Cardas’ Andy Regan enthusiastically introduced me to his company’s EM5813 Model 2 in-ear monitor ($425; a more efficient, but less refined Model 1 version costs $325). The EM stands for “ear mirror,” as the device was designed to mirror the human ear system; the numbers 5813 are part of the Fibonacci Sequence, which remains integral to all Cardas designs.
Wow. In the NYAS's always-busy Headzone area, I was extremely impressed by the sound of an AIFF file of Paul Simon’s “Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes” played from a MacBook, sent through Meridian’s pretty little Explorer USB DAC ($299), and then to Bowers & Wilkins’ handsome and comfortable P5 headphones ($299). Sponsored by Innovative Audio, this is the kind of sweet, functional, real-world system that is guaranteed to attract more people to the world of high-fidelity sound.
Dan Clark’s MrSpeakers Mad Dog headphone ($299) starts as a Fostex T50RP, but adds extremely comfortable lamb-leather ear pads, a leather “comfort strap,” revised 3.5mm and 7mm headphone jacks, and modifications to the headphone cups and driver surfaces.
Clark’s goal was to make a closed-back headphone that would perform well at home and on the go. He says that additional upgrades can be made easily over time, so that customers can “treat each purchase as an investment.”
“To limit yourself to just vinyl,” says Audioarts’ Gideon Schwartz, “would be ridiculous.”
It’s not that Schwartz doesn’t like vinylseveral LPs were scattered about the beautiful demo room, said to have been the office of Leona Helmsleybut he simply believes that a good system should work well with all music formats, and more, should sound good in many different rooms.
Bob Sattinthe Bob in Bob’s Devicesintroduced his new Step-Up Transformer/VPI Interface Box ($1650), “specially created to improve the performance of a VPI turntable when used with a low-output moving-coil cartridge.”
A lot of people talk about reaching out to a wider and more diverse audience, bringing young people and (gasp!) even women into the high-fidelity conversation, but the people behind Salon Son et Image are actually doing something about it.
Electronic composer Markus Popp (Oval) may be best known for his terse, angular, and rhythmically complex micro-compositions, but he seems increasingly interested in making full-fledged songs.
With Calidostópia!, recently released as a download, he’s combined the glitchy pointillism of previous releases, such as 2010’s fascinating O (which I used as a test disc in my “Follow-Up” review of Simaudio’s versatile i3.3 integrated amplifier), with the voices of seven South American singers: Agustín Albrieu of Argentina; Andrés Gualdrón of Columbia; Maité Gadea of Uruguay; Hana Kobayashi of Venezuela; and Dandara Modesto, Aiace Felix, and Emilia Suto of Brazil.