With my strange Sanskrit name, knighthood is easy. If I were a grizzled Viking warrior of yore, I'd have some 100-plus fearsome notches in my belt for every time that somebody inadvertently touched me gently with the kingly sword to elevate my Scottish peasant stock to minor nobility. With grinning thanks to all show attendees for injecting some blue into my cool Germanic veins, I must open my brief show reportage with an important message from Miss DeVore, the middle photo of yours truly compliments of Jonathan Scull, the flanking ones front and back of the T-shirt under review.

Need I say more? Audio widows, naturally, are those abandoned spouses of predominantly female gender left at home while their hubbies descend on boy-toy land, leaving the halls of the Hilton mostly devoid of the more beautiful sex - except for those physically gifted who were hired to strategically lure the male contingent into certain rooms, the implied promise presumably being that their youthful freshness would be aurally duplicated inside the dungeons. About my personal tour guide through NYC, Jules 'Coolman' Coleman, I need to set the record straight. He is no lawyer as some inmates erroneously concluded. He is a professor of law at Yale and presidential advisor at NYU and rumored to have been offered a subcabinet post contingent on the outcome of the upcoming elections. My attendance at the show, despite never-again protestations in the wake of my HE2003 reportage, was due to two incidents: The appearance of 10+ moonies and Jules' generous offer of setting me up in an NYU studio usually reserved exclusively for visiting dignitaries of the university. With the latter removing financial obstacles of spending $150+ in some swanky uptown digs and the former the impetus to see my crew and take it easy on the serious reporter-in-Terminator-mode stress, I was all set to do New York - heavy on the social fun, light on the formal show coverage.

Hanging on West Third and Mercer one block from the Blue Note [view from my roof garden above], brother Jules, Eduardo de Lima of Audiopax and Sergeant Ebay walked the village and parts of SoHo one fine night only to discover the coolest desert digs, Rice to Riches in Little Italy. This is an ultra-hip place serving nothing but 24 flavors of rice pudding which, naturally, meant brisk business even at 10:30PM. After all, this was the Big Apple. Best Taste of Show!

On Friday evening, Jules threw a little shindig in his apartment that drew about 60 folks including all but one moonie present at the show. Reconfirming his invitation to Wes Phillips in the hallways of the Hilton with Paul Candy in tow, Jules learned that the audio world wasn't big enough to contain both Wes and yours truly in one room. Dire note to self: Must work on my reputation in certain quarters. And there I thought filing my teeth was a move in the right direction. I proved equally befuddled when it came to changing the shutter speed on my digital camera to something befitting capturing people in motion rather than snapping immobile hardware. Consequently, most shots during said party turned out useless. Even the ones shown below suffer from blurriness - and it wasn't from the fine spirits on tap.

Henk Boot and Bel Canto's Mike McCormick | Marja, Jim Saxon, Jules, Paul Candy
Paul Candy, Les Turoczi, Anthony Gallo, Jules Coleman | with Leon Rifkin, formerly of the StereoTimes

Mooner Ken Micallef announced the sale of his ARC Ref1 for a Shindo Monbrisson tube preamp and is most likely replacing his Proac 2.5s with Gallo's Reference III, the latter merely contingent on visiting Anthony's NYC digs for a 2-channel confirmatory eval since Park Avenue's 7.1's Gallo exhibit at the show did little to conclusively demonstrate any such qualities in a manner conducive to making a long-term purchasing decision. Ken, here's what Gordon Burkhardt-Schultz just shared via e-mail (Gordon is Eduardo de Lima's US partner and, having shipped his personal broken-in pair of REF100 speakers to NY, couldn't stomach the thought of being without sound for a few weeks. He asked me for an affordable speaker reco and I pointed to the Gallos): "Finally got the Gallo Reference speakers yesterday. After about 6 hours, they are really sounding very good [Gordon's emphasis]. Am just using a 10 watt solid-state amp. Doing surprisingly well for so little power.
The Gallos are very impressive. As usual, a great recommendation. It will be a nice alternative to offer our customers who can't afford $14k for our own speakers." So perhaps ye olde editor isn't completely full of crap and there are truly magnanimous types left in audioland?

Meanwhile our John Potis -- who was too busy to attend, instead overseeing the cooking up of a storm of soft-shell crabs at the Country Club kitchen he manages -- reported by phone that the once-every-17-years invasion of Biblical-plague cicadas in Maryland netted 74dB of insect hum in his backyard as of yesterday. Like Ken, John has been bitten by the upgrade bug [he's stepping on millions of real critters outside] and, after seeing the Lowther light, is trading his Silverline speakers for Hørning's Perikles [left] and his Herron tube preamp for the Shindo Partager. Expect reviews in due time.

