Another fantastic event with our partners in Delaware for Record Store Day! Overture Ultimate Home Electronics demonstrated a full range of equipment setups from the entry level VPI Cliffwood all the way up to the flagship VPI Titan! They also had keynote speakers besides VPI from Sutherland Audio, Van Den Hul, and more!
The first room was fully loaded with our Titan turntable, matched with the top of the line Van Den Hul cartridge, Audio Research Electronics, and Magico Speakers. As with the previous event, is was a great chance to properly hear Magico speakers with a compatible system. Very musical and large sounding, brass instruments were in the room! One listener was surprised with the impact of the lows as we played some Sonny Rollins.
Further into their store Overture demonstrated a modest but impressive room using the VPI Prime Scout with McIntosh Labs Integrated and Soundsmith Carmen cartridge. Pictured below is Overture Technician extraordinaire Robert Bobo cueing up a new records. The overall system would get the best bang for the buck award!
What was really interesting and exciting for me was having a chance to learn more and listen with Ron Sutherland owner of Sutherland Audio. He demonstrated his new "Loco" phono stage and explained his engineering methodology and why it is such a crazy idea! The phono floats the ground, does not have adjustments, and requires XLR as well as other nuisances I'll leave to Ron to explain.
Hence the name "Loco" because you have to do some work to have the proper equipment and cartridge pairing, but it is truly worth it! Clean and detailed, this was an extrtemly enjoyable room to listen to. Reach out to Ron to learn more because this was one of the rare moments were a phono stage has an exciting story that makes sense in the end.
Also in the same room was our VPI Avenger with both a standard Reference arm using a Vanden Hul Calibri and on the other base a VPI Fatboy arm with Lyra Cartridge.
The rest of the system consisted of Magneplaners and McIntosh Amplification.
Last but certainly not least was one of the largest surprise, the VPI Cliffwood turntable using the Cliffwood phono. The Cliffwood phono was an accessory we developed from the Player Turntable phono to provide a quick and easy MM phono solution. We are surprised every time we hear it and forget how good these two little guys are together! Running through the McIntosh Integrated, this system reminded us that the Cliffwood team is a force to be reckoned with!
This year is the first time ever VPI will be presenting awards to the dealership for their dedication and achievements as a VPI dealer. We were very proud to give Overture their award as a "Gold Dealer" in person at the event! Just look at those two handsome devils!
It is amazing how much has changed for the better at Overture! This is our second event with them and we are already looking forward to the next. If you haven't made it over to there before now is a great time to swing by and give some equipment a listen, especially that Titan! See you all at the next event at overture!
While cruising through the Market Place to hunt for records at Axpona we came across some unexpected familiar faces! The good folks at Mytek were showing their Brooklyn DAC+ paired with our Cliffwood table.
The Market Place at Axpona was filled with turntables on static display. It was great seeing Mytek having an active display and encouraging people to enjoy the music. Overall The Brooklyn DAC+ on top of its digital components also has a built in phono stage which has paired very nicely with VPI products. Brooklyn and Cliffwood have come together again for the love of music.
This was a real treat for me! Forget about the system and Axpona for a second, I had a chance to meet A.J. Van Den Hul! We had emails and interactions but always missed each other at shows for the past 20 years. I grew up listening to Van Den Hul on my dad's older VPI models being identified as the gold standard for cartridges. When I was a child my mom gave me a Van Den Hul Frog cartridge box with a toy frog to play with. At the New York show we used the Van Den Hul Frog on a TNT but someone stole the box with my toy. Years later I figured out they were not interested in my toy and were most likely disappointed in their heist!
Full of energy, knowledge, and drive to set-up the system AJ is not your typical 80 year old. Using an Avenger Reference, It was a pleasure working with him on the cartridge set-up to dial the system and witnessing his finesse around a tonearm. AJ was also not shy about getting down and handling the heavy lifting for the system set-up!
A quick listen revealed an extremely detailed yet exciting system. I didn't have as much time to listen with them as I would have liked but if I wasn't bouncing between rooms I could have very happily stayed there the whole show.
Mounted on a JMW 12-3D Reference arm with dual pivot adapter, the tonearm - cartridge synergy was dead on! I'm intimately familiar with the Colibri Stradivarius since I use the same cartridge and arm in 10" form on my Prime Signature at home.
