Stereophile celebrated 50 years of continuous publication in November 2012 and released its milestone 400th issue in May. The magazine remains committed to providing all audiophilesyoung, old, enthusiastic newbies, and grumpy veterans alikethe tools necessary to get the very best from their systems and music libraries. To that end, we’ve bundled our hot-selling Recommended Components Collector’s Edition and our invaluable test discs into two neat and affordable Audiophile Essentials packages.
Conrad Standish and Tom Carlyon are formerly of the Australian noir-rock trio Devastations. While that band’s thoughtful, honest work could bring a listener to tears, Deleted Scenes, Standish and Carlyon’s debut as a duo, is much more interested in physical pleasures.
In today’s previous entry, I mentioned that Standish/Carlyon’s Deleted Scenes reminded me of Peter Gabriel’s early solo work. Fans of FX’s outstanding TV series, “The Americans,” will have noted that the season’s finale made fine use of Gabriel’s hit single “Games Without Frontiers.” That is, if those fans were already familiar with the song. I was not.
It wasn't very long ago that I boasted, in my casual, self-effacing way, that I didn't really like headphonesthat I didn't need headphones. Because most people in the New York metropolitan area would rather die than communicate with each other, they use headphones as a sort of fortress of solitude, shielding themselves not only from their physical environment but from all other living creatures. I, however, claimed to enjoy listening to the sounds of the world around meeven screeching tires, blaring sirens, and the drone of air ducts could be musical. La-di-da.
Whenever I post one of these entries, there are at least a couple of readers who ask for reviews of the albums I’ve listed. And while such requests are quite reasonable, they take for granted that I’ve actually listened to all of these albums. Sadly, I have not.
Even sadder, I still haven’t listened to the albums I bought last payday.
Tempo High Fidelity's John Quick, dCS's US distributor, stands beside a dCS Vivaldi stack at Lyric Hi-Fi's annual audio show.
The Lyric Show 2013 was held at Lyric Hi-Fi & Video (1221 Lexington Avenue) in Manhattan, on Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13. An informal VIP presentation, held on Thursday, April 11, was open to members of the press. Last year, Ariel Bitran and I covered the event; this year, I was on my own.
This year’s event, much like the last, was well-attended. Most guests made their ways casually from one demonstration to the next. Some lingered in between rooms, chatting and enjoying glasses of red or white wine while picking happily at small plates of fine food. Others seemed glued to comfortable seats in one of the several listening rooms. Manufacturer representatives, many of whom were also enjoying refreshments, held tight to iPads and kept close to gorgeous turntables, ready to take music requests. The entire place buzzed with energy and enthusiasm.
From left: Sound + Vision's Brent Butterworth, Sanjay Patel of Ciamara and Dave Lalin of the Audio Doctor. A third dealer rep, Tom Altobelli of Woodbridge Stereo, wasn't on hand for this session.
The New York Audio Show was highlighted by several outstanding seminars, providing additional value and even greater joy to a weekend-long event that was already packed with entertainment. I wish I could have attended all of the seminars, but, somewhat sadly, I actually missed most of them. I did, however, make it to the Saturday afternoon session of one well-attended seminar titled “Take the Intimidation out of Buying Audio,” moderated by Sound + Vision’s Brent Butterworth and with representatives from two unique NYC-area dealers: Ciamara’s Sanjay Patel and the Audio Doctor’s Dave Lalin.
When asked why a dealer is necessary to the hi-fi shopping experience, both Patel and Lalin cited their intimate knowledge, not only of individual components and brands, but especially of building complete systems that work well in a number of environments and with a wide range of music.
My friend Jenn Atocha was happy to present her latest LP cabinets. Like all Atocha Design products, these cabinets are handcrafted in the USA, made from sustainably harvested wood, and are formaldehyde- and lead-free. Unlike my inexpensive IKEA bookcases and other record-collection foster homes, which may or may not collapse at any moment, Atocha cabinets are made specifically for storing and showcasing a record collection. They are built to last and worthy of the term "heirloom-quality," meant to provide an entire lifetime of pleasure and use, before being passed on to future generations.
From left: Dan D’Agostino, Vince Galbo of MSB, and Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio Specialties.
In association with Innovative Audio, these gentleman put together a high-performance system made of Wilson Alexia loudspeakers ($48,500/pair); D’Agostino Momentum monoblocks ($55,000/pair) and Ultra-Analog preamplifier ($32,000 with power base); MSB Diamond DAC IV Plus ($27,995) with FemtoSecond Galaxy Clock ($4995), Diamond Stepped Attenuator ($2995), USB2 Signature 384kHz input option ($1395), Pro IS input option ($995), Diamond ($5995) and Signature ($4995) power bases, and Platinum Data CD IV disc player ($3995); and Transparent Reference XL speaker cables ($13,160/pair), balanced interconnects ($9270/pair), and digital interconnects ($3195 each). Power conditioning was also from Transparent, while the equipment was supported by Finite Element Pagode racks.
A second, smaller Innovative Audio room held a system made of Wilson Audio’s Sasha W/P loudspeakers ($27,900/pair); Lamm M1.2 Reference hybrid monoblocks ($24, 190/pair); VTL TL-7.5 Series III Reference preamplifier ($20,000) and TP-6.5 Signature phono preamp ($10,500 with moving-coil step-up transformer); Spiral Groove SG2 turntable ($21,000, with Centroid tonearm) and Lyra Kleos MC cartridge ($3000); Transparent cables, power conditioning, and AC cords; and Finite Element Pagode racks and supports.