so much fun.
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