CAS 2014: Those Nerds Took All my Money!


Dyn_CAS-logo-2Folks who’ve hung around the industry for a while know Steve Holt. He spent years fronting for MIT Cable before striking out on his own with the joint ventures of Kool Kat Jazz Records (selling vinyl) and The Audio Nerd Dot Com (selling HiFi gear and accessories). Both operations showed up in one fairly disreputable looking RV, and unloaded enough goodies to fill up the entire center of the Headmasters ballroom.

Let’s not talk too much about the vinyl side. Steve is just a bad man. His associate Nick is an even worse man. They mugged me for a couple of hundred bucks, and all I got were a couple of free t-shirts. Okay, sure, I also got a stack of vinyl — yummy, yummy vinyl — but this made a serious dent in my booze budget for the weekend. I blame them, and I hope they feel bad.

Like most of us, I have a pretty strict budget for this stuff. Nick and Steve are shamelessly willing to exploit a man’s obvious weakness for the black platters. Nick will make you talk and laugh so much that you won’t even notice that seventh record you added to the stack until it’s too late. When I said I was done, Steve actually mocked me. Then that evil troll of a man pulled out an utterly gorgeous copy of Willie Dixon’s Hidden Charms, and waved it at me.

Of course I bought it. What would you have done?

I vowed that I would have my revenge by saying bad things about him on the internet. So, to keep my promise:

Steve Holt and Kool Kat Jazz are evil people who will gladly take all of your money in exchange for records. They’re accurately graded, well handled, and I didn’t find even one unpleasant surprise in the stack. They are so good at being evil that I can’t even complain about them in any way. Steve Holt and his crew are the worst kind of music pushers: the kind that deliver exactly what they promise. You always wind up giving that kind more money. They’re the most dangerous sort. Tread carefully.

The other side of the table was filled with the geegaw selection from The Audio Nerd. Jolida and Carrot amps lined the table. Spin Cleans and Pro-Ject decks were scattered around. MIT Cable was spread out like so many piles of Darth Vader’s garden hoses. It would have been possible to outfit a pretty decent mid-range system or five just with stuff laid out like it was part of the Seasonal Crap aisle at Wallgreen’s. It was just too much of a plethora. It’s pretty clear that the Audio Nerd wants to make sure that you can play the records they sold you.

Except for the stuff on one corner ….

It seems that Lambert Audio of New Zealand is gearing up for a big push soon, with three figure prices on Class D stereo amps, Class D monoblock amps, and a tubed preamp with a built-in aptX dac. There will even be speakers and subs (although a set of those is expect to run in the several-kilobuck range). Despite their prototype status, the examples here had an admirable fit’n’finish to go with their friendly size.

Given the fact that this was one of my last few stops at the show (the last was the bar), I’m afraid I can’t even remember if I listened to these things. I do know that I wanted to, and I still do. They look like portable art.