We have lost a great artist. Mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, 52, who had previously triumphed over breast cancer, died at her home in Santa Fe on July 3. While The New York Times obituary did not specify the cause of death, other reports suggest she died from cancer, leading to speculation that the claims of back trouble and gall bladder inflammation that led to a string of cancellations in the past few years were related to a recurrence of the disease.
The sound in this room blew me away. When I walked in, Dr. John's "In a Sentimental Mood" was sounding as lovely and mellow as can be. Switching gears 180°, Reference Recordings' LP issue of Stravinsky's Firebird had absolutely amazing bass. "Amazing," I wrote twice in my notes.
Lowther-America showcased their prototype, 98dB-sensitive speakers. Aimed at the DIYer, but potentially available in finished form, the open-baffle design uses a Lowther PM5a, Rythmic subwoofer with dedicated servo amplifier, and SLS ribbon tweeter crossed over at 11kHz (DIY parts cost approx. $4500, custom-built approx. $12,000).
Little did I know, as I began my second day at RMAF 2010, how grateful I would be for the laid back sound in the LSA Group and AudioKinesis rooms by the time the day ended. The combination of LSA1 Statement monitors ($2600/pair) and and LSA speaker stands ($379/pair), LSA standard tube hybrid integrated amp ($5000), Exemplar/Oppo CD player ($2500), and Exemplar active cabling (approx. $8000) wasn't particularly fast on my fabulous Marta Gomez recording from Chesky, but it allowed me to slow down and enjoy what was there.
Luciano Pavarotti interrupted the extended farewell tour he'd begun in 2004 to undergo cancer surgery last July in a New York City hospital. Though he often proclaimed intentions to resume touring, he was forced to curtail further public appearances. After a recent hospitalization for a high fever, he was released on August 25 to spend his remaining days at home. His second wife, sister, four daughters, nephews, and close relatives and friends were all at his side in Modena September 6 as he died.
Our meeting was propitious and totally unexpected. The locus was Los Angeles' Sheraton Gateway Hotel last May, on which we had all descended for Home Entertainment 2006. As a contributor to Stereophile's Show blog, my assignment was as liberal as they come: Go where you are drawn, listen as you will, and record your impressions.
“Hands down great sound” I wrote of a room that combined Joseph Audio’s universally lauded Pearl loudspeakers ($31,500/pair with outrigger bases), Cardas Clear cabling, and a VPI Classic Direct with 3D arm ($30,000) outfitted with a Soundsmith Hyperion OCL cactus cantilever cartridge ($7500), with Jeff Rowland’s Capri preamp with phono option ($4300), Aeris DAC ($9800), and 825 power amp ($32,000). Sourced from computer, Boz Scaggs “Thanks to You” sounded gorgeous, and the beauty of Reference Recordings’ LP version of Vaughan Williams’ The Wasps confirmed the superiority of both the equipment chain and the Keith Johnson/Sean Martin recording team. Bass was profound, the midrange world-class, and highs just right. Transparency, too, was excellent. I wish I could have spent hours immersed in the beauty and grace of this system.
Music Lovers' Hugh Fountain shows off the Vivid Giya G3 speakers
Philip O'Hanlon is one smart cookie. Rather than stage the customary new product demo, where attendees must sit through one or more lengthy spiels before they get a chance to hear a single note, he went right for the gold. As someone who loves music, thrives on music, and takes joy in creating demo CDs for friends, the renowned proprietor of On a Higher Notedistributor of Luxman, Vivid, Brinkmann, Mola Mola, and TriPlanar delighted a full house at the first public demo of Luxman's forthcoming DSD-capable DA-06 DAC ($6000), staged at Music Lovers Audio in San Francisco, by spending close to three enthralling hours spinning music, performing comparisons, and letting the system do most of the talking.
Luxman's L-590 integrated amplifier features amplifier circuitry with Darlington-connected devices and the company's proprietary distortion-reducing ODNF (Only Distortion Negative Feedback), which isolates noise and distortion at the output of the music signal, and uses only a touch of negative feedback to suppress them.
It's always a joy to encounter Todd Garfinkle of MA Recordings. Here he shows his latest audiophile quality CD, Nama. Also available as a 24-bit/176.4kHz hi-rez DVD-ROM format in a plain package that belies the beauty of its contents, the recording is the rightful successor to MA's Sera una Noche and La Segunda, and features some of the same superb Argentinean artists. I can't wait to take a listen, once I dig it out of my luggage.