Music Matters Returns to Definitive Audio Seattle

With the COVID-19–related cancelation of Munich High End and the postponement or cancelation of other national and regional audio shows, smaller, local events such as Seattle’s 15-year old Music Matters event, which returned to Definitive Audio Seattle on March 5–6, have gained importance—at least as long as they are able to avoid being shut down. This two-evening gathering featured six complete set-ups introduced by top industry designers, manufacturers, and distributors. Among the luminaries present were Dan D’Agostino of Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems (introduced in the photo by Hans Brackmann, Manager of Definitive Audio Seattle) and William (Bill) Low, founder/chief designer at AudioQuest.

MM15, which also celebrated the 45th year of Definitive Audio's existence, took on a different format this year. Instead of an open-to-all event at which hundreds of audiophiles cued up in the long lines to attend 20-minute presentations (between noshing, checking out the headphone bar, and kibitzing in the lobby), MM15 was invitation-only, offering 30-minute presentations only to Definitive’s best customers. All MM exhibits will remain on display for the rest of March.

All seating, tables, and other surfaces were wiped down with disinfectant and food was dispensed by servers instead of being accessed by guests in finger–free-for-all fashion. Nonetheless, COVID-19 concerns almost certainly lowered attendance; it certainly made navigating Seattle's usually busy traffic a breeze.

Before the show began, McIntosh Director of Sales Training Ken Zelin showed me a silent display of McIntosh’s MA352 integrated amplifier ($6500). Introduced last September, this distinctive, retro-looking analog-only baby, with phono stage, outputs 200Wpc into 8 ohms and 300Wpc into 4 ohms. What’s not retro is the ability to adjust cartridge loading from your chair.

Linn’s Ivor Tiefenbrun-designed top-of-the-line turntable, the Klimax LP12, has a new Karousel bearing. The third bearing since the table’s introduction in 1973—the table boasts the longest continual manufacturing run in the history of hi-fi—this single-point bearing is the turntable’s foundation. According to Linn Brand Ambassador Gordon Inch, the Karousel bearing “lowers the noise floor and elevates the performance of every one of the 100,000 Klimax LP12 turntables ever made.” Models with older bearings can be retrofitted with the new bearing along with a new inner platter, drive belt, and suspension rings for $975. From March 23–April 22, LP12 owners who spend $4000 on new Linn equipment will receive the upgrade without charge.

Also in the system: Linn Exact Active Akubarik speakers ($35,750/pair), Klimax DSM streaming preamplifier ($23,380), and Symbol Audio rack. I regret that I ran out of time before I could take a listen.

For the first time in its history, Music Matters featured not one but two home theater set-ups. The one billed as “The Ultimate for Music & Movies,” with an ultimate cost of $250,000 (divorce settlement not included), was built around Wilson Audio loudspeakers, McIntosh electronics, dCS digital gear, video components from Kaleidescape and Samsung, and Transparent cabling.

Coincidentally, both theater systems played the same fabulous sequence from Ford vs. Ferrari where Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) takes Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) for a joy ride. As former competitive race car driver Alvin Lloyd of Grand Prix Audio told me, elements of this movie are like pages from his life. The sound was surprisingly natural and lifelike—a far cry from what I heard in Port Townsend’s diminutive Rose Theater—with a beauty that I did not expect from a home theater system.

Wilson’s contribution centered around its most popular speaker, the Sasha DAW ($38,000/pair), augmented by two of its least expensive Watch Dog subwoofers (2 × $10,000), Mezzo center speaker with stand ($18,000), and, in the rear, Alida wall-mounted speakers ($13,900). Everything meshed thanks to Wilson’s new John Curl-designed Activ XO crossover ($4,500). In introductory remarks, Wilson’s Bill Peugh noted that the drivers in the Watch Dogs can match with those in any Wilson loudspeaker, regardless of price.

On a track by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Peugh demonstrated how the subs, which crossed over at 30Hz, helped define acoustic space, add gravitas to piano, and enable everything above the bass foundation to sound more natural, relaxed, and compelling. The effect was subtle but convincing.

