Art Dudley
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Art Dudley Listening
Art Dudley Apr 07, 2014 0 comments
"Perhaps we can shed some light on your problem in a new segment exploring pre-adolescent turmoil. I call it . . . 'Choices.'"—Sideshow Bob, The Simpsons

"For us, unlike other manufacturers, there are not degrees of clean. Our entry-level machine is as good as our top of our line when it comes to cleaning records; in between, it's just a matter of choices." Thus spoke Jonathan Monks, who inherited from his father, the late Keith Monks, an audio-manufacturing legacy built upon the world's first commercially produced record-cleaning machine.

Art Dudley Apr 07, 2014 6 comments
Asked how to make a guitar, the celebrated luthier Wayne Henderson offered a straight-up answer: "Just get a pile of really nice wood and a whittling knife. Then you just carve away everything that isn't a guitar." (footnote 1)

The making of a preamplifier seems more or less the opposite. You start with a simple volume control and a couple of jacks, then add whatever you think constitutes a preamplifier. Choices might include electronic source switching, line-level gain, phono-level gain and equalization, tone controls, tone-defeat switches, a balance control, a headphone jack, an iPod input, and maybe even a digital-to-analog converter with a USB receiver. The sky is pretty much the limit.

SSI 2014
Art Dudley Apr 01, 2014 1 comments
Among the many SSI rooms sponsored by Canadian distributor Plurison was a ballroom—the Verdun, to be precise—where the signage promised MartinLogan loudspeakers on demonstration. I stepped a short distance inside and was swallowed by darkness—and sound. I followed the latter, turned left, and felt more than saw a row of theater-style seats, most of them filled with people who were enjoying Avatar on a large screen. The sound was indeed impressive, but it was impossible to see, let alone photograph, the gear being demonstrated, and I could locate neither personnel nor literature. Unsure how to illustrate such an experience, I grabbed my chance and, on the way out, photographed the next guy going in.
SSI 2014
Art Dudley Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
On my second day in Montreal I had an enjoyable conversation with Jean Barbeau of Solen Electronique, the Quebec manufacturing company whose capacitors and other passive components remain popular with hundreds of manufacturers (including the vintage-inspired Shindo Laboratory). Monsieur Barbeau, who co-designed the fine-sounding loudspeaker project being demonstrated in Solen's SSI room, observed that more and more young listeners have been approaching Solen in recent months for DIY parts and advice—"A very healthy trend."
SSI 2014
Art Dudley Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
Like the gentleman seen browsing through the crates of LPs offered by Aux 33 Tours—the Montreal vinyl specialists who shared SSI space with hi-fi retailer Acoustic Technologies—I too have a record-shopping hat. I wear it for good luck whenever I leave the house in search of rare vinyl. Especially in cold weather.
SSI 2014
Art Dudley Apr 01, 2014 1 comments
I have experienced my first cable demo in French. The very animated and enthusiastic Bruno Delorimier conducted a Nordost interconnect comparison for an appreciative audience of Quebec audiophiles, using a pair of Dynaudio Confidence C1 loudspeakers ($8500/pair, plus $600 for stands), and all SimAudio Moon electronics. Going from Nordost's Blue Heaven ($350/1 meter pair) to their monofilament-technology Heimdall (ca $800/1 meter pair), the differences in rhythmic nuance and sheer touch—in favor of the Heimdall—were apparent, regardless of language.
SSI 2014
Art Dudley Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
On static display at the Pavillon was a sample of the A115 stereo MOSFET power amplifier from Ontario-based Linar Audio; information on pricing was not on hand.
SSI 2014
Art Dudley Apr 01, 2014 1 comments
The photography used in the display materials associated with Totem loudspeakers are of consistently very high quality. That said, during my stroll through the Pavillon du Canada at this year's SSI, I finally noticed something about the people in those photos: They are exclusively female, and they are almost always barefoot. As a male who is as ignorant of the principles of the psychology of marketing as he is hesitant to go barefoot anywhere but the beach, the bath, and the bed, I am puzzled (but not troubled).
SSI 2014
Art Dudley Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
It's a fondly regarded part of every SSI: a single large ballroom given over to small exhibits—some active, most of them passive—of products that are designed and made in Canada. Among the most striking sights in this year's Pavillon du Canada was something that I can describe only as The Big, Orange Turntable, which sat near the center of the floor: unlabeled, unattached to any other components, and apparently unrelated to any known exhibits. Big, Orange Turntable, we salute you.
SSI 2014
Art Dudley Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
Here we see Steven Huang of Audio Sensibility waiting on a customer at his SSI display. His Toronto company offers custom cables at sanely low prices—starting at $129/meter for their entry-level interconnect—and sweetens the deal with custom-machined stainless steel (not aluminum, or even aluminium) connector shells and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
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