Followup: The British Invasion Visits NYC at In Living Stereo
This past Wednesday (12/5/2012) at New York City’s In Living Stereo, a diverse crowd of music lovers and audiophiles congregated on the listening room’s floor for a chance to hear a few choice sides from the new Beatles LP remasters. Attendees overflowed from the listening room into the lobby where they waited in anticipation to sit on that floor and get a listen to the new LPs.
Upon my arrival, the presentation was already half-way through. The looping sample at the end of “A Day in the Life” rotated around turntable taunting me as I waited behind clusters of folks to get a seat: “never could be any other way… never could be any other way… never could be any other way.” Eventually, I found a seat on the floor just in front of the centered couch at the edge of the floor rug. When sitting up straight, my ears were level with and centered in between the tweeters on the DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/96 loudspeakers. Jeff Magid, Director of Custom Production at Capitol Records, curated the evening with inside stories on the remasters and music selection. After Side One of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, we were entertained with the Side Ones from Magical Mystery Tour and The Beatles. The LPs were played back on a Rega RP6 with a Dynavector 20x2L cartridge via the Shindo Vosne-Romanee preamplifier. Amplification came from the 9-watt single-ended Shindo Cortese, a suitable pairing for the highly-sensitive O/96s.
It’s difficult for me to comment on the sound of the remasters, as I’ve honestly never heard any original Beatles pressings except for possibly my copies of Yellow Submarine and Abbey Road (I need to look that up!), but I can offer some thoughts. I found the LPs tastefully quiet and through the DeVores, the mixes came across well-delineated but not edgy. The system’s overall warmth brought much of the instrumentation together in gentle waves of sound, while creating an impactful soundstage with dramatic size and presence. During “Dear Prudence”, multiple layers in both height and depth within the recording revealed themselves: the vocal isolated and centered with the guitar more distant but not hidden and pushed to the right. Transients were soft and graceful as exemplified through the effortless swoops of the strings during “I Am the Walrus”, but these same soft transients made the guitar solo on “Back in the USSR” lack a little bite. Overall, the sound was emotive and well paced thanks to some richness in the bass, drawing out the natural rhythms and movements within the music.
Stephen Mejias reported on the Beatles Remasters tour of hi-fi stores across the US in early November, and I’m happy to report back this evening was a wild success in New York, with people pouring out the door and listeners happy to be hearing their favorite music on a great system. Hopefully, we can look forward to more events like these in hi-fi shops across the country. The tour concludes this Friday in Fairfax, Virginia. If you’re around, don’t miss the opportunity.