Sorry it has been a while. Spending time with my wife and dog has been top priority since returning from California. There is no substitute for family, big comfy beds and snuggle time. Ahhhhh…
Folks, let me tell ya. I have had some great times and I have had some REALLY great times. Without a doubt, THE NEWPORT SHOW 2015 will absolutely be filed in the REALLY great times folder.
First off, I have some thank ya’s to hand out. Not small ones either. BIG MONSTER ONES!
Mom, I can’t tell you enough… Mitch and Rece (our new California team!!!) We love and adore you. Many mahalos for everything. Michael Koetsier from GreenHIFI.com , for the awesome chat about green and sustainable audio. Alun Yun from Silverline for the smiles and friendly listening session. Peter Hansen from Synergistic Research for just being a nice guy. (I’ll giv’m a shot before RMAF!) Rick Vides from Brooks Berdan for being a great hall mate and the fun, but short chat about the state of the industry. Mark Freed, I will certainly heed your advice and also see you in Chicago next year! Paul Mah!!! What a great time I had talking with you! I appreciate all your words and look forward to more of them in the future.
To you Mr. Reichert of Stereophile Magazine. Read here. “I’ll take hearts and stars all day long”! I can’t thank you enough for the amazing words in the Reichert Report. The description you used, “Luscious detail” nailed it. There is a secret place that exists somewhere near laser detail and a true warm live experience. We hope to bring each and every music lover into this place.
Your report brought smiles to my wife and I and a tear to the eye of my amazing Mom. The time you spent in our room was above and beyond. For a new guy on the scene, it means the world. You certainly have a new fan out here on the islands and I look forward to reading more from you in the future.
Sasha Matson of Stereophile Magazine! Read here. Your description of the sound coming from the ALYSON AML as “very full-range, with a burnished warm dimension to the sound” is EXACTLY what we are aiming for. Being accurate to the source does not mean that one needs to have laser beams aimed at their ear drums. Nor does it mean the need for 8 foot tall cabinets full of huge drivers. Especially for the recording engineer who must sit in front of monitors for 8 hours a day. Our speakers may have a pedigree that originated in the studio, but we feel that taking the studio-to-home approach in speaker design is working beyond our greatest expectations.
Also, Thank you for recognizing the “hard work” that goes into hand crafted equipment. I for one, never want to see “Hand Made” disappear. The art of building speakers, turntables and other pieces in our shop is taken extremely serious. Except for the machine we use to burn in our logo, no CNC is used at this point and we will hold out as long as we can. If one is to spend so much time and expense seeking out that perfect piece of equipment for their musical passion, it should have all of the same attention to detail as a fine piano or cello. After all, should it not last for as many generations as well?
A giant Aloha and thank you to Michael Koetsier of GreenHIFI.com Read here. I can’t thank you enough for the write up on GreenHIFI.com! Although we are not perfect stewards of the planet, by golly we are trying. My wife Jeanette and a few of her friends, including the amazing furniture maker Thorbin Wuttke, have truly influenced us over the years. They have made us aware of the simple things that anyone can do yet few bother to put in motion. For instance, saving our sawdust for the local farmers. We also create accessories such as Cable Cradles and turntable record clamps from the smaller cutoffs in the shop rather than discarding them. In addition we collect small scraps from other wood workers to be repurposed. As JWM Acoustics grows, we will continue to implement conscience practices to balance our production.
If you are ever interested in how we offset our audio material use by planting trees and donating to the Hakalau Forest Reserve, look me up and I will be happy to elaborate.
Again Michael, thank you and mahalo for the mention and for recognizing our effort towards sustainability. Being green does not require that we compromise quality on the quest for perfect sound. For us, the two just work together. Simple as that.
Last, but most certainly not least. Many, many mahalos to Robert Lee of Acoustic Zen Technologies. I won’t even try to tell you how our time together impacted me. Your kind words and encouragement are so special to me. The huge time you took in my room was above and beyond. The ensuing critique of my work I will cherish for many years to come. From afar and for many years, you have influenced my work and sound. Now, from in front of my own creation. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope to see you again soon. And yes! I too hear the wood in the instruments when played on my speaker systems. I assure you, it was no accident. THANK YOU again Mr. Lee!!!
So many more deserve my MUCHO MAHALO! You know who you are, so hugs!
We arrived early on Tuesday. We had hoped to get into the rooms early enough to get started with setup and perhaps rest after the long flight from Hawaii. Mom flew in from Texas, but still, not a short hop. Unfortunately, the hotel made it clear that running behind was the theme of the day and we may not get our room until that evening. “OUCH”! Well, no matter. We ended up in the fine restaurant in the hotel lobby. We set up a computer and proceeded to stuff ourselves with pancakes, eggs Benedict and mimosas. I got to tell ya, that was some good Eggs Benny. The mimosa, not so much. It did hit the spot though.
