Photo credit: Wired

After reviewing the outstanding Master & Dynamic MH40 Headphones at a price of $399, little did I know that soon after I would be amazed yet again by this savvy and forward-looking New York City company.

While covering the recent New York Audio Show I visited the Master & Dynamic table and noticed a pair of very stylish gunmetal/black leather headphones hanging on one of the company’s stands without a cable attached. Intrigued, I was informed they were the new wireless Bluetooth based MW60 closed headphones. This was their debut, retail $549.

I requested a demonstration pronto that was kindly granted (I used my own MacBook Air/iTunes to bluetooth stream CD quality rips) and it quickly revealed that I had discovered something very special. Adding even more fashion and luxury, the MW60 can be bought as a package with an elegant (and protective) silver colored metal Zero Halliburton carrying case ($830 for the package). Tres cool.

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Even in this summer (and autumn) of Trump and his blatherings about China, the Chinese soldier on and refine products that were once only private members of the highest end audio. I still suggest to my students that they stay away from Chinese flutes — oh yes, the case looks good, but the instruments in the here and now are still shadows of the great American and Japanese instruments. But that will change.

Korea has made the transition. Remember the Hyundai Pony? A disposable car. Jump 15 years and we have the Sonata and the Equus. Splendid and easily comparable with Japanese makers. As for audio, the Koreans have Astell & Kern, sounding more like a New York law firm, but maker of super high end portable digital audio players. I reviewed their AK120 and was very impressed by the superb sound and superior build quality.

Along comes Questyle, a Chinese manufacturer dedicated to produce only the very best high end products.

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EMI Classics [11 CDs]
50999 6 35657 2 0

One of Boult’s favourite put downs was to say that certain conductors ‘only conduct from the 1st violin part’ and listening to these recordings you get a sense of what he eschews. He trained in Leipzig just before World War 1 and was disciple of Arthur Nikisch.

His approach is therefore much more steeped in 19th Century thinking and he gets a huge amount of detail into his performances — you never hear just one line but get a real sense of depth to the orchestral playing and as orchestras loved playing under him he produces results that diminish many others in this repertoire.

He was lucky, of course. He outlived all the other British conductors of his time and his last ten years in the studio gave him the opportunity to record music with which he felt an affinity. This 11 CD collection shows him to be a fine Wagnerian as well as true Brahms master. Not for him the hard driven approach of a Szell or Reiner, he believed that the music spoke for itself and while some find his readings lacking in excitement, I find them to be of a depth seldom reached by many conductors, past or present.

The music is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and New Philharmonia Orchestra.

I had the good fortune to play Enigma under him as a student and I have always felt that he was not given the opportunity to branch out from the English music he became so closely associated with. Thus, bringing together all his German music recording from the 70s is a joy. Buy them.


British Music
Sir Charles Groves / RLPO, RPO, LSO, LPO, BPO
Warner Classics. 25646 14724 [24 CDs]

It is good to see Warner Classics have taken advice on how best to present their back catalogue of classic recordings and this set is one of the most intelligent I have come across.

Sir Charles Groves was principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from 1963 until 1977 and was also associate conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from the 60s until his death in 1993. The majority of performances featured in this collection are with these orchestras.

We are taken on a journey from Sullivan’s Irish Symphony through the world premier recording of Elgar’s The Black Knight cantata. We visit Delius on three discs including a complete recording of his opera Koanga and Vaughan Williams’ only opera, Hugh the Drover. Both with fine casts of British singers including Sheila Armstrong, Helen Watts, Robert Tear and John Shirley Quirk together with Janet Baker in a rare Delius work, the Songs of Sunset.

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We love this company and its innovative audio products. We’ll put out a press review request.

AUSTIN, Texas - November 12, 2015 - Audioengine® today introduced the HD6 Premium Powered Speaker System. More than just a powered speaker, the HD6 is a complete audio system with all the connections you’ll need to listen to your music.

“As we celebrate our tenth year this month,” says Brady Bargenquast, co-founder of Audioengine, “HD6 represents a decade’s worth of work. We’ve added some stellar features from our best-selling products, carefully blended in our signature sound, and also took a calculated risk with the retro cabinet design - all of which we’re hoping will make HD6 the go-to music system for many years to come.”

Featuring built-in amplifiers, analog and digital inputs including aptX® Bluetooth® and optical, the HD6 is easy to use and designed for the way people listen to music today.

Dave Evans, co-founder and chief technologist adds, “We started with our tried-and-true amplifier design and added an optical input from the D1 DAC. We also included our Advanced Bluetooth and 24-bit upsampling circuitry from the B1 Bluetooth Receiver, making the HD6 our most versatile speaker system yet”.



This year, as many know, the New York Audio Show moved out of New York City, a dash north of Manhattan, to Westchester County in the town of Rye Brook at the Hilton Westchester Hotel. Not having a car, getting there required about a 45 minute train ride on Metro-North to the Port Chester NY Station, then a quick 5 minutes by taxi to the venue. An inconvenience to a typical Manhattanite like me, but not that bad. And if you did have a car, the venue offered free parking right there.

More like a comfortable resort, this hotel is quite small with only several floors, of which two were devoted to the show. Beautiful colored Autumn leaves surrounded the hotel, falling gently to the ground, and in many rooms could be seen as a gorgeous backdrop through the windows.

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