The very best part of attending an audio show in NYC? Canvassing the city's record stores. On that count, HE2005 was a huge success for Herr Ebaen. Besides grabbing a stack at Towers in the village and a few more elsewhere, Marja & Henk gifted me with seven EAC'd copies of stuff they felt I had to hear. So far, they've never been wrong once. But it got better still. I ran into recording maestro Kavi Alexander of WaterLily Acoustics. A snafu with his CD burning plant had delayed production of his three newest classical releases in time for the show. Regardless, he'd brought a CDR of the master of Mahler's Symphony No. 5 performed by Russia's premier orchestra, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic under the baton of Yuri Termirkanov.

Kavi has another already mastered 40 albums in the can, release of which is merely contingent on securing the necessary financing. I shall soon visit Kavi in Santa Barbara to listen to his unreleased treasures and prepare the makings of 6moons' second album as a compilation of certain of these tracks. Once the present triptych of Russian classical recordings goes public -- including Alexander Dmitriev conducting the St. Petersburg Academic Symphony with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 and then with Skryabin's "Divine Poem" Symphony No. 3 and Yevgeny Svetlanov's C-minor Piano Concerto, with
Vladimir Ovchinnikov as soloist -- expect a group review in these pages. Based on sampling Mahler's 5th in the Marten Design/Brinkmann Audio room, lovers of classical music are in for a treat of the first order. Recording quality matches the stupendous performances of two Russian orchestras never before captured from an audiophile perspective.

The second-best part of attending HE2005? Spending time with fellow moonificences Marja & Henk, Jules Coleman, Paul Candy, Ken Micallef, Kari Nevalainen, Michael Lavorgna, Chip Stern and Steve Marsh, meeting other friends and making new ones. Finally exchanging a few words with my pen hero Art Dudley during the press junket for Moscode's new amplifier was one of the highlights in that regard. Speaking of highlights, two exhibits deserve special mention for providing musical entertainment and education as part -- or main stain -- of their efforts. The first one of these was David Karmeli's Damoka LLC room in which he and Vladimir Lamm of Lamm Industries played a pair of Vitavox corner horns such as were used during the hay days of Western Electric movie-house amplifiers in auditoriums for 500 - 600 viewers. Seeing that neither the vintage pair of speakers nor the Thorens Reference turntable are available for purchase (well, perhaps the show samples were), this exhibit epitomized the spirit of education which dealers of old used to provide.

Vladimir [above insert] mused over how HighEnd audio has pursued a dead end for decades. The living proof thereof was the utterly effortless and natural presentation of this exhibit. It played at subdued and very civilized levels yet held one's attention. Audio from the days of WE, Siemens and Altec-Lansing arguably did certain -- very vital -- things far better than most of today's audio. Those writing off such statements as rose-colored reminiscences of a past that wasn't nearly as good as memories would have it only had to step into this sizeable room to be taught an important lesson: Our predecessors half a century ago knew what mattered. If they perhaps didn't capture all the details and suffered certain colorations in turn, they honed in on the musical essence which we all too often miss today.

Elina Lamm [left] was present as well to greet visitors, provide hand-outs and answer questions while David Karmeli announced the imminent opening of a new large show room in New York. If the Grand Opening's date doesn't wreck havoc with my schedule, I shall accept Karmeli's invitation to attend and report on it. Anyone with so keen a focus on music (rather than HiFi) as was clearly demonstrated here deserves all the publicity available. We shall do our best to contribute.

Bösendorfer's Manhattan showroom of Lexington Avenue's Design Center Bldg. meanwhile combined live performances with playback via Art Audio electronics and their own 'sound panel resonator' loudspeakers.
The dark-blue Bösendofer piano was something out of Liberace except this was all elegance and zero glitz. The large one with the gold-leaf embellishments and extra octave of bass strings not only looked but sounded like the King of Pianos, with NYC Bösendofer principal Lisa Feldman flipping pages for Art Audio's Joe Fratus during a staged photo op courtesy of the moons [below]. Designer Hans Deutsch was discovered by Herbert von Karajan with his older pre-Bösendorfer models and for HE 2005 presented his VC 7 flagship [$17 - $25K] and the smaller VC 2 [$12 - $19K] and VC 1 [$9 - $13K] models. They're all available in Ebony satin or high-polish lacquer, Birds Eye Maple, Burl Birch, Burl Walnut, Maple and Pomele (the higher prices per model pair designate veneer finishes).

All Bösendorfer speakers sport steel baskets, air-gap focused magnets, Carbon fiber/Alaskan hemp diaphragms, UV-resistant Styrofoam suspensions and silk-fiber tweeters while the cabinet walls sports the same high-density specially coated wood used for piano lids. The side-firing 130mm mid/woofers are coupled to an internal horn-shaped resonator tube while the tension-adjustable external sound boards act as quasi passive radiators though the literature differentiates them from the latter with an "increase in impulse dynamics and decrease in after-vibrations due to the acoustic-pneumatic driver coupling". A wall-mounted model [$6,500 - $9,000/pr] and a center channel [$5,500 - $7,000/pr] round out the line.

Art Audio premiered their 60-watt Adagio push-pull T-100 equipped monos with the optional illuminated tube chimneys while David Gill of subsidiary brand Gill Audio Designs [below] introduced the latest remote-controlled, numerical read-out Alana valve preamp.