Zelen also exhibited McIntosh’s C1100 preamplifier ($14,000)—“a tube preamp with no noise”—MC1.25kw monoblock amplifiers ($25,000/pair), MX123 Surround Processor ($8,000), and MC257 7-channel amplifier ($10,000); that last component can drive both a 2-channel system and multichannel home theater. Add the dCS Rossini DAC/Player ($28,500), Kaleidescape Strato C movie player ($5,000), Samsung QN98Q900R 98” 8K television ($70,000), and Transparent cabling, and you had a system that sounded smooth, relaxed, and compelling on excerpts from La La Land, Bruce Springstein’s Western Stars, and the aforementioned FvsF. I’d never heard a Wilson/dCS/McIntosh set-up before and was delighted by its musicality.

[NAD Dali 1 or 2]

For the first showing of DALI loudspeakers at Definitive Audio, David Carr of The Sound Organization & David Solomon of Qobuz had a ball with a $5000 system comprised of DALI (Danish Audio Loudspeaker Industries) Oberon 7 speakers ($1,500/pair), the NAD M10 Hypex NCore Class D streaming integrated amplifier ($2,750), and Transparent Audio’s 10’ Music Wave speaker cabling and Powerbank line conditioner. The DALI drivers use wood fiber pulp cones whose uneven surfaces help break up resonances. Despite the bleeding chunks demo, with bits of Illinois Jacquet, the infernal Dance of the Tumblers, Steely Dan, Janelle Manae and Dominique Fils-Aimé played just long enough to make me wish I could have heard more, I found the bass extremely impressive. Solomon noted that a Qobuz subscription now costs $15/month for streaming up to 24/192 resolution.

While the cynical might consider the “Sound as Art” billing of the $125,000 Sonus faber / Audio Research / dCS / Clearaudio / AudioQuest system to be hype, I found the sound the smoothest, most relaxed, most “I want to listen more and more” at Music Matters. That’s another way of saying that I fell in love with the system’s mellow midrange, which made delicious sound on the “Woodstock” track on the 2018 LP Here If You Listen by David Crosby with Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis and Michael League (of Snarky Puppy)—Stereophile’s Recording of the Month, I believe, from April 2019.

Horns were handled wonderfully on a Count Basie LP, with huge dynamics and powerful slam. Equal thumbs up for a track by Rickie Lee Jones. Hey, I even enjoyed Chris Jones’s well-worn—some would say “tired”—“No Sanctuary Here,” whose title speaks for itself. Without question, my favorite system of the evening—equally compelling on analog and digital—and a real coup for the debut of AudioQuest biwire speaker cables, entry-level Audio Research tube and dCS digital products, the complex Clearaudio front end, and the eye-pleasing Sonus faber Olympica Nova V speakers ($16,500/pair). Those speakers, which debuted last fall, mated well with the company’s Gravis III subwoofer ($2750), a new product.

Detailing the rest of this system gets rather complicated. It’s easy to note the Audio Research VT80SE amplifier ($9,500) and LS23 preamplifier ($8,500), dCS Bartok streaming DAC and headphone amplifier ($16,500), AudioQuest cabling, and Bassocontinuo Accordion rack. But Garth Leerer of Musical Surroundings reports that there were different Clearaudio tables and phono stages for different tracks: “Clearaudio Innovation with Universal 12" arm and Jubilee MC cartridge with Absolute Phono for “Woodstock” and Chris Jones ($38k complete); Concept with Satisfy Black, Maestro v2 MM cartridge, and Nano phono stage for Count Basie ($3,950 complete); and Ovation with Universal 9", Stradivari MC, and Balanced v2 phono stage for Ricki Lee Jones ($18,250 complete).

Coming in around a cool million, Music Matters’ ultimate system paired Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX speakers ($325,000/pair); D’Agostino’s Relentless monoblocks ($250,000/pair), Momentum HD Preamplifier ($40,000), and Momentum phono stage ($28,000); dCS Vivaldi DAC, Upsampler, and Master Clock ($73,000) with the dCS Rossini CD/SACD disc transport ($23,500); HRS VXR Audio Stand ($63,000); Clearaudio Master Innovation turntable ($54,000), with its Innovation turntable stand ($14,000) and Clearaudio Goldfinger cartridge ($16,000); and Transparent’s Magnum Opus balanced interconnects and speaker cables, Reference XL digital cables, and assorted power cables and power isolators.

