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Seen this? 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Monza

by Danny Kaey on October 09 '18

This one is for the books: the folks at Petrolicous keep finding cool new cars that really resonate with me. Case in point, this 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Monza. Need I say more?


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2018 Automobility LA strikes again!

by Danny Kaey on October 09 '18

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The coolest car tech; the ultimate mobile environment is up for grabs with North America’s premier 2018 LA auto show. New cars guaranteed to drive clicks anywhere you look will undoubtedly be BMW’s new 3-series; Rolls-Royce’ new Cullinan; McLaren’s 600LT; Audi’s Q8, to name a few. This one will be big. Want to get in the mood? Click on these links below and start your orders, er engines. More, much more to come soon. 


 

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Wilson Audio Factory Tour (or how we got WAMMed!) – Alma Music and Audio

by Danny Kaey on August 13 '17

Wilson Audio Factory Tour (or how we got WAMMed!) – Alma Music and Audio: ""

(Via.)

Wilson Audio Factory Tour (or how we got WAMMed!) – Alma Music and AudioWilson Audio Factory Tour (or how we got WAMMed!) – Alma Music and Audio

Nice write up by the guys at Alma Audio, the affable Fabio and Alex (ed. or is it “Alexx”?).  Great audio salon type HiFi shop that caters to the greater San Diego market.  Care for a dose of darTZeel, YG, Wilson or D’Agostino?  Heck, they even stock the awesome Technics 1200G.  Go check them out!

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Comments () Announcements , Components , Shows and Expos , Spotlight , Systems , Turntables



Wilson Audio Alexx review @ PFO

by Danny Kaey on March 01 '17

Wilson does it again (and again, and again, and again…).  The company from Provo, Utah sure seems to be on a roll.  Announced in the 1st quarter of 2016, Alexx has effectively replaced the outgoing (and quite famous) MAXX Series 3.  Though I would not necessarily call it an outright replacement, Alexx is really an all new development that was born from 2+ years of R&D and countless prototypes being subjected to the Wilson typical listening tests.  Over at PFO, I penned and opined on Alexx in greater detail… Well worth a read even if this is merely a shameless repost!  Enjoy.

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Comments () Show Superstars , Speakers $20k and up , Writer: Danny Kaey

T.H.E. Show Newport... #thankyou

by Danny Kaey on June 11 '16

When some months ago, a friend asked if I was doing the Newport show once again, it still seemed somehow far away.  Then, suddenly, thunder struck and I was scrambling to pack up and head south to Newport - nay, Irvine.  Setup and such was reasonably quick; this year’s room far larger and more comfortable in space and appearance.  Immediate notes taken into account for next year - given the suite’s far larger proportions - lounge sofas, coffee bar, spirits bar.  That would then make the whole much more of a lounge setup then traditional listening room. So shall it be.  A big Thank You to Marine Presson and her entire staff for making this show so memorable and fun.

The sound coming from SonicFlare’s setup was far better than last year; grand canyon sound staging and imaging to die for all came as a result of Wilson Audio’s Sabrina mating ever quite so perfectly with EINSTEIN’s gear; The Silver Bullet OTL in particular (run off The Preamp) managed to create an incredible sounding facsimile of whatever was transcribed onto the various records we played through the equally as awesome TechDAS Air Force 3, Bob Graham’s Elite arm and TechDAS’ Titanium cartridge.  Digital simply wasn’t necessary this year.

More space equals more room for fun; thus, playing various tunes from Acoustic Sounds’ upcoming releases as well as hearing the latest from Ying Tan’s Groove Note label (Vanessa Fernandez - When The Levee Breaks), IMPEX and Intervention Records presented by none other than the fine teams behind each of those releases, produced the expected Uhhh’s and Ahhh’s from the fortunate in attendance.  Hearing from Robert Pincus, aka, Mr. Record, just what went into the latest classical release, Jacob Lateiner’s Beethoven/Haydn/Rozsa/Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts, is something you simply don’t often hear, or hear all too often. Magic. Equally interesting was hearing about the Brubeck/Bennett concert (discussed by IMPEX’ Robert Sliger) performed live for then President Kennedy (who no doubt wouldn’t recognize today’s hardcore leftist-statist Politburo members), with live sound that truly captured that evening’s performance ever so perfectly.  Intervention Record’s Shane Buettner’s playing of oh-so cherished lacquers was an instant hit.  Hearing the dramatic difference of an upcoming Erasure release where the original had no bass below 40hz (cut off on the cutting side of the original early 90s release) and IRs remastered version was eye and ear opening: Wilson’s Sabrinas driven by EINSTEIN’s OTL amps produced punch, dynamic slam and authority that was simply not to be believed. 

