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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 25, 2012 3 comments
Photo of the author in Bayreuth: Paul Hyde

For audiophiles, the acoustic of the Bayreuth Festspielhause in Germany, home of the annual festival of Richard Wagner's operas, vies with Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Vienna's Musikverein as one of the most fabled for recording as well as listening. As a participant in the Music Critics of North America 2012 institute at the Festival, I had the opportunity to not only explore the venue from a near-ideal seat in Row 25 Center, but to also visit the fabled "covered pit" from which many of the greatest Wagner conductors of the last 136 years have led exalted performances.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 08, 2012 0 comments
You can interpret the title of this blog in many ways. Speaking personally as a Bay Area resident, it means coming into the home stretch of the California Audio Show knowing that there are a host of dealers, distributors, and manufacturers in Northern California who are in love with music and dedicated to high quality music reproduction. It also means, in the literal sense, that CAS 3 included a number of systems that got to the heart of music reproduction.

One of those was Bob Hodas' room. Shown in part with recording, mixing, and mastering engineer Piper Payne. . .

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 07, 2012 Published: Aug 08, 2012 8 comments
I beg your indulgence. CAS 2012 gave Northern Californians their first opportunity to hear Wilson Audio's imposing Alexandria XLF loudspeaker ($199,500/pair). The latest and grandest statement of Dave Wilson's engineering acumen—he designed the crossover and supervised the voicing, for starters—the 97dB-sensitive Alexandria XLF powered by the 600W VTL Siegfried Series II Reference monoblocks ($65,000/pair), together with the not-really-necessary but it sure makes its mark in such a large room Wilson Audio Thor's Hammer subwoofer ($21,500) and a front end whose cutting-edge technology and pocket-cutting pricing could make many a grown woman and man weep, produced some of the most stunning sound I have ever heard at an audio show.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 07, 2012 0 comments
The good news is that the smaller rooms on the lobby level of the Burlingame Crowne Plaza were not plagued with the same treble truncation that sabotaged the larger exhibits. Hence Alon Wolf of Magico had a lot to smile about. Shown here with his two handsome sons, Yonathon (18) and Yuval (14), he paused in the hallway outside the Constellation/Magico room, which showcased Constellation's Virgo preamplifier ($19,000) and Centaur power amplifier ($24,000); Auraliti's L1000 Media Server ($4000) and prototype DAC; Magico's small, classy-looking Q1 2-way monitor loudspeakers ($26,500/pair including stands); and MIT's Oracle MA-X SHD speaker cables ($40,000/pair) and MA-C interconnects ($3000/pair).

The sound in this room blew me away. With the Auraliti combo subbing for Constellation's Sirius HD digital music source, which was overseas in preparation for the Hong Kong audio show—both units are designed in part by Demian Martin—the sound was open, impeccably controlled from top to bottom, maximally colorful and illumined, yet remarkably neutral in timbre.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 07, 2012 1 comments
Can it get better than the mbl and Magico/VAC/Audio Research/Auraliti etc. etc. rooms? Skipping until Saturday the Wilson Alexandria/VTL/etc. room, which took an enormous amount of self-control, believe me, I headed to the large suite shared by Cookie Marenco's Blue Coast Records/OTR Studios and Sony. Blue Coast Records was preparing for their 2pm panel, "DSD: Join the Cutting Edge." Pictured, left to right, are Dr. Andrew Demery, Super Audio Center DSD consultant; Marenco; and Sugiara. (Andres Koch of Playback Designs, also on the panel, arrived too late for inclusion in the photo.)
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 06, 2012 0 comments
"Hello. This is the Suzanne at the Cable Company in New Hope. How can I direct your call?" How many years have I heard that familiar voice, over and over? At last, like a very thirsty pilgrim happening upon an oasis in the desert, CAS 2012 presented my first opportunity to hug the real Suzanne Cleary.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 06, 2012 4 comments
It's the morning of Friday August 3, and I've arrived 30 minutes before dagogo's third annual California Audio Show begins in Burlingame's Crowne Plaza Hotel. In the lobby, the website's founder and show organizer, Constantine Soo, just has time to pose before a map of exhibit rooms on the hotel's first floor.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jul 31, 2012 2 comments
With the release of their first Binaural+ high-resolution downloads, Chesky Records and HDtracks intend to take music lovers one step closer to the real musical event. Made possible by work that composer David Chesky, founder of Chesky Records and cofounder of HDtracks, has been doing at Princeton University with Dr. Edgar Choueiri, Chesky's Binaural+ downloads make possible the playback of binaural recordings on both headphones and a pair of loudspeakers.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jul 28, 2012 4 comments
The California Audio Show returns to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Burlingame August 3–5. Produced by Constantine Soo's dagogo.com, and sponsored by Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, Wired.com, Audiophilevoice.com, AVshowrooms.com, and San Francisco Classical Voice (SFCV.org), Northern California's only show aimed at audiophile consumers promises 36 exhibit rooms stocked with equipment from at least 100 manufacturers.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jul 07, 2012 3 comments
Just nine days after Independence Day, the third annual Capital Audiofest unfurls its banner with the hope of life, liberty, and good sound for all. Scheduled for July 13–15 in the three-story Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rockville, MD, the show promises up to 40 exhibit rooms stocked with enough high-quality equipment to send Paul Revere galloping from port to post declaring, "The Audiophiles Are Coming!"

For a one-man effort that began with 14 or 15 rooms in a Rockville mansion, the Capital Audiofest has grown considerably in its short existence. An idea birthed at a party—a group of well-lubricated audiophiles, meeting for their annual post-CES bash at the home of Ijaz Kahn, sat around lamenting that there hadn't been an audio show in DC since the 1980s, and when they had finally sobered up, exactly one, Gary Gill, pictured above at last year's Show, found himself committed to following through–the Capital Audiofest has expanded into a major show that will draw upwards of 1500 eager attendees from as far as Canada, Florida, and the Midwest.

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