Because Dan D’Agostino egged on Wilson’s Peter Mc Grath to turn the volume up and then up some more, the realization of that goal could be heard loud and clear, save when the music was so loud that I, who was seated in the first row’s sweet spot, had no choice but to put my fingers in my ears. A wirelessly streamed 24/96 MQA file of a 2010 performance by Hugh Masekela, released posthumously, nailed the timbre of the late horn player’s trumpet like no system I have ever heard. The bass on Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” made me jump, and the volume of the theorbo on a baroque tack could have rendered a real theorbo gutless. (Paul Miller, Stereophile's editorial director, measured, for Hi-Fi News, that the Relentless can output 11,750Wpc of output from the Relentless into 1 ohm.)

If the “ultimate” home theater system scored for power, finesse, and sonic beauty, the $100,000 “Music Lover’s Theater” scored on volume, brute force, and detail. Excerpts included most of the fabulous shake ‘em loose scene from Ford vs. Ferrari, Jack Malick’s eponymous Yesterday scene, and a dressed-to-the-hilt Michelle Williams knocking it out of the sonic ballpark in a scene from The Greatest Showman that was so romantically overhyped as to make the writers of Hallmark cards blush. But that’s no reflection on the excellence of the Bowers & Wilkins 804D3 speakers ($10,000/pair), HTM2D3 center speaker and stand, 805D3 speakers and stands, and CWM7.5 in-wall speakers; two JL Audio F113 subwoofers ($5000/each); Anthem AVM60 surround preamplifier and two MCA 525 5-channel amplifiers; Kaleidescape Strato C movie player ($5,000), Sony VPL-VW885 laser projector ($25,000), and Stewart Studiotech 140" 2.35 Screen that took this system over the top.

With its combination of dedicated listening rooms and relative intimacy, Music Matters offers an experience that few audio shows can equal. Here’s to Music Matters 16, and to everyone’s health and safety between now and then.

COMMENTS
tonykaz's picture

Says it all.

I've had to do the same thing on many occasions.

Tony in Venice

count.de.monet's picture

making "Seattle usually busy traffic a breeze" There's an upside to everything.

did i just read a price sheet?

oldtech's picture

...people should stay just home. Especially in Seattle.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

That McIntosh MA352 tube/transitor hybrid integrated amp also has 5 band parametric EQ ....... May be HR could be interested in reviewing it? :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Wilson Alexia2 impedance drops down to near 2 Ohms ....... Those Relentless amps can put out approximately 6000 WPC into 2 Ohms ....... Is JVS willing to check that out, playing '1812 Overture', 'Devil's Staircase', 'Mahler 8th' etc., with those amps? :-) .........

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

someone will deliver, unpack, set up, and then repack those amps, I'd be happy to. But in a 16 x 20 room, one can listen only so loud for so long before it becomes dangerous. From what I know about the Alexias 2s, my hearing would fry well before their tweeters. Methinks it best to wait until our review comes out.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'Our review'? ........ Is Stereophile gonna review the Relentless amps? ........ If so, I'm looking forward to reading that review :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

If the Relentless amps are too heavy to handle, may be JVS could review the new Rotel Michi M8 mono block amps? :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JVS could go for a review of the new Parasound Halo JC1+ mono blocks ($17,000/pair), rated 1300 WPC into 2 Ohms ....... They can be biased for 25 Watts pure Class-A :-) ..........

John Atkinson's picture
Bogolu Haranath wrote:
JVS could go for a review of the new Parasound Halo JC1+ mono blocks ($17,000/pair), rated 1300 WPC into 2 Ohms .......

I am reviewing the Parasound JC1+ amplifier in the June issue, including a comparison with the original version.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Excellent ..... The world's best audio reviewer (and measurer) is reviewing one of the world's best amplifiers ....... How can it get any better than this? ....... I'm looking forward to reading that review :-) .......

tonykaz's picture

how do you know ?

tony in venice

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I said, 'one of the world's best amplifiers' ....... The previous model JC1 was very favorably reviewed and measured by Stereophile ........ That review is available online ......... The same designer John Curl designed the new model JC1+ ....... So, I was guessing that the new model JC1+ also would be 'one of the world's best amplifiers' :-) ........

Oh, BTW ...... I have both the 'crystal ball' and the 'magic lamp' ........ So, I can pretty much accurately predict these kinda things :-) ........

tonykaz's picture

Hmm, from now on I'll consider you a portal.

Can I request the occasional consultation? ( for a small fee, of course )

I suggest that we contact Mr.Curl for greater insights into this matter. However, I lean to Active Loudspeakers so, I'm more curious about Class D than any of the Old School technologies. ( with the exception of Class A headphone Amplification as in Schiit Asgard, perhaps the greatest-ever gift from the Audiophile gods! & our Mr. HR the "Fiance of Audio Adventures"

One of the Best Amplifiers : PS Audio Power Plants all !!!!!!!

