#audiophiliacamp is a nod to the ‘hashtag’, a form of communication on Twitter. It seems that every meeting advertised on Twitter is labeled ‘#camp’. As such, we had #audiophiliacamp. Here’s what happened.
Audiophiles are a passionate bunch. Especially passionate here at Audiophilia. So it was with the greatest pleasure that I spent a week in New York City, home to three (soon to be four) of our regular contributing reviewers. Along with Rick Nickel, Audiophilia’s technical wiz, my wonderful accompanist Erika McNabb (NYC was a musical visit first, audio second), we met the NYC gang for dinner at a midtown Vietnamese restaurant. Sadly, longtime reviewer Roy Harris was unwell and could not join us for dinner or the next evening’s listening session.
Dinner was at Saigon 48, a midtown Vietnamese restaurant that boasts an unassuming vibe, great food and an excellent cellar! A wonderfully musical discussion was interspersed by delicious appetizers, tasty pork and beef main courses, three bottles of two splendid wines (2005 Pirramimma Shiraz and 2006 Four Vines Zinfandel), followed by specialty Vietnamese coffee. Wonderful.
The next night was all about the audio. Accompanied by my son Matt and Rick Nickel, we drove to Marty Appel’s beautiful Riverside Drive apartment. Already there, tucking into wine, beer, pizza and great cheese, were Marty, Henry Wilkenson, Mike Levy (designer extraordinaire) and his beautiful wife, Maryann. We dove into the food and drink and let Marty and Mike discuss the setup and throw on some tunes. (Photo: Mike, Rick, Marty, Anthony, Henry)
Gear included an Avid Volvere turntable with a Rega arm and Shelter cartridge (I reviewed the Avid a couple of years ago. It’s a fantastic bit of kit!), PS Audio line conditioner, NuForce amplifiers, Acoustic Zen cables, Marantz’ Reference SA-7S1 CD/SACD player and the SC-7S2 Stereo Control Amplifier. I’m hoping Mike or Marty could fill in the blanks re the phono stage in a comment below. Speakers were Mike Levy’s own design, using a ribbon tweeter and 6.5 inch driver. Mike, I’d also like you to comment below on your fabulous speakers. Thanks.
Marty threw on lots of audiophile favourites, including Cantate Domino (both LP and CD in a shootout — we preferred the LP’s spatial presentation) , Gary Karr’s double bass playing (in a recording highlighting his awful, almost painful intonation!), an old 2 eye CBS Philly recordings, and some star CDs, including Naxos’ Vaughn Williams’ 7th (so loved by hp) and a Pines of Rome shootout between the MSO/Dutoit/London and ASO/Lane/Telarc. The MSO won by a knockout.
Other than the pleasant conversations and excellent musical choices, it was the sound of Marty’s system that stole the show. It took a while for my ears to adapt (at first, I was a little concerned with the tweeter/driver integration), but after the system (or my ears) warmed up, the system sounded spectacular. The monitor speakers need four channels of amplification (the NuForces did an admirable job), and have spectacular bass, by far the best I’ve heard from a speaker this size. By far.
Mike’s speakers are being revamped and he hopes to have them to be back on the market soon. Hurry, Mike, audiophiles will be the better for your outstanding speakers. It was also nice to hear the Avid turntable sounding so good and with the entry level Rega 300 arm (my review was with an SME — not a favourite of mine) and the Shelter cart. It all sounded so good. The whole system had a synergy and was very well setup. The two most important tenets in a good system.
It was with some sadness that our evening came to a close. #audiophiliacamp is an annual event. The systems get better every year and the friendships even stronger. Thanks guys. Until next year.