The rest of the system included Convergent Audio Technology, Acoustic Arts, Essential Sound Products, Finest Fidelity, Galen Carol Audio, MusicCord, The Essence, Vermeer. This is a system I hope to hear again at future shows!
We can thank Ofra Gershman from Gershman Acoustics for getting me on a plane to Chicago this year. With the recent addition to my family I was on the fence about Axpona this year not wanting to miss any milestone daddy moments. Receiving a call from Ofra and the idea of creating music with the Gershmans and long time friends at Valve Amplification Company / VAC and Nordost Cable made me think twice about Axpona 2018.
The system was featuring the top echelon of the Gershman, VAC, and Nordost product-line. With their stunning Posh speakers at the forefront of the system, nothing less than a VPI Titan seemed appropriate for this match up. The timing couldn't have been better since we recently started shipping our "Fatboy" Tonearm and a lot of people have been anxious for a live demonstration.
Another sign the planets were all in alignment, we don't usually have a Titan sitting around but one was about to ship for review and was literally sitting in-front of me! We snatched up the Titan, (sorry Dave Robinson! over at Positive Feedback) and with a little help from our new dealer, the Audio Surgeon, the Titan made its way out to Chicago for some deep dish and music!
Besides the hefty weight of everyone's products, installation was quick and relatively painless! Eli from Gershman and Kevin from VAC had a chance to flex their muscles and help me get the Titan assembled. We didn't realize how much the Posh speakers and Titan ascetically matched until they were next to each-other. They are truly a perfect visual (and musical) match!
Some fine adjustment and dialing in we had our Audio-Technica ART1000 Direct Power Cartridge ready to spin on the Titan. In the past I found the ART to be a bit fussy with the through holes, but this installation was extremely easy and fast to dial in. The ART and Fatboy Gimbal was a fantastic match both in set-up and sound being beyond rewarding for the music.
Kevin Hayes, owner and operator of VAC configured his electronics with the appropriate settings for the Audio Technical ART 1000. Having multiple inputs on the VAC phono, it is a shame we didn't have a second arm-board! Nothing like the warmth of tubes to make up for cold Chicago weather.
Fired up with music all respective manufacturers were able to subtly dial in each components to accommodate the room and achieve the sound signature we were lookign for. I was very impressed with how versatile the Posh speakers are and how much you can adjust them for the room. One visitor thought that Gershman and VPI coordinated on the designs of our products because of how well the industrial design matched with each-other, I guess great minds think a like!
At first blush we were worried about the base not having enough dynamics, I only mention this because you should always let their system run before being hyper critical! Roughly 30-45 minutes all components started to come alive and the expected punch and dynamics fell right into place. We spun the usual musical suspects to make sure we were satisfied. David Brubeck was first up with the layering of instrumentals and wide sound stage. Topped of with a 45 test pressing of Peter, Paul, and Marry. The imaging was dead on and Marry's voice was a natural and detailed as can be.
While we are all in this industry for the music, it is the people that really make it great! Having a chance to finally spend some real time and get to know the Gershmans was the highlight for me about this year's 2018 Axpona! Looking forward to playing more music with this top notch team and very happy I received that call from Ofra that twisted my arm to come out to Chicago this year!
What is that you say? You are looking for an exciting event and place to spend your Record Store Day? Than you have found the right spot! Overture Ultimate Home Electronics is opening up their store for a full on turntable and audio equipment experience. They even had customer record mats made that you can only get at this event!
Saturday April 21 from 11 AM to 4:30 PM
2423 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware 19803
Come on out to enjoy some quality music, food, and most of all the people!
From Overture's Facebook Page Event:
"Thanks to the overwhelming success of our first turntable show this past Fall, we decided on a repeat performance. Overture invites you to rediscover the joys of LP listening on our complete lineup of turntables, including Basis, Clearaudio, McIntosh, Pro-Ject, Rega, and VPI. Meet representatives from Audio Desk Systeme, McIntosh, Pro-Ject, Sutherland Engineering, van den Hul, and VPI. Enter Raffle drawings for a turntable, a phono cartridge, LP's, and special Overture T-shirts designed for the day."
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