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Art Dudley Posted: Jul 10, 2016 7 comments
To hear the system demonstrated by The Voice That Is was to conclude, on the basis of that experience and previous experiences with systems put together by proprietor Doug White, that the man is utterly incapable of making bad sound…
Art Dudley Posted: Jul 10, 2016 3 comments
I like the out-of-the-ordinary, possibly because I have been disappointed by the ordinary often enough that I'm not uncomfortable looking elsewhere. So I'll admit up-front that I was predisposed toward enjoying Larsen loudspeakers, from Sweden, which are designed to perform their best, not in an anechoic chamber but in a real room, when positioned up against a real wall. Even that bit of psychological preconditioning didn't prepare me for how impressed I was by the Larsen 8 ($7000/pair), driven by a GamuT Di150 integrated amplifier ($13,990), itself fed by a Pear Audio Blue Kid Howard turntable ($5000 w/tonearm) and an Ortofon Cadenza Black cartridge.
Art Dudley Posted: Jul 09, 2016 1 comments
It was 89°outside at 11am on the opening day of Capital Audiofest in Rockville, MD, a day when the high temperatures were predicted to reach the mid-90s—the show continues today and tomorrow. One could be forgiven for asking: why not spend the day at an audio show in a nice, newly renovated, air-conditioned hotel? Why not, indeed. There are 58 individual exhibits here, representing God-only-knows-how-many different brands: Munich High End it ain't, but then Munich isn't a 25-minute Metro ride from our nation's endearingly dysfunctional capital.
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Art Dudley Posted: Jun 30, 2016 3 comments
One
Everything makes a difference. Everything. File that away.

Two
There are two kinds of good sound: good sound sound and good music sound. While I could describe the distinction in few words or many, it's easier to point to two recordings of Elgar's oratorio The Dream of Gerontius: by Sir Adrian Boult and the New Philharmonia Orchestra, with tenor Nicolai Gedda singing the title role (2 LPs, EMI SLS 987); and by Malcolm Sargent and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with Heddle Nash in the lead (2 LPs, EMI RLS 709).

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Art Dudley Posted: May 17, 2016 Published: Jun 01, 2016 17 comments
Note: All dialogue quoted verbatim from e-mail exchanges to which I am privy; the stage directions are imaginary.

Dramatis Personae:

bill, director of marketing for PS Audio

randy, amateur reviewer for a commercial audiophile website

dick, professional reviewer for an established audio magazine (not Stereophile)

Art Dudley Posted: Jun 01, 2016 5 comments
Though Westchester County, New York, seems a likelier locale for Bikram yoga studios, pet psychologists, and pricey restaurants specializing in "grain bowls" and fermented vegetables, the idea of manufacturing audio gear there is not without precedent. Cartridge manufacturer Micro-Acoustics (Elmsford, NY) thrived there for over two decades. George Kaye and Harvey Rosenberg's New York Audio Laboratories (Croton-on-Hudson, NY) assembled Moscode amplifiers there. Even the notorious loudspeaker manufacturer Fourier Systems (Yonkers, NY and Cocytus, Hell) got their start in the county that Hillary Clinton calls home, as needed.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 05, 2016 6 comments
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
—Robert Frost

Perhaps it was different for other audio hobbyists in other parts of the world, but to this American, the Naim Audio of the late 1970s and early '80s seemed a bit prickly. It wasn't just their road-less-traveled-by attitude toward amplifier design—scorning class-A output architecture, preferring DIN connectors to RCA jacks, routing preamp output signals and power-supply voltages through the same cable—but also the British company's perspectives on selling and setting up and even listening to hi-fi gear that seemed combative: Shopping for amplifiers based on output power is foolish. Using short speaker cables and long interconnects is the wrong way to go about it. And why do you Americans bother with all that "soundstaging" nonsense?

Art Dudley Posted: Apr 27, 2016 2 comments
I still remember how difficult it was for me to transition from mass-market to high-end audio. The former, for all its flaws, gave me things to do: switches to flip, buttons to push, knobs to turn, meters to watch. I was in control—and if my attention happened to stray from the music or the liner notes, I still had something to keep me busy. By contrast, the first perfectionist-quality amplifier I bought—an Amber Series 70—was an oblong box with an on/off switch. Where's the fun in that?
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2016 6 comments
No second acts in American lives?
Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2016 3 comments
In November of 1990, my wife and I traveled to the UK for our honeymoon, much of which was spent in Scotland. But we also spent a few days in London, and it was during that time that I discovered, in the Bloomsbury district, one of the finest classical-music record stores in the world: a two-story shop on New Oxford Street called Caruso & Company. It didn't have quite as large a selection as Music Masters, on 43rd Street in New York, but it had something that that long-lamented store couldn't boast: clerks who were friendly, knowledgeable, and gregariously helpful.

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