Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

The SoundStage! Network's mulit-author blog section related to hi-fi, home theater, and more.

Profundo: Part 3

Bob Clarke started Profundo in 2002 after a stint at Musical Surroundings and while he was still a lecturer at UC Berkeley. He already repped the famed Viva tubed electronics and picked up the distribution of Transfiguration cartridges from Japan because, he said, he'd always loved them, temporally and tonally. "They're easy to listen to and natural," Clarke said.

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Profundo: Part 2

After a dinner of bistecca Fiorentina, some steamed greens, and a Casanova di Neri Brunello, Bob fired up "the big system" upstairs. It featured the original Trenner & Friedl Dukes ($125,000 USD per pair when available), a three-box-per-channel speaker system that stacked two long woofer cabinets on the bottom, a Harbeth-like monitor-shaped M/T cabinet in the middle, and a gleaming supertweeter like a grand silver eye atop it all. The Dukes had external crossovers and were biamped with Heed Obelisk PM monoblock amps (70Wpc; $4200/pr.) on the woofers (93dB/4 ohms) and a Viva Solista LT integrated amp (18Wpc; $7800 when available) on the M/T drivers (97dB/8 ohms). The speakers had a claimed range of 25Hz-40kHz.

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A New Pro-Ject

Is it absurd to think that you could replace an entire audio system -- excepting the speakers and their cables -- with a single box that measures a mere 206mm x 72mm x 195mm? Well that's just what I did today.

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Profundo: Part 1

I first met Bob Clarke of Profundo in the hallway outside of his demo room at the California Audio Show back in 2010. I remember a strikingly gorgeous sound coming from a pair of Trenner & Friedl Art monitors driven by Heed electronics, with cabling from Cardas. But it was hard to get into the room, not only because it was so crowded with showgoers that there was no space to squeeze in, but also because Bob was so congenial, gracious, and witty out there in the hall. We struck up an exchange characterized by high-speed repartee, and I was having so much fun talking that, for a while, I forgot to keep up with my rounds of the show. It did help that Bob had a good bottle of wine in hand -- I think it was a California Cab from Mondavi -- and poured me some in a clear plastic cup.

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Honky-Tonking in Nashville over Spring Break

I was in Nashville last month to do a couple of events at Vanderbilt University -- a poetry reading on a Thursday night, then a Q&A on a Saturday morning. That left me with Friday night free, so I got some recommendations and headed off from the Embassy Suites where I was staying to the dives and honky-tonks of Music City's Lower Broadway.

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Coming Soon After a Very Long Time: JE Audio's VM60 Mono Amps

"Blogging on Audio" allows us to give a behind-the-scenes view of the reviewing process, which is an ongoing thing around here and sometimes has some hiccups along the way. This entry is about the JE Audio VM60 mono amps that I just finished writing the text for, which will be published on May 1 on SoundStage! Hi-Fi. They sell for $6400 USD per pair. The review has been a long time coming; in fact, way too long.

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More on the Meitner MA-1

I have had about six weeks to play with the Meitner Audio MA-1 now and that’s easily enough time to be able to tell you this: it kicks ass.

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Once Every 15 Years: My Speaker-Cable Change

If you've read my reviews closely over the last 15 years, you might have noticed one relatively important thing: my speaker cables rarely changed. I received a set of Nirvana S-L speaker cables for review in 1997, and I bought them shortly after that. Since then, I'd wager that they were in my system for at least 90% of the reviews I've written. They have been my reference speaker wires.

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Magico's S1 Makes an Appearance

The Magico S1 is the new floorstander from Alon Wolf and company. It's priced at $12,600 per pair and is a two-way design that features an extruded-aluminum cabinet and a pair of drivers: a 1" beryllium-dome tweeter -- the same one used in the company's S5 -- and a brand-new 7" Nano-Tec midrange woofer. Now the S1 you see below is in the company's M-Cast finish, in this case bronze. The exterior feel is slightly textured, unlike the piano finishes you see on many speakers (including some Magicos where their M-Coat is optional). The paint looks to me like it would be quite durable, but I don't want to test that theory! I know their hard-coat anodized finish is very solid.

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Meitner's Music Machines

When we finished the recent redesign of SoundStage! Global, we realized something important: we had created not only a better site for our show reports and factory tours but also an ideal place for blogging about audio. This would allow us to provide additional content that we knew our readers would enjoy, and that wouldn't fit well anywhere else. As a result, a few of us are now blogging. I'm obviously one of them, and Jeff Fritz and Garrett Hongo are the other two. In time there will probably be more.

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My Last-Minute AXPONA '13 Adventure: Part 2

Back at AXPONA the next day, one of the two rooms dealer George Vatchnadze of Kyomi Audio had was the knockout absolute best in show (not surprising from a concert pianist who teaches performance at DePaul University). Besides La bohème and the VSA Universe, another reason I came was to hear the Convergent Audio Technology JL5 -- a new triode stereo amplifier ($10,000 to $12,000) that was supposed to rival, if not equal, the performance of the grand, all-class-A JL2 Signature Mk 3. I wasn't disappointed.

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My Last-Minute AXPONA '13 Adventure: Part 1

On the spur, less than two weeks before its start, I decided to fly out to AXPONA '13 (March 8-10), the first major audio show in Chicago since Stereophile was there in 1999. I wanted to get out of Oregon for a while, hear the new Von Schweikert Audio VR-100XS Universe speaker that was to make its debut there, and take in Anna Netrebko and Joseph Calleja singing the iconic roles Mimì and Rodolfo in La bohème at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. I'd never heard either of them sing live -- the gorgeous Russian soprano nor the burly, "Caruso-like" Maltese tenor, and both had been among my favorite recording artists for years. When I went to the opera's website, there were only three single tickets left. I nabbed what I thought would be the best seat -- one in the first balcony -- and then booked a plane to O'Hare.

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