Earlier this month, our all-analog coverage counterpart AnalogPlanet announced the release of the Nomad, a brand new entry-level turntable from American hi-fi manufacturer VPI Industries. For $995, The VPI Industries Nomad turntable includes a built-in phono preamplifier, unbalanced output, a set of Grado Labs iGrado around-the-neck headphones, headphone output, and an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. This instant listening package was the brainchild of Mat Weisfeld, son of company founder Harry Weisfeld. Mat Weisfeld is now the President of VPI Industries. I had the opportunity to visit the factory and ask Weisfeld a few questions just before the official announcement of the Nomad.
The audiophile press seemed a surprisingly patient bunch. After following the incredibly well indicated signs placed by the Chester Group to the Fourth Floor of the New York Palace, reporters and photographers waited subserviently in a four-person line to receive our press badges. At the counter, Art Dudley, columnist and Editor-at-Large for Stereophile, and Jeff Dorgay, publisher at Tone Audio, chummed it up.
rrill Wettasingh of Merrill Audio says his class-D Veritas Monoblock amplifiers are "not for tube lovers." The crimson or black chassis is made of a solid 60lb billet of aluminum. Allowing only spade connection for the "best and biggest" sound, these 400 watt (8 ohms) power-houses seek "audio purity" rather than coloration, according to Wettasingh.
In this video, Stereophile columnist and Analog Planet Editor Michael Fremer and Gary Dell'Abate (aka Baba Booey), producer of the Howard Stern Show, compare the virtues of analog playback to MP3, discuss the release of Nirvana's Nevermind on the spinning black circle, and Mikey coins the phrase 'the viral spread of vinyl.'
It had been many years since Stephen or I had been to Irving Plaza, but an invitation from Klipsch would grant us another encounter. Performances that evening included neo-punk new wave group the Tom Tom Club featuring Tina Weymouth (bass) and Chris Frantz (drums), both of the Talking Heads, opening for headliner the Psychedelic Furs, a band iconic for their soundtrack chart-topper “Pretty in Pink”.
In a partnership with Live Nation, Irving Plaza, a Live Nation-owned venue, redubbed itself “Irving Plaza Powered by Klipsch” as we discovered on the billboard under the marquee.
Few hi-fi brands seem to have the omnipresence in the consumer electric goods market as MartinLogan, likely because of their affordable prices and non-invasive aesthetics. Yet, I’ve never gotten a chance to hear them, only see them inside a Best Buy. I found a Grateful Dead Dick’s Picks from 5/22/77 in Pembroke Pines, Florida in their stack of CDs.
There are some people in the industry who now know my name or at least know of me. Urs Wagner from Ensemble always chats me up. I should give him a ring. Hart Huschens from Audio Advancements is another sweet soul who treats me with respect. And I have spent a good amount of time talking to Creston Funk from Concert Sound.
Alas, there is some humanity behind the Buyer's Guide.
I will state up-front that the Audio Note AN-E Lexus loudspeakers ($19,000/pair) and accompanying Audio Note gear was not my favorite system at the show. I did not have a favorite, as I particularly enjoyed the sound of many systems including the Sony room, the Innovative Audio room, and the High Water Sound room. Yet, I easily spent the most time at Audio Note. Why?