Ariel Bitran

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 23, 2012 5 comments
Stereophile is not all about reviewing hi-fi, and thanks to our all-knowing and thrill-seeking Music Editor, Robert Baird, we cover exciting new releases in each monthly issue for you to consider on your hi-fi escapades. In this post, I listen to all records we reviewed available on streaming services MOG and Spotify from our April 2012 issue, provide my own two-cents, and link to the playlists from the two services. With a premium account, one can stream at 320kbps Ogg Vorbis files from Spotify, and MOG users can stream 320kbps MP3s for free!

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Links:
The MOG April 2012 Playlist: A Pensive Month

The Spotify April 2012 Playlist: Pure Fun

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Stephen Mejias Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 20, 2012 11 comments
Stephen Mejias: On Thursday, April 12, Stereophile’s editorial assistant, Ariel Bitran, and I left the office at around 5pm, walked over to Grand Central, hopped on the 6 train, and made our way to New York City’s Lyric Hi-Fi.

As Ariel discussed last week, Lyric was one of two premier NYC dealers—the other was Stereo Exchange—that opted against participating in the New York Audio & AV Show, and instead held their own events.

Because both Lyric and Stereo Exchange are successful operations, run by smart people, we figured they must have good reasons for doing things their own way. But, even as the weekend approached, those reasons weren’t fully clear. Were financial obstacles impossible to overcome? Were issues of logistics too much of a burden? Had there been some sort of communication breakdown between the dealers and the show’s organizers? Did it simply make little sense for Lyric and Stereo Exchange to participate, or were they just being hard-nosed, stubborn, elitist?

Perhaps we would find some answers inside.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 18, 2012 Published: Apr 19, 2012 1 comments
Long lines flooded out of the MBL room on the 18th Floor of the Waldorf=Astoria all weekend long, so I arrived at 9:30am on Sunday morning to see if I could get a good listen to the MBL system by myself. Upon arrival, MBL North America’s representative, Jeremy Bryan, was still setting up his smaller speakers, the mbl 120 Radialstrahler ($21,400/pair, without stands) along with their mbl C21 stereo power amplifier ($9200), mbl C11 preamplifier ($8,800), and mbl C31 CD player ($9,200), all members of their Corona line of electronics.

I sat to the side of the room while Bryan finished his set-up, centered in his listening position, tilting his head back and forth. After the first ten seconds of four to five different demo tracks, Jeremy blurted, “Alright! I think we’re set. Come sit down.”

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 19, 2012 9 comments
Prior to the onset of the Chester Group’s New York Audio & AV Show, there had been some controversy in regards to big-time local dealers Stereo Exchange and Lyric hosting their own events the weekend of the show. These events brought in big brands such as Totem, McIntosh, B&W, and Audio Research, who would be presenting exclusively at their stores. Would these dealer events keep participants away from the New York Audio & AV Show? How would these coinciding events affect one another? Were these signs that the show organizers had not done the work necessary to motivate exhibitors to participate in the New York show?

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 14, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 1 comments
Before playing “La Villa Strangiato” from side 2 of the Rush LP Hemispheres, On a Higher Note’s Philip O’Hanlon advised me to go get my record cleaned by the Audio Deske Vinyl Cleaner. I told him, “I just did!”

Seconds after playing my There Comes a Time record by Neil Young in the Robyatt Audio room, Charlie King said I should get it cleaned at the Audio Deske cleaner. I told him, “I just did!”

First of all, just how filthy are my records?

Second, this same experience happened to me at least five different times during the New York hifi show. Maybe it is because my records actually are filthy, or maybe it is because that Audio Deske Vinyl Cleaner ($3895), really just is that awesome and easy to use that everyone had to sell it to me.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
The Sony SS-AR2 loudspeakers, described here by JA, were one of my many favorites at the show. Their soundstage extended deep, all the way to 42nd street, and they performed with warmth and polite resolution of high-end frequencies. Some said it was too mellow, but to me it sounded just right. Pictured above are Jonathan Lin and Carlos Giraldo from Sony posing with the SS-AR1 enclosure, reviewed in Stereophile last July.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
In the LessLoss Audio room, a gorgeous couple of Kaiser Vivace loudspeakers painted in a Lamborghini Orange finish ($42,500 in painted semi-gloss, add $2500 for the Lambo paint job) paired with electronics from Beyond Frontiers Audio, including their Tulip Tube DAC converter, which runs in a dual mono state with 2 Burr Brown chips, and the Tulip Stereo Integrated amplifier. Tulip, in the designer’s former country of Yugoslavia, is a friendly name for a “good old guy”. Cabling and “ambient field conditioning” in this room were provided by LessLoss, who offered their Anchorwave cables and Blackbody ambient field conditioner. The Blackbody claims to “enhance audio playback quality by modifying the interaction of your gear’s circuitry with the ambient electromagnetic field.”
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
The passive Music First Baby Reference Preamp ($7900)
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 16, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
Udo Besser of the revived AVM shows off the remote control for his AVM CD3.2 ($3800).
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 18, 2012 6 comments
The Soundsmith room featured a hot and clean vinyl sound as played back with the Hyperion cartridge ($7500), which uses a cactus spine cantilever, routed to their affordable MCP2 phono preamp ($699), reviewed by Michael Fremer in our October 2011 issue and March 2012 issue. Pricing on the Hyperion includes a 10 year warranty and re-tipping. Playback came out of Soundsmith’s potent Dragonfly speakers ($2,000). While I certainly heard enough Stevie Ray Vaughan at this audio show to make me wish I had crashed that helicopter myself, the blues master’s slides exhibited a natural attack and decay that brought the man and his dirty Stratocaster to that very room in the Waldorf, a more than welcome revival.

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