The Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society is said to be that largest group of audiophiles in the country. The very able and affable Bob Levi runs the society. It’s Bob’s baby. He’s been the president for a very long time and keeps the organization running with monthly meetings and the annual Gala. The big event was held on Sunday at the Buena Park Holiday Inn.
I have developed a real affection for the group and although I don’t get to many of their monthly meeting, I know a lot of the members though the Newport Audio Show (I gave the keynote address at last year’s event) and when the group had a monthly meeting at my studio. Bob is a master of hustling manufacturers to donate equipment, accessories, software, vinyl LPs, free download coupons, and even premium hand tinted photographs (I won this prize a few years ago…never claimed it!) to the raffles held at each meeting and the gala. In fact, I think that most of the gentlemen and ladies that attended the Sunday Gala were there for a chance to win some free stuff. The UCLA sorority ladies at the entrance were doing banner sales of red and blue raffle tickets. I noticed more than one person with many dozens of tickets. I laid down $20 for 5 tickets…and went away empty handed.
Bob contacted me about contributing to the raffle and I assured him that I would bring down some of my best Blu-ray titles and some samplers…about $400 worth of high-resolution recordings complete with multiple mixes and HD-Video. I was happy to bring them to Anaheim and add them to the collection of interesting donations. There some really great pieces of gear on the table including a Benchmark DAC, a PS Audio Sprout, pairs of Grado and Audeze headphones, in-ear monitors, a VPI turntable, and a pair of high-end speakers (I forgot the manufacturer but remember the guy coming up and talking about the drivers and veneer choices).
There were also lots of cables among the raffle items. The usual expensive power cords, interconnects, replacement headphone cables, and speaker cables were among the items raffled away. Bob was particularly proud of the “most expensive donation the society has ever received”, which was a pair of 6-foot RCA to RCA interconnects with a retail price of $8000. These amazing cables featured gold connectors and wires made of a special blend of materials developed by the inventor for the 25th anniversary of the company. Some lucky audiophile won these cables and I’m sure will hear a vast improvement in the fidelity of his system. But only after he completes the recommended 300 hours of break-in that Bob let us know about.
The lucky audiophile that won 10 of my best Blu-ray discs didn’t seem to have a clue as to what they were, what company produced them, or that the producer/engineer was in the audience…and I can’t blame him. Unlike virtually all of the other things that were offered through the raffle, AIX Records was overlooked for recognition (for the second year in a row!). Most of the time the company or the individual making the donation is asked to stand and perhaps even come to the front and say something about the item like Lyn Stanley, a vocalist who donated a few copies of her vinyl LP/SACD project. When my Blu-rays came up, the presenter Mary Cardas didn’t seem to know what they were. She didn’t mention AIX Records and told the audience Mark Waldorf produced them! I would like to meet Mr. Waldorf.
A major part of why I attend the gala and continue to donate my products to the society when asked is because of the promotional value. If raving about Jack Bybee’s snake oil “quantum” electron purifiers deserves a few moments of the President’s time, then I would like to imagine that recordings that actually do sound better than what the group is used to would warrant equal time…or at least accurate information.
I left pretty bugged because this is the second year in a row that I wasn’t acknowledged and the presenter couldn’t be bothered to get accurate information about the items I donated. I have no idea what happened to the additional 10 Blu-ray samplers that I left on the table…they seemed to have just disappeared.
Some days you win and some days you don’t. We’ll see what happens at next year’s gala.
I’m still looking to raise the $3700 needed to fund a booth at the 2015 International CES. I’ve received some very generous contributions but still need to raise additional funds. Please consider contributing any amount. I write these posts everyday in the hopes that readers will benefit from my network, knowledge and experience. I hope you consider them worth a few dollars. You can get additional information at my post of December 2, 2014. Thanks.