On the subject of Hørning and Best Sound, that honor goes to a system not actually at the show but rather, installed in Jules' Connecticut home. After swapping out the copper Kondo speaker cable for Stealth's top-line gold cable and replacing one interconnect with a second Stealth Indra, the prior resonance and softness issue in the bass got resolved and the system had the luv and magic audiophiles chase in their desire for both musicality and resolution. Musicality can be had for not very much money. Getting reviewer-level resolution without sacrificing musicality is very tricky business. While Jules ran the Agathon, the model above the Perikles, I dare predict that John's smaller room will be just perfect for the slightly downscaled Hørning model.

As an Internet publication, 6moons writers don't get to hear and critique each other's systems. Our kind lives all over the place. It is with great satisfaction that I herewith confirm Jules' rig [and his lovely lady Mimsie who's definitely not an audio widow] as being truly on the level. While 30 years in audio definitely make you older -- though not necessarily smarter -- this system was a case of applied wisdom. Congratulation, Jules! Regarding reviews, Les and Jules will split the bill on the new and now-in-production DeVore Fidelity Silverback while Irv Gross from Krell suggested during the party that Les' love of 16Hz organ fundamentals would be the ideal match for the 400 lbs Krell flagship subwoofer. Anthony Chiarella meanwhile promised full access to the Arcam, dCS, Nagra, Nottingham Analogue and Verity Audio lines he helps market under the aegis of Gary Warzin's Audiophile Systems empire. Sincere thanks to both Irv and Anthony for opening their doors to our cadre of nutty reviewers.

While on the subject of John DeVore's inspired monkey business, here's an e-mail from reader David Kelson that collected in my inbox during my absence: "
You wrote about the Devore Gibbon 8s so, ah... dispassionately that I felt compelled to do something I haven't done (admitted to doing?) in a dog's age - buying something on the strength of a man's word(s) alone. You know, like in the Old West when a man's word was his bond. In this case, they were your words.

What follows is the text of a letter I have written to audio wag/dealer Bob Neill after a phone conversation I had with him regarding the refining of my system: "Bob, it's the middle of the night and I'm on call and bored. Just thought I'd drop you a line to let you know the speaker issue -- and I do mean the speaker issue as in the white whale I've chased all my audio life -- has been officially slain. Those DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 8s I mentioned to you on the phone have arrived. They are not broken in. They were given some toe-in. They are the best speakers I have heard in my life bar none at any price.

I do not understand them. I do not understand their designer. I have no idea how these two dinky-looking little 34" two-ways with ordinary looking drivers and their little ports are doing what they are doing - but they are doing it. It is the stuff of greatness. Quads. Ls3/5a's. Magic at first listen. These stupid little things are the greatest speakers -- the most musical -- most non-speaker-like speakers I have heard. In a word, they're sick. Stuff sounds so live it is crazy. There is crazy flow and speed and imaging and - well, and and and and and!... I entreat and invite you to listen to a pair of these, these outer space things..."

Of course now David Kelson asked further advice, thereby seriously upping the ante that one of us will soon fall on his sword. But it goes to show that sometimes, what one fella hears and describes translates for another. Ken Micallef too was so impressed with DeVore's showing that he's signed up to do the Gibbon 3 monitor. Ken also secured the Audiopax Model 5 preamp assignment. What a lucky dog. But the biggest woof-woof must go to what clearly -- i.e. with plenty of clearance -- was the Best System at the Show, assembled in the largest room of the Hilton, the Concourse A in the basement, hosted while I visited by the lovely Elina Lamm and sporting the massive Siemens Klangfilm horns which compelled Jim 'Big Sexy' Saxon (every moonie is sure to acquire a ceremonial surname as time goes by) to stand next to one for size perspective.

With rarities such as CEC's discontinued top-line CD transport, a Microseiki table and all manner of legendary vintage audio assembled (the only current elements were the Lamm amps), this system was demonstrated courtesy of wealthy Niyawker David Karmeli of Damoka LLC who owns all of it and so happens to occupy one of the city's most famous apartments, the Ansonia. Completely at ease without requiring the cold shower of elevated levels to wake up, this system made everything else at the show sound not broken but Hifi-ish, certain rooms more so than others. Scary when you remember that here we're talking a 40+ year-old speaker design. How far have we really come? I shall not answer this taunting question for fear of putting myself outa business otherwise. But it does give one pause.