Ken Micallef

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 08, 2016  |  12 comments
Seeing as it's smack dab in the middle of the New York Marathon route, finding a way into The Park Lane Hotel presented its share of challenges, even on Saturday: though the race wouldn't begin until Sunday, gangs of scantily clad runners of all shapes and sizes dominated the sidewalks of Central Park South, forcing pedestrians to hit the concrete and scream, Ratso Rizzo style, "Hey! I'm walkin' here!"
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 06, 2016  |  3 comments
Whether large in scope and scale or just a few small rooms at the end of a hotel hallway, I get a kick out of hi-fi shows…
Ken Micallef  |  Oct 27, 2016  |  1 comments
I recently watched Terra, an exceptional film by French directors Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot. It's not a nature documentary per se, rather a history of life on Earth from lichens to lions, amoebas to humans. Terra boasts stunning cinematography of the natural world, revealing a beauty that nearly softens the film's cautionary message.

"How have our relations with other living beings changed so much?" asks Arthus-Bertrand on his website. "What do we still see, or notice, of the living world around us? . . . We no longer see the wild, we dream of it. It's an age-old fascination, visible in the paintings of the Chauvet Cave. But this dream is today disappearing, vanishing in factory smoke and industrial smog. . . .

Ken Micallef  |  Sep 10, 2016  |  17 comments
Ronald Levin "Ron" Carter is arguably the greatest upright jazz bassist to have ever walked four strings, and he's literally the most recorded bassist of all time. "With 2,221 individual recording credits, as verified on 15 September 2015," notes Carter's website. As I've interviewed musicians for Musicians as Audiophiles, to a man they've whispered, "You've got to hear Ron Carter's rig. He's deeeep into it."
Ken Micallef  |  Aug 25, 2016  |  9 comments
Stereophile and Music Hall Audio share a long mutual history. Like most relationships, it's had its ups and downs; unlike most relationships, this one is well documented—in retired writer Sam Tellig's much-loved "Audio Cheapskate" and "Sam's Space" columns, and Music Hall Audio proprietor Roy Hall's responses in "Manufacturers' Comments." I always found Sam and Roy's gentlemanly brawling to be good, clean, if occasionally uncomfortable fun—like the touchy rapport between a gregarious dog and a rascally cat forced to live under the same roof: A truce may have been called, but don't expect them to make nice.
Ken Micallef  |  Jul 18, 2016  |  7 comments
John Hébert's experiences unearthing precious oddities have served him well as an adult musician, particularly when extracting deep bass sounds as one of New York City's most in-demand jazz bassists. From his 1990s-era Romanian and Hungarian upright basses and exotic stereo gear and LPs to the Baldwin grand piano that adorns the living room of his Jersey City, New Jersey home, Hébert is a perfect example of audiophile as musician.
Ken Micallef  |  Jun 23, 2016  |  4 comments
In 1999, I visited a friend, professor of Italian history Bill Adams, at his castle lair in the mountain village of Panzano, in Chianti, Italy. The 10th-century Castello di Panzano towers over the lush Tuscan hills, offering stupendous views. Each morning we'd walk down the mountain to the town below, where squat old men drank espresso and watched soccer at the all-in-one café/general store/post office. We toured the Roman ruins at Volterra and San Gimignano, gorged ourselves on pasta, and admired the fashionable young women.
Ken Micallef  |  Jun 20, 2016  |  14 comments
Billy Drummond is a world-class jazz musician who listens to music on what he describes as "high-performance playback equipment." Drummond has not one, but three, working systems in his cozy New Jersey home, each one lovingly tweaked, carefully positioned and closely maintained to reach optimal playback efficiency.
Ken Micallef  |  May 22, 2016  |  9 comments
Spectral Audio President Richard Fryer (above) brought the new SDR-4000SV Studio Reference CD Processor ($20,000) to Innovative Audio Video Showrooms in Manhattan May 13 and 14, as part of the New York City dealer's "Meet the Innovators" series. Fryer debuted Spectral's limited-edition digital player and playback system in one of Innovative's renovated listening rooms, its dark lights, cool temps and flowing white wine aiding the already sumptuous atmosphere.
Ken Micallef  |  May 06, 2016  |  0 comments
Pro-Ject Audio System's founder and President Heinz Lichtenegger debuted three products in Manhattan this past April 28. Among the upbeat Austrian's new wares were the Vertical turntable (above), the Classic turntable, and the DAC Box DS2 Ultra. Presented at World of McIntosh's SoHo townhouse, visitors were given a tour of the 1890s-built former New York City power substation, now beautifully renovated and stuffed floor to ceiling with audio gear from Sonus Faber, McIntosh, and of course, Pro-Ject.

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