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Herb Reichert Posted: Jul 26, 2014 2 comments
Stalking the halls to experience 38 rooms at Capital AudioFest in three days feels like trying to see the whole Smithsonian in one day. When I got back to my room tonight my ears were ringing from the rock-concert volume levels played in most rooms. My eyes were spinning from trying to read upside down name tags scribbled with Sharpies. But because I have been an exhibitor so many times, I remember that the most important thing I can do is recognize and respect the hope and effort (and money) all these exhibitors and organizers have invested.
Herb Reichert Posted: Jul 29, 2014 15 comments
Gary Gill of Sousahorn, plus Dave Slagle and Jeffrey Jackson of Emia Audio, combined to demonstrate some of that dissention and diversity in the Sousahorn room. Try to imagine a show so easy-rolling and human-scaled, that the organizer and hour-to-hour manager of the show—Gary Gill—can team up with his buddies and demonstrate one of his own products!
Herb Reichert Posted: Jul 27, 2014 11 comments
Hold an audio show in a hotel? VPI's Mat Weisfeld was snapped taking full advantage of the amenities and listening to music courtesy of VPI's new Nomad record player!

At the end of a long day of standing in halls and sneaking into converted bedrooms with little rows of chairs I find myself wondering—are there any other trade shows or hobby fairs that take place in the sleeping-rooms part of hotels? Certainly there are no others where so many are hoping so much—for a seat in the middle!

Herb Reichert Posted: Jul 27, 2014 8 comments
Most of the exhibitors at CAF are not big brandnames with factories employing more than 100 persons. Most are highly inspired and maximally driven "ma & pa" operations like Klaus Bunge's Odyssey Audio. What is unique about Klaus is that he appears to begin designing with a very clear idea of what he wants (precision, dynamics, and laser-clear soundstages). Starting with a cost-is-no-object design, Mr. Bunge distills it over and over making it simpler and less costly each step of the way.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Jan 15, 2015 1 comments
I am a sucker for the new breed of desktop "wireless" loudspeakers—when they look and sound as natural and dynamic as the new Audioengine B2 Premium Bluetooth loudspeaker, I can dance around, sing, dream on Bartok, or play air guitar while streaming Tidal or WFMU. You are invited!
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Herb Reichert Posted: Jan 15, 2015 10 comments
My experience with the new AudioQuest Nighthawk headphones ($599) was one of highest points of my CES adventure.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Aug 26, 2015 2 comments
My friend and renowned tube polymath J.C Morrison says, "Blackie Pagano is sweet, smart, and has a devious sense of humor . . ." And now Blackie has just posted an original hand-built "bass guitar preamp" project called the "The Perfect Storm" on Kickstarter.
Herb Reichert Posted: Feb 05, 2015 11 comments
The more integrated amps I review, the more I want to tell manufacturers: Please, skip the DAC, omit the phono stage, lose the Bluetooth—just give me the best sound quality, and the most vivid, most transparent line stage and control center (with pre-out) you can design. Make sure this line stage has appropriate gain, and high input and low output impedances. Give me at least four balanced and single-ended inputs. Make sure the volume, balance, and tone controls are durable and degrade the sound as little as possible. That way, I can add a DAC, server, phono stage, or Bluetooth, of any quality level, any time I choose.
Herb Reichert Posted: Aug 29, 2015 3 comments
It was early Friday morning, and it was quiet, except for the seductive sounds of Alison Krauss floating through the door from the ModWright/Daedalus room. I had never really met Dan Wright but today we got to hang and talk and I was very impressed. While we talked I kept being distracted by the solid but delicate LP sounds of my beloved Alison coming from the Daedalus Poseidon V2 loudspeakers ($16,450/pair) driven by the ModWright KWA 150SE Signature edition power amp ($8995).
Herb Reichert Posted: Jul 29, 2014 4 comments
The sound Gary Dews was getting from the Border Patrol P21 push-pull 20W 300B amp ($12,750) driving the Living Voice Avatar loudspeakers ($11,850/pair) with Gary's own non-oversampling DAC ($9500) was lively, colorful, and unabashedly refined. When I got to Gary's room my head was spinning. Being a first-time show reporter had me revved up, forgetful and anxious. I felt like Mr. McGoo. The easy flow and gentle melodies in the Border Patrol room allowed me to breathe air, relax, and slip into a dreamy mood of peace and admiration.


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