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Art Dudley Posted: Sep 27, 2016 3 comments
They don't make 'em like they used to.

That aphorism has few fans among people shopping for cancer drugs, contact lenses, GPS receivers, and laptop computers, all of which seem to get better with each passing year. Hell, even I know that.

It earns a more positive reply from anyone who's shopping for an oriental rug, or a fly rod, or a tweed jacket, or a musical instrument—people who will tell you that their fond response to the market for vintage examples of such goods is motivated by two things: older products were better made than their newer counterparts (better designs, better materials, better manufacturing techniques), and some, if not all, of those products, over time, actually improve with use.

Art Dudley Posted: Aug 25, 2016 5 comments
Approximately 331/3 years after AudioQuest's first phono cartridge, the company announced two new USB D/A headphone amplifiers: the DragonFly Black ($99) and the DragonFly Red ($199). Both have circuits designed by the engineer responsible for the original DragonFly—Gordon Rankin, of Wavelength Audio—and both have the novel distinction of requiring considerably less operating power than their predecessors, so much less that the new DragonFlys can be used with iPhones, iPads, and various other mobile devices.
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Art Dudley Posted: Aug 23, 2016 36 comments
Fifteen years ago, when I was the Editor of Listener, I wrote a response to a reader's letter in which I repaid unpleasantness with unpleasantness: something I justified by flattering myself that my brand of unpleasantness had the advantage of being clever. Not satisfied with making his point sound foolish, I made certain that the writer of that letter would himself be made to look ridiculous. I made fun of his name, too.

Prior to publication, I showed my handiwork to my wife, Janet, as per my usual practice. I expected her to laugh at the funny bits and praise my superior logic, also as per usual.

Art Dudley Posted: Jul 26, 2016 128 comments
I should have seen this coming: Less than a year after the last time I railed against the darkness of cable reviewing—the indignity of crawling around behind my equipment rack, the tedium of comparing one wire to another, the frustration of trying to wring from the experience some fresh and hopefully entertaining observations, the horror of dealing with manufacturers whose hunger for good publicity borders on the vampiric—I have once again invited into my home a cable manufacturer and his wares.
Art Dudley Posted: Jul 19, 2016 8 comments
Your little car gets in and out of traffic better than minivans or monster trucks. Your little dog runs rings around the other dogs at the park. Maybe it's time to get a couple of little loudspeakers, too?

The reasons for doing so are pretty much the same: little speakers deserve consideration not because they sell for little prices—although some of them do—but because they're nimble, they're fast, and they get out of the way of the music they play.

Art Dudley Posted: Jul 12, 2016 3 comments
If you must know, I do in fact maintain on my desktop computer a file-folder labeled Vintage, which is where I put all my audio porn…
Art Dudley Posted: Jul 11, 2016 4 comments
Every good show has a vibe, and the vibe at Capital Audiofest owes a lot to the region's very spirited DIY community…
Art Dudley Posted: Jul 10, 2016 7 comments
To hear the system demonstrated by The Voice That Is was to conclude, on the basis of that experience and previous experiences with systems put together by proprietor Doug White, that the man is utterly incapable of making bad sound…
Art Dudley Posted: Jul 10, 2016 3 comments
I like the out-of-the-ordinary, possibly because I have been disappointed by the ordinary often enough that I'm not uncomfortable looking elsewhere. So I'll admit up-front that I was predisposed toward enjoying Larsen loudspeakers, from Sweden, which are designed to perform their best, not in an anechoic chamber but in a real room, when positioned up against a real wall. Even that bit of psychological preconditioning didn't prepare me for how impressed I was by the Larsen 8 ($7000/pair), driven by a GamuT Di150 integrated amplifier ($13,990), itself fed by a Pear Audio Blue Kid Howard turntable ($5000 w/tonearm) and an Ortofon Cadenza Black cartridge.
Art Dudley Posted: Jul 09, 2016 1 comments
It was 89°outside at 11am on the opening day of Capital Audiofest in Rockville, MD, a day when the high temperatures were predicted to reach the mid-90s—the show continues today and tomorrow. One could be forgiven for asking: why not spend the day at an audio show in a nice, newly renovated, air-conditioned hotel? Why not, indeed. There are 58 individual exhibits here, representing God-only-knows-how-many different brands: Munich High End it ain't, but then Munich isn't a 25-minute Metro ride from our nation's endearingly dysfunctional capital.

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