Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

The SoundStage! Network's mulit-author blog section related to hi-fi, home theater, and more.

Listening to the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo Wireless Speakers at Hi-Fi Centre's Vancouver Audio Festival 2019

Last week, Bowers & Wilkins announced its new Formation line of wireless products, which I first read about on our SoundStage! Australia website. It really piqued my interest.

Read more ...

Pop-Up Audio Demo at Gingko Audio

There wasn’t much advance notice, but it wouldn’t be a pop-up if there were. Recently, New Jersey-based Gingko Audio extended a last-minute invitation to a few audiophiles and fellow manufacturers to attend a pop-up audio demo on March 23. Word of the event was also spread to the New York and New Jersey audio societies.

Read more ...

Linn Lounge Presents -- Joni Mitchell at Accent on Music

For whatever reason, it’s been only recently that I developed a profound appreciation of Joni Mitchell’s music. I was therefore looking forward to the “Linn Lounge Presents -- Joni Mitchell” event, held on March 2 at Accent on Music, which is located in Mount Kisco, New York, about an hour north of New York City.

Read more ...

A Day at VPI Industries: Don't Call It a Comeback

As I wrote before on Soundstage! Global, my past visits to New Jersey’s VPI Industries, a maker of turntables, phono stages, and record-cleaning machines, have been to the company’s showroom, VPI House. During this latest visit, I also toured the company’s factory, located less than five minutes from that location.

Read more ...

Sonus Faber's Livio Cucuzza Talks About Palladio at ISE 2019

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) is an annual event that is focused primarily on custom-installation (CI) audio/video systems (i.e., in-wall, on-wall, and in-ceiling speakers, as well as home-automation electronics and video displays, etc.), with this year’s show held from February 5 to 8 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was there on the second day of ISE 2019 that I met and interviewed Livio Cucuzza, who holds the title of chief design officer at Sonus Faber, the Italy-based manufacturer well known for creating speakers that look every bit as good as they sound. We talked about the launch of the new Palladio custom-installation speakers -- Sonus Faber’s first major foray into this market.

Read more ...

A Day at Rogue Audio

Located in Eastern Pennsylvania, Rogue Audio has designed and manufactured quality vacuum-tube-based electronics for 20 years. In January 2018, Rogue moved from its home of 17 years to a brand new facility it had constructed from the ground up. Shortly before Christmas, I visited the new premises, bringing along my brother, Sathyan Sundaram, who also writes for the SoundStage! Network. He also took the photos for this piece. Befitting the season, we stayed nearby in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where there was, as it happened, room at the inn -- the Holiday Inn, that is.

Read more ...

Q Acoustics' Concept 300 Speakers at Flux Studios

January 31, 2019 -- it was on the coldest of winter mornings that I arrived at Flux Studios on New York City’s trendy Lower East Side to audition Q Acoustics’ Concept 300 speaker ($4499.99 USD per pair with stands). This British audio company made a bit of a splash with its entry-level 3000i-series speakers, which had the reputation for providing great sound and high value. The prospect of seeing what the company could do further up the price chain was intriguing enough to get me out of bed early.

Read more ...

A Visit to Devialet's New York City Flagship Store

Tony West of Adirondack Audio and Video joined me on my latest audio excursion, this time to visit Devialet’s flagship store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. Our goal was to audition the company’s main product lines -- the Phantom Reactor and Phantom Premier series of wireless speakers, as well as the Expert Pro all-in-one amplifiers. Now one of four Devialet stores in the city, the flagship is only steps from the company’s New York office space, but a long distance from its headquarters, located in Paris, France.

Read more ...

A Day at DeVore Fidelity

I recently wrote about a listening party that I attended at DeVore Fidelity’s “Monkeyhaus” factory and listening room, located in New York’s Brooklyn Navy Yard, for two independent, audiophile-approved jazz record labels: Newvelle Records and Greenleaf Music. When I headed back to that haus for a more in-depth investigation of DeVore and its self-described “top banana,” John DeVore, I was determined to uncover any monkey business that had gone undetected during the first go-round.

Read more ...

Newvelle Records and Greenleaf Music Attend Listening Party at DeVore Fidelity's Monkeyhaus

On December 7, 2018, I traveled to DeVore Fidelity’s “Monkeyhaus” factory and listening room, located in New York’s Brooklyn Navy Yard, to attend a party hosted by DeVore for two independent audiophile-approved jazz record labels: Newvelle Records and Greenleaf Music. According to the invite, the party offered “high-end pizza, wine and spirits, and a special selection of vinyl on some very beautiful speakers.” Present were John DeVore, the company’s chief designer and owner, and many of his employees, distributors, and other partners, as well as the founders of these two labels and many of their recording artists.

Read more ...

Gershman Acoustics and Michael Arthur -- Speakers and Art at Adirondack Audio & Video

On December 6, 2018, audiophiles and hipsters gathered to attend a 1970s-themed audition of Gershman Acoustics’ Posh flagship speaker ($129,000 USD per pair) combined with an exhibition of the work of renowned artist Michael Arthur at Adirondack Audio & Video’s HiFi Loft, owned in part by Jason Tavares and located in the fashionable Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. The evening featured the playback of two iconic ’70s LPs: Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On.

Read more ...

VPI House Grand Opening and Launch of the 40th-Anniversary HW-40 Turntable

On October 21, 2018, I travelled to Matawan, New Jersey, to attend the grand opening of VPI House, a showroom built by VPI Industries, which manufactures turntables and related analog products. According to Mat Weisfeld, VPI’s president and the son of its founder and owner, Harry Weisfeld, the showroom was built for customers, dealers, and (luckily) reviewers to listen to music in a comfortable, home-like setting. The event also marked the introduction of VPI’s HW-40 direct-drive turntable ($15,000 USD), the “HW” and “40” portions of which celebrate Harry Weisfeld and his 40 years in the audio business.

Read more ...

The Best of Both Worlds? Holter's Clear and Compelling Case for Hegel's SoundEngine Technology

Hegel Music Systems’ founder, Bent Holter, has such a deep knowledge of electronics that when he speaks on the topic, it’s easy for him to get so in-depth so quickly that what he says flies right over most people’s heads. I’ve seen it happen to others, and I’ve experienced it myself -- eyes glaze over.

Read more ...

On the Road at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

In early April I drove up from an artist retreat south of San Francisco, where I’d been staying for a month, to Sebastopol, which is in Sonoma County, California, where Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL) is located. Mobile Fidelity specializes in remastering new LP records from the original master tapes and has been doing so since 1977.

Read more ...

Howard's Trip to Tokyo to Visit Esoteric

My visit to Esoteric’s Tokyo, Japan, headquarters and factory in January of this year not only promised to be interesting; it also offered a temporary respite from the harsh US Northeast winter. With Tokyo’s high temperatures logging in at a relatively balmy 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, I left my winter coat at home.

Read more ...

Newest Videos

SoundStage! Shorts - Audio Research's CD6SE and CD9SE CD Players (May 2019)
SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Reference 160M Amplifier (February 2019)