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October, 2008

A New Online Magazine

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 by Mike

[For those of you who do not read the entire show report (no wonder why a few people got upset about the terseness of their room description, they had not gotten into the groove of the whole ‘audio noir’ thing) - specifically the main page with our list of favorites of show and pictorial index to all of the rooms - here is a copy of our pre-announcement of our new online high-end audio magazine]

A New Online Magazine

We are publishing a new online high-end audio magazine in hopefully a few weeks. This as-yet-unnamed magazine will use new technology that will allow us to do things other magazines and websites cannot. It will also be innovative in other ways in an attempt to better serve manufacturers and dealers on the one hand, and audiophiles on the other.

Why a new magazine?

Oh, there are so many, many reasons. :-)

But the primary reason is that they are all so damn boring. ‘Reviewers’ focus way too much on regurgitating cookie-cutter equipment reviews in order to get loaned more free equipment. Bo-ring. Music reviews are written in a manner that has little to do with the way audiophiles actually listen to music. Snore.

The other primary reason is that the relationship between manufacturers/distributors/dealers and the magazines is like that of lobbyists and politicians. It is inherently corrupting to both. The result is that everybody distrusts and fears everybody else.

So, yeah, we gonna do things way different. We are going to focus on the fun and excitement of being an audiophile - all those reasons why we are doing all this crazy stuff in the first place. And we are going to provide several ways for manufacturers/distributors/dealers to get their message heard - without having to compromise their sense of ethics or take out a second mortgage.

To this end, then, …

We are talking with several people about writing for the magazine. If you are interested we would like to talk with you, too. We are not looking for and will not accept [most] reviewers - we will not even have traditional reviews, per se. We are looking for people who are extremely honest and can express themselves, who can bang on a keyboard a little [the Grammar Police have left the building], or use a video camera, or snap a few photos and share their perspective on why being an audiophile is so fucking intoxicating.

We are also accepting press releases, installation experiences, overviews of technological innovations, design perspectives, industry perspectives, biographies, factory tours etc. submitted by manufacturers/distributors/dealers [preferably full-page, but we will work with you], once per month, and will publish them for free. We are looking for serious submissions, in addition to the press releases, that respect the reader’s intelligence - something a reputable manufacturer/distributor/dealer would say to someone in their store or factory. We will also accept traditional ads, preferably full-page, but any size will work, for which we will charge standard prices.

We are also looking for one or more sponsors. Perhaps someone who wants to remind their readership each month that they are proud sponsors of the magazine. Or perhaps someone who wants to take more of an ownership stake. We will be contacting some potential sponsors directly, but if any of you want to contribute to the audiophile community in this way, please contact us as soon as is convenient.

For now, send email to me at: mike@audiofederation.com

Working on reviews of the Lamm ML3, the…

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 by Mike

…Nordost ODIN power cord, and to be followed by the EMM Labs TSD1 and DAC2 once they get a few more hours on them.

These ‘reviews’ are rather longish and will be some of the first articles to appear on our new online magazine. [More about THAT real soon].

We’ve already done about 8 hours of shootouts with the ODIN power cord [and pretty intensive shootouts at that. It is a really great way to not only learn about a component, but the sound and relative balance of an entire system. Especially when you get to hear way, way farther into the music than you have ever before… well, ever since the ML3’s left, anyway], and we forgot a few configurations that we have yet to do [mostly to determine which is the biggest bang - adding the first ODIN power cord or adding the first ODIN interconnect to a system].

A first-timer’s perspective

Saturday, October 25th, 2008 by Mike

I talked to an audiophile who is just starting out - though he seems to be a very quick study, and knows a lot of the ins and outs already. I’m afraid I wasn’t much use to him, asking him questions instead of imparting advice [not that I ever impart advice, I am more comfortable guiding people and letting them hear for themselves and discover their own preferences, not mine].

His perspective on spending 4 hours at RMAF, his first show, was the following:

* Overwhelming

* There are a LOT of brands

* There are a lot of innovative and just plain WEIRD designs

I think he enjoyed his time there, but it didn’t really bring him closer to finding which speakers he wants to get [and me asking him 20 questions didn’t help much either :-) ].

Perhaps there needs to be a printed guide, dividing up the rooms into price categories… but then show goers would miss out on hearing more expensive systems that might help them refine their preferences, and less expensive systems with stellar performance.

The real answer is friends. Friends can guide other friends…

And maybe the show needs to conduct guided tours - not of any price category, but floor-by-floor say, giving people an independent perspective on what they are seeing and hearing.

The economy should be good for audio retailers…

Friday, October 24th, 2008 by Mike

… and here’s why: with lower gasoline prices, lower shipping prices, lower food prices, and maybe even lower import prices, it will be like $7K extra in the bank and the audio gear they buy with it will be cheaper. With commodities tanking, audio will be cheaper to make which is good for the manufacturers.

