LATEST ADDITIONS

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Art Dudley Posted: Jun 05, 2015 2 comments
"I don't know what I think on that one. I haven't written about it yet."—Walter Lippmann (attributed)

As sometimes happens, this started out to be a very different column. But by the time I was a thousand words into it, I found that my point of view had changed.

A number of months ago, I received from a Canadian company called BIS Audio a review sample of their Expression interconnect: a shielded, unbalanced interconnect terminated with Eichmann BulletPlugs (RCA). Priced at $480 Canadian per 1m pair, the Expression falls squarely in the middle of BIS's interconnect line: a lowish range for high-end audio, and suggestive of a manufacturer that values value.

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John Marks Posted: Jun 05, 2015 1 comments
The business of high-end audio can fascinate me almost as much as does high-end audio itself. Designers and entrepreneurs such as Frank McIntosh, Avery Fisher, Saul Marantz, Edgar Villchur (AR), David Hafler (Dynaco), and Henry Kloss (AR, KLH, Advent, Advent Video, Cambridge Soundworks, Tivoli Audio) combined technical brilliance and varying levels of business skill with flairs for publicity and marketing. Many of their products became objects of desire, and some became household names in the post-WWII era. Of that list, only McIntosh and Marantz are still in business as high-end audio companies—the latter relatively affordable, the former exclusive.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Jun 04, 2015 13 comments
As readers of this space know, I'm a huge admirer of Maria Schneider's music, but her latest, The Thompson Fields (on the ArtistShare label), breaks through to a new level. It's her most ambitious recording, and her most accomplished; it places her in the pantheon of big-band composer-leaders, just below Ellington, Strayhorn, and Gil Evans at his very best; it's a masterpiece...The Maria Schneider Orchestra is playing at Birdland, in Midtown Manhattan, through June 6.
Jason Victor Serinus Sasha Matson Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 03, 2015 3 comments
One of the most delightful annual surprises of the now departed Las Vegas installment of THE Show was stumbling upon the NFS (Not For Sale) room. Assembled by the distinguished personage known as Buddha, it allowed visitors to become submerged in a combination of post-psychedelic revelry, good sound, lots of free booze, and a total absence of hawking...
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 03, 2015 0 comments
Resolving to get an early start, I skipped breakfast and hit the show floor at 10:30am on Sunday. Will Kline of Fine Sounds (left) and Sunil Merchant (right) of Covina, CA's Sunny's Components were justifiably proud of the simply beautiful midrange created by the marriage of Wilson Audio Alexia loudspeakers ($52,000/pair) and Audio Research components. This wasn't the most transparent of systems I auditioned, but it was unquestionably among the most musical.
Herb Reichert Posted: Jun 03, 2015 4 comments
Photo: Jason Victor Serinus

During THE Show, the Woo Audio/M•A Recordings room became my restful oasis. I am an extreme fan of M•A Recordings and its most worldly proprietor, Todd Garfinkle (right above in Jason's photo). Todd makes perfect-sounding recordings of real in-the-world music. Not audiophile recordings of some faux chanteuse in clown makeup singing songs she doesn't understand for an audience that cares more about sonics than poetic expression. In contrast, Todd Garfinkle picks up gypsies in the Paris Metro and brings them home. He shares his best food and wine with them—and finally, when they are properly "prepared," he turns on his recorder and gets them to chant, shout and play wedding songs—with tubas, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, accordions, drums and fierce stomping boots!

Sasha Matson Posted: Jun 03, 2015 7 comments
Sunday morning may be a time of rest for some people, but not at THE Show Newport 2015. I felt a bit like an earnest medic making my room rounds: "Morning, I'm Doctor Matson. And how is our stereo feeling today?" My first patient was doing just fine, and ready to be discharged. PBN Audio, out of San Diego, led by designer/owner Peter Bichel Noerbaek (above)...
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 02, 2015 12 comments
If I were forced to spend a week alone on a desert island, with my only companions a small, battery-powered player and one person's music collection, I'd have a tough time setting between the libraries of Jeffrey Catalano (High Water Sound, in the room above), Philip O'Hanlon (On a Higher Note), and John DeVore (Devore Fidelity). While their musical predilections certainly vary, all have impeccable taste when it comes to repertoire and artistry...
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 02, 2015 0 comments
Headphonium, Earphonium, Canjam. Every audio show has its own name for a section set aside to serve headphone enthusiasts, an increasingly active audiophile sub-segment. The one at this year's Newport show was smaller than the one I recall at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest show last fall. But among the newcomers were headphones from Mr. Speakers (like the $1499 planar designs shown here)...
Sasha Matson Posted: Jun 01, 2015 21 comments
In the AudioQuest room I found my good friend and audio guru Joe Harley (Had to take a selfie of myself, left, and Joe—my original high-end guru—right.) Along with Garth Powell, brilliant current designer of recent AudioQuest hardware, I listened to another really fine system. Debuting at the show was the new AudioQuest Niagra 7000 Conditioner ($7000), which Joe Harley told me has changed his life. And when Joe tells me things about audio, I pay attention...

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