Elsewhere at the show I heard quite a few other nice rooms; Dan Meinwald’s EAR / Marten setup; Sean Casey’s Zu Audio room, now an institutional obligation for a fabulous visit and music session; Jonathan Tinn’s Evolution Acoustics / darTZeel; YGs big and small rooms, manned by Bill Parish/Dick Diamond/Joe Kubala and Kerry St. James respectively; Technics (yes, Technics) made nice music with their new SL-1200GM; of course, the big Wilson system fronted by the all new Alexx / VTL / dCS sounded rather lifelike and real; frankly, in many respects, the show was a show like many others.  Some folks managed to get great sounding rooms; others did not.  The lunch scene could have used a few more food trucks - lines where long and there was hardly a place to eat and enjoy your food (in the shade).  Overall, Marine did an outstanding job managing the show without Richard’s guiding hand.  As rumors abound for 2017, let’s see what / if they will pull together for next year.

Enjoy the pics!
 

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T.H.E. Show Newport

by Danny Kaey on May 29 '16

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Yep, it’s that time of year again: Richard Beer’s T.H.E. Show is taking place in Newport Beach.  As last year, we are hosting a SonicFlare hospitality suite, Turtle Rock C, where you will be able to sample the finest vinyl, make some new friends and hear some cool stuff.  Come one, come all, on or about June 2-5.  Reporting will commence soon!  Cheers and let's have some fun.


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Comments () Shows and Expos

Mini reviews...

by Danny Kaey on May 07 '16

I am considering switching from classic style reviews - which you will still be able to read at various times throughout the year here and here - to quick-hit, nay, quick read style mini reviews.  Obviously, far less time consuming to create yet still delivering the content updates folks have a genuine craving for.  To be continued…

PS: for those who seek to deep dive into the latest and greatest Hi-Fi literature, consider reading Srajan’s epic rants and raves at 6Moons.

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High-End Audio & Watches

by Danny Kaey on March 30 '16

Another month, another reference to high end watches - haute horology - vis-a-vis high end audio.  But, is there really any sort of formal alignment in reality, or is this merely another feeble attempt at attempting correlation without causation?  Writes Srajan of 6Moons fame, “There’s no justification for high prices relative to time keeping as he opined about said similarities between the watch and audio industries.  Problem is, that while audio folks and marketeers would love to have strong correlations between these two industries, I just don’t see them, strictly speaking as someone who’s into horological time pieces myself.

First, to start with Srajan’s point, high prices in high end audio aren’t necessity relative or indicative to playback quality (or quantity) either.  Case in point, mega-buck separates that don’t bring any more fidelity than a 30 year old Mac stack.  Second, the horological industry as a whole is vastly, and I do mean vastly bigger than all of high end audio put together times one thousand.  Thus, simply from a market cap / visibility perspective, high end audio is utterly dwarfed by Switzerland’s largest export good (next to chocolate of course).  Third, the value proposition in high end audio is completely out of whack.  Cables selling for tens of thousands of dollars vs. an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrono retailing for $22k is positively hair raising to an outsider looking in.  Fourth, the time keeping industry as a whole is running a far higher clout factor compared to the little peanuts we are.  Take for example the media coverage just one swiss watch show produces via the usual suspects at Hodinkee, Haute Time or Worn & Wound and you’ll see the rift we are up against.

Finally, there’s just the overall quality of reporting that is just hilariously stacked against high end audio.  Take for example the following two video reports to see what I mean:



AV Showroom reporting on whatevertheheckIcan’tevenwatchthis, vs. Hodinkee’s Basel show video, illustrates the point to a T.



