These days, it seems you can't shake a stick without hitting a USB DAC, but Ayre's QB-9 ($2500) is something a little different. Ayre's marketing manager, Steve Silberman, was adamant: "The QB-9 isn't a computer peripheral. It makes computers real high-end music sources."
I haven't written lately because my right hand has been in a cast from my fingertips to my elbowrendering me, as a writer, essentially mute. Writing, thinking, and feeling are, for a writer, inextricably linked. How do I know what I think if I haven't written about it?
It seems as if I came of audiophile age in the George Kaye era. The first truly high-end system I ever heard contained a pair of Julius Futterman OTL monoblocks that Kaye had "finished" after Futterman's death in 1979 (footnote 1). In the mid-1980s, I owned both an New York Audio Labs (NYAL) Superit phono section and a Moscode 300 amplifiertwo lovely examples of high-value high-end. Both components were far from perfect, but they were funand, unlike most of the other components that were then highly regarded by magazines and listeners, I could afford them.
In my last post (and the story of why it was so long ago is an epic which I won't go into now), I observed that the listener I am today is a completely different critter than the one I was years ago. It's inevitable that time, experience, and liff its ownself change usand change the way we perceive art.
As the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show neared its end, I wandered into Blue Light Audio's room, which was dominated by the innards of darTZeel's new NHB-458 monoblocksthink of a 3D "exploded" diagram and you'll be on target. So impressive was that display of brute engineering that I almost didn't notice the amplifier that was actually making the music: the CTH-8550 integrated ($20,300).
Sennheiser's long-awaited (seven years) HD800 sure isn't subtleat least, not in appearance. The HD800's large earpieces are made from a combination of absorbing composites and functional metal accents, and are huge. Of course, they have to be to house the 56mm ring-radiator transducersand to mount them so they're firing "back" to your ears from the front. Also not subtle is the price: $1399.95.
Looking for a small, manageable paperback to read on a commute to Great Neck and back, I picked up a vintage paperback of Ross Macdonald's The Drowning Pool, a novel I'd read 25 years ago. I didn't exactly remember the plot clearly, but my recollection of my fling with Macdonald was that most of his plots dealt with the sins of the grandfathers being visited upon the third generation after.
It ain't the stuff you don't know that trips you up, it's the stuff you know that ain't so. When, at the 2007 CEDIA Expo, I encountered Klipsch's startlingly new Palladium P-39F loudspeaker ($20,000/pair), I was impressed by its looks. Tall (56"), as beautifully contoured as the prow of a canoe, and clad in striking zebra-stripe plywood, the P-39F is possibly the best-looking speaker Klipsch has ever made.
I've been reading Daniel Levitan's The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature, which makes pretty strong claims for the importance of those tones in time. (Neil McCormick conducted an interesting interview with Levitan in The Telegraph.)