Ariel Bitran

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 15, 2013 0 comments
Simplifi Audio room would be a priority on my first day since I missed them entirely last year where they apparently kicked much booty. Hosted by the amicable duo of Daniel Weiss of Weiss Audio and Tim Ryan of Simplifi Audio, a San Diego-based distributor, their large room was devoted to three different systems that were demoed throughout the weekend. The one I heard and pictured above is the Klangwerk Ella 2-way active speaker system ($7,495) fed by the Weiss DAC202 ($6966) and Weiss MAN301 Network Player ($9083; $12,262 with internal DAC), and Integrita Audiophile Music Server (approximately $6000).
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
The Sony SS-AR2 loudspeakers, described here by JA, were one of my many favorites at the show. Their soundstage extended deep, all the way to 42nd street, and they performed with warmth and polite resolution of high-end frequencies. Some said it was too mellow, but to me it sounded just right. Pictured above are Jonathan Lin and Carlos Giraldo from Sony posing with the SS-AR1 enclosure, reviewed in Stereophile last July.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Mar 20, 2013 2 comments
Advertising Manager Ed DiBenedetto models the Viper Head.

JA tapped my shoulder: “Do you like headphones?”

“You know I do!” I enthused.

“OK. Give me just a second.”

John Atkinson is never this mysterious. It must be something awesome.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 16, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 3 comments
The relaxed and crystal-clear sound of the Legacy Whisper XDs tempted my entire CD collection, but I knew what I really wanted to hear: Phish’s Lawn Boy. Both Page McConnel’s and Trey Anastasio’s nuanced phrasing and John Fishman’s tasteful drumming would shimmer in the clean layout projected by these speakers. Legacy’s Bill Duddleston put on my CD. An audiophile in front of me turns around...
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Feb 01, 2013 Published: Dec 31, 1969 18 comments
Today, Sony announced an end to production on all MiniDisc players. In a few years, MiniDisc production will cease as well. I know what you're asking yourself: "They still make those things?". But the MiniDisc was cool, if slightly deficient, and like many extinct formats, to some music lovers, it meant a lot.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 18, 2012 6 comments
The Soundsmith room featured a hot and clean vinyl sound as played back with the Hyperion cartridge ($7500), which uses a cactus spine cantilever, routed to their affordable MCP2 phono preamp ($699), reviewed by Michael Fremer in our October 2011 issue and March 2012 issue. Pricing on the Hyperion includes a 10 year warranty and re-tipping. Playback came out of Soundsmith’s potent Dragonfly speakers ($2,000). While I certainly heard enough Stevie Ray Vaughan at this audio show to make me wish I had crashed that helicopter myself, the blues master’s slides exhibited a natural attack and decay that brought the man and his dirty Stratocaster to that very room in the Waldorf, a more than welcome revival.
Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 18, 2013 2 comments
There it was again, that damned canned jazz. This time it poured out in buckets from the tremendous Spendor Classic SP100R2 loudspeaker ($11,500/pair) pumped by the 160 Watt JA 200 Monoblocks from Jadis ($25,995/pair). This had to be stopped.
Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
This year, the surprising lack of SRV (and overabundance of easy listening) made me glad to hear his perennial cover of “Little Wing” through Sony’s new and more “affordable” SS-NA2ES floorstanding loudspeakers ($10,000/pair) through Pass Labs amplification. Last year’s system impressed me thoroughly, striking a balance between romance and detail. This year’s system favored speed and attack accenting flourishes I had never heard before in SRV’s Hendrix cover but sounding a bit cool on “Breaking Silence” by Janice Ian.
Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
JPS Labs leaps into the world of headphones with the Abyss: a highly customizable head-gripping $5495 listening device. More info on these intense cans be found on their website.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Feb 15, 2013 0 comments
It opens in a field or maybe an orchestra house. Pastoral and slow-moving strings set the stage. Written as a musical accompaniment to Sebastian Hartmann’s theater adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Apparat’s Krieg Und Frieden is desolate yet tinged with reflection and hope, like Wyeth’s Christina’s World or the ending to a Kurosawa film. Harmonies in continuous ascent intersect with subdued blasts of air and dirt. The occasional soulful vocal provides a lyrical back-story to the desolation: “Deserted hopes / Deserted eyes / Deserted souls / Deserted lies,” and then an alternative, “Turn a light on, Turn a light on.” Like Tolstoy’s work, the listener is never sure if the music is about suffering or the triumph within the pain.

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