Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 08, 2018  |  13 comments
A few hours before Friday evening's Rocky Mountain International HiFi Press Awards 2018 got underway, Jeremy Bryan of MBL North America once again blew me away with the sound of his company's system. Capped by the mbl 101 E MKII Radialstrahler four-way omnidirectional loudspeaker ($70,500/pair), the combination of Wireworld cabling with mbl's N31 DAC–CD player ($15,400), N11 stereo preamplifier ($14,600), and two N15 mono power amplifiers ($17,800/each) created an extremely wide, solid, and deep soundstage in which music flowed naturally and with great beauty.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 07, 2018  |  37 comments
The large, superb-sounding system in the High Fidelity Services room left me deeply impressed. The system was headlined by the debut of the Verity Audio Monsalvat speaker system with its included Pro-6 six-channel crossover ($675,000 total) and three of Verity Audio's Monsalvat Amp-60 stereo amps ($58,000/each). Together with a TW-Acustic Raven phono preamplifier ($18,000), TW-Acustic Raven Black Knight turntable ($42,000) with debut Raven 12 and 10.5 tonearms ($11,500 total) and debut Ortofon MC Century cartridge ($12,000), Melco N1ZH MK1 music server ($4995), debut Signal Projects cables, Vibex power distribution, debut CAD GC-1 ground control unit, debut Symposium Pro amp stand, Vibex isolation feet, and SRA rack, the system cost a mere $1,115,405. Note that it was not the only system at RMAF in this price range.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 06, 2018  |  69 comments
The RMAF T-Shirt Award of 2018 goes to Denver's own Chris Hoffman, whom I spied on the ground floor of the Denver Marriott Tech Center. "I'd been threatening to make this T-shirt for a couple of years," he confessed after being caught in the act.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 05, 2018  |  20 comments
At an early morning press conference at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, presented jointly by Sony and Acoustic Sounds, the latter company's Chad Kassem announced that of the 5000 stereo copies pressed of the company's new UHQR LP reissue of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Axis: Bold as Love, only 1000 remain. (The 1500 mono copies pressed are already sold out.) Hand-pressed, one-at-a-time, on 200 gm clarity vinyl that has no incline, the $100/each stereo copies are housed in an expensive Teflon jacket, and come with lots of documentation. Copies can be ordered online from Acoustic Sounds.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 05, 2018  |  12 comments
On the eve of the 15th annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, being held this weekend in the newly remodeled but acoustically challenged Denver Marriott Tech Center, show organizer Marjorie Baumert revealed the show's future venue: beginning in 2019, RMAF will relocate to its new home in the brand new Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, just five miles from Denver International Airport. Baumert made the announcement alongside Gaylord Rockies' Director of Sales, Jeff Lindeblad (on the right in the photo above), and used the occasion to reveal that show dates for next year will move up a month, to the first weekend in September.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 01, 2018  |  3 comments
I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to finally get a hold of the 24/96 files for There's a Place for Us, soprano Nadine Sierra's debut album on Deutsche Grammophon/Decca Gold. Just three years after Sierra won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2009, at the age of 20, she journeyed to San Francisco where I heard her, first, in San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program, then as an Adler Fellow, and finally a star on the main stage of the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. I was immediately taken by the beauty of her voice and her total ease onstage. Serious one minute, girlishly free and hilarious the next, her every appearance was a joy.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 22, 2018  |  3 comments
How many who love Bernstein's "popular" music—everything from On the Town and West Side Story to the final Arias and Barcarolles—have actually spent time with his three "serious," gravely introspective symphonies? Perhaps the best way to do so in up-to-date sound is to dive into Warner Classics' superbly annotated and recorded Bernstein: The 3 Symphonies from Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra, Chorus, and "Voci Bianche" of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Together with excellent soloists, Pappano presents the three symphonies on two CDs, with options of a 24/96 download and hi-rez streaming in MQA on Tidal. The recording balances out Bernstein's three soul-searching introspections with the original version of Prelude, Fugue and Riffs for clarinet and jazz ensemble, which Bernstein initially conceived for the Woody Herman Band.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 20, 2018  |  9 comments
At a recent dealer event in Seattle, after being impressed by the musical rightness of an Audio Research Corp. LS28 preamplifier and VT80SE power amplifier driving a pair of Sonus Faber Guarneri loudspeakers, I spoke with ARC's Dave Gordon about reviewing one of the company's new amplifiers. Less than a month later, two ARC Reference 160M tubed monoblock amplifiers ($30,000/pair) were headed my way.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 17, 2018  |  3 comments
After umpteen serious reviews, penned in serious and somber times, it's high time to lighten up. Hence to Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town we go, and to Sir Simon Rattle's new SACD of the musical, recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra and a stellar cast that includes Danielle de Niese (Eileen), Alysha Umphress (Ruth), and Nathan Gunn (Bob).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 11, 2018  |  1 comments
Berio, Boulez, Ravel: Sinfonia, Notations I–IV, La Valse
Ludovic Morlot, Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Roomful of Teeth
Seattle Symphony Media SSM 1018 (CD, 2.0- and 5.1-channel downloads at 24/96). 2018. Rosalie Contreras, Elena Dubinets, exec. prods.; Dmitriy Lipay, prod., eng.; Alexander Lipay, eng. DDD. TT: 58:20
Performance ****½
Sonics *****

What ties Luciano Berio's boundary-breaking Sinfonia for Eight Voices and Orchestra (1968–69) to Pierre Boulez's out-there Notations I–IV for Orchestra (1945/1978) to Maurice Ravel's progressively off-kilter La Valse (1906–1920)? The Seattle Symphony's about-to-depart music director, Ludovic Morlot, cites their "ingenious transformation of pre-existing musical material or styles." I'm also inclined to say that it's their descent into chaos, even madness, which these performances transcend with an impeccably controlled, highly refined aesthetic, which I auditioned in 24/96 2-channel.

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