SSI 2009

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 06, 2009 1 comments
Like many Stereophile readers, I read with great interest, and a certain amount of incredulity, Jason Victor Serinus's rather gushing CES report on the Sennheiser HD800 headphones. Now, I have a lot of respect for JVS's opinions—we share an appreciation of opera and other vocal music, and we're both great fans of Fritz Wunderlich—but, reading his report, part of me was intrigued and another part was thinking "Come on, Jason, these are just headphones, what's the big deal?"
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 06, 2009 2 comments
I first heard the prototypes of the almost-all-glass Arabesque from Dutch wire manufacturer Crystal Cable at the 2009 CES, where they produced sound in the Audio Basics room that belied my negative expectations. Demmed at SSI with Simaudio 5.3 series CD player and amplification, the Arabesques, now in full production, again produced a promising sound. With my my recording of "The Mooche," from Editor's Choice, the Arabesques put me squarely in the church acoustic of Chad Kassem's Blue Heaven Studio in Kansas, where the recording was made.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 06, 2009 5 comments
René Laflamme's recordings on the Fidelio label have always been favorites of mine, though his choice of repertoire—like the new "It's a Small World" project—sometimes cause my eyebrows to raise. SSI was my first chance to hear high-resolution versions of some Fidelio recordings, played back from René's laptop feeding data via asynchronous USB to the dCS Scarlatti upsampler set to do nothing other than translate the USB datastream to AES/EBU at 96kHz to drive the dCS Elgar Plus D/A. As this has a volume control it was connected direcrtly to a pair of Nagra VPA tube monoblocks which in turn drove the Verity Sarastro 2 speakers that Fred Kaplan reviewed for Stereophile in April. Cabling was all-Shunyata. René uses all-tube microphones and records directly to a Pyramix digital audio workstation. The sound of a transcription for brass and organ of "Mars" from Holst's The Planets was to die for on this system, one of my "best of shows."
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 06, 2009 0 comments
Robert Gaboury stands with his little Gemme Audio Soprano.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 04, 2009 Published: Apr 05, 2009 0 comments
Son-Or-Filtronique's Dany Poulin stands with the Verity Audio Finn. Paired with the Audio Research VSi60 integrated amplifier and CD 8 disc player, the Finns, which are rated at 91dB efficiency and use a rear-firing woofer, were making some gorgeous sounds.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 04, 2009 Published: Apr 05, 2009 5 comments
I adored the sound in the small Son-Or-Filtronique room with the Audio Research VSi60 integrated amplifier, Audio Research CD8 disc player ($10,000), Verity Audio Finn loudspeakers ($6000/pair CAN), and Shunyata cables. Adored it.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 05, 2009 0 comments
Box Furniture Co.'s Anthony Abbate started as an apprentice to furniture maker Robert Martin. A love for music, sound, and hi-fi would soon get Anthony building equipment racks for his personal system. Later, a chance meeting at Max Fish, the colorful little bar on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side, with speaker designer John DeVore, would lead to a partnership with DeVore Fidelity, building John's handsome speaker cabinets. (Oddly, but perfectly, Anthony would later later discover that John had sold him some of his old hi-fi equipment. Their relationship was obviously a product of fate. And you can't mess with that.) Anthony's equipment racks and isolation platforms, like the speaker cabinets, are nothing exotic or gaudy. Instead, they are simply elegant. But not elegant in the precious sort of way. Elegant in that nothing is wasted. Elegant in that form matches function. Anthony's work simply is what it is; pure and honest lines, mortise and tenon construction, catalyzed finishes, handmade in Brooklyn, New York.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 1 comments
The Pierre Gabriel speakers usually demonstrated at the Montreal show are normally humongous affairs, and, with partnering equipment by Jadis, the system price may leave you with little change from a $500k bill. I was surprised, then, to see a relatively modest-looking—but still very-good-sounding—speakers playing in the Pierre Gabriel/Jadis room.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 4 comments
Is it just my perception, or do people who are looking through bins of LPs have a kind of happy excitement about them? The vinyl-buying folks at SSI sure seemed to be a really happy lot. Selecting CDs seems to be a much more matter-or-fact endeavor. And I can't imagine anyone getting too excited about the act of buying a new hard drive for their music server.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 0 comments
Which do you prefer: tube sound or transistor sound?
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 0 comments
SSI had a display of vintage gramophones and radios, courtesy of Montreal's Emile Berliner Museum. They've had this for several shows now, and it's always wonderful to see these artifacts that tell the history of our hobby. The Museum is member-supported, and publishes a pamphlet, His Master's Voice, four times a year, in English and French.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 2 comments
No, it's not the fact that the Sheraton Centre bar is not absolutely teeming with people. They're in the exhibitors' rooms, listening to music.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 0 comments
Based in Calgary, Alberta, Grant Fidelity is the North American distributor of a range of Chinese-made audio electronics, under various brand names.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 4 comments
"Oui, Monsieur! You get a copy of Stereophile magazine with every admission to the show! It's an unbelievable deal, n'est ce pas?"
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 04, 2009 1 comments
What a cool piece of gear: Handmade in Plymouth, Minnesota, the Audio Research VSi60 vacuum tube integrated amplifier ($4000) is a fairly compact unit (14" x 8" x 16") that delivers 50Wpc. Its milled top plate has an inset AR logo, while its striking front panel has super-cool function and volume LEDs on the left and totally caressable, soft-touch buttons on the right.

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