Reporting and video issues aside, there’s a glimmer of hope with new sites like New Record Day, hosted by the affable Ron Brenay, which are gaining momentum and driving excitement towards high end audio.



Thus, while I personally would love to see high end audio elevated to the status of haute horology, we still have ways to go and the work that needs to be done to get there won’t be all peaches.  I’ve always said that high end audio needs to simmer down each of the various factions and get behind a band wagon to lead the business to the 21st century.  Time will tell! 

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Comments () Articles , Writer: Danny Kaey

A Sunday with Alma Audio

by Danny Kaey on July 27 '15

Sunday.  Sunday.  Fabio Storelli, proprietor of Alma Audio in La Jolla, California, hosted a terrific audio event full of the usual gizmos and gadgets audiophiles come to expect.  The faithful gathered July 19 and 20, 2015 for an audio extravaganza.  More of a “society” event - that is, audio society - notable luminaries like Yoav Geva and Dick Diamond (YG Acoustics), Dan D’Agostino (D’agostina Masters Audio Systems) and Joe Kubala (Kubala-Sosna cables) were in attendance as well.  Smart.  So what exactly does one get from such an event?  Naturally, a full belly for one, as delicious cuisina-Mexicana was on tap; alas, everyone of course was there to see, hear and mingle with the latest and greatest.

Tired of checking in with your local audio show?  No problem.  Set your sights to your favorite audio salon’s iCal and follow the tune.  Seems like these types of events are popping up everywhere.  As Ted Turner famously said, “Only more is more”.  Fair enough.  While I delight in the sights of Yoav, Dan and Joe, I often ponder the effect on the general audio populus.  Surely, Shirley, said populus must agree with such sentiment.  IDK.  Maybe?  I think it depends on the audience.  The converted seem to know the message already.  Hi-Fi is what it is.  How does one reach the audience at ground zero?  Maybe that’s too lofty a goal.  Maybe it is in fact the focus on the lowest hanging fruit that will bear the most rewards.  IDK.  What I do know is that those already reached have a distinctly different need that needs to be met.  It follows then that one should have a different curriculum for those yet uninitiated.  Therein lies the rub, how do you do that?

Food for further thought.  Not like that conversation has never taken place.  Alma Audio makes a good start: from entry level to highest end, you can shop for records and buy a new ’table or accessory.  All set in a homely surrounding to boot.  Headphones I heard are next.  That’s clever and in line with the latest trends.  The rest?  Perhaps an invitation to those not yet initiated is in order.  Keep the tacos, add the educational component.  You hear this, because of that.  If your average La Jollian looks to Bose as high-end, there’s not a glimmer of hope we can connect them to $78k YG Sonja 1.2s.  However, if we educate them and reach them at ground zero… food for thought.  As once famously said: “if you can explain the why, the how will follow”.  I agreed then, I agree now.  Enjoy the pics!  See you all soon.

 

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Comments (1) Shows and Expos , Spotlight , Systems $50k-$100k , Writer: Danny Kaey

Are you still into that sound stuff?

by Danny Kaey on June 24 '15

Over at Stereophile, Robert Schryer (newbie to Stereophile?  I confess that I haven’t read anything by him before) speaks of his mom’s quest to identify audiophilia nervosa:

"The times they may be a-changin', but I believe they bode well for audiophiles. In terms of playback gear, we're at a historic juncture of quality, price, and options. We can now own several different sources of superior sound reproduction for what it used to cost to install just one in a dedicated listening room. Plus, there's that other thing that makes my heart tingle again: the anticipation of what's coming up next, just around the corner from where we're all standing now."

Agreed.  I’d also add that we haven’t seen this kind of massive product expansion ever (in the history of high performance audio or anywhere else audio related for that matter) and as such the question begs: what exactly is an audiophile these days?  It seems that the lines have been blurred considerably and notably so.  The description, in my humble opinion, has changed dramatically.  More on that in a bigger post, soon enough.

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Comments () Spotlight , Writer: Danny Kaey

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