It was another audio event at the famed Capitol Studios in LA, but hanging out in studio A in the heart of Hollywood with high profile producers and audiophiles on a Friday night IS my idea of an evening well spent. This time around the big studio room was hosted by the Los Angeles hifi show “T.H.E. Show” (The Home Entertainment Show) and featured a 5 person panel of talent that included 3 producer/mixer/engineers and two loudspeakers manufacturers.
Aside from social niceties and an open bar, attendees were treated to a hour-long panel that spanned the nuances of both the production and reproduction sides of the audiophile coin. From the pro side there was Al Schmitt (20+ Grammys, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan) Rafa Sardina (12x Grammys, Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga, Elvis Costello, MJ) and Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Box Scaggs). Representing transducer design was Bill Dudleston of Legacy audio and Brad Lunde of TransAudio Group and Lone Mountain Audio.
Pre show festivities were tended by no other than THE showrunner Maurice Jung straddled by a pair of Legacy Valor loudspeakers. There were a lot of bodies in the well-attended event, but it’s always a treat to hear the new mighty flagship from the Springfield, IL manufacturer.
Also sharing the attention span of attendees was a pair of ATC floor standers lined along the side wall from the pro-leaning UK company (imported via Lone Mountain Audio) paired to a Technics 1200 turntable and Brinkmann Edison Phono from local dealer Sunny Components.
Maurice kicked off the main event dubbed “X Marks The Spot” back in the main chamber of studio A, which was packed deep with both a fair amount of local audiophiles and production folk alike. It’s easy to pick out the differences in style and dress for the most part, but interests are aligned more than hard core audiophilia might lead you to believe. The panel provided additional light to this connection though a series of component and loudspeaker questions followed up by more abstract sound ideals, dealing with artistic visions and the realities of capturing acoustic waves. A good chuckle was drawn from yours truly when one panelist responded to a “first hifi component” question with the classic Fisher-Price turntable…with a custom cartridge. While I’m sure the joke was lost on most of the 20 and 30-something attendees, that particular piece does hold a spot near and dear to this reviewer’s heart – even if the tonearm was originally constructed of bright orange plastic.
Our time at Capitol Studios concluded with a book signing by Al Schmitt and a quick step-and-repeat accompanied by event organizer Emiko Carlin (THE Show Director of Marketing). Overall, it was an interesting alternative to the usual promotion from a hifi audio show. Perhaps bringing the entire idea of enjoying high end products a little further away from the cyclical spiral that we sometimes as audiophiles catch ourselves in, and back to connecting to music through gear, the art of performance and well crafted production.