Party in the Music Hall room
We first spotted Music Hall’s beautiful Ikura ($1195, including cartridge) back in January, at the Consumer Electronics Show. The ‘table, which ships with Ortofon’s excellent 2M Blue cartridge, will finally be available in early 2014. Word is that Mikey Fremer will receive the first sample and that old Sam Tellig wants a shot at it, too, but you can be sure that I’ll get my turn. Music Hall’s sexy Mooo Mat platter mat ($75) is made of real cowhide bonded to a piece of cork. I’m as concerned as Mikey Fremer about the potential for static and stray cow hairs, but Music Hall says cowhide actually has very good anti-static properties and the combination of cowhide and cork does a great job of canceling vibrations. Further, the hides go through a special tanning process to eliminate the possibility of shedding and odor. (Whew.) It looks so good, I’m willing (and anxious) to try it.
Besides the always interesting gear, Music Hall’s rooms invariably contain plenty of outstanding music. I walked in to Daft Punk’s “Lose Yourself to Dance.” The sound was clean, present, full-bodied, and full of groove. The system was beautifully balanced and modestly priced: Ikura turntable, Epos Elan 10 loudspeakers ($1000/pair) on their matching st15 stands ($299/pair), and Music Hall a15.3 50Wpc integrated amplifier ($549) and matching c-dac15.3 CD player/DAC ($549). Although the a15.3 comes with a built-in phono stage, for this show, Music Hall employed Creek’s obh-15mk2 MM/MC phono preamp ($595). I have samples of the amp and CD player waiting to be opened; look for reviews later this year.
By the end of my visit, I was drunkon music, that is, Music Hall’s Leland Leard having fed me shot after shot of great new music recommendations.