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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 29, 2015 3 comments
The psychology of shows: Upon exiting an especially pleasant, successful demonstration, one almost expects to be disappointed by the next one down the line. Yet after leaving behind the excellent playback quality and (literally) rare music in the PS Audio room, I was surprised and delighted by the fine sound in the room of Gershman Acoustics—a brand that, for whatever reason, has seldom if ever been a part of my beat.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 27, 2015 3 comments
My very first official encounter at this year's Salon Son et Image was with a vintage-gear dealer: Cristian Fatu's static display included this beautiful McIntosh 275 power amplifier above (approximate value: $CAD3200) . . .
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2015 6 comments
Montreal dealer Audioville drew crowds to the St. Pierre ballroom with an impressive system built around B&W 800-series loudspeakers, Conrad-Johnson electronics, and an AudioQuest Dragonfly-equipped Apple MacBook Pro, cloud-streaming CD-quality files from Tidal. Adding to the SRO factor were the workshops conducted by AudioQuest's Steve Silberman, under the title of Computer Audio Explained. (Actually, it was Audio Informatique Appliquée.)
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 30, 2015 2 comments
As mentioned in my earlier report, Sony came to town with more than just a system's worth of ES-series components. As I discovered on Saturday morning, they also brought the new NW-ZX2 ($CAD1199), which is the new big brother—forgive the fraternal illogic of the metaphor—to last year's well-received ZX1. The new Sony, which will be reviewed by Michael Lavorgna in the May issue of Stereophile, offers the same Dynamic Sound Enhancing System as the company's HAP-Z1ES file player, and its amplifier is more powerful than that of the ZX1; perhaps best of all, the ZX2 provides 128GB of built-in storage. . .
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2010 3 comments
For a journalist at a trade show, few things are more awkward than entering a room and finding that the exhibitor and his staff are the only people there: No dealers. No customers. Just a few desperate souls ready to pin their last half-hope on a man with a badge—and the badge says Press.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 26, 2010 1 comments
I started my day the right way: listening to a good LP of acoustic music. In one of three Coup de Foudre rooms I listened to Skip James's final album on a system comprising the new Brinkmann DD turntable (price TBD) with an EMT TSD 15 fineline phono cartridge ($1800), Auditorium 23 step-up transformer ($995), Leben RS30 EQ moving-magnet phono preamp ($2595), Leben CS300 XS integrated amplifier ($3495), and DeVore Fidelity 3XL loudspeakers ($3700/pair without stands), the latter of which were capable of allowing the music to sound surprisingly, delightfully big. Cables were all by Auditorium 23, and the source and amplification components were supported by a typically beautiful Sapele rack from the Box Furniture company.
Art Dudley Posted: Apr 10, 2012 2 comments
The sound of the Stenheim Alumine loudspeaker—its openness, transparency, and freedom from temporal distortions, not to mention its good bass extension for such a small enclosure—reminded me at once of my favorite small loudspeaker from the late 1980s, the Acoustic Energy AE1. On reflection, the comparison is extraordinary: The two products are as different as night and day, the AE1 being a wooden loudspeaker with a metal-cone woofer, the Alumine a metal loudspeaker with a pulp-cone woofer. I suppose one can skin a catfish by moving the knife or by moving the fish.
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Art Dudley Posted: Dec 16, 2014 9 comments
No one spells it out anymore: Ours is a culture of BTW, TIA, AFAIK, and other letter-lumps, some of which have taken on meanings beyond their original intent. (Only recently did I discover that LOL stands for "I'm certain you find my attempts at humor as riotously funny as I do.") I am scarcely young enough to adapt.

Our interoffice communications are no different. Once a year I am jarred to find in my inbox a message from John Atkinson with the curious subject line "POTY." I am scarcely old enough to be perturbed: Every 12 months, I have to be re-reminded that POTY stands for Product of the Year.

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Art Dudley Posted: Nov 19, 2015 35 comments
Timing distortions are the lifeblood of magazine publishing—a field of endeavor where cheers cheered in September can sound wistful by raw November, when readers read them. Then again, by the time you see this, an asteroid strike or an itchy finger on a nuclear trigger may have blown us all back to the age of bronze—oxygen-free, one hopes—in which case this edition of Stereophile's Products of the Year celebration will seem all the more nostalgic.

But this is no mere nostalgia: Only once every 12 months do we set aside our complaints, our contentions, our niggling criticisms, and simply declare: Here are seven products that kicked righteous wads of ass and made it worthwhile to be an audiophile this year. And precisely half of our top-place winners are priced within reach of the average consumer.

Art Dudley Posted: Feb 27, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 21 comments
I know someone who bought, for his own kitchen, a stove intended for the restaurant trade, simply because it enhances his enjoyment of cooking. Another friend, a motoring enthusiast, has equipped his garage with a brace of tools, including a hydraulic lift, that would be the envy of some humbler repair shops. Yet another friend indulges her enthusiasm for ceramics with a potter's wheel and kiln that one might find in a well-endowed art school. Among the most serious consumers, it seems, the watchword is professional; odd, then, that professional-quality monitors don't account for an even bigger chunk of the domestic loudspeaker market.