Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Two Audiophile Societies Host Elac’s Andrew Jones

In August of this year, the New York and Long Island audiophile societies, respectively known as The Audiophile Society and The Audio Syndrome, hosted Andrew Jones, vice president of engineering for Elac. Each audio society’s events are typically well-attended; however, this meeting, held at a member’s home, was packed to the proverbial rafters. This was due not only to the attendance of members from both clubs, but the opportunity to witness Jones demonstrate Elac’s newest active speaker, the three-way, floorstanding Navis ARF-51 ($3999.96/pair, all prices USD), and provide insights concerning its design.

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GT Audio Works, Zanden Audio Systems, and Triode Wire Labs Hold Demo at Sound Insight Audio Store

Thirty years ago, audio manufacturers often conducted product demonstrations at audio society meetings. At these demos, the manufacturers gained exposure for their products, had the time to discuss the products in some depth, and happily for all, offered the demo samples at a discount at the event’s conclusion. But at some point, it became harder and harder for many of the societies to find manufacturers who were willing to hold demos, and the number of them gradually decreased.

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Discogs and Audio-Technica Crate Diggers Record Fair and Concert

It was early in the morning of July 27, 2019, at New York City’s PlayStation Theater, when Aub Driver, Discog’s public relations lead, told me that he and his team, readied for the Crate Diggers Record Fair and Concert, were there for the long run. The event occurred in two parts. First, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and running throughout the day, an almost countless number of retailers sold records, tapes, CDs, and assorted musical paraphernalia from tables stacked with crates, thus the event’s name. That part of the event, which featured several live DJs, was free.

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Canvas Audio Hi-Fi OLED TV Sound Stand Pre-Launch Event at the Chelsea Wine Vault

In June of this year, I attended an interesting product pre-launch event at a unique venue. Let’s take the product first.

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A Day with Ralph Glasgal, Founder of the Ambiophonics Institute

Audio retailer Larry Borden (Distinctive Stereo in River Vale, New Jersey) and I recently paid a visit to Ralph Glasgal at his large, ultra-modern New Jersey home. Ralph, the inventor of three-dimensional (3D) imaging digital signal processing technology Ambiophonics and founder of the Ambiophonics Institute, is generally not known for aiming low. In fact, he hopes that Ambiophonics will succeed the stereo and 5.1 surround-sound formats. Before proceeding, though, I should address Ralph’s interesting background.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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