Art Dudley

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Art Dudley  |  May 25, 2017  |  37 comments
One year ago almost to the day as I write, Peachtree Audio invited me and other members of the audio press to the New York City retail shop Stereo Exchange, where various announcements regarding the brand were bundled, by the company's Jim Spainhour and David Solomon, under the virtual banner "PEACHTREE 2.0." Among the news: Peachtree, based in Bellevue, Washington, would now be manufacturing their nova integrated amplifiers in Canada—the company's previous offerings were all made in China—and they'd signed up a new design and engineering team.
Art Dudley  |  May 04, 2017  |  11 comments
The first time I saw Thomas's Sandwich Size English muffins on the shelves of my local supermarket, I thought, This is it: the English muffin has now been perfected, and I need never buy another kind. I bought a four-pack—their awesomeness is so potent that to supply them in greater quantities would apparently be dangerous—and prepared one the minute I got home.

It was awful. In particular, it was impossible to toast just right: it was too thick, too doughy, just plain too big. I had learned a valuable lesson: Talking myself into wanting something isn't a good enough reason to actually buy it.

Art Dudley  |  Apr 25, 2017  |  1 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.
John Atkinson, Art Dudley  |  Apr 14, 2017  |  2 comments
It has been six years since we last released a recording on the Stereophile label—a jazz album featuring Attention Screen, the late Bob Reina's free-jazz ensemble. This dry spell was mainly due to the increasing demands made on our editorial team's time by social media and the magazine's website, but also by John Atkinson's recording activities with the Portland State Chamber Choir, who issue their recordings on their own label. Nevertheless, we've been keeping our eyes and ears open for suitable opportunities.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 29, 2017  |  0 comments
The Montreal Audio Fest, formerly Salon Son et Image, isn't so much about hardware. If it were, there'd be no sense attending, because the High End show in Munich does hardware better than this or any other show, and God bless them for it. Montreal Audio Fest also isn't about lavish parties or celebrities or exotic climates: cripes, the weather up there in March is usually so miserable that even the ducks that populate the Hotel Bonaventure's tenth-floor gardens spend most of the day hiding under the bushes. Montreal Audio Fest is mostly about people...
Art Dudley  |  Mar 29, 2017  |  2 comments
Before I revert to form and leave the subject for another nine or ten months, I'll pick up where I left off in last month's column to focus once again on step-up transformers (SUTs) for moving-coil cartridges. There's yet another choice you should know about—in this case, a thoroughly brilliant, handmade SUT that sells for well under $1000.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 28, 2017  |  1 comments
At Montreal Audio Fest 2017, by means of some creative signage as well as their presence in one of the show's larger ballrooms, Yamaha had a simple message: "We're back." This was reinforced by a system comprising the latest Yamaha gear, much of which maintained the company's traditional styling . . .
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2017  |  2 comments
I entered the Oracle-Gershman room to the sounds of the Albinoni (or Giazotto, if you prefer) Adagio in g—from an LP that turned out to be by bassist Gary Karr—and the sound was gorgeous, with lots of texture (the good kind), color (ditto), and bass weight (very ditto).
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2017  |  2 comments
Saturday at the Montreal Audio Fest dawned snowy: a clear sign that God wanted us to stay inside all day and listen to music. So I made an early start and began my rounds at the Bluebird Music suite, where proprietor Jay Rein and I had the luxury of a mostly empty, pre-throng room in which to listen and catch up.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 26, 2017  |  0 comments
One is bound to hear at any hi-fi show—even a superior one such as this—the live, acoustic version of the Eagles' "Hotel California," just as one is bound to hear, at any Catholic mass, a Hail Mary: no surprise at all, and under the best possible conditions the aural equivalent of comfort food. At the 2017 Montreal Audio Fest, I first heard it at the exhibit sponsored by France's Atoll Electronique—and it reminded me of Ian Anderson's gracious comment, when asked if he was dismayed at the undeniable similarities between that Eagles song and Jethro Tull's own "We Used to Know," from the album Stand Up: "[Hotel California] is a very, very fine song.

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