Stephen Mejias

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 26, 2013 4 comments
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.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 22, 2013 0 comments
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.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 18, 2013 0 comments
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.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 18, 2013 0 comments
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.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
While there were many exciting cost-no-object systems on display, the New York Audio Show was also home to refreshingly small and simple systems that nevertheless offered exceptional performance.

KEF’s beautiful LS50 loudspeakers ($1500/pair) were partnered with Audio Electronics’ Constellation tube preamp ($1495), Hercules power amp ($1895), and Lightning DAC ($1295). Wireworld provided the cabling. The music, which came from a laptop, sounded forceful, dynamic, colorful, and present.

If I could have taken home any system from the New York Audio Show, it would have been this one.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
Michael Fremer entertains a packed house with an in-depth discussion on various pressings of the Beach Boys’ classic album, Pet Sounds. The event was co-hosted by Classic Album Sundays’ Colleen Murphy. For more info on Mikey’s seminars, visit AnalogPlanet.com.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 4 comments
Because I know Wes Bender and E.A.R.’s Dan Meinwald are always open to new sounds, I took the opportunity in the Wes Bender Studio room to play the title cut from Aidan Baker’s latest release, Already Drowning.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 0 comments
I got to hear KEF’s X300A powered desktop speaker ($800/pair) when I visited the company late last year. Now the system has found its way to the States. KEF's animated brand ambassador, Johan Coorg, gave a characteristically colorful demo.

The X300A uses KEF's Uni-Q point-source driver array and places twin class-A/B amplifiers and a high-quality toroidal transformer in each cabinet. Further, each speaker has an internal 24-bit/96kHz asynchronous DAC. The signal flows not through standard speaker wire, but via a "digital inter-speaker connection," or USB link. According to Coorg, this is to ensure that high-quality sound is carried through the entire signal chain.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 0 comments
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.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
Music Hall’s Roy Hall was excited about his new a15.3 integrated amplifier and matching c-dac15.3 CD player/DAC combo. Just as any good integrated amplifier should, the 50Wpc a15.3 includes a headphone output, front-panel mini-jack input, moving-magnet phono stage, and remote control. The one-box c-dac15.3 combines a three-input (optical, coax, USB-B) Wolfson DAC section with a CD player, itself based around a Burr-Brown 24-bit/192kHz-capable DAC. Build quality seemed excellent. Each unit will sell for $549. Music Hall just keeps churning out interesting, affordable products. I’ll look forward to learning more about these units later this year.

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