Art Dudley

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Art Dudley Posted: 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."
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 01, 2014 1 comments
Experience says that one must wait in line to hear the MBL system at any hi-fi show, and SSI 2014 was no exception. Similarly unsurprising was the realistically vivid sound on tap, with levels of color and texture that, in a strange way, stood in contrast to the resolutely smooth, monochromatic appearance of their gear. (Maybe that's intentional?) This year I was entertained by a variety of musical excerpts, including a snippet of Beethoven's Piano Concerto 2, through MBL's C31 D/A converter/CD player ($9200), C11 stereo preamp ($8800), C21 stereo amp (9200), and 116 F loudspeakers ($29,000/pair), with Siltech cables and a generous sprinkling of Shun Mook Mpingo discs.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
Although their sign suggested that this was a passive display, the Blue Circle Audio table in the Pavillon du Canada was anything but. The always-colorful Gilbert Yeung offered visible and audible proof that his line of PLC Thingee power-line conditioners—with prices starting at $CAD220 each for the four-outlet versions in the foreground—effectively removed noise from household AC current. I was thoroughly impressed (not to mention entertained).
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 01, 2014 5 comments
For whatever reason I didn't hear many word-of-mouth recommendations as I wandered the halls during the first two days of SSI; the few that did break through the haze pointed to two products: the Eclipse TD-M1 desktop loudspeakers in one of Coup de Foudre's rooms, and the Muraudio Domain floorstanding loudspeakers ($58,000 per pair): about as different as different can be. Just as I discovered with the Eclipses, the Muraudio speakers deserved the buzz.
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Art Dudley Posted: 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).
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Art Dudley Posted: 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.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2014 4 comments
The 2014 SSI witnessed the official North American introduction of Naim Audio's mighty Statement amplifier (which John Atkinson previewed in his coverage of the 2014 CES). I experienced this behemoth at the unveiling party thrown for it by distributor Plurison Audio, and was struck not so much by its undeniable power but by its very nuanced performance on subtler material—such as the classic "Helplessly Hoping" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. During the chorus, when David Crosby's low harmony was the last to enter ("They are three together. . ."), the audible tension and release were palpable—and very impressive. The Statement is something that neither I nor the vast majority of you will ever enjoy at home, but . . .wow.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2014 0 comments
Bring me the head of anyone who says the Harbeth Monitor 40.1loudspeaker isn't a great rock 'n' roll loudspeaker! As Montreal retailer Son Idéal proved—proved, I tell you—the biggest Harbeths are very satisfying on the classic album Led Zeppelin III, especially with the assistance of a Rega RP10 record player with Rega Apheta cartridge; Rega Aria phono preamp; Rega Saturn-R CD player; and Pathos T.T. integrated amplifier.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2014 0 comments
Here's a closer look at the Ayre MXR 20 amplifier, which is due to ship fairly soon, according to Ayre's Alex Brinkman. As he puts it, "We lost a little time working on the Pono thing."
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2014 0 comments
Ontario retailer and distributor Audio Pathways had a number of new products on display—some active, some passive. Among the latter were the impressive Magne air-bearing turntable and companion Magne air-bearing linear-tracking tonearm ($14,000 as a package) from Bergmann Audio of Denmark.

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