I'm so glad that Venture of Belgium and Singapore has a new line of cabling, because it gave me an excuse to hear Reference Recordings' "Pie Jesu" from the Rutter Requiem as I've never heard it before. I was blown away by the huge dynamics, room fixture-shaking bass, mind-boggling clarity of the massed voices, and sheer beauty of the sound. Gorgeous.
I wish I could tell you how the music sounded in the main Emotiva room. Alas, there were so many people talking about the sound of Emotiva's XSP-1 Differential Reference preamp ($899), ERC-2 Differential Reference CD player/ digital transport ($449), XPA-1 Differential Reference monoblock power amplifier ($999), XRT-6.2 Xref Tower speakers ($699/pair), and due-by-Christmastime XDA-2 fully balanced Differential DAC ($399) that I was unable to take a serious listen. Definitely good for Emotiva, if not necessarily for you the reader.
The Cable Company's 16th annual Summer Against Hunger is anything but a feel-good gimmick. Thanks to ingenious leveraging by Robert Stein, company founder, every dollar spent on purchases from The Cable Company in the month of August results in almost $2 donated to a specific project of C.A.R.E., a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Given that C.A.R.E. is one of the more efficient charities aroundover 90% of donations go directly to programs and recipients, rather than to administrationthis means that for every $100 purchase you make during the month of August, a donation of over $180 will go directly to people and communities in need.
Touting the bounties of their new high-end headphone library, which allows you to audition products before you commit to purchase, The Cable Company’s Steven Aug, Ethan Wood, and Robert Stein presented the first showing of the Cardas EM5813 Ear Speakers ($425). At the other end of the price spectrum was the West Coast debut of the Abyss Planar headphones ($5495), powered (I think) by the new Cavalli Liquid Gold headphone amplifier ($6450).
The California Audio Show returns to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Burlingame August 35. Produced by Constantine Soo's dagogo.com, and sponsored by Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, Wired.com, Audiophilevoice.com, AVshowrooms.com, and San Francisco Classical Voice (SFCV.org), Northern California's only show aimed at audiophile consumers promises 36 exhibit rooms stocked with equipment from at least 100 manufacturers.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has taken its first giant steps into the digital domain. Hard on the heels of launching the orchestra's new in-house CD label, CSO Resound, it has announced a partnership with digital distributor IODA that will make CSO Resound recordings available for download via iTunes, Yahoo! Music, Rhapsody, Napster, Verizon, Sprint, and other online retailers.
Thanksgiving will mark two years since Charles died. I still miss him.
I first met Charles in the 1990s, around the time I began to review recordings and audio equipment. I had just left my apartment and was driving slowly down the street when I spied a somewhat bent-over, wizened-looking man carrying a copy of Stereophile under his arm. My astonishment at discovering another Stereophile reader whom, it turned out, living just two buildings away, brought my car to a sudden halt.
The Elf Foundation's accomplishments are extraordinary. In just four and a half years, the nonprofit organization has facilitated the design and construction of more than 40 Rooms of Magic. These are private entertainment theaters in medical facilities for children: hospitals, as well as centers for autism, abused children, and kids with long-term disabilities. And none of the design work or state-of-the-art equipment for these children's oases costs the host facilities a cent.
We all know the refrain. Classical music is losing its audience. With shorter attention spans, the ascent of the iPod, a penchant for music (and spoken word masquerading as music) in the background, and the submergence of audio by home theater, fewer and fewer people in the United States are being exposed to art music of the past and present.
I have heard Acapella horn loudspeakers and Einstein electronics on other occasions, but they have never sounded as glorious as they did paired together in one of the Aaudio Imports room at CES 2010. I only wish Erick Lichte and John Atkinson had been present as I played John's 2008 recording of Cantus' While You Are Alive, which Erick produced. (Erick was also Cantus' Artistic Director at the time). The sound was bighuge, in factmaximally transparent, and thanks to the Einstein electronics' euphonic presentation, absolutely luscious.