On August 14, Logitech International announced that it intended to acquire privately held Ultimate Ears for $34 million in cash. "Ultimate Ears is a perfect fit for Logitech and our audio business," said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech's president and CEO. "Since its inception, Ultimate Ears has been driven by innovation, close ties to its customers, and the desire to enable an immersive audio experience. Logitech's success has been built on using a deep understanding of our customers to create products that let people immerse themselves in their pursuits."
Let's do the It's a Wonderful Life exercise, shall we? Imagine what popular music would sound like today without Jerry Wexler. Aretha Franklin would have never returned to her gospel roots, Ray Charles would have continued imitating Charles Brown and Nat Cole, Stax would have been a tiny regional record label, and denatured white covers of R&B songs would dominate the charts. In fact, the music we know today as rhythm and blues would still be called "race music"Wexler having coined R&B while working at Billboard in 1949.
John Atkinson and I were in a Manhattan loft apartment that could have stood in for every sophisticated NYC loft you've ever seen in films. We were surrounded by fabulous contemporary art. Asian and South American antiquities were discreetly displayed. The furniture was sparse but choice. And, over in one corner, facing a conversation grouping of paintings, two sleek metal tower loudspeakers were making extremely convincing music. We managed to delay examination of this urban paradise long enough to drink adult beverages and inhale some music.
While the Naim for Bentley system has a six-disc changer, I found its glove-box mounted iPod cradle awfully useful. It has the MFI (made for iPod) authentication chip, so all of your iPod's playlists, titles, and other metadata are displayed on the GPS touchscreen in the center of the console. All iPod functions can be controlled through the touchscreen, including scrolling though all selections or leaving a playlist for shuffle.
The pack o'Bentleys drove out of Boston and east to the Maine coast, following the twisty shore roads up to Port Neddick and the Nubble Lighthouse, purported to have been featured on more post cards than any other lighthouse. I didn't know where that was, so I followed along in the middle of the pack, playing my uncompressed ALC files through the Naim system.
Salem is full of New Age and Wyccan shoppes and it has an overabundance of "museums" that are more wax museum than serious repositories of historyheck, the place even has a statue of Elizabeth Montgomery in her role as Samantha on Bewitched. But it also has the Salem Witchcraft Trials Tercentenary Memorial.
Adjusting the EQ for every 1km change in speed, the Dynamic EQ has over 300 settings. Other fun tricks include various EQ "modes," allowing the system to be voiced for the driver's position or for the rear right passenger's seat. ("Home James, and give me the sweet spot!")
Naturally, this NY resident, who doesn't own a car, was given a Speed for a starter car. No problemas it turns out people get out of the way when they see eight Bentleys coming at them. As a result, I managed not to hit any pedestrians or guardrailsonly the road.
Of course, any city with a maritime history has pirate history, too. In recent years, Salem has skewed more towards witches than pirates, but some traditions remain, including Beavis and Butthead tavernor in this case, liquor storenames.
After the driving was complete, Bentley got us an after-hours tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. Nice placeespecially if your taste runs to Venetian Renaissance palazzos filled with fine art. The tour was eye opening and afterwards we retired to the cloisters for adult beverages and a catered affair, complete with chamber music in the courtyard.