On the fourth floor, in the Magnolia Ballroom, a sort of marketplace in the round was set up, and there was lots of interesting things to shop and browse. Stereodesk had three tables in there, Mytek had one, Bob’s Devices had one … and that left a lot of shopping.
I love going to audio shows and browsing the LP bins. There’s usually a ton of stuff I want to load up with … but I rarely buy anything. I keep worrying about hauling around all that vinyl. Whatever. My loss — there are a ton of bargains in those bins. Old, new, rare — you never know. Cash for Music and Clarion Records had tables up for all your new-to-you browsing, and they were very popular destinations.
On the actually new tables, AIX Records was showing off a table full of their high-resolution surround-sound albums — and some interesting playback mechanisms to try them out. Sweet find? A Smyth-Research Realizer! This may well be the niftiest gadget on offer these days — with good headphones, you can get true 3-D sound. And when I say 3-D sound, I mean like “Skywalker Sound”. Or would you prefer “Abbey Road”? Or both? Sound interesting, doesn’t it? Yeah, thought so. This is on my shortlist for a review — and with the AIX material, my kids found the combo absolutely mesmerizing.
Cuneiform Records is a local label that’s been around for forever — I first “discovered” them last year with the live performance of Janel and Anthony. “Eclectic” doesn’t quite cover it, but I picked up a couple of CDs (I know — do audiophiles even buy these anymore? Are we allowed?) for exploration — I’ll get back to you on that — but the catalog is huge, which is an unqualified win as far as discoveries go.
The award for “most enterprising” would have to go to Ultrasonic Records. I’ve been eyeing an ultrasonic cleaner for about a year now, but the German model is … ah … expensive. Exploiting a weakness of the Audio Desk Systeme Glass, Dave Ratcliff has come up with a clever way to clean out up to 8 records at a time. Prices for all the bits necessary is $1,495.
Last but not least was Fernwood Designs — makers of fine wood things, including tables, chairs, stools, picture frames — and even baffles for use in some single-driver systems.