Tony in Venice

Bogolu Haranath's picture

John Curl (Parasound) designs two Class-D lines ....... 'ZoneMaster' and 'newClassic' lines are both Class-D models ....... See, Parasound website :-) ......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

D&D 8c, active Class-D loudspeakers ($12,500/pair) are listed in the Class-A full range Stereophile recommended components :-) ........

JA1 said 'wow' about 8c :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Oh, BTW ..... Stay away from those crowded beaches in Florida :-) .......

tonykaz's picture

No chance, I'm the dusty back room guy calibrating Micrometers, sharpening carbide teeth and French Polishing furnitures.

Tony in Venice

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'Shelter in place' :-) .........

tonykaz's picture

I regularly bicycle our beach system where the early morning colors are a magnificent range of pastels. I also bicycle the Intercoastal Bike paths.

Sick folks don't ride bikes.

Besides, Sunshine ultra violet radiation destroys the virus.

Our beaches are not at all crowded as we probably have 100 yards per person & the Snow Birds are already packing up for the lonnnnnnnnnnnnd drive to the still Frozen North. Lets hope that Sashquash keeps a safe distance.

Tony in beautiful Venice waiting for my 4 Thousands of Socialism Dollars from Washington. ( it's about dam time ) How shall I spend it, on Audio gear or toilet paper ?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Please do not post false health information to this site. Both statements are incorrect.

jason

tonykaz's picture

I was being silly with Mr.Bogolu

Are you a virus researcher?

Tony in Venice

misterc59's picture

Reply went to wrong comment and comment content disappeared.

Just not my day for navigating the ether...

count.de.monet's picture

seriously, this just read like a price sheet. list of models and their prices. also, oldtech is right. people should stay home. you are killing someone's grandma. but i guess if you can afford to buy this shit you probably don't care. These events are _perfect_ asshole filters.

michaelavorgna's picture

...you were able to slip through.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I was thinking it may be a new digital reconstruction filter used in the DACs :-) .......

michaelavorgna's picture

...would help.

;-)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

May be a 'positive deconstruction' filter :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

That NAD M10 was reviewed by Stereophile ....... May be they were using the Dirac Live room compensation with those DALI speakers in that demo room :-) .......

DougM's picture

In Seattle, the #1 hotspot in the whole country, to continue and not cancel is ignorant, selfish, greedy, thoughless and extremely irresponsible, and that's putting it mildly. I would encourage everyone to never give any of these companies your business ever again.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Your criticism is misplaced. The event took place March 4-5, well before everything got shut down. At the same time, people were attending restaurants, sporting events, movie theaters, concerts etc. It's 11 days later, and I've received no reports of any diagnoses of people who attended the event.

DougM's picture

Editor's comment: In times like these, it's natural for people to get upset, but these comments were inappropriate, so they have been deleted. Further posts of this sort will also be deleted.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

count.de.monet's picture

no. it was stupid. its science. you like science when you measure speakers, why not now?

count.de.monet's picture

O M G I screenshot'd that comment. your actions are hurting people.

the criticism was spot on.

chuckles304's picture

For what it's worth, JVS, I'm sorry you catch flak/hate, for whatever reason, on 95% of the reviews and articles you post here. Entirely undeserved.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I don't think it's 95%, but some people who hide behind handles do bark a lot. Our dogs are in awe.

jason

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JVS has that 'magnetic personality' ........ Whenever JVS posts something on Stereophile website, it attracts numerous comments :-) ........

Ortofan's picture

... about 3.3kW (into 4Ω) and about 8kW (into 1.6Ω) - the nominal and minimum impedances for the Chronosonic XVX - could drive the speakers to a peak sound level that caused JVS to plug his ears, how much (less) power would be sufficient to achieve a peak sound level with which JVS would still be comfortable?

count.de.monet's picture

also this whole article is just a price list. how do i get a job regurgitating manufacturers' press releases? what does that pay, btw?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The $14,000/pair, Rotel Michi M8 mono blocks (1080W/8 Ohms, 1800W/4 Ohms) may be sufficient to drive those Wilson XVXs :-) .......

count.de.monet's picture

'cause this is an audio forum, and this ain't about audio. That's OK occasionally when it's not mean-spirited, but this was, so it's gone.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

count.de.monet's picture

Again, not about audio. Also bad-natured. We like old men here. And old women. And young men and women.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

Fruff1976's picture

I know it’s about the equipment, but dang those are some ugly rooms. The equipment isn’t very far behind.

tonykaz's picture

Why is pricy Audio Gear so dam ugly ?

