Twittering Machines

April 21st, 2010


Posted by michael lavorgna in Monkeyhaus, Music, Records

A special Monkeyhaus for a special group of audiophiles – the crew from Stereophile. If the Fan-The-Flames-Of-Subjectivist-Reviewers-Hate Club knew about this event they could have padlocked the door and thrown away the Monkeyhaus key causing the world of hi-fi as we know it to cease to exist. You’d think that a Monkeyhaus filled with audiophile professionals would see more talk of hi-fi but music was once again the star of the afternoon, evening and early morning. Yes, this Monkeyhaus also had the honor of being one of longest at nearly 12 hours.

One of the nice things about hanging around with people that know a lot about something is you get to learn things. One among many of the special-er moments at Saturday’s Monkeyhaus came courtesy of Jeff Wong and a surprised John Atkinson – Jeff showed up with and spun Bunk Dogger’s 1978 LP First Offense which features John Atkinson on bass as well as the smash hit “(You Fell In Love With) The Bassman”. Most excellent.

Magic Hat’s Vinyl Lager which gets my vote for the Official Seasonal Monkeyhaus Spring Brew made a very brief guest appearance. Yum.

No, that’s not a mini Garrard 401, that’s a giant sized direct-to-disk acetate, one of a box-full brought by Michael Fremer. Now that’s overhang!

Piano played from one of these 16 inchers through this system (see below) sounded as much like a piano playing as any I’ve ever heard. Big, solid and airy.

Another highlight were the soul-stirring shellacs brought by the only 78rpm-spinning DJ I know – Jonny The Gospel Halpern and his Magic Box who transformed the Monkeyhaus into a spiritual revival hall somewhere much farther south.

There was lots of great conversation over pizza, beer and cigars. Yes, Art Dudley is even more entertaining in person and Michael Fremer is a pleasure to talk to and can do a great commercial voice-over voice. Jeff Wong is as detailed and insightful as his drawings and Margery Buddof knows more about jazz and R&B than I’ve forgotten about everything else and then some. Jonathan played a very early Lavern Baker 78 and Margery knew who it was within seconds. She also knew what label it was on and what label Lavern Baker went to next.

Surprisingly there was no talk of soundstages, mid-range magic, thunderous bass or super-tweetered highs. No arguments over cables or how the different Shindo amplifiers we listened through did in fact sound different. I’d venture to say that Ken Shindo and John DeVore know more about making hi-fi gear that makes music than the entire gaggle of forum numbskulls combined.

I tend to think those obnoxious odious juvenile delinquent numbskull posters and commenters that frequent hi-fi forums and blogs behave like obnoxious odious juvenile delinquent numbskulls because they don’t know much outside of a minuscule-O-scopic comfort zone. Inside that tiny box they’re golden (and I think it feels quite vast to them – what with all that echo). Get ‘em outside of it and they whither. So they throw up a smoke screen of bluster in an attempt to divert your attention from that basic fact – they just don’t know much.

I’ve had the unfortunate displeasure of meeting some of these types at hi-fi-related events and their complete lack of love for music (or anything else?) makes for some awkward moments. If I were to generalize (why stop now?) I’d suggest these malcontents also happen to be the least curious group of people I’ve met. Stick them in a room that has a Monkeyhaus in it and they’re content to stand outside complaining endlessly about the state of hi-fi. Meanwhile the rest of us are inside enjoying the hell out of listening to music on the state of hi-fi. Curiosity may have killed the cat but enthusiasm for the discovery of music brought him back. Just ask Stephen.

Lessons learned:

  1. Take more pictures
  2. Never let the flame from your butane lighter touch the tip of your stogie (thanks Jeff)
  3. When in doubt go for the larger ring size (thanks Jonathan)
  4. John Alfred Paulson not only personally made $3.7 billion in one year betting that people were going to default big-time on the crappy doomed-to-fail subprime mortgages they were spoon fed by unscrupulous bankers who then re-packaged, bundled and re-sold that stinking pile of crap to investors,
  5. John Alfred Paulson also helped Goldman Sachs put together a special doomed-to-fail stinking pile of crap they called Abacus investments that Goldman sold to their clients (allegedly) knowing they would fail so they could make money coming and going – like sliding beads back ‘n forth on an Abacus. Their Abacus.
  6. Oh and John Alfred Paulson bet against one of the Abacus investments he put together for Goldman which netted him a nice round $1 billion in profit when it failed.
  7. Lesson – Never bet against the house unless you helped build a house of cards.
  8. Bigger lesson: Listening to music at the Monkeyhaus brings people together and makes them feel good.

Attendees: John Atkinson, Art Dudley, Michael Fremer, Stephen Mejias, Jeff Wong, Margery Buddof, Steve Guttenberg, Anthony Abate, Jonathan Halpern, and Monkeyhaus master John DeVore.

Systems: first up – Orangutan prototypes, Shindo Lafon GM70, Shindo Masseto/Aurieges Phono, Garrard 401 w/custom Monkeyhaus plinth, EMT 997 tonearm, Auditorium 23 Hommage Stepup, Shindo SPU A

Second System: Silverback Reference, Shindo Haut Brion, Shindo Vosne-Romanee/ Aurieges Phono, Garrard 401 w/custom Monkeyhaus plinth, EMT 997 tonearm, EMT OFD 65i (for 78s)

5 Responses to ' Monkeyhaus-O-phile '

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  1. Jonathan said,

    on April 26th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Great post, thanks. Now if we can get Paulson to focus his evil energy on ridding the world of complaining audiophiles… we’d be all set.

  2. john devore said,

    on April 27th, 2010 at 10:22 pm


    And you’re too kind.

    And “Jonny The Gospel Halpern” is fucking gold.

    And how come the second and third images aren’t loading for me?

  3. john devore said,

    on April 27th, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    S’funny, I didn’t see this post for awhile ’cause I thought it was the one from a couple weeks back. Duh.

  4. on April 28th, 2010 at 6:12 am

    The image issue was a hangover from the cutover. Should be all set now.

  5. john devore said,

    on April 28th, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Ahh, nice. Thanks again.

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