AXPONA 2018: Bridging the gap with Music Direct


Every marketplace has a challenger in the ranks that takes up against the old guard. Even though Music Direct has been around for many years, it’s continued foothold in the internet-shopping-sphere of hi-fi directly reflects the changing times and in my opinion helps future-proof the hobby and industry from the rapidly shifting retail markets. Nine out of nine times when I’m urging a friend to do a little research for products and pricing online, I’m recommending the Music Direct online catalog as a reliable source for when it comes time to buy, or just browse.

The Story

Carving out a niche half-way between the traditional dealer network and manufacturer who sells direct, the Music Direct business model does well to bridge the gap of waning dealer access for those that by either distance of generational habits or pure geography find themselves on the outside of ready hi-fi availability. Is the online model the singularly better way to sell? No, but it does serve its own segment of the market well. Could it be the answer for many brands who can’t yet take on direct sales? Definitely.

AXPONA 2018 Coverage brought to you by Zesto Audio

When I first heard that Mobile Fidelity was getting into the turntable business I wasn’t exactly excited — because who wasn’t getting in? When I found out shortly after that MoFi’s turntables were to be designed by the genius that is Allen Perkins, and manufactured right here in the USA — I was hot with anticipation. Read more about Mr. Perkins HERE, and more about Mobile Fidelity Electronics —> HERE.

The Sound

Definitive Technologies new bookshelf speakers have lived up to their hype, but particularly in this setting. I recently heard the Demand D11’s at a Best Buy Magnolia store and I wasn’t really impressed by the sound as it was displayed in a typical fashion that Best Buy is known for in their Magnolia stores.

Switching over to the Denton 80th Anniversary Loudspeakers I was taken back by the mellow sound. At first I was a little perturbed as to why they would aim for a nostalgic sound, but as the music rolled forward, I found myself ultimately charmed by their warm and relaxed soundfield.

The turntable that was my impetus for seeking out this room delivered on many fronts. As a debut performance, the UltraDeck + MasterTracker + StudioPhono vinyl playback system operated with the composure and refinement of well evolved product line. The product specs and choice of design features and materials do well to take classic cues from the turntables of yore. The decision to utilize DuPont™ Delrin® as a platter material is outright genius and cause enough for me to add this turntable to my personal wish-list.

The System

UltraDeck Turntable – $1,799 USD
MasterTracker Phono Cartridge – $699 USD
StudioPhono Phono Preamplifier – $249 USD

Stellar DAC/Preamplifier – $1,699 USD
Stellar M700 Monoblock Amplifiers – $2,998 pr USD
P20 Power Regenerator $9,999 USD

Demand D11 Loudspeakers – $999 USD

Denton 80th Anniversary Loudspeakers – $1,000 USD ($499 USD as shown)

Cabling by AudioQuest and Shunyata