Art Dudley

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Art Dudley Posted: Jul 01, 2014 3 comments
It's going to happen very soon.—Leonard Cohen, "The Great Event"

With a parts list that includes 18 new-old-stock Black Cat capacitors, 16 vintage-style Cosmos potentiometers, two Tango chokes, one Tango power transformer, and some of the loveliest steel casework I've seen on a contemporary product, no one could accuse Noriyuki Miyajima of skimping on the build quality of his company's only power amplifier, the Miyajima Laboratory Model 2010 ($9995, footnote 1). Then again, because the 2010 is an output-transformerless (OTL) tube amplifier, Miyajima-san spent considerably less on iron than would otherwise be the case. Think of the money he saved!

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Art Dudley Posted: Jun 06, 2014 7 comments
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.—William Morris (1834–1896)

The Arts and Crafts movement, which took root in England in the late 1800s, was more than just a reaction to the poor working conditions and the soulless, shoddy, superfluously decorated wares associated with the early days of mass production. It was a rejection of Victorian attitudes toward class: of a mindset that promoted a chasm, in industry as in society, between the designer and the craftsman, the architect and the stonemason.

Art Dudley Posted: May 27, 2014 11 comments
Ten years ago, the average consumer was unaware that he or she needed an e-book reader. Since that time, neither those people nor the authors whose books they consume have changed very much. But the people in between have grown restless and unsatisfied, and it is they who call the tune. Consequently, many of you have gone from owning books to sort of, kind of owning books (and sort of, kind of not).
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Art Dudley Posted: May 22, 2014 0 comments
High End 2014 drew over 18,000 audio enthusiasts and record lovers to the historic city of Munich, a corner of whose Marienplatz district is seen in the photo above. It presented the wares of 452 exhibitors, representing over 900 distinct brands. I was in attendance every minute of its first three days; I went home on its fourth and final day, bringing with me the certainty that High End 2014 was, in almost every meaningful way, the finest audio show of my experience. This wasn't a show about old men dodging furtively in and out of overdark, overloud rooms in a down-on-its-luck hotel: High End 2014 was about seeing the audio world's most important people and products in a single setting, the beauty and spaciousness and size of which reflected very well indeed on our industry.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 22, 2014 5 comments
The man pictured above is Joe Roberts, who does consulting work for Silbatone—in whose deservedly, lavishly praised exhibition room I took this photo. Joe published the deservedly, lavishly lamented magazine Sound Practices, which was one of my influences when I started Listener Magazine 20 years ago. In his public speaking as in his writing, Joe is all about passion, honesty, style, and fun. (You can't see it in this photo, but Joe was holding in his left hand the largest spanner I've ever seen. I think it was yellow.) To paraphrase Stephen Stills: It made sense that he was there.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 21, 2014 2 comments
Pressed to guess which manufacturer had the greatest number of products on display at High End 2014, I'd name Pro-Ject Audio Systems, who apparently brought with them a different record player for every day of the month: different styles, different prices, different colors, different (apparent) points of view.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 20, 2014 1 comments
I had the opportunity to review, in our June 2012 issue, the sweet-sounding Allnic A-5000 DHT amplifier. Yet it wasn't until the Munich show that I had the chance to meet its very genial designer, Kang Su Park, seen here with David Beetles, the international distributor for Allnic Audio Arts.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 20, 2014 5 comments
I began my Friday with a direct assault upon one of the MOC's three atria: expansive, beautifully lit spaces, each resembling a boulevard of swanky shops, with café seating at the center and rows of glass-fronted listening rooms on the farthest side. Again, the effect is not unlike an audio-centric Champs Elysée on an especially pleasant day. Times three.

First stop was Dali Acoustics, where the sound of a mandolin—it was Steve Strauss's "Jennie Mae"—led me toward Dali's floorstanding Rubicon 8 (€2399/pair, seen on the far left in the photo above).

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Art Dudley Posted: May 17, 2014 14 comments
How good does it get? I think I’m closer to having an answer to that one.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 16, 2014 5 comments
The first bit of music I heard at the Munich show—officially known High End 2014—was utterly lacking in soundstage depth, imaging precision, and transparency: It was actual music, courtesy of the Bavarian brass/accordion ensemble Unterbiberger Hofmusik, who performed just inside the main entranceway of the Munich MOC. (To the surprise of everyone, the morning dawned too cold for an outdoors performance.) It was a big, colorful beginning to this uniquely big, colorful show.

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