Fortunately, the ring came around 1:00 PM that our sleeping room was ready and we could check back around 3:00pm for our show room. It was sooooo nice to get a shower after traveling overnight. Nap time! Ahhhhhhhh…
The equipment began to arrive and setup began around dinner time. We had the system up and running by 9:00PM. No small feat considering the amount of gear we were traveling with. Wednesday by noon, the dial in of the room was really coming along. First, we tried and tried to get the best staging possible with a wide frequency range using the JANE JKM. Over and over again, the speaker would either have one or the other, but never both. This speaker must have a large room to breathe in, but I really wanted to give people an idea of what she can do. By 10:00pm Wednesday night, the conclusion was made that I would be shooting myself in the foot by trying to show a speaker made for a room 10 times the size of this 13’X19’ shoe box. The decision to use the ALYSON AML and NET-1 as the primary speakers in the room was made. We left the JANEs in the room on static display. We did manage a few demos for select attendees, but they too agreed that the ALYSON was perfect in the room and I should let them sing. And boy did they sing!
We also had two KAREN turntables up and running. One outfitted with one of my favorite cartridges, the Ortofon Windfeld, the other with the amazing Ortofon 2M Black. Using the new Balanced Audio Technology VK-P12 SE Phono stage, both carts sang like the wind. I am so happy to also announce that as of THE SHOW 2015, JWM Acoustics is now offering Ortofon cartridges as package deals on all of our decks! WoooHooo!!! By the way, the P-12 was so good we bought it…
The BAT Phono stage was not the only BAT in the room. I was running the whole thing with the killer REX preamp. As usual, this preamp demonstrated that tubes may be neutral while still allowing for that perfect and lush vocal range we all love so much. I threaten to upgrade to the REX II almost weekly, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it? I’ll revisit the idea with Geoff Poor from BAT before the RMAF, but as it stands, this machine works beautifully in our reference room back on the island. It is nice to have a piece you can count on to deliver the goods, day in and day out. Stay tuned!
The amp was also from BAT. The VK-655 SE was in the house and powering anything we threw at it with ease. You know, it is a brand new amp. Hardly any break in time, except for the LSAF and a few late night sessions at THE SHOW. Yet, it still manages to not sound constipated or rough! I was warned by BAT and a few show goers, that running this new machine could be a mistake, but I have to disagree. The combination of all of these pieces was stellar. The synergy with my speakers was heavenly to say the least. BUY THIS AMP!!! ESPECIALLY if a set of JWM Acoustics is in your future. Great combo…
I was never a big digital guy. Kicking and screaming, I am being dragged into this world of Bips and Bops. I was finally convinced that I needed to load J River and begin the task of collecting files. So I did. The verdict is in. I like it. Yes I said it. I LIKE it. Don’t love it, LIKE it. There comes a time in every audiophiles life when he has to admit that one thing may be as good as another, or at least close. Horns verses electrostat. Maggies or Kings. MC or MM. 10101010111010001111000 or analog. I guess 10101010101100100101011000 now has a place in my living room alongside the record spinner. Just need another shelf for the DAC! Speaking of!!! The DAC for the show was the kick butt one in the OPPO BD105D! The files were being fed by my HP ENVY laptop. HOLY!!!!!! That be some good sound folks. If you have the budget for a DAC, do consider the all in one option with the OPPO. You will love it. It was nice to have the option to spin up some of the attendees discs when asked. We actually got to keep a few of them for our own collection! Thanks attendees!!!
I can’t forget to mention the cables. Oh the cables. NORDOST was so kind to lend us some fantastic specimens for the last two shows and I can’t thank them enough. We had everything in the room from the Blue Heaven line, up to the Hiemdall II. And I must say. WOW. They just worked in this setup. Not only did people notice their quality, when I did a few demonstrations between levels of cable the distinction was unmistakable and stunning. If anyone tells you there is no difference in cables, invite them over to our reference room for a demo. ‘Nuff said.
You know, I forgot to mention our cable cradles! More of those little fellas walked out the door than I had anticipated! We sold them to the likes of D’Agastino, Silverline, even Mr. Lee from Acoustic Zen grabbed one because he liked the wood! Since getting home, all the rage is for NORDOST and other ribbon cable users to have a set of the Split Cable Cradles for their system! We love that! The Cradles started as a way to cut down on the waste in the speaker shop. We needed to find a way to utilize as much of our scraps as possible. Mostly because waste is not an option for us. We try to use every part of the tree. To have people embrace the idea as much as they are is wonderful! Even if you don’t believe in the sonic characteristics of lifting your cables away from statically charged floors, the organizational benefits of the cradles is fantastic! Thank you folks! We will make more for RMAF!
Well the show ended and it was time to pack up. Two of our best friends Mitch and Rece showed up just in time to begin the work. It took us until 3:00AM to pack it all up, but we did it! Oh man! We were beat. I crashed HARD!!! Honestly, as fun as this show was, I was so happy it was over. I definitely need the break before RMAF comes along. We certainly hope it draws the crowds we had at THE SHOW. So tell all your friends! Speaking of friends, we made some great ones. We had hundreds of people come through the room. I sincerely remember almost everyone that wanted to engage in conversation. Thank you all!
Thanks to all involved. We will see you next year! Now it’s time to build more stuff…