So, I cut out of office early yesterday i had little excuse to miss the show this year as I did last year. heck its only 1.5 miles from the office to Hotel Irvine. I didn’t try to hear every room but I know I walked every floor. If it was digital only or at the very least didn’t have tubes in the system I didn’t waste precious time.
I’l cut to the chase, for me the single demo which had the greatest impact was the Parana Fidelity room. This was an honest system, not vying for SOTA or best of show in particular, what made this demo transformative was the R2R vs Vinyl demo. ORG provided an advance 15 ips copy of the latest Vanessa Fernandez recording of Zep covers. For direct comparisons Steve Norber had the 45 rpm vinyl cued up on the Basis/My Sonic labs vinyl front end, an ATR-102 modded by Grundman Mastering was used to roll tape. If there was any doubt about the gap between the best vinyl playback vs R2R they were swiftly and unanimously put to bed – and if you didn’t already guess, tape killed vinyl today. I don’t think there was a single attendee present that wasn’t as gobsmacked as I was. I must have uttered “f**k me” at the least three times to myself. The realism and moreover tonal density of musicians/performers was like being a fly in the wall, present and live in studio. One’s mind didn’t have time to fill the gaps between live and memorex…it was all ‘just there’ the sensation was like that of hearing a live mic feed, not something you’re used to if you haven’t experienced R2R at this level. When the vinyl was played, suddenly the magic was less so, in some way much less. The sound became ‘hollow’ for lack of a better descriptor, the shortcomings of even a really good vinyl playback were laid bare in sharp contrast. There are of course other variables that may give R2R the upper hand, but it wasn’t close enough to have changed the result.
I devised a new rating system after today…the Prana Fidelity demo gets the coveted three F-word room award based on the above.
to be continued…