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Newport 2014: Music First Audio and a Warm Breeze

DSC_0559 hiresnewportlogoforwebWarren Jarrett is the California outpost of Music First Audio. He's also a dealer for other audio exotica and pretty much a superhero when it comes to making a hotel room sound good. The man has ears. The man knows exactly what he's doing. A superhero. No lie. So I brought him a beat up copy of Basie's Warm Breeze.

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“But this is a digital recording,” he said with some horror. “Why didn’t you bring something good?”

Still, he put it on the TriangleART Signature turntable ($16,000), reluctantly lowered a tonearm with a TriangleART Zeus cartridge ($4000), and let this beat up, red vinyl play. The rest of the system was a Music First Step Up ($3100), an Audio Note UK M2 phono pre ($4100), the Music First Baby Reference Preamp ($7800), a pair of silver voice-coil Audio Note UK AN-E Lexus speakers ($8800), and a pair of blast furnace, GM100 SETs from NAT, the 160 watt Magma amplifier ($45,000 per pair).

All for a $4 record.

Farmer’s Market Barbecue is a good record,” said Warren. “There’s only so much you can do with a digital recording like that.”

What you can do with it, after adjusting the cartridge loading to de-emphasize the jaggies, is make a pair of two-way speakers with 8″ drivers shake the walls. Nothing here ever lost its composure. The performance was a bit more power centric than tone centric, but, as Warren told us, “these are big amps. They’re pretty good for big amps.”

Warren Jarrett: superhero and master of understatement.

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