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Art Dudley Posted: Jun 05, 2015 6 comments
"I don't know what I think on that one. I haven't written about it yet."—Walter Lippmann (attributed)

As sometimes happens, this started out to be a very different column. But by the time I was a thousand words into it, I found that my point of view had changed.

A number of months ago, I received from a Canadian company called BIS Audio a review sample of their Expression interconnect: a shielded, unbalanced interconnect terminated with Eichmann BulletPlugs (RCA). Priced at $480 Canadian per 1m pair, the Expression falls squarely in the middle of BIS's interconnect line: a lowish range for high-end audio, and suggestive of a manufacturer that values value.

Art Dudley Posted: May 28, 2015 22 comments
To some, the measure of a company has less to do with the amount of money it makes than with the honesty of the things it sells: the assurance that every product in its line is designed not as a marketing exercise but as a straightforward and presumably unique answer to a real consumer need.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 23, 2015 8 comments
If you look at it from a distance and squint a little, Luxman's Classic CL-38u preamplifier ($4200) could almost be mistaken for that most classic of all classic hi-fi products, the Marantz Model 7C control center. The aluminum front panels of both models have, at their centers, a row of four distinctive toggle switches, flanked on each side by four control knobs. Even more noticeable are the stylish wood enclosures—standard on the Luxman, optional on the Marantz—which make both preamps appear ready for duty at the Playboy Mansion, ca 1963, or perhaps an appearance in a Life photo essay titled "At Home with Steve McQueen."
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 22, 2015 0 comments
At home, I have two different ways of listening to music—just as I have two different ways of cooking and washing the car and making coffee and getting dressed to go out.

My first approach to listening is the one that takes the most time: It requires forethought and effort and, consciously or not, a certain amount of ritual—yet those things are enjoyable in and of themselves, and the end results are often more than merely satisfying.

Art Dudley Posted: Apr 03, 2015 0 comments
I was weak and easily led.

In 1978, after enduring four or five years of wretched music made by men with long hair and beards and tendencies toward eonic guitar solos, I suddenly discovered that the only music worth hearing was made by clean-shaven men of limited musical proficiency. I embraced the Clash, the Pistols, the New York Dolls, the Ramones, and the Buzzcocks. I cut my hair and gave away some of my old records. I even threw out my copy of Jethro Tull's A Passion Play—which, now that I think about it, wasn't that bad an idea.

Then I woke up and remembered: I'd left the baby in the bathwater.

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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2015 6 comments
Montreal dealer Audioville drew crowds to the St. Pierre ballroom with an impressive system built around B&W 800-series loudspeakers, Conrad-Johnson electronics, and an AudioQuest Dragonfly-equipped Apple MacBook Pro, cloud-streaming CD-quality files from Tidal. Adding to the SRO factor were the workshops conducted by AudioQuest's Steve Silberman, under the title of Computer Audio Explained. (Actually, it was Audio Informatique Appliquée.)
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2015 24 comments
A transitional show, then—or one with potential to be so. I dearly hope that, with a bit of freshening-up and a few new ideas, Salon Son et Image will be back next year, bigger and better than ever.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 30, 2015 2 comments
As mentioned in my earlier report, Sony came to town with more than just a system's worth of ES-series components. As I discovered on Saturday morning, they also brought the new NW-ZX2 ($CAD1199), which is the new big brother—forgive the fraternal illogic of the metaphor—to last year's well-received ZX1. The new Sony, which will be reviewed by Michael Lavorgna in the May issue of Stereophile, offers the same Dynamic Sound Enhancing System as the company's HAP-Z1ES file player, and its amplifier is more powerful than that of the ZX1; perhaps best of all, the ZX2 provides 128GB of built-in storage. . .
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 29, 2015 3 comments
The psychology of shows: Upon exiting an especially pleasant, successful demonstration, one almost expects to be disappointed by the next one down the line. Yet after leaving behind the excellent playback quality and (literally) rare music in the PS Audio room, I was surprised and delighted by the fine sound in the room of Gershman Acoustics—a brand that, for whatever reason, has seldom if ever been a part of my beat.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 28, 2015 5 comments
When it comes to designing and building loudspeakers, I confess immunity to the DIY bug, mostly because I wasn't drawn to woodworking until age 50. (At age 10, my Pinewood Derby car was a simple wedge, requiring only a single saw-cut on a rectangular block of wood—although I felt vindicated when the Triumph TR7 came along.) Had things turned out otherwise, I would be spending all of my time in the room of Solen Acoustics: Salon Son et Image stalwarts who make available nearly every sort of drive-unit known to humankind . . .


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