One of the great pleasures of running a magazine like Audiophilia is our annual general meeting, we christened ‘#audiophiliacamp’. Audiophiliacamp happens every summer at the country home of Mike Levy and his lovely wife Maryanne. Mike is an Audiophilia contributor and his other gig is designing some of the world’s finest speakers.

The home is stunning and situated on seven acres of land on New York State’s Hudson River, two hours north of the center of the world.

The drive from Toronto is easy. We rent a nice cruising car and hit the road early. For, in Malden-on-the- Hudson, there are great restaurants and wine shops waiting. Oh yes…and one meeting. Also waiting this year was the first production model of Mike’s newest speaker, the Alta Audio FRM-2.

Sure, the speakers are fabulous, the house is stunning, the view magnificent, and the food and wine delicious, but it’s the people that make audiophiliacamp such a treasurable experience.

There are always a few that can’t make it. Roy Harris was absent, Jim Norris was in London giging and Andy Fawcett was in the Land of Oz doing something wonderful on the Gold Coast. They were much missed.

In attendance was your publisher, Mike Levy, Marty Appel, Henry Wilkenson and our newest fella, Karl Sigman. Three amazingly patient, kind and beautiful wives were in attendance: Jan Kershaw, Lillian Appel and our hostess, Maryanne Levy. They make the whole weekend so much better.

Karl Sigman insults the publisher's legs. Photo: Martin Appel

Karl Sigman insults the publisher's legs. Photo: Martin Appel

The always smiling, always happy Marty Appel.

The always smiling, always happy Marty Appel.

Henry Wilkenson checking out the next bottle of wine.

Henry Wilkenson checking out the next bottle of wine.

Like all good ‘cottage’ guests, one arrives Friday and heads out after breakfast on Sunday, usually before 11 a.m. We abided by the unwritten rule. But, as always with this crew, I wanted to stay longer. The camaraderie and the hospitality is world class.

Lillian Appel, Maryanne Levy and Mike Levy tuck into a delicious breakfast.

Lillian Appel, Maryanne Levy and Mike Levy tuck into a delicious breakfast.

This year, Jan and I decided to stop by Ottawa to visit with our daughter and partner before heading down to camp the next morning. Wow, Ottawa, you’ve changed. Cool, hip, very lovely place to visit. Very different from my visit twenty years ago.

Apple Maps took us from Ottawa, via Montreal to get to Malden (no jokes; it was the fastest route!). So, a quick stop at the Snowden Deli to grab smoked meat and bagels was in order. What a taste. If you’ve never had Montreal bagels, you are missing one of the world’s great breads. They taste nothing like the big, bready, yeasty things we get in Toronto and New York.

A quick stop for wine (tempranillo, pinot noir and cab, FYI) in Saugerties and we arrived at the house. After wine, snacks and welcomes, I had a quick listen to Mike’s speakers. Pretty bloody amazing on first hearing. Marty’s review appears here. Henry’s doing a follow up and I’ll be getting a pair ASAP. I’ll add my two cents, too. The sound quality and the extended, clean bass coming from small, stand mounted speakers was remarkable. More in the follow ups. If you’re in the market for a 15K speaker that does it all (and, I mean all!) in a small footprint, contact Alta Audio at their website.

Detail of the ribbon tweeter and woofer of the Alta Audio FRM-2 Loudspeaker. Seamless integration.

Detail of the ribbon tweeter and woofer of the Alta Audio FRM-2 Loudspeaker. Seamless integration.

Mike's reaction when we said 'the best speaker designer at the table' should pick up the check!

Mike's reaction when we said 'the best speaker designer at the table' should pick up the check!

Our most important supplies.

Our most important supplies.

Saturday was spent listening and in our meeting. We decided to drink the tempranillo with chocolate almonds and then Karl’s wonderful Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with fruit. The two wines and food got us through the meeting beautifully. I’d suggest this type of fare to anybody who wants a smooth, fun, productive meeting.

The meeting will come to order.

The meeting will come to order.

Our meeting sorted out a few problems, discussed the new Audiophilia design (coming soon), and ironed out a few policy issues. We were done in an hour and ready for more listening before dinner.

The food/wine highlight of the weekend is the Audiophilia Dinner on Saturday night. This year we held it at The Red Onion Restaurant, a superb, French-inspired bistro. Each of us had different appetizers and entrees, and all were incredibly good. Steaks, seafood risotto, Cornish Hen, lobster pasta, straight ahead pasta with meat sauce and the best scallops I’ve tasted highlighted the main courses. What a fantastic evening.

The Red Onion Restaurant, Saugerties, NY. Photo: Trip Advisor

The Red Onion Restaurant, Saugerties, NY. Photo: Trip Advisor

We managed some late light listening (Modern Jazz Quartet’s Fontessa, Anthony McGill’s fantastic new Cedille Records disc and lots more). It was quiet, reflective listening. Quite a feat with five animated audiophiles in one room.

Early morning start to the drive home.

Early morning start to the drive home.

We were up before dawn on Sunday and made a quick start. Early into the long drive, we discussed the fun we’d had and how much we are already looking forward to next year’s event.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Karl Sigman 06.23.14 at 4:31 pm

Not sure why Anthony took my comments about his legs so badly: All I recall saying was that his legs were not as nice as those of the Pinot Noir, but much nicer than those of the Freakshow blend.

Mitch 06.23.14 at 4:36 pm

I hope you brought Mike some of those Montreal bagels, he can never get enough!

Andy 06.24.14 at 3:40 am

It’s always nice to read about the `folks behind the facade’ as it humanizes audiophilia contributors and allows readers a glimpse into your world. What a wonderfully decadent bunch you guys are! ;-)

Martin Appel 06.24.14 at 6:47 am

Hi Andy, sorry you couldn’t make it. It would have been great to have had the whole crew there.

admin 06.24.14 at 7:50 am

lol

Great times.

Michael Levy 06.24.14 at 3:46 pm

Thank you Anthony for your wonderful comments. The weekend could not have been better, the food, wine, and weather all contributing. The listening sessions were great, but most of all, the company. Maryann and I look forward to and enjoy Audiophilia camp each year and the best part is seeing everyone again.

Andy Fawcett 06.28.14 at 2:35 am

A case of mistaken identity regarding the other “Andy”, Marty … though he’s certainly got you guys pegged. While you’ve been re-enacting the last days of the Roman Empire, I’ve been bunkered down for the Australian winter; a life-and-death struggle against the elements, daytime temperatures plummeting as low as 70F. I’m not going to get any sympathy here, am I … ;-)

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