Art Dudley

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Art Dudley  |  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  |  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  |  Apr 25, 2017  |  2 comments
It's the sad realization at the heart of every product review: No matter what the writer has to say, the reader may hear things—or see or feel or taste things—rather differently. I refer not only to physiological differences in hearing acuity from person to person, but also to the no-less-critical differences in the ways we process and prioritize the things we perceive. It's an oft-made point that bears any amount of repetition: In our pugilistic little pastime, the priorities of the listener who values, say, fidelity to the musical timing captured in a recording over fidelity to that recording's timbral truths are no less legitimate than those of the enthusiast whose priorities are the other way around. Both approaches—and any number of others—bend toward the sun of high fidelity.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 21, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  3 comments
Michel Plante, the President of Salon Son et Image, offered a pre-show glimpse of something new: the Personal Audio Zone, where visitors are free to try any of over 150 different pairs of headphones, representing nearly 30 different brands. During this morning’s setup, the ‘phones were being arranged on their tables in order of expense, from the $22 pair nearest the door to the $1600 pair at the far end of the room. Michel Plante said that he’s “trying to create a buzz about headphones, in order to attract younger listeners to the show,” and that he has made it as affordable as possible for headphone manufacturers to participate. (The Personal Audio Zone is staffed by SSI volunteers, not manufacturers or their reps.)
Art Dudley  |  Mar 25, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
In yet another Coup de Foudre room, a Clearaudio record player acted as source for a Unico Nuovo integrated amplifier ($2400, with phono section), itself driving a pair of ASW 404 loudspeakers ($2000/pair). This relatively affordable system loaded the room nicely, and sounded hypnotically good on “Autumn Leaves” from the Cannonball Adderley album Somethin’ Else.
Art Dudley  |  Aug 31, 2015  |  3 comments
People who speak of running with the big dogs describe the experience as a good thing; I can't imagine why. I'll take the small dogs any old time: They're more characterful, less self-possessed, and just plain friendlier. And among hi-fi shows, Capital Audiofest is the friendliest and most interesting small dog on the porch, and still one of my favorites.

Gary Gill's regional show, which retains its slight and very pleasant DIY vibe, returned to the Washington DC area on August 28–30 for its sixth year, and drew respectable numbers of people, especially by the end of the day on Saturday . . .

Art Dudley  |  Jul 27, 2013  |  5 comments
I can see already that this show has something in common with my favorite audio designers, audio dealers, audio writers, and audio enthusiasts: Capital Audiofest is an event with a distinct point of view. That this point of view mirrors my own enthusiasm for vintage gear in particular and relatively affordable, anti-(high-end) establishment gear in general, is icing on the cake.

That said, it turns out I began my first day at CAF with a somewhat conservative system: a pair of GT Audio Works GTA2 loudspeakers ($6495/pair, above) driven by a pair of very powerful Arion class-D monoblocks ($7500/pair), with a Dodd battery-powered tube preamp ($1750) and Plinius CD 101 CD player (($3300), assembled with various cables from Triode Wire Labs.

Art Dudley  |  Jul 30, 2013  |  2 comments
There was this guy in the room shared by Joseph Audio, VAS, and VPI (above), and I guess he'd been there for a little while before I came in: big guy, sort of athletic-looking. Jeff Joseph had apparently just played one of his CDs for him, and the guy was stunned. You could tell he wasn't just being polite: "That was . . . really good!" Irrespective of the name over the door, I think we all live for moments like that.
Art Dudley  |  Jul 28, 2013  |  5 comments
Among the people I telephoned during my first month on the job at The Absolute Sound—we're talking January of 1985—was Frank Van Alstine, the pioneering designer and builder of affordable-perfectionist electronics. Twenty-eight years and six months later I finally got to meet him—and I was happy to hear he has zero intention of retiring: good news, considering the altogether fine sound being made by the new Audio by Van Alstine Transcendence Nine vacuum tube preamp ($1395), used in concert with AVA's hybrid FET Valve 600R amplifier ($3499) and a pair of Philharmonic Audio's two-way Philharmonitors ($850/pair).
Art Dudley  |  Jul 29, 2013  |  1 comments
It's my favorite part of every hi-fi show: the one big room, usually on one of the lower floors, where smaller companies exhibit such things as phono accessories, hi-fi furniture, publications, and, best of all, records. At Capital Audiofest, the Magnolia Ballroom on the Sheraton Hotel's fourth floor was home to all that, including a larger and altogether more impressive selection of used and collectable vinyl than I've seen at any other show in recent memory.

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