For the kind of System Cost presented here ( just tossed on the floor, for gods sake ) a person could own Gorgeous Italian & French Art or a Patek Philippe Swiss Watch Collection that wouldn't need to be hidden away in a Garage or down with the Basement Clutter. ( and certainly not thrown on the floor for display like gross trash )

Much of the Electronics look like battery chargers for single engine aircraft, the Loudspeakers look like scary Sci-Fi monsters.

It's kind of ironic that there isn't a single roll of toilet paper on any grocery shelf in the entire country but the rich folks still have time to be entertained by super pricy Audio Gear. ( not a care in the world ? )

Tony in Venice

ps. it just crossed my mind that folks paying for this gear may NOT have money left over for any sort of Furniture , phew, they have the advanced disease that I'm not affected with. ( like preferring that horrible Islay Scotch despite it's crazy cost and disgusting flavor )

Fruff1976's picture

It's like celebrities that destroy their faces with plastic surgery. Always thinking it's an improvement. I agree, this stuff seems to be getting uglier, IMHO. Not to mention, most of it seems to sound pretty bad in just about every set up I've heard. Whether it's in the showroom, or at a HiFi shows.

tonykaz's picture

The people responsible for the final Design decisions probably don't consult an Art Director.

Final gear design often looks like it's Welding Machine inspired.

Now, have a quick look at Chord, phew or Italian gear.

Does anyone know why those pricy Amplifiers have to sit on that filthy carpeting where all manner of enviornemental contanimants will certainly migrate to the device's Magnetic innards. ( even cheap loudspeakers come with Stands )

Tony in Venice remaining isolated and not contaminated from aerosol contagions

Bogolu Haranath's picture

At least they will repel/destroy any viruses, because they run hot :-) ........

tonykaz's picture

Are you presuming this Amplifier will keep it's owner's residence free of dangerous contagious elements ????

Are you a CDC specialists???

Mr. JVS called me out for say'n that Sunshine has the ability to shunt disease.

Expect to get a nasty letter, Hmm, unless our angry editor is in agreement with you, he might be.

I'm not a medical researcher and not at all in agreement with y'all, I'll hope to out-run this dam virus on my sort of fast bicycle.

Tony in Venice

ps. I suspect that you might just be a provocateur trying to have fun at MY expense

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I was just joking ....... No offense meant :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'Angry Editor' wants them to show some respect for those $250k amps, and not to place them on 'filthy carpets' :-) .........

tonykaz's picture

I think that you might be walking rather close to the edge. Don't temp

Tony in Venice

ps. I suppose that we all are in Lock-Down and kinda itch'n at the keyboard

Ortofan's picture

... sit on that filthy carpeting because for $250K Dan D doesn't see fit to include a hydraulic engine lift to help hoist a 570lb boat anchor of an amplifier up onto an equipment rack.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

You may already know this ....... HRS makes a special 'isolation base' for the Relentless amp ........ Doen't look like they are using those in this demo :-) .........

tonykaz's picture

Old LP12s still sound good.

Tony in Venice

michaelavorgna's picture

It appears as if the comments section sewer line has backed up once again. Time to call the plumber.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

TAKL probably can TAKL it :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The above comment is not deleted because, TAKL could be used for setting up the Relentless amps .....

[Not] Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile :-) .......

Jim Austin's picture

... but it's not OK to impersonate another community member, and that includes the editor.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

chuckles304's picture

The amount of flak and downright nastiness JVS gets on a regular basis in reply to his reviews astounds me. You'd think reading reviews of higher cost equipment caused some people actual physical pain. The now deleted reaction to his having attended the event in the first place, a couple posts up, is a prime example of the immaturity I'm referring to. Does that commenter believe the attendees were forced there with guns to their heads?

When last I checked, this was still a free country, with the right to freedom of movement and assembly and even of ability to purchase relatively outlandish audio gear. Some of us choose not to hop on the virus panic-wagon.

Sheesh.

michaelavorgna's picture

Comments allow anyone with a keyboard and internet connection the ability to attach themselves to content. Seeing as that barrier to entry is even lower than that presented to your average encruster, it should come as no surprise we get. . .detritus.

