The Entry Level #40 Contacts
Audioengine, 126 Industrial Drive, Building B, Burgaw, NC 28425. Tel: (877) 853-4447. Web: www.audioengineusa.com.
Cambridge Audio, US distributor: Audio Plus Services, 156 Lawrence Paquette Industrial Drive, Champlain, NY 12919. Tel: (800) 663-9352. Web: www.cambridgeaudio.com.
The Entry Level #40 Page 2
While the AudioQuest DragonFly has a black zinc-alloy case with subtly rounded edges and a smooth, almost rubbery texture, the Audioengine D3 has a case of injection-molded aluminum with very clean, flat edges. Small as both models are, the AQ easily feels more solid, more pleasant to touch. By contrast, the Audioengine feels somewhat tinny and hollow. The AQ is almost impervious to fingerprints; the Audioengine wears them with apparent pride.
The Entry Level #40
Today, the system sounds better than usualin fact, amazing: warm, detailed, powerfully present, remarkably true. But how can this be?
Kiko and that Lavender Moon
I can still see both their faces, the Los Lobos lovers and those who’d dismissed them as a roots rock band, albeit one with East Los Angelino Latino flavors, when the band’s masterpiece Kiko came out in 1992. One listen to “Angels With Dirty Faces,” or the odd, musical weeping willow tree that is the album’s title cut and of the two groups, the fans were probably more shocked because their heroes had gone all art rock on them. This was not the straight ahead, often danceable vibe the band had been purveying since the late 70’s.
Ambrose Akinmusire, The Imagined Savior…
Three years ago, Ambrose Akinmusire, 28, burst upon the scene as the most promising young jazz trumpeter since Dave Douglas. His debut album, When the Heart Emerges Glistening (on the Blue Note label), was hailed (and not just by me) as one of the best of 2011.
Building a Better Hi-Fi Shop with a Little Help from Indiegogo
When high-end audio retailer AudioVision San Francisco got hit with an unexpected eviction notice, Antonio Long and Randy Johnson realized they had to either raise funds fast for a move or close up shop. That's when they decided to generate support via what is undoubtedly the first high-end retailer Indiegogo fundraising campaign.
"We got inkling of the move right before the holidays," Randy told Stereophile.
Sharing the Joy of Music at SSI 2014
I must admit that I was a bit worried when the change in ownership of Salon Son & Image was announced. What if the new owners want to move the show in directions that ruin what made the show successful in the first place?
There is a long-standing tradition of a snowfall in Montreal during or just after the show; in fact, several people at SSI 2014 joked with me about whether there would be some "audio snow" this time. For a while, it looked like this year would be an exceptionand then the snow came down Sunday morning, blanketing the city. It stopped around noon, but left the streets covered, turning into slush.
My original plan was to walk down to Old Montreal in the afternoon, taking pictures, etc., but the weather was too nasty for that.
Woo Audio's Tubes
I think of Woo Audio as a manufacturer of fairly modestly-priced tube headphone amplifiers, so I was surprised to see in the Woo Audio exhibit something that was clearly more upscale. The WA5 is described as an "SET class-A transformer-coupled speaker and headphone amp." It's available as a base model at $3400, but the version with all upgrades (special tubes, etc.) brings the price up to $6400. The power output is 8Wpc, so your speakers had better have high sensitivity.
Brosseau Audio Video's affordable system
A sub-$5000 system that apparently involved careful consideration of alternatives was the one assembled by Patrick Sareault, Director of Sales for Montreal area dealer Brosseau Audio Video. Serault told me that the first component he picked was the Hegel H-80 ($2000), a DAC/integrated amp (75Wpc) that had impressed him greatly. He combined this with the Dali Zenzor 7 loudspeaker ($1700/pair) and Marantz CD 5004 CD player ($550). That brought the price up to $4250.