Monday, January 23, 2006


Sunset tonight down on the lake... Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 20, 2006

CES Report: Audiophile Speaker Shootout

I know this is super late. You're both deeply hurt by my neglegence. What follows is a very very brief account of what was bad and very very good among the audiophile offerings at CES and THE.

Also a special thanks to my partner in audio worship Jim Polley (pictured above nestled deep in the piles of gear) he got me in and got me through it with a smile on my face. I'd enjoy an international hubcap show with Jim, so you can imagine how much fun this was. Posted by Picasa

CES Report: Best Hope For The Future of Poor Audiophiles - China

We heard some brilliant equipment out of China and all of it was well priced. I have every reason to expect that my next major audio upgrade will be Chinese designed, built and marketed. Usher Audio Technology had the best of many Chinese speakers and represent one of the best value purchases in the audio world. Posted by Picasa

CES Report: Worst In Show

I'm not naming the components of this bizarre rig as my ears and experience don't really give me the credintials to name a 'worst in show', but these deserve mention. Not only were they outragiously expensive and ugly and huge and ugly and expensive and ugly...they sounded bad. Not horrible, but very much not at all good. Also they were expensive and ugly.

The stunningly *insert adjective (e.g. big)* turntable is probably brilliant, but we could only hear it through these ugly, expensive, bad sounding speakers.

They were a good laugh though. Posted by Picasa

CES Report: Best Speaker For The Money - The Silverline Prelude

This is the speaker that sticks in my mind as a valid 'maybe someday'. When Jim and I walked into this room a string quartet was filling the room with suprising weight and presence. You could feel the double bass, it was just lovely! But we couldn't figure out which speakers we were hearing! Jim was trying to convince me it was the Dynaudio driver clad SR17.5's but I wasn't buying it...too much rich midbass, I was guessing the La Folia's. We were, of course both wrong (though Jim was much closer, as usual). We were hearing the Prelude's. No Dynaudio here, these drivers were designed by the man showing the speakers and he was thrilled by our enthusiasm for these shocking bargains. I really want to hear these speakers again in my own listening room.

When Jim buys them I'll head straight to his house... Posted by Picasa

CES Report: Best In Show for less than 20 Grand - Eben X-Centric

What the Eben X-Centric speakers gave us was an extrodinarily visceral, dynamic listening experience with every type of music that was thrown at it. We heard these (and their big brothers the magnificent X-3's) several times and were perfectly thrilled by their impact and resolution. If I had $15k... Posted by Picasa

CES Report: Best In Show for less than 50 Grand - Brurmester B99

For $47k you can own the Burnmester B99 loudspeakers and you will hear every record in your collection again for the first time. The first song Jim and I heard on these monolithic masterpeices was Bob Dylan's Man In The Long Black Coat from his lovely album 'Oh Mercy'. Hearing that track prompted me, upon returning home, to immediately pull my SACD player from storage and hear that song again in full resolution. That is was a fine 2 channel rig should do, make you hear and feel the music. These speakers gave me a once in a lifetime experience...I wept at the pure beauty of Bob Dylan's voice. The Burmester room was a very emotional musical experience and was, on it's own, worth the trip to Las Vegas. Posted by Picasa

CES Report: Best In Show - The Cabasse La Sphère

This is the best loudspeaker I've ever heard. At $70,000 a pair not only will I never own them, I'm unlikely to ever hear them again (or meet anyone else who's ever heard them), but I'll never forget the emotionally gripping experience of listening to them.

Mike's comment reminds me that I've failed to mention the most obvious thing about these insane orbs...they're not pretty. They're even bigger than they look in this picture! There's a 21" woofer in each of those alien eyeballs! A 21" woofer that seems to have the speed of an 8" and the depth of...well, of a 21". Jim and I talked long on the subject of the look of these...when cranked up they look like the worlds least subtle pieces of kinetic sculpture...and they are white! It's the last color they should be because it makes it seem as though the designer is proud of the look...if they were black it would be clear he was trying to downplay them...if they were red or yellow he would be playing off the look...but white seems to say, "what's weird? they look cool!" And they don't. They just don't.

So why are they round? What you are looking at is the world's only full-range point source speaker. They are 4-way in a tweeter, mid-range driver, 8" mid-bass driver, and a 21" woofer, and all the drivers are placed in a line, one in front of the other...tweeter to woofer. Flat from 20,00hz~30hz and very loud below 20...believe me. It was the cleanest organ fundamental I've ever heard...maybe even cleaner than the real organs simply because it was louder.

The speakers are good because they're almost not there...everyone claims that about their speakers, but these were just utterly natural. Shocking in every way.

But it must be said that if I were putting speakers in my house it would currently be the Burmesters. All people would do with the Cabasse's is LOOK at them! They're too strange for a home, but Jim and I agreed that you could sell tickets for people to come hear them if you put them behind an acoustically transparent screen and everyone would feel it had been worth the money. I would rather pay $10 to hear these again than to see any movie Hollywood has produced in 20 years. By a mile. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Four Tiny Hands

Our love and congratulations to Mike and Heidi and the arrival of their two future pyromaniac John Cale fans (it worked for their father). Posted by Picasa