Lesson Learned from Lighton

On Day 1 of the New York Audio & AV show, I let the exhibitors play their demo tracks in hopes to hear some cool, new music, but I just ended up hearing Stevie Ray Vaughan, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries or ZZ Top’s “La Grange” over and over and over again. Thus on Day 2, I brought my own records. Upon my first visit to Robert Lighton’s room on Day 1, I greatly enjoyed the sound of an extended and airy trumpet coming from his $20,000 RL10 loudspeakers. While I did not get the name of the recording, it may have well been the Roland Kirk record Art listened to, but I was curious as to how these big hunks of wood would handle bass response as much of my own music can be heavy in the bass, particularly for funk and R&B categories. Thus I brought in Parliament’s “Flashlight” from their seminal LP Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome. Unfortunately, this recording did less well on these speakers, and Bernie Worrell’s Minimoog bass synth line overwhelmed the room and these boxes, muddying up the mix and overpowering the other instruments. Lots of rooms were having “loaded-potato” bass issues this past weekend at the Waldorf=Astoria. Many loudspeakers had to be placed close to empty metal radiators which excited at 100hz and enveloped the room. I am not sure if it was the speakers or the room, but I can say I learned the lesson that not all speakers are made for all music, a theme which repeated itself with my records and other systems throughout the weekend.