The Newport Show ended yesterday after four long days of pitching my wares, visiting with readers, checking out a few rooms, and lending my voice to Scott Wilkinson’s Home Theater Geek webcast on Thursday. There is so much to talk about; I’m not sure where to begin. I’ll develop several of these ideas over the next several posts but I wanted to share some highlights while the experience is fresh in my mind.
It was very gratifying that so many readers and backers of my book campaign came by to said hello. While sitting in at a table near the restaurant, Craig Allison introduced himself. Craig, as regular readers will know, is a frequent commentator on this site and usually pushes back on my observations…especially whenever I discuss Pono and Neil Young. It was nice to finally meet in person and have a very pleasant discussion. Despite our differences of opinion, it’s reassuring to know that we can chat about audio and issues without rants and impoliteness. There are other writers and audio professional that don’t seem to be able to separate professional perspectives from personal attacks.
I was asked what I think about MQA at least a dozen times over the weekend…probably more. I can report that I’ve written to Robert Stuart yet again without response. I also cornered a long time friend…Jeff Dean of MQA…and wanted to know if I was going to be able to get some of my files so that I could do a real evaluation of the process. I know that I can get an MQA enabled Mytek converter to do the tests but I have to hear from MQA. Jeff assured me that he would investigate and get back to me. I hope so. I was told by a member of the press that he experienced an A | B demo of MQA…but he didn’t relate his thoughts. It’s a small step but encouraging.
I visited with David Salz, founder and designer of Wireworld, on Thursday afternoon for a private, hour-long session. It was informative, polite, and worthy of a dedicated post. In short, he applauded my efforts to focus on the hyperbole issued by some other cable manufacturers. He recognized that many of the exaggerated claims actually do more damage to the fidelity of a system than good. He and his associate demonstrated the cable “polygraph” using one of my high-resolution tracks. The bottom line remains that same for me…I heard no audible differences between the wires he hooked up.
On a topic near and dear to myself—and many of you, a gentleman named Rick approached me on Sunday afternoon. He asked if I had been able to make it back to the Nordost demonstration. Unfortunately, I was tied up at my sales booth. Rick spent 18 years working as an electrical engineer at AT&T. This is a guy that knows much more than I do about electrical circuitry and audio signals. He did sit through the power demonstration in the Nordost room and told me that when the switched to the most expensive cable, they also switched the disc that they were playing. “They played the same piece of music, but from a different disc”, he said. He couldn’t imagine why they would do that.
Can anyone think of a reason why the presenter would swap out a disc for a different disc and play the same selection of music? Why not just start the track you just played over again after switching out the power cord…or whatever other cable was being compared? I find this very curious. It simply makes no sense…unless the second disc was not identical to the first.
My experience at the Newport Show wasn’t entirely negative. I enjoyed meeting Andrew Jones and listening to the ELAC room very much. It was great to see an acquaintance from decades ago in their room. I also enjoyed chatting with Scott Wilkinson on Thursday. I’ll get into more detail in a future post.