Archive for July, 2011

Audio Letters from Bob

No, not this Bob (me). Bob Lefsetz. Pundit, analyst, and troubadour for the music industry. Past, present, and future.

Why should an audiophile care about what Bob L writes in his blog?

Because he writes convincingly and intelligently about why the Top 40 is all glamour and anger, about HTML5 and what it means to musicians, and about how the big labels are run by old guys (like most audiophiles) who are risk-averse and just trying to turn a buck for lifestyle-preservation. Eclectic and hard-hitting. All with a love for the music.

So Bob’s blog isn’t the place for classical or jazz reflections. It’s where one goes to learn why CCR is now Ga Ga, CSN wouldn’t have a chance, and Michael Jackson could thrive in any age.

Bob

Thursday, July 28th, 2011 Audiophile, Bob, General, News Comments Off

What BAAS members thought of CAS 2011

BAAS members completed a survey to provide Constantine and Dagogo with feedback on the recent 2011 California Audio Show.

I’ll leave it to Dagogo to publish the full results, correlated with other inputs.

But I will say that the majority of BAAS thought that the best sound they heard came from the Magico/Acoustic Research system. As I’ve stated earlier, ’twas reference quality sound – helped by one of the few rooms that let the system breathe.

Bob

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 Audiophile, Bob, Events Comments Off

Pictures from the 2011 California Audio Show

These pictures via BAAS member Vince (skeptica).

If other members have pix, let me know and I will post them.

Thanks, Vince!

Bob

Sunday, July 17th, 2011 Audiophile, Bob, Equipment, Events Comments Off

Impressions of the 2011 California Audio Show

The 2011 California Audio Show (CAS) kicked off today in a hotel just south of the SFO airport. Attendance was moderate, as one might expect for a weekday. This made for minimal waits in the listening room, and plenty of seats at the seminars and lectures.

Overall impressions:

  • Venue: The hotel was fine, both in location and facilities. Plenty of parking, BART access, SFO access, and the elevators *all* worked!
  • Music sources: A fairly balanced mix of computer, turntable, and optical media. I could not play the hires media on my USB stick in many rooms. Aberration or reversal of a trend? I dunno.
  • Innovation: Not much IMO. The new-and-beautiful DaVinci 348K DAC and the imperious Magico 350# Al flagships were perhaps two exceptions.
  • Whither flagships? Several vendors brought product well down in the lineup. In particular, small stand-mounters prevailed where floorstanders would have previously stood.
  • China marches on. A few more Chinese imports appeared. To my ear, the sound-quality gap narrowed.
My highlights reel would include:
  • Blue Coast Records. BAAS member Cookie Marenko continues as a keyfigure in bridging the gap between the recording studio and the audiophile listening room. Be sure to sit in on a live recording session. Is it live or is it DSD? The excellent Blue Coast Collection II CD debuted.
  • Bob Hodas Acoustics. I’m no great Focal fan, but the sound here was excellent. This was one of the few places where “the room vanished” – no small feat in a hotel. The Tape Project spun reel-reel. BAAS member Tim Marutani contributed here and with Blue Coast.
  • Lindeman Audio. Big, clean sound from a small pair of monitors – with the tweeter in the wrong place! Color me impressed. Expect a BAASevent.
  • Audio Note. OK, I like two-ways. This AN system gave away most of the bottom octave and some of the top, but who cares – the stuff in between was as juicy as an In-N-Out burger.
  • Audio Image/Magico Q3. No visit would be complete without hearing the monster Magic(o) Q3 – especially paired with brand-new Audio Research amps. Best speaker ever? Has Alon made a deal with the devil? You decide…
I won’t mention the fine-sounding Eficion F300′s, since I own a pair. Ooops…

 

Finally, on behalf of BAAS, let me thank Constantine Soo and Dagogo – both for the free passes enjoyed by most members and putting on another great event! Sort of like having dozens of BAAS events, all in one weekend…

Bob

Friday, July 15th, 2011 Audiophile, Bob, Events 3 Comments

Wheels Of Steel: Turntables in your browser

All eyes have been pointed at the entrance of Spotify into the US market. Rightfully so, as the subscription service is hot in Europe and looks to heat up the Mog/Rdio space here.

But there’s also a more avant garde entry to consider: Wheels of Steel. Gotta love those “Techniques” turntables. I’ll bet they have all the latest mods.

Finally, check out Turntable.fm. I thionk that this one might be the most interesting – canny blend of social and good music.

Enjoy. See you at the California Audio Show!

Bob

Thursday, July 14th, 2011 Audiophile, Bob, Music, News Comments Off

Music Sales are UP!

For the first time in 7 years, folks are buying more albums!

Read about the latest Nielsen findings here.

Bob

Thursday, July 7th, 2011 Audiophile, Bob, News Comments Off

Audiophiles and the Seeking Mechanism

I love Mark Wiecorek’s blog, marktaw.com. I know of no other place to read considered commentary on acoustics, psychology/marketing, and software. He is a modern eclectic man.

In this post, Mark guides us through how psychology is used by modern marketers to stimulate sales.

A key point of the piece is that the human brain is easily triggered into a “seeking state.” The pathways guiding this state evidently have been bolstered by evolution, presumably to stimulate a search for food and other necessities. But now the punchline:  humans generally enjoy seeking more than having!

The journey really is the reward.

Do you see any parallels to the behavior of audiophiles? How many hours do you spend analyzing which set of cables to buy? How many web sites? How many clicks?

Interestingly, I find Mark’s description of shopping mall design to be oddly reminiscent of CES or RMAF. I wonder why….

Enjoy,

Bob

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 Audiophile, Bob, General 1 Comment