The Audio Traveler

  1. With the inaugural Vancouver Audio Festival hosted by HiFi Centre happening this weekend, I thought I’d get the word out on what Igor Kivritsky, and his good people were curating in the suites of listening rooms lined up for Saturday, and Sunday playback sessions, as well as the large headphone area being set-up. With an eye towards demonstrating multiple price points, digital, and analog delivery methods, and how to build a synergistic sound system, the rooms are being tailored to deliver a musical, engaging, and enlightening experience for not only newcomers to high fidelity, but seasoned pros as well. Kivritsky is hoping that the festival experience HiFi Centre is hosting will not only be entertaining, and fun for Vancouver-area audiophiles, and gear addicts, but for those music lovers just starting to look into music-playback options as they realize there’s more options to listening than just using Spotify through their iPhone, or portable Bluetooth device. It’s his desire to make a positive connection with those exploring high fidelity for the first-time, and really show them how to bring an outstanding musical experience into their lives, and homes. Here’s a quick glance at some of what festival attendees can expect to hear, [...]
  2. Black Sabbath fans rejoice. BMG is tooling up for a September release of eight Sabbath LPs on 180-gram coloured vinyl that all have been re-mastered by Andy Pearce from the original tapes. Oh, and did I mention the wearable USB Crucifix that will be available with the set that contains high-res MQA files? Yeah, they went there. The press release, and all pertinent information is below, as well as pre-order links. Just a word to the wise, I’ve checked on ordering availability, and these limited box sets are selling out very quickly. –Rafe Arnott PRESS RELEASE: “Black Sabbath – they invented heavy metal. And we should all thank them for doing it. In metal, it all began with them, and no-one has ever done it better.” Sir Christopher Lee “There are some bands you know are real, and what they do comes from the heart. Sabbath are one of them. I know those guys, and believe me they lived the music. It was a privilege to be on the road with Sabbath. Like Motörhead, they mean it – every riff.” Lemmy “I was a very alienated young person, and when I heard Black Sabbath I realised my life had a [...]
  3.   Elite Audio Systems out of San Francisco, California created a very unique, and Zen-like listening space at the Los Angeles Audio Show. They had put up a large semi-transparent photographic background which transported you upon entering the room into an ethereal forest, and set the mood to one of chill out zone. A major departure from the usual plain-Jane hotel room with folding chairs that make up the bulk of demonstration rooms at hifi shows in North America.   So it was with real interest that I sat down, and took in the gear, and sound they had curated for show goers. A pair of beautiful Kharma Elegance dB9 loudspeakers stood poised to the side, but dominating the set-up was the massive, and squat Viola Labs Bravo II Reference Amplifier (350 Watts/Eight Ohms, 1,200 Watts/Eight Ohms in Bridge Mode) with matching power supply (260 lbs/set), which were being fed by the Viola Labs Sonata Preamplifier. Digital duties were being handled by the punchy, and dynamic CH Precision D1, but it was the analog source, and Linn LP12 in Klimax configuration that truly cast a spell over me while listening. This is one of my very favourite turntable configurations, and I’ve [...]
  4.   The TechDAS demo was among the salient moments of the entire show. You were in Munich but you’ve skipped it? You can turn off your browser now, you won’t enjoy finding out what you missed. Center stage belonged to Hideaki Nishikawa, legendary designer of the TechDAS turntables. During his demo we heard the most interesting music selection of the entire show ranging all the way from Bernstein & Gould to Shinji Tanimura, including a rare Japanese lacquer pressing. All this in order to showcase the new, pimped up version of the Air Force One with vintage, NOS Papst motor. Apparently Nishikawa-san found a batch of 50 motors and intends to use them in a limited series that will retail 300.000 whatevers. During the show the AF1 premium was equipped with the SAT tonearm and the in house made TDC01 Titanium MC cartridge. P1 Phono stage and L1 pre with 4x A1 power amps all came from CH Precision while speakers were provided by Vivid Audio, the Giya G1 in flashy yellow were hard to miss. So what was so special about this demo? The music! It was real music, not show music. Yes, it highlighted specific attributes, voices and [...]
  5. It was early on day 1, we had planned our route and I was ready to experience the High End show.  We entered the Vitus room on the 3rd floor, home to Vitus electronics, the VPI Titan turntable, Gobel High End Epoque Fine speakers, Purist Audio Design cables, a Studer Revox A810 reel to reel player. The rooms in Munich are typically bigger then in US shows, and Vitus space looked inviting and was perfectly lit.  It was screaming, sit down, relax, and drop the needle. The best part of a high end show is connecting with friends and legends in the community.  Catching up, sharing stories, getting the inside scoop and discovering new music. In the Vitus room, we had an opportunity to catch up with both Hans-Ole Vitus from Vitus and Mat Weisfeld from VPI Industries.  Mat Weisfeld was kind enough to give us the skinny on a new VPI tonearm that is coming soon. More details of the VPI Fatboy tonearm can be found here in our earlier Munich coverage. In the room we experienced the European debut of VPI flagship turntable the VPI Titan. It was looking delicious on display in the room with two loaded [...]
  6. Mark Macdonald of The Sound Room in Vancouver, British Columbia (100-2025 West Broadway) shot an interesting note my way regarding a Simaudio 888 Power Amplifier event that he will be hosting this Thursday. Macdonald always puts on great high-fidelity events, and is an exemplary host. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend, but having heard these specific amplifiers previously in Las Vegas at CES, and High End in Munich I can say that they are worth the time to take a listen. –Rafe Arnott Press release below: Please join us at The Sound Room for the west coast launch of Simaudio’s Moon flagship power amplifiers, the Evolution 888s. These amplifiers redefine the “state of the art.”  With a conservatively rated power output of 888 Watts per channel or 1.2 horsepower, these spectacular amplifiers can produce musical dynamics with the true scale of live music.  Made in Montreal Quebec, Weighing in at 300lbs each, these $160,000/pair power amplifiers need to be seen and heard to be believed.  Moon will also be featuring the 850P pre-amplifier, 820S external power supply, 780D DAC/Streamer, and the 650D CD transport. Hosted by Costa Koulisakis, Senior Vice President and the face of Simaudio.  The System, including Wilson Audio’s [...]
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