Art Dudley Posted: Apr 03, 2015 0 comments
I was weak and easily led.

In 1978, after enduring four or five years of wretched music made by men with long hair and beards and tendencies toward eonic guitar solos, I suddenly discovered that the only music worth hearing was made by clean-shaven men of limited musical proficiency. I embraced the Clash, the Pistols, the New York Dolls, the Ramones, and the Buzzcocks. I cut my hair and gave away some of my old records. I even threw out my copy of Jethro Tull's A Passion Play—which, now that I think about it, wasn't that bad an idea.

Then I woke up and remembered: I'd left the baby in the bathwater.

John Marks Posted: Apr 03, 2015 2 comments
As a film title, Quantizing Hanson Hsu might not rank up there with Kissing Jessica Stein, but we work with what we have to work with. Hanson Hsu is the principal designer at Delta H Design, Inc., an acoustics and architecture firm based in Marina del Rey, California. Though he dabbles in some weird science, Hsu doesn't wear a white lab coat, literal or figurative. He's down-to-earth and personable, with a conversational style that evinces warm wit and a real love of music. At one point in our conversations, he exclaimed, "I get so much joy when things sound good."
J. Gordon Holt Posted: Apr 02, 2015 Published: Oct 01, 1978 2 comments
Despite the myriads of technological breakthroughs announced month after month with tedious regularity by manufacturers of pickups, amplifiers and loudspeakers, there are only five developments in the 101-year history of audio reproduction (footnote 1) that we would call truly revolutionary. We will doubtless offend many by stating that Edison's phonograph was not one of them. It was the starting point, it was not a turning point. Emile Berliner's disc was revolutionary, in that it changed the whole format of sound reproduction, and made possible true mass production of recordings (footnote 2).
Margaret Graham Posted: Apr 02, 2015 Published: Aug 01, 1982 0 comments
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No.6 Op.82
James Boyk, piano
Performance Recordings PR-3 (LP). James Boyk, prod., Michael Fraser, eng., Doug Sax, mastering eng.

James Boyk has become something of a phenomenon. Not only is he a Professor of Music (at Cal Tech) who teaches how to listen to reproduced sound and writes articles about sound reproduction (for New West magazine), he is also a virtuosic pianist who produces perfectionist-caliber recordings of his own recitals. This recording, Mr. Boyk's third LP (footnote 1), is of one of Prokofiev's later works, and is a magnificent piano recording. Much credit must be given to both Mr. Boyk and his recording engineer, Michael Fraser. The instrument seems to be right in front of one, with as accurate a sound as any piano reproduction I have heard. It is interesting to note that the recording was made with ribbon mikes (the legendary Coles 4038s, perhaps?) and all-tube electronics "from mike to grooves."

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 01, 2015 22 comments
An event at SSI 2015 that, to the best of my knowledge, was unique for an audio show, involved the setup of an "on location" recording studio, and the making of actual recordings. No, not a "Garage Band" App, not a "home recording studio," but a real professional studio, involving some $300k's worth of equipment, and the services of professional recording engineers. The project, called La VibZ Studio, was initiated by Stephan Rich, musician and sound technician, and brought together for the SSI 2015 event vocalist/pianist Anne Bisson, the Give Band (featuring vocalist Caroline St-Louis and Stephan Ritch on the guitar), and Hans Wilwright. The attendees were provided with Sennheiser cordless headphones for listening to the playback.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2015 24 comments
A transitional show, then—or one with potential to be so. I dearly hope that, with a bit of freshening-up and a few new ideas, Salon Son et Image will be back next year, bigger and better than ever.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Mar 31, 2015 18 comments
I'm usually not a fan of male baritone jazz singers, not even Johnny Hartman (except, of course, on his album with Coltrane): they tend too much toward the operatic, and they're usually too smooth, too eyebrow-arched suave, for my taste anyway. But Jose James is something else, and his new album, Yesterday I Had the Blues (Blue Note), goes down like a rare vintage port on a chilly night.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2015 6 comments
Montreal dealer Audioville drew crowds to the St. Pierre ballroom with an impressive system built around B&W 800-series loudspeakers, Conrad-Johnson electronics, and an AudioQuest Dragonfly-equipped Apple MacBook Pro, cloud-streaming CD-quality files from Tidal. Adding to the SRO factor were the workshops conducted by AudioQuest's Steve Silberman, under the title of Computer Audio Explained. (Actually, it was Audio Informatique Appliquée.)
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Mar 31, 2015 18 comments
Montreal dealer Coup de Foudre's exhibit featured the 2012 Stereophile Loudspeaker of the Year Vivid Audio Oval K1 (USD$26,000/pair), in a system featuring Luxman electronics. I've never heard these speakers sound anything less than great, and their sound at SSI 2015 did nothing to change my previous impression. I really liked the red of the demo pair, and asked importer Philip O'Hanlon if it was a popular choice. He said that although the red is much admired, most people end up choosing a different, more conservative, color. I guess I'm not like most people. My Avantgarde Uno Nanos are red, and so is the last car I bought.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 30, 2015 2 comments
As mentioned in my earlier report, Sony came to town with more than just a system's worth of ES-series components. As I discovered on Saturday morning, they also brought the new NW-ZX2 ($CAD1199), which is the new big brother—forgive the fraternal illogic of the metaphor—to last year's well-received ZX1. The new Sony, which will be reviewed by Michael Lavorgna in the May issue of Stereophile, offers the same Dynamic Sound Enhancing System as the company's HAP-Z1ES file player, and its amplifier is more powerful than that of the ZX1; perhaps best of all, the ZX2 provides 128GB of built-in storage. . .


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