So yea, I'm a fan of the flush.

tonykaz's picture

Audio "was" always a brilliantly fun Hobby !!!

I recall McIntosh FREE Service at Stereoland in the 1970s. We all seemed to stand in line and have a dam good time. We even discovered Dolby Tape and bought in .

In 1980ish We discovered the LS3/5a, Linn LP12s & Sheffield Labs. That was a wonderful time. Everything changed. I had an Oracle Delphi that I struggled to get properly spring balanced. I moved on to a Michell Gyrodek

then 1985

16/44 Redbook had it's rough start with us 33.3 folks but eventually the bugs got worked out 2010ish. Now it's great, far better than vinyl in every way. ( if you de-tune your brain's synapse's 33.3 aquired prefrefrence )

16/44 and even 24/92 were affordable. CDs were available and not expensive. Schiit and Tyll & Steve G. brought us headphone greatness, prices stayed within reach in light of most of us not having any sort of income increase since 1979 !!!

Then arrived the SUPER High Priced GaGa gear and the People promoting it's "Must have" superiority. Our reviewers had "budgets" in fantasy land. People with special buildings to house their "to die for" stuff. Other Planet indeed.

Who can read about these Million Dollar toys without feeling like the writer is just waving the middle finger at his readership. ouch.

We are a Nation that's about to enter another Bankruptcy that the Surviving Citizens will be called upon to bail out the top 1% who are too big to fail. We all know it and seem to have an "earned anger", it permeates our public lives.

Still:

Stereophile Editors don't silence readership, typically. I didn't see the deleted comments. I'll side with JA.

But :

When Washington starts bailing out the Airlines, Oil, Wall Street, Banks, etc, look out.

Bad enough that some of us will go out with that dam covid 19 that we should've been prepared for..

People are justifiably angry.

Tony in Venice that doesn't have any Paper of any sort.

chuckles304's picture

"Who can read about these Million Dollar toys without feeling like the writer is just waving the middle finger at his readership. ouch."

Really? To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, does the existence/reviewing of these "Million Dollar toys" pick your pocket or break your leg? Sure doesn't hurt me. Hopefully sales of gear like this skyrocket during my lifetime (I'm 34), cuz that'll mean more people are making more money and therefore have more disposable income to lavish on folks like me who make "Million Dollar toys" for the wealthy.

tonykaz's picture

I represent myself. My points of view are based on decades of professional Industrial experiences.

Your hopeful extrapolation into the future is explained by your youthfulness. I wish you well and a successful future.

I have never been able to accurately forecast the home audio Consumer Market which seems populated by a preponderance of neurotic/psychotic decision makers ( or indecision befuddled paralyzed hopeful customers ).

Just now, I'm feeling a financial disaster. I anticipate another collapse of Audio Retailing. eBay selling is reporting increases. The vast Middle Class is getting hammered again with layoffs and early retirements. Boeing is today getting a 60Billlion Bailout from us citizens ( we weren't asked ). This is the early report about the beginnings of Covid 19 which is expected to continue for another 18 months before a Vaccination arrives.

I expect your company to request/demand that you work from home for the foreseeable future.

I hope to continue reading your comments about supplying Consumer Audio products and I hope that this economic calamity doesn't shunt your future career.

Best Regards,

Tony in Venice

mns3dhm's picture

A fair number of websites have simply rid themselves of comments sections that wound up being shit throwing parties at the monkey house. Fortunately, Stereophile has always encouraged a free and vigorous exchange of ideas between it editors and readership. Its also fair that the editors may decide that some comments are unacceptable and delete them and, if necessary, ban some respondents entirely. Hopefully we're not witnessing the demise of what is, in my opinion, one of the more interesting and entertaining aspects of this publication.

Jim Austin's picture

It also is NOT the place for personal attacks. This series of posts was fundamentally about a public health issue--whether the Music Matters event (which occurred a while ago, before reactions to the coronavirus had reached this level of intensity) was irresponsible--and, by extension, whether Stereophile and our writer were irresponsible for covering it. Add in a sense of moral superiority and righteous indignation at audiophiles enjoying an activity that was perfectly legal--plus comments suggesting that deaths are OK as long as it's old men that die--and I judged that these comments were not appropriate for Stereophile.

