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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 22, 2015 0 comments
At home, I have two different ways of listening to music—just as I have two different ways of cooking and washing the car and making coffee and getting dressed to go out.

My first approach to listening is the one that takes the most time: It requires forethought and effort and, consciously or not, a certain amount of ritual—yet those things are enjoyable in and of themselves, and the end results are often more than merely satisfying.

Art Dudley Posted: Apr 03, 2015 0 comments
I was weak and easily led.

In 1978, after enduring four or five years of wretched music made by men with long hair and beards and tendencies toward eonic guitar solos, I suddenly discovered that the only music worth hearing was made by clean-shaven men of limited musical proficiency. I embraced the Clash, the Pistols, the New York Dolls, the Ramones, and the Buzzcocks. I cut my hair and gave away some of my old records. I even threw out my copy of Jethro Tull's A Passion Play—which, now that I think about it, wasn't that bad an idea.

Then I woke up and remembered: I'd left the baby in the bathwater.

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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2015 24 comments
A transitional show, then—or one with potential to be so. I dearly hope that, with a bit of freshening-up and a few new ideas, Salon Son et Image will be back next year, bigger and better than ever.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 31, 2015 6 comments
Montreal dealer Audioville drew crowds to the St. Pierre ballroom with an impressive system built around B&W 800-series loudspeakers, Conrad-Johnson electronics, and an AudioQuest Dragonfly-equipped Apple MacBook Pro, cloud-streaming CD-quality files from Tidal. Adding to the SRO factor were the workshops conducted by AudioQuest's Steve Silberman, under the title of Computer Audio Explained. (Actually, it was Audio Informatique Appliquée.)
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 30, 2015 2 comments
As mentioned in my earlier report, Sony came to town with more than just a system's worth of ES-series components. As I discovered on Saturday morning, they also brought the new NW-ZX2 ($CAD1199), which is the new big brother—forgive the fraternal illogic of the metaphor—to last year's well-received ZX1. The new Sony, which will be reviewed by Michael Lavorgna in the May issue of Stereophile, offers the same Dynamic Sound Enhancing System as the company's HAP-Z1ES file player, and its amplifier is more powerful than that of the ZX1; perhaps best of all, the ZX2 provides 128GB of built-in storage. . .
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 29, 2015 3 comments
The psychology of shows: Upon exiting an especially pleasant, successful demonstration, one almost expects to be disappointed by the next one down the line. Yet after leaving behind the excellent playback quality and (literally) rare music in the PS Audio room, I was surprised and delighted by the fine sound in the room of Gershman Acoustics—a brand that, for whatever reason, has seldom if ever been a part of my beat.
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 28, 2015 5 comments
When it comes to designing and building loudspeakers, I confess immunity to the DIY bug, mostly because I wasn't drawn to woodworking until age 50. (At age 10, my Pinewood Derby car was a simple wedge, requiring only a single saw-cut on a rectangular block of wood—although I felt vindicated when the Triumph TR7 came along.) Had things turned out otherwise, I would be spending all of my time in the room of Solen Acoustics: Salon Son et Image stalwarts who make available nearly every sort of drive-unit known to humankind . . .
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Art Dudley Posted: Mar 27, 2015 3 comments
My very first official encounter at this year's Salon Son et Image was with a vintage-gear dealer: Cristian Fatu's static display included this beautiful McIntosh 275 power amplifier above (approximate value: $CAD3200) . . .
Art Dudley Posted: Mar 24, 2015 0 comments
"Too much Stokowski."—Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1940, reacting to a demonstration of a stereo recording of Leopold Stokowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra

I don't remember when, but at some point during the past few years I realized that, in my home, mono cartridges outnumber their stereo counterparts. A few weeks ago, my collection of phono equipment took another step in the same strange direction: After receiving from Ortofon a sample of their CG 25 DI Mk.II mono pickup head ($902) for review, I was so impressed with its sound that I asked if I could buy the review sample. Now, having put check in mail, I own twice as many mono cartridges as stereo ones. Take that, multichannelism.

Art Dudley Posted: Mar 05, 2015 2 comments
I've seen how most manufacturers work. They start out by making products they believe in—products consumers are likely to love. But after a while they begin listening to their dealers and distributors and marketing consultants, most of whom are inclined to say things like: "You need to make a six-figure turntable, to compete with all the other six-figure turntables." "You need to make a $1500 amplifier, to fill that price gap in your product line." "You need to make a small, stand-mounted loudspeaker."

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