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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.