Art Dudley

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Art Dudley  |  May 12, 2018  |  5 comments
Friday's weather was no less spectacular than Thursday's—yet from the moment I arrived there, the MOC was mobbed with attendees who weren't at all bashful about spending the day indoors. Perhaps the interior sunniness of the glass-and-steel structure helped: I would certainly chafe at spending such a beautiful day roaming the dark halls of some glum hotel.

Whatever the reason, I couldn't shake the impression that a lot of audio enthusiasts didn't show up for work on Friday.

Art Dudley  |  May 11, 2018  |  54 comments
Scheduled to ship in early autumn, the Hegel 590 ($12,000) is poised to become the Norwegian company's new flagship integrated amplifier. With a power supply 50% larger than that of Hegel's previous top-of-the-line integrated (the H360), the 590 operates in class-AB, delivering 301Wpc. Driving a pair of KEF Blade loudspeakers (ca $30,000/pair), a pre-production Hegel 590 sounded amazing—a really good sense of musical drive, plus a tonal balance that was neither dull nor overly crisp—on a digital file of Shelby Lynne performing the Nick Cave song "Into My Arms."
Art Dudley  |  May 11, 2018  |  0 comments
Everything you've heard is true. Lufthansa really is among the world's finest airlines. (I say that as an uncomfortable and often unwilling traveler who has had nothing but perfect flights on Lufthansa), Munich is one of the cleanest, most attractive, and most easily traveled cities in Europe. And Munich High End is, without a doubt and by a stunning margin, the greatest audio show on Earth, period. Nothing I could say—nothing—can prepare you for the sheer scale of the venue, the number and variety of exhibits, the quality of those exhibits, and the exciting, carnival-like vibe of Munich High End: It must be experienced.
Art Dudley  |  May 04, 2018  |  46 comments
Herb and Jana were visiting me in Albany, NY, at the 1936 semi-mock-Tudor house I now call home. The real star of this video is my dog, Chatter Dudley, an 8-year-old Jack Russell Terrier with a fierce fondness for Herb Reichert (they had met once before), and who had Jana Dagdagan saying, by the end of the day, "I wish I had a dog." Unfortunately, the cameras weren't running when Chatter took a running leap to sit next to Herb while he was on the couch, listening to the blue-vinyl version of Puente Celeste's Nama.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 24, 2018  |  2 comments
In an oft-viewed clip on YouTube, recorded at the 2009 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, three world-class guitarists pause during a music workshop to talk about their instruments: Danny Knicely describes his 1939 Martin D-18, Chris Eldridge talks briefly about his own 1937 Martin D-28, and Josh Williams notes that his guitar was made in 2002, by the Kentucky-based luthier Neil Kendrick. Then, with fine comic timing, Knicely remarks, "One of these days, me and Chris will be able to afford a new guitar, too!"
Art Dudley  |  Mar 29, 2018  |  6 comments
On at least one occasion that I can recall—in 1996, in the early days of Listener magazine—a US publicist for the Japanese manufacturing company Denon told me that they planned to discontinue their DL-103 moving-coil phono cartridge, an enduringly popular model that had been in production since 1962 (footnote 1). At the time, neither the DL-103 nor any of their other cartridge models appeared on Denon's US price lists, and neither English-language promotional materials nor even a basic spec sheet was available to American consumers or press.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 28, 2018  |  5 comments
Quebec-based Solen—which distributes parts from a number of different manufacturers, as well as manufacturing their own well-regarded capacitors and other components—has a talent for filling their exhibit rooms with scores of items, including finished products made from the parts they sell. Among the latter at this year's Montreal show was a single-ended triode amp that will soon be available as the Coffin Audio 2A3 SE. Using new-old stock 6SL7 tubes to drive its nominal 2A3 directly heated output tubes, the nicely made Coffin amp uses Solen Teflon coupling caps, and the stereo amp's retail price is estimate to be $CAD6000.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  4 comments
I started my Sunday by visiting Plurison, the Canadian distributor for Focal, Naim, Rega, Musical Fidelity, Devialet, Music Hall, Wharfedale, Cambridge, Astell&Kern, and others (and, under the name Audio Plus Services, the US distributor for some of those same brands). As they did last year, Plurison set up shop in the Ville-Marie room—one of the Bonaventure's largest, having been carved out of what used to be the hotel's main restaurant—and presented their products in a mix of active and static displays, with a degree of visual refinement that few other exhibitors matched, and none exceeded.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  0 comments
I began my Saturday afternoon with a visit to the Montreal Audio Fest's Audiofilles room, the name being a pun (en Francais, bien sur) on audio girls. For the occasion, a number of partnering manufacturers contributed elements of what turned out to be a fine-sounding system: an Oracle Paris MkV turntable with tonearm and Paris PH200 phono preamplifier; McIntosh MB50 streaming audio player and MA7200 integrated amplifier; Luna Cables Orange interconnects, speaker cables, and AC cords; Modulum equipment supports; and a pair of Totem Forest Signature loudspeakers, in high-gloss mahogany finish.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  5 comments
On Saturday morning, the Montreal Audio Fest seemed to get crowded in the blink of an eye: One minute I was stepping out of my room in the Hotel Bonaventure, the next minute I was excusez-moi-ing my way into one SRO room after another. I confess that, for one very brief moment, I wished I was back with the howling old owl in the woods.

Homesickness was dispelled the moment I heard the system in the first of three rooms sponsored by Motet Distribution of Toronto, this one featuring Triangle Australe speakers ($CAD5500/pair), driven by a VTL S-200 stereo amp ($CAD17,500) and 5.5 preamp ($CAD11,200), with a laptop and an iFi Macro portable DAC/headphone amp ($CAD780) as the source.

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