It’s been a week of travel, a memorial service, too much food, 36 holes of golf, and some guitar playing. My wife and I returned Thursday from a trip to Madison, Wisconsin and a few days in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. We left Charlie (the family border collie) in the hands of my son’s girlfriend and headed to the Midwest in support of a close family member that lost his wife to cancer over the holiday weekend. It’s always sad to say goodbye to a loved one but in this case the doctors were never able to diagnose the type of cancer that invaded her body and therefore weren’t able to suggest a course of treatment. My sister-in-law left behind two beautiful daughters, two grandchildren, and a loving husband. Very sad.
I was supposed to be at the Capital Audio Fest over the weekend but for obvious reasons, I didn’t make it. Gary Gill’s show is always a great time and I enjoy the smaller scale and familiar faces that come by to say hello every year. This year Gary was kind enough to distribute a copy of our most recent Blu-ray demo disc to all attendees. If they actually take the time to listen to the tracks, I’m confident that they’ll be happily surprised at the fidelity.
Mona and I flew to Washington DC on Sunday evening and then drove through rural West Virginia to spend a few days with my good friend Steve Davis, the founder of the AXPONA show, all around audiophile, and musician. His lovely wife Carmen and my wife Mona have become good friends over the years and during a trip to Mexico for the CEA several years ago. What a pleasure it was to relax, chase a small white ball around a golf course, play music, eat delicious home cooked food, and experience Ultra High Definition television.
Steve and I disagree on the merits of cables and we spent a few extended conversations discussing the objective vs. subjective approaches to the topic. Steve is a musician in addition to being a very seasoned audio system expert. He has a number of very nice instruments (especially a great 1976 special edition Martin D-35) that found their way into my hands. He made a compelling argument for craftsman “designer” cables by comparing them to the process of building a fine acoustic guitar. Guitar builders carefully select the finest woods to assemble a great instrument. They use their experience to shape and adjust the bracing inside the instrument to refine the sound of each individual guitar. The result is that no two instruments sound precisely the same…even if the same luthier made them.
I couldn’t agree more about the art and craft of building a musical instrument. I have played guitar for over 50 years and I appreciate the subtle sonic differences that each individual instrument possesses. But cables…especially power cords and digital interconnects…are governed by a rigid set of electrical principals and data specifications that separate them from the world of instrument building. We simply have to agree to disagree. If the electrical characteristics and/or data remain the same between two cables, the sound will be identical as well. I’ll take the objective side of that argument every time. It’s not the same as saying two guitars have Adirondack spruce tops, ebony necks, and mahogany bodies so they must sound the same.
So I’m back from a brief trip and ready to get on with my summer. The new studios are almost complete, the Music and Audio Guide is progressing nicely, and I’m busy authoring the demonstration Blu-ray disc.