VTL

Luke Manley and Bea Lam gave a Press Preview prior to the show's start on Friday to introduce the new VTL Zigfried II ($65,000/pair). The Zigfried's were driving the superb TAD Reference Ones and we were treated to CD, LP and tape (in that order). I was there to hear, well you know what I was there to hear—music! And a MacBook Pro with Amarra Pro feeding a dCS Paganini DAC but it didn't work out as planned so I came back on Sunday. I did get to hear some wonderful music on CD, tape and vinyl and interesting comments by Luke and Bea regarding their working process.

Paul Stubblebine and Piper Payne were also there to feature the Tape Project tapes. Paul gave us an intro to the Tape Project and he made a comment I wanted to share. Paul was talking about the difference between the system he uses for work/monitoring and mixing versus the one he listens to at home for pleasure. Here, at home Paul referred to his hi-fi as a "transportation system" and I think that's a fine way to describe an important aspect of our enjoyment. One of the Tape Project tracks we got to hear was from Series Three—John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat Hooker 'N' Heat and I was momentarily transported away from audiophile concerns.

On Sunday, Luke Manley played a few tracks from Piper Payne's Macbook (shh don't tell) through a Sonic Studios Model 304 including Satie's "Gymnopedie" and a (very) live barroom-sounding recording of The Deadly Gentlemen's "Sober Cure". It was this last track, something neither of us knew or knew what to expect that offered for me the kind of experience this is all about. While I'm sure Luke and I have very different backgrounds and perhaps even musical tastes, we shared a few moments of lighthearted laughter and enjoyment and we have The Deadly Gentlemen, the associated gear and Piper Payne to thank. Music and hi-fi as the great leveler. I'd even go so far as to agree with Albert Ayler:

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