Art Dudley

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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
I've noted the typically spacious, airy sound of Reimyo electronics at previous shows, and at NYAS 2013 the brand followed suit. Playing through a pair of Combak Audio's single-driver Bravo loudspeakers (ca $8000/pair), themselves supported by Combak Dinosaur stands ($4000/pair not including feet, the latter represented by options too numerous to list here), the Reimyo gear did a lovely job with the classic Fritz Reiner/Chicago Symphony Orchestra Scheherazade. (NB: The astonishing trumpeter on that 1960 recording, Bud Herseth, died only days ago.) Reimyo products in use included the CDT-777 CD transport (ca $12,000), the CAT-777 preamp (ca $20,000), and the KAP-777 monoblock amplifiers ($27,000/pair). I was given to understand that Wynn Audio, which sponsored this room, now distributes Reimyo and Combak in the US.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 16, 2013 1 comments
The Audio Note Corporation of Japan—which offers products under the surname of that company's founder, the late Hiruyasu Kondo—has, in recent years, flown so far under the radar that some feared they were defunct. Now the leaders of Kondo have rededicated themselves to this market, with Rhapsody Music & Cinema as their new US distributor.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
Among the smaller systems I heard at NYAS, this nears the top of my list: the Resonessence Labs Invicta D/A converter ($3990), driving the Music First Audio Baby Reference preamplifier ($6990; see Sam Tellig’s rave in the October 2012 issue), the Wells Audio Innamorata power amp ($6000), and most recognizably, Audio Space’s BBC-approved version of the classic (imagine that word in gold leaf) LS-3/5a monitor (only $1790/pair) and SW-1a woofer towers ($1190), with cable by Audience. This setup had exceptional drive and impact: qualities I associate with good transformers, of which the passive Music First preamp has an abundance.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
"Glad," a jazz-tinged instrumental by the English band Traffic, sounded great on a Gamut-intensive system from Woodbridge Stereo. Therein, the enormous Gamut S-9 loudspeakers ($101,999/pair in optional ash finish) were impressive, but I enjoyed even more the Gamut S-5 speakers ($30,000/pair), which did a nice job with the song's propulsive, almost Motown-esque beat. Other gear in the system included the Gamut D 150 integrated amplifier ($11,700), Pass Labs XP25 phono preamplifier (ca $10,000), and a prototype version of VPI's forthcoming Vanquish direct-drive turntable (price TBD), with VPI's similarly prototypical epoxy-resin JMW tonearm and a Soundsmith moving-iron phono cartridge. Very nice stuff.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 16, 2013 1 comments
Once hailed as the most expensive amplifier in domestic audio—a distinction that has long since passed by the wayside, even when one accounts for inflation—the legendary Audio Note (Japan) Ongaku was put through its paces in the Kondo room. Though designed as an integrated amp—its stereo pair of 211 tubes, run single-ended, offer 27Wpc—this Ongaku was being used as a power amplifier, by means of its direct inputs. Pricing information was unavailable at the time of my visit.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
In one of three NYAS rooms sponsored by the Manhattan dealer Rhapsody Music & Cinema, a pair of Vivid G3 Giya loudspeakers ($40,000/pair) sounded colorful, spacious, and well-textured with a pair of mono amps ($15,000) and a line-level preamp ($10,000) from the new Dutch company Mola Mola. (The company’s chief designer, late of Philips BV, is said to be the originator of “universal Class-D.”) Digital files supplied by Vivid’s and Mola Mola’s distributor, the reliable Philip O’Hanlon—he never fails to make my Top Five list of people who bring the best music to the show—were played on Luxman’s DSD-friendly DA06 converter ($6000).
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
At NYAS 2013, I was more impressed with the French Waterfall loudspeakers than at previous shows. Their Victoria Evo model ($7000 per pair) sounded clear and articulate in the second of two Audio Doctor rooms, demonstrated with an Auralic Vega D/A converter ($3495), Manley 300B preamplifier ($5795), and Aragon 8008 amplifier ($4400); judging from the smiles all around, Dave Lalin of Audio Doctor and Nadine Chaix Dewell and Cedric Aubriot of Waterfall would agree.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 16, 2013 1 comments
Andy Regan of Cardas Audio saw me near the 10th-floor elevators and asked, "Do you have an iPod or an iPhone?" I said that I did, and Andy handed me a leather pouch upon which the Cardas logo had been printed. Inside was an obviously well-made pair of earbuds. "Give 'em a try."
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 15, 2013 0 comments
In one of two rooms sponsored by New Jersey dealer Audio Doctor, Jay Rein of distributor Bluebird Music demonstrated an impressive system comprising KEF Blade loudspeakers ($30,000/pair), Chord SPM 14000 Mk.II mono amplifiers ($86,000/pair), the Chord CPA 8000 Reference preamp ($45,000), a Manley Steelhead phono preamp ($8000), and the Kronos turntable (starting at $32,000)—a combination on which Neil Young’s Comes a Time album sounded so good, I can scarcely wait to hear it again when I get home. While there I also enjoyed some music files—appropriately, my friend Michael Lavorgna of Audiostream.com had the seat next to mine—courtesy of the Chord DSX-1000 ($13,000), a music streamer that incorporates the same company’s well-received QBD 76 D/A converter.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 15, 2013 0 comments
Here’s a closer look at that Chord CPA 8000 Reference preamp ($45,000), whose beautiful level controls must surely inspire envy in any audiophile with a pulse.

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