Stereophile is not an anything-goes free-speech zone. But I think you'll find that just about any reasonable, rational discussion of audio matters is acceptable here, as long as it does not involve an excess of emotion or personal attacks. We even tolerate a certain amount of obvious misinformation, simply because it puts us in an awkward position to defend companies (whose products we review) from false or unfounded accusations.

Keep it civil and on-topic--the topic of music reproduction in the home--and you'll have no problems here. Keep it civil and good-natured, and you'll find you can even get away with some off-topic conversations.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

Tromatic's picture

I also think your ban-hammer should see more use. Stay safe!

cgh's picture

For what it’s worth, in addition to abstaining from discussing unrelated topics and ad hominem remarks, we could all collectively work to increase the numerator in the S/N ratio by participating. If you have an idea or thought that’s audio related, either in response to an article or a remark, make it!

Jim Austin's picture

Best Regards,

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

The Commish's picture

Thank you, Jim. Let's restore some decorum and stick to the topic: if it is not technical or about the product, exclude the comment. Just because someone has something to say does not mean it should be included in the dialogue if it serves no purpose. Or, just do not publish comments.
For events like Music Matters, did ANY of the comments add to the dialogue? Not really. That the Seattle suburb of Kirkland was the first "flash point" in the US (at a Life Care Center) is not very relevant because there were no area restrictions at the time and life was going on as normal.
And, for all of the high-end haters, what draws your ire? I read the car magazines and am not put off by the prices of exotics that I would love to drive, even though they are beyond my means. I read about wines that I would love to drink, but they are beyond my means. I read Stereophile and read about audio equipment that I would love to listen to in my home, but the components are beyond my means. Do NOT begrudge people the desire or ability to own these products just because they do not conform to what you think is acceptable. Some people purchase expensive products because it brings them real pleasure and adds to their lives, and some people purchase them to satisfy their egos. So be it. Because exotic hi-fi equipment is appreciated by so few, most people do it so they can enjoy the music. Reallyl

chuckles304's picture

I originally posted the comment below in response to a similar comment thread trash-talking the $685,000 WAMM Master Chronosonic. I think it bears repeating in this instance:

I am a carpenter, living in upstate NY near Albany. The overwhelming majority of my clientele are NYC weekenders building multi-million dollar 2nd homes. Over the years I have become accustomed to discussing materials/products that to the average Joe would seem outrageously priced. $14,000 bathtubs, $100/sq.ft. tile, $74,000 ovens, $4000 medicine cabinets, and even $380,000 for an order of reproduction old-school weight-and-chain windows that would have been around $70,000 had it been normal Marvin or Pella units. I'm currently working for a billionaire with 29 Ferraris.

My point is it's all relative. To the people who spent $2.2 million on an old Colonial Revival and 200 acres only to have us renovate and add 4 more structures to the tune of $7+ million, $685k barely covers just the windows in the main house. I don't envy them their wealth (and certainly not their heating/maintenance bills). I'm certainly damn grateful they chose us instead of our competitors.

There are plenty of posts in the forums from (I assume) college kids who think $300 for a DAC is insane. I used to think that too. I don't ever expect to hear the WAMM, let alone purchase a pair, but I don't see why people who can do both should get dumped on.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

29 Ferraris? ......... Does Jay Leno live up there? :-) .......

chuckles304's picture

I'd rather not give out the name, but he is a rather down-to-earth Chinese gentleman who, along with the 29 Ferraris (as of 2 years ago - when last I heard, could be more now), also owns two gorgeous 1963 Mustang convertibles that I would take any day over the Ferraris....

Believe it or not, the guy made his money on baby diapers. If you've ever bought store-brand diapers at Costco, Target, and one other I can't remember, you put money in his pocket. I know I sure have.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Me too ..... I would take those 1963 Mustangs any day :-) ........

tonykaz's picture

Why: for the extravagant display of hubris.

Why eles ?

Tony in Locked-down Venice

ps. the Private Jets still fly

Douglas_Harrison's picture

Definitive Audio has been in business since 1975, not 1965.
I visited their original small store in 1977 & many times since

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

To think that I had a National Science Foundation scholarship in math and blew it totally on this one. Thank you. I'll ask Jim to make the change. But wait... I never said 1965. What are you referring to?

Douglas_Harrison's picture

"MM15, which also celebrated the 45th year of Definitive Audio's existence."

