September 1, 2009
Keeping the Ultra in Ultra
When Ultra Audio was launched in October 2002 as a
brand spankin new SoundStage! Network site, the introductory
editorial by Doug Schneider stated: "Each month you will read about cutting-edge
products that are, more than likely, out of the ordinary -- to the extreme,
as Ultra Audios tag line goes." Were just a month shy of
celebrating Ultras seventh birthday, and I think weve done justice to
Dougs goal for the site.
Nowhere is extreme more evident than in this
months content. First, a biggie: Were publishing the first North American
review -- and perhaps the first review anywhere -- of Crystal Cables Arabesque
loudspeaker. This glass-enclosed work of audiophile art -- the vision of company co-owners
Gabi and Edwin van der Kley -- has been written about in show reports, talked about on
high-end-audio message boards, and photos of it have appeared on the Internet and in print
magazines. But these questions remain unanswered: What is it like to live with the
Arabesque? How does it sound? Our own Jason Thorpe, whose opinion is always wholly
original and cutting-edge, has been sitting in front of a pair of Arabesques for a couple
months now. His full review appears elsewhere in this issue. Its a must-read.
Crystal Cable's Arabesque in Jason Thorpe's listening
Another striking example of extreme appears this
month on Ultra Audio: The Great North American Loudspeaker Tour. If youre
reading this on September 1, the first installment of this six-part "live"
series is now available in "The Worlds
Best Audio System" section of Ultra Audio. Ill have already wound up
my first stop, Wilson Audio Specialties, in Provo, Utah, and, as you read this on
September 1, I should be at YG Acoustics, in the hills of Colorado. Other stops on my
Great North American Loudspeaker Tour itinerary are Verity Audio, Rockport Technologies,
and EgglestonWorks -- and a surprise destination youll have to check in for (yes,
its to cover another new extreme audio product).
In short, the review of the Crystal Cable Arabesque and The
Great North American Loudspeaker Tour are only the latest examples of what Ultra Audio
is all about. Lets face it: With a name like Ultra Audio, we have to think
outside the box, and following up The Worlds Best Audio System 2009 was no easy
task. That event was a raging good time, and we dont want to slide into the mundane.
Well leave that to some of the other audio publications. (Just joking!)
"Lifes too short for mundane audio." Anyone
want to make some T-shirts?
The SoundStage! Network staff has more ideas about what to
do next, not only on Ultra Audio but throughout the SoundStage! Network. Following
our usual show coverage this month (CEDIA Expo) and next (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest),
youll see some huge new initiatives from us in November and December. But Ill
save that for later.
OK, got to start packing. Now, wheres that darn
laptop case . . . ?
. . . Jeff Fritz