I’m back at my desk in Los Angeles after a very enjoyable weekend in Chicago. It’s grueling to setup a state-of-the-art system, give presentations for 8 hours, and then do a two-hour seminar for three days but I love seeing the reactions of audio lovers that visit the room with a degree of skepticism and leave with a smile on their face. Playing real high-resolution music tracks in full 5.1 surround sound in a great system does the trick every time. There were a number of people and even a few press people that commented that we had the best sounding room of the show for the second year in a row. And without any doubt we did. Some guys keep coming back for more after visiting the other rooms. But I doubt we’ll get any press.
I managed to escape my demo room for a about an hour on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday for another 90 minutes. The rooms at the other end of the hotel (Emotiva, Legacy, Scaena, and Seaton) sounded okay but not spectacular. The Scaena linear array speakers presented the best overall stereo I heard at the show but the hardware looked like the front grill of a 1958 Cadillac. A friend dragged me down to MBL’s room to hear what he considered the “best sound of the show”. They always do a good job and this year was no exception. I said hi to Greg Beron of United Home Audio. He strung up a reel-to-reel tape of a Kenny Loggins live concert held years ago in the Redwood forests of Northern California. It was loud, had lots and lots of heavy bass and really rocked the room…and I was sitting in the sweet spot. The opening piano solo didn’t sound like a piano to these ears but the playing was fabulous. There wasn’t a lot of dynamic range in the recordings but it was very pleasant and easy to listen to.
Then the MBL representative played a high-resolution (although at 88.2 kHz…which seems strange to me unless you’re going to make a CD) recording of a solo piano work and a chamber orchestra. The piano was very closely miked and was glorious! I especially liked the composition…the opening used a lot of inside the piano lid effects. However, the chamber orchestra was too distant and reverberant. The balance between the strings and the woodwinds was not right too. After hearing my own tracks for hours, this selection didn’t appeal.
I’ve been in touch with Jonathan Horwich of International Phonograph over the past couple of weeks. He a very talented and experienced recording engineer and was playing his demo tape through Magico Speakers in a room on the 6th floor. Once again, the compromises of analog tape were evident to my ears. I know he and other swear by the “ultimate sound” of analog tape, but the fidelity didn’t approach that of a great high-resolution track.
[NOTE] The last paragraph of this post has been removed following my receipt of a “CEASE AND DESIST LETTER” from Rodney E. Gould of the law firm of Rubin, Hay & Gould, P.C. in Framingham, MA, which represents the Nordost Corporation of Holliston, MA.
THE PARAGRAPH PREVIOUSLY POSTED HERE WAS BEEN REMOVED AT 9:32 APRIL 30, 2016.