Here are the details [ aka guestimates]. An average family with 2.5 cars drives 30K miles per year, say. Gas prices will return from $4 to the $2/gallon or so they were before the current administration. At 15 miles per gallon that is a savings of $4K. an average family of 4 spends, say, $15K per year on food. If food goes back to, say, 20% cheaper then that is another $3K in savings annually. Expect shipping, plane tickets, everything gas related to go down 30%.

Assuming people still have jobs…. this will be very positive for people not heavily invested in the stock market [and who aren’t shorting this market. Next time the powers-that-be start shouting DEPRESSION! remind me to short everything in sight. I presume THEY are.].

So, chin up, maties, our hobby isn’t down and out yet. In fact, it may just have gotten a boost. Though it might take awhile for people get over the shock and awe on the news channels and realize their good fortune.

A new horn speaker manufacturer

Friday, October 24th, 2008 by Mike

AudioVoice Acoustics Ltda. is selling horn speakers, made on demand . Here’s a look at, and a write up about, the most recent speaker they made:


the homepage is under construction, and will be finished soon.

AudioVoice Acoustics Ltda.

Rua Alvaro Brito 769
49026-030Aracaju ( Sergipe )

6moons’ Milan 2008 Show Report

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 by Mike

We really enjoyed Srajan’s quite extensive coverage of the Milan show:

Milan Hi-Fi Show Report 2008

Lots of great photos and photoshopping. But mostly just enjoy the feeling of peering into the rooms at another show, with enough narration that one feels there is someone with us on the journey.

Sure, it’d be nice to hear how things SOUNDED at the show. But that is not really Srajan’s modus operandi.

I do like it that Srajan does not appear to be an ‘Industry First’ [audiophiles last] robot like so many other reviewers. You know, ‘My Industry Right or Wrong’? Sure, there is the desire to ‘Do no harm’ [to the industry]. But sometimes you got to break the arm to reset it correctly.

Now. About those comments on the Audio Note U.K. room :-)

They actually threw a cloth over the furniture? OMG. People should consider themselves to have received a special honor from Team Audio Note. They have never, that I can remember, draped cloths over any furniture here in the U.S. What are we? Barbarians? ;-)

Neli thought they should bring in a really nice piece of heavy Italian furniture to put the components on. Something striking. And heavy enough that, even without platforms with vibration control technology, there is something that is not vibrating like a violin string under the components. Of course, locating and installing this antique would be more the responsibility of the local importer than Audio Note….

Hiend Show, Vietnam 2008

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 by Mike

We were sent a few dozen very nice photos of this show, which took place on September 26-28, to share with all of you.

Looks like it was a fun show. Vietnam is one of the fastest growing ‘emerging markets’ and high-end audio is definitely sharing in that.

Photos from Hiend Show, Vietnam, 2008

More photos may be forthcoming….

Between Milan, Heathrow [on same day as Milan?], Hiend and Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, there are a lot of shows to cruise during this time of year.

By the way, anyone else has photos [and/or reports] of shows they want to share, please let us know. Can’t promise anything, but, as you know, we DO like to post photos and show reports here on Audio Federation :-)

More and more dealers? More and more products?

Monday, October 20th, 2008 by Mike

In the high-end audio market? In this economy?

What am I missing?

Assume I am missing nothing and that the barrier to entry is just so low, we get lots of new people every year trying to make a go of it.

Personally, I would recommend going into real estate if you got so much extra cash. Opportunities like this only come once every twenty years or more. THEN, go into audio, later, with your millions to throw away.

Anyway, after almost 7 years in this business, I think we are finally where people no longer think of us a newbies. Which just goes to show that established dealers and manufacturers do get to claim the high ground with respect to audiophiles shopping around for something to buy, someone to ask questions of. someone they respect - and it is a tough row to hoe to get from Newbie to Established.

But it can be fun - if not taken too seriously. And if one does not get turned off too much by knowing the ugly details of the thing you have loved from the outside.

I will say that the scoundrels are few and far inbetween, and that people are almost always very nice people, and, curiously, it is their very idiosyncrasies that probably got them into high-end audio in the first place that keeps most of them from really succeeding in the market place.

Large format RMAF Show report is …done?

Monday, October 20th, 2008 by Mike

The show report for the large photos is at:

RMAF 2008 Show Report

After we collect all the feedback, we’ll make the medium size photos and start posting links to the report on all the forums.


Trelja RMAF show report on Audiogon

Monday, October 20th, 2008 by Mike

TRELJA in Denver - 2008.

Thanks, Trelja, for the kind words about our Audio Note room.

A nice long report.

I wouldn’t have minded a little more description about WHY our room was good or How and Why other rooms weren’t.

It helps to have at least ONE other person in the world who talks about both the positive and negative sounds at shows.

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