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Art Dudley Posted: Jun 06, 2014 8 comments
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.—William Morris (1834–1896)

The Arts and Crafts movement, which took root in England in the late 1800s, was more than just a reaction to the poor working conditions and the soulless, shoddy, superfluously decorated wares associated with the early days of mass production. It was a rejection of Victorian attitudes toward class: of a mindset that promoted a chasm, in industry as in society, between the designer and the craftsman, the architect and the stonemason.

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David Lander Posted: Jun 06, 2014 1 comments
According to Terry Teachout, Duke Ellington's story is one of "a somewhat better-than-average stride pianist largely devoid of formal musical training [who] managed to turn himself into a great composer." Ellington had ample help from his organization, which included the gifted composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn, who succinctly described his employer's modus operandi: "Each member of his band is to him a distinctive tone color and set of emotions, which he mixes with others equally distinctive to produce a third thing, which I call the Ellington effect." Without standout band members, and without Strayhorn himself, that effect would have been significantly less memorable.
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Robert Baird Posted: Jun 06, 2014 2 comments
While it can be used when talking about any musician, having “chops” is a phrase that applies particularly to saxophonists.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2014 24 comments
There I was, making my way room-to-room toward the end of the show when suddenly Jeffrey Catalano of New York City's "2 channel with attitude" High Water Sound appears.

"Aren't you coming to my room on the 10th floor?" asks a man who clearly has been hounding the hallways . . .

Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2014 0 comments
Speculation has it that a big reason for such large attendance at the Los Angeles & Orange County Audiophile Society meetings are their raffles of valuable cabling and electronics. T.H.E. Show Newport Beach followed suit, with hundreds of people gathering in the Hilton Courtyard at 2pm Sunday for the "must be present to win" opportunity to win over $25,000 worth of High-End Audio Give-Away goodies. This photo, which shows white-shirted publicist Lucette Nicoll snapping a photo of the raffle stage, only pictures part of the large crowd.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2014 44 comments
Stephen Mejias, formerly of Stereophile, now VP of Communications at AudioQuest, performed a most convincing cable comparison using the company's top-of-the-line AudioQuest Diamond Ethernet cable ($695 for 0.75m, $1195 for 1.5m). In a system whose JRiver-equipped MacBook Pro fed CD-quality files to an Audio Research Reference DAC, Audio Research Reference 75 amplifier, and Vandersteen Treos outfitted with a double bi-wire pair of AQ WEL Signature cabling, Roy Orbison's "Crying" sounded one-dimensionally flat and a little bright on top via a generic Ethernet cable. When Stephen switched to the AQ Diamond Ethernet cable, voice and instruments suddenly and dramatically acquired depth, air, dimensionality, and subtlety.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 05, 2014 16 comments
Another great singer/songwriter at the Atrium Poolside was Audra Lee. Check her out on YouTube or her Facebook page. Gratitude to Richard Beers and Bob Levi for such great entertainment.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 05, 2014 8 comments
Ever the audio expert, and always the music lover, Philip O'Hanlon of On a Higher Note distribution managed to produce enough top end in his smaller, mood-lit room to go a long way toward compensating for the ground floor's acoustically-generated grayness. Baritone Matthias Goerne's voice sounded very warm and simply gorgeous, as did a cut from Illinois Jacquet's fabulous Birthday Party LP. Images were huge and deep, with surprisingly profound bass.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 05, 2014 2 comments
Hands down, the most impressive full-range system I encountered during my first hours in T.H.E. Hilton on Day 2 of T.H.E. Show Newport Beach was jointly sponsored by Synergistic Research and Scott Walker Audio of Anaheim. Held in the freezing Crystal Ballroom, which definitely called for hot music as an antidote to potential hyperthermia, the system paired Magico Q7 loudspeakers ($185,000/pair), VAC's Master Signature preamp w/phono ($40,000) and State monoblocks ($78,000/pair) with an unidentified computer audio/music server set-up and unauditioned Kronos Sparta turntable with arm ($28,000) and Sonorus ATR open-reel machine ($17,500).
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 04, 2014 28 comments
Entering the first of four rooms sponsored by Brian Berdan's Audio Element of Pasadena felt like coming home. Not only was I among familiar friends—Wilson Audio Sasha Series 2 loudspeakers ($29,950/pair); mighty VTL Siegfried Reference monoblocks Series II ($65,000/pair), accompanied by VTL's TL-7.5 Reference line preamplifier Series III ($25,000) and TP-6.5 Signature phono stage ($12,000); dCS four-stack, state-of-the-art Vivaldi Digital Playback System ($108,996 total); Transparent Opus MM and Reference cables ($105,500 total); Grand Prix Audio Silverstone 4-shelf Isolation system ($19,175), Monaco-5 shelf Isolation system ($8400), and Formula Platforms ($6900); Audience AdeptResponse aR12TSS power conditioner ($11,545); and, a bit less familiar, Grand Prix Audio Monaco 1.5 turntable ($23,500) with new Tri-Planar SE tonearm ($7500) and luscious Lyra Etna cartridge ($6995)—but I also finally heard a quality of musical presentation that decades upon decades of attending live performance have led me to hunger for.


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