I did the math on a calculator to confirm what seemed wrong in my head :)
2020-45 = 1965
No big deal. No inaccurate reporting. It's just that I 1st visited their original store in 76 or 77 & knew that they were fairly new. And have purchased several pieces over the years. Premier shop
Very small, boutique & high end. They were and still are big proponents of Linn Sondek TTs. It may be that of the gear they carry now, it's the only product they've sold since the beginning.
Their growth is nothing short of phenomenal. I've known several of their salesmen and staff. Tom King is still there. Great guy.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Throw it out the window and try pen and paper or, better yet, do the math in your head. 2020-45=1975.

Douglas_Harrison's picture

Even after I did the correct math, I dorked the post. :)

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

You're just extending the concept of social distancing to the time domain.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

He is up-sampling like the Chord M Scaler :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

May be 'asynchronous' up-sampling :-) ........

T.S. Gnu's picture

"Linn’s Ivor Tiefenbrun-designed top-of-the-line turntable...."

Perhaps a bit of rewording might be in order. Ivor didn’t "design" the LP12. In fact the original LP12 was a rebadged Ariston. There are early models of the LP12 that were actually left over Aristons assembled from parts at Castle Engineering.

Here’s one: https://linnsondek.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/aris1.jpg
A close look at the first line on the sticker on the top plate (hidden by the platter in the picture above): https://linnsondek.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/turntables-066.jpg

In fact if the author were to research the archives of Hi-Fi News & Record Review, Linn announced the release of the LP12 as "The turntable previously available under the name Ariston RD11 is now available under the name Linn LP12”. (Vol. 6, issue No. 2 Feb 1973). Perhaps Paul Miller, Stereophile's aforementioned editorial director, might be able to help out with that.

While Hamish Robertson was associated with the design of the Ariston RD11 (which is also identical in design to the Thorens TD150), the actual design dates back to 1961 when Edgar Villchur of AR published an article explaining the several innovations incorporated into the design of the suspended bearing and tonearm, which were isolated from the rest of the body and motor unit. To illustrate that a shock to the body of the AR XA turntable would have little effect on the playing of the record, Villchur was fond of demonstrating this independent suspension by hitting the wooden base of the turntable with a mallet while the record played on flawlessly.

it would do the reader a much greater service if, instead of parroting marketing literature and reporting what is essentially a pricelist, a little more time were spent on some research on what is reported. Good journalism is always welcome during these times.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Thank you. This report is based, not on marketing literature, which was not available, but rather on what the man running the demo told me. This is a show report rather than a piece of investigative journalism. If you think it's essentially a pricelist, you might just read again.

More to the point, while what you've written about Linn may be true, it also may not be true. Anyone can write or claim anything. We had a thread a while back where someone listed the source of every Wilson driver - the entire post was fiction. Since I'm not an analog specialist, I'll write Linn about this and post whatever reply I receive.

The editor of Stereophile is Jim Austin.

T.S. Gnu's picture

Indeed, anyone can write or claim anything...which is precisely what you did, and I corrected. Furthermore, I provided some evidence, along with a pointer to a credible source that Paul Miller could help you out with — HFN. Unless, you are impugning their credibility. Ivor’s contribution to the design, at best, might be considered the single-point bearing.

Instead of investigating directly, as a journalist ought to, you are in fact choosing to ask Linn (remember that bit about anyone writing and claiming anything?), NOT that I am implying that Linn will be less than forthcoming; just saying that the optics don’t come across as to impressive or even self-consistent with your statements. In that...repeating something a manufacturer says unquestioningly is...essentially...based on what may be viewed as marketing literature.

While you may not be an analog specialist (whatever that term means), I’m sure you’re more than capable of comparing pictures of the innards of the AR, Ariston, TD150, and LP12. Thereafter, a peruse through a calendar and a disbelief in time-travel is more than sufficient credible first-hand information. Perhaps, it might even make for an interesting and educational article on the evolution of the present day suspended turntable of which the LP12 is one of the finer, if not finest, examples; historical revisionism is not going to detract from its excellence.

WHLG007's picture

I have been a Definitive customer for over ten years…. Just bought a Sony OLED and JL Audio subwoofer form them and couldn’t be happier. Events like Music Matters keeps customers loyal to Definitive Audio a company that rolls out the red carpet for all customers. Looks like things have changed!!! “MM15 was invitation-only, offering 30-minute presentations only to Definitive’s best customers.” They must have taken up a rewards point list. I didn’t know. Can I transfer my Best Buy points?

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