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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 17, 2016 3 comments
Once Pro Musica Chicago discovered that one of the electrical outlets in their room was severely handicapped, as it were, and switched to another, the VTL TL5.5 preamp with phono stage ($10,500) and VTL S200 power amp ($12,500) delivered eminently neutral sound…
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 16, 2016 8 comments
Even before 10am had rolled around on opening day, eager audiophiles were obtaining badges in the lobby of the Westin O'Hare…
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 11, 2016 3 comments
111 seems to be the magic number for AXPONA 2016, aka Audio Expo of North America. Taking place April 15–17 in the Westin O'Hare in Rosemont, IL (near Chicago's O'Hare airport), AXPONA promises 111 exhibit rooms, including 29 larger meeting spaces which sometimes house multiple systems. AXPONA will also host 111 booths and table displays, with a good 50 of those located in the Ear Gear Expo. All told, the show will feature products from 375 brands, most of which will sing away every day starting at the mercifully civilized hour of 10am.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 08, 2016 8 comments
Prediction: The visionary new music, system-testing percussion, and virtual rainbow of colors that distinguish Dawn to Dust, the latest hybrid SACD in Reference Recordings' Fresh! series, guarantee that it will become a hit among music-loving audiophiles who dare play tracks beyond 3 minutes in length. The inventive genius that courses through the recording's three compositions—Control (Five Landscapes for Orchestra) by Nico Muhly, 34; Switch by Andrew Norman, 37; and Eos (Goddess of the Dawn), a ballet for orchestra by Augusta Read Thomas, 52—is, in and of itself, enrapturing, formidable, and breathtaking. But when combined with the spectacular coloristic and percussive effects captured by the Soundmirror engineering team, you have a recording virtually certain to earn Dust to Dawn at least one Grammy nomination and countless airings at audio demos.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Apr 01, 2016 4 comments
When do 12 hands + 12 eyes = boundless creativity? When you gather up the six New York-based composers of the highly heralded Sleeping Giant collective, set them loose in an extraordinary collection of contemporary art, and invite them to compose art-inspired music for four-time Grammy-winning Chicago new-music sextet, Eighth Blackbird. From this is born Hand Eye, a recording that opens the ear, eye, and mind simultaneously as it transport you to landscapes all their own. If you crave music that stimulates and provokes, you have to hear it.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 10, 2016 3 comments
Two weeks shy of the Ides of March, Cary Audio has announced its transition from an all-dealer sales model to a direct-to-consumer web store in the U.S. it calls "CaryDirect." But rather than leaving its brick'n'mortar US dealers in the dust, the North Carolina-based company says it has assimilated them into a rather novel hybrid business model.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 09, 2016 7 comments
Product debuts galore were only one of the reasons that March 3's Music Matters 11, the latest installment of Definitive Audio Seattle's annual four-hour evening marathon, was a model event of its kind. Another, articulated by Definitive's president Craig Abplanalp to exhibitors less than an hour before the doors opened at 5pm, was that, at this Definitive Audio 40th Anniversary celebration, music rather than long-winded product spiels was the focus of each 20-minute listening session.

Certainly audiophiles heard the call. Music Matters 11 drew over 500 people...

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 02, 2016 4 comments
How do you know that the vinyl revival is universal? When Port Townsend, WA, a little arts community with under 9500 inhabitants that is situated NW of Seattle, on the Quimper Peninsula at the gateway to the larger, breathtakingly beautiful Olympic Peninsula, is having a record show of its own—The Port Townsend Record Show is taking place Saturday, March 5, 11:00am–5:00pm in the American Legion Hall at 209 Monroe Street facing Port Townsend Bay.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Feb 29, 2016 3 comments
This Thursday evening, March 3, Definitive Audio (6206 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle) celebrates its 40th anniversary with a four-hour Music Matters extravaganza filled with top-level product debuts and celebrity designers. The 5pm–9pm event, complete with rotating 20-minute presentations and lots of food and refreshments, promises the world debuts of the Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 loudspeaker, the Wilson Audio Alexx loudspeaker, and the Dan D'Agostino Progression Series electronics.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Feb 28, 2016 4 comments
Ever since I encountered Wilson Audio Specialties' Peter McGrath (above) playing his own digital recordings at audio shows, hanging out in the Wilson Audio room has proven the consistent highlight of my show coverage experience. Nor is it simply the quality of the musicianship that continues to draw me to McGrath's rooms. As anyone who has heard his work can attest, the man's ability to capture the unique characteristics of a performance venue, as well as the natural sound of voice and instruments, is second to none.

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