Last week I participated in Music Matters IV, the latest in a series of evening events at Definitive Audio in Seattle. It was my first time, so I didn't know what to expect.
In an economy that has many stores on the ropes, Definitive is doing welland I could see why. The store is drop-dead gorgeous, the staff in really knowledgeable, and store owner Mark Ormiston has pared the lines down to a selection of brands known for solid engineering and superb customer service.
(That's actually crucialstores that have "everything" seem attractive, but stores that focus on what they perceive to be the best tend to actually know their products better. Which, in turn, means that they match components to customers with greater accuracy.)
Definitive also has some of the best sounding demo rooms I've heard. I brushed against an end wall in the demo room I was presenting in and discovered on reason why: There was about 9" of bass trapping hidden behind what looked like an ordinary wall.
For the Music Matters event, Definitive set up five soundrooms to present a wide range of options. For sensibly priced audio there were rooms with Rotel and B&W, in addition to Peachtree Audio and Magnepan. Linn was there with a single-brand system approach based on its Klimax DS. There was a home theater demo. Ayre was demonstrating its new DPS turntable and a prototype of its QB-9 USB DACthrough some very fine Magnepan 20.1s, reinforced by a pair of JL subwoofers. I was in the last two-channel room with the newest Wilson Maxx series 3, driven by all Audio Research gear, augmented by Peter McGrath's Sound Devices Model 722 hard disk recorder packed with McGrath's hi-rez digital recordings. All of the rooms were wired with Transparent Audio cable.
What was I doing there you ask? I was asked to pontificate on the future of digital audio, which segued nicely with the McGrath recordings, since I think hi-rez is the future of high-end digital (albeit stored on computer hard drive)and a very rosy one at that.
The way Music Matters works is that each room worked up a 20-minute presentation, introducing the gear, but playing as much music as possible. Participants remain in each room for the duration of the presentation and then move on to another. The event lasted from 5pm-10pm, so that yielded 10 presentations per room. Since this was the fourth Music Matters, the Definitive staff had it down to a science and everything moved along like clockwork. And did I mention that there was food and adult beverages involved too?
When the doors opened at 5pm, a huge crowd rushed in. Over the course of the evening, there must have been 400 guestsin our room, the only presentation that had an empty seat was the one at 9:30, by which time the crowds had thinned.
The people who attended seemed savvy about audio, intently interested in music, and enthusiastic about Definitive. I enjoyed Music Matters IV and I'll go back for MMV in a heartbeat.