RMAF 2014: PTE always rocks

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Logo - Blue VectorI’ve been twisting arms to get people into the PTE room for more than two years. I don’t have a business connection with the folks, but, show after show, they drop an ugly system into an ugly room and make the kind of music that should make a person think about selling their dog’s kidneys on eBay. It’s dynamic, it’s tuneful, and it’s precise.

And what do I hear back? I hear, “I tried to go there, but it was loud.

All I can tell you is that happens whenever Mark Thoke plays the Stones. Or Janice. Or… well… You do know these shows happen on weekends, right? It’s not like Mark is keeping the neighbors awake on a school night.

And if he is? We’re all technically adults, folks. Ask the guy to turn the volume down. I’m pretty sure he’s just bored. Hand him some new music, and I’d bet half a dollar that he’ll be as interested in it as you are.

But seriously, just go read Kirsten’s last PTE room write-up. I can just put “ditto” here. PTE again had one of the finest rooms in the price range, and they used the same gear they’ve been using forever. The only difference this time was that we got to experience the full dog-and-pony show for the modestly named Essence of Music — henceforth known as Dr. Bronner’s Magic CD Goop.

I’m not one for tweaks, but I’ve tried this stuff out, and it made a difference to my rips. That said, I’ve never sat through the organized demo. So, at 5:50 on Saturday, I handed over a copy of Southside Johnny’s Grapefruit Moon cd, listened to forty seconds of it, got the double goop magic double wipe, and then listened to a track of Southside and La Bamba’s Big Band doing their best Tom Waits tribute. The goop made a difference. Southside’s voice was more assured right out of the gate.

But, goop or not, the PTE’s made it seem like standing in the middle of the Pony, with a cheap beer in one hand and cigarette in the other, hollering my head off for Johnny to play “I Don’t Want to Party, Go Home!”

You can get the Essence-of-Music Goop for $150. The Phoenix SG speakers cost $9500. The Antelope Zodiac Gold dac will run you close to $4000. Cabling by WyWires will set you back some extra college money, but, really, your kid can wear his name on his shirt for a few more years. Going to a room that will play Southside the way he needs to be played? You can’t put a price on that. We didn’t listen to analog this time, because who needs to be reminded just how heartbreakingly good a Soundsmith Hyperion sounds through PTE’s phono preamp ($1600)? The George Warren turntable costs extra, too.

If you’re at a show with PTE, don’t leave their room until you hear something you like. They are truly terrible salesmen, but they know their sound. Tell ’em what you like. Tell ’em to turn it down. It’s okay. There’s a good chance you’ll be a paying customer by the time you leave.

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