Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blackbird Audio in San Diego

I've recently made Facebook friends with Dan Muzquiz, the proprietor of Blackbird Audio/Gallery in San Diego. A mutual friend in the audio world told me that Dan is one of the truly great dealers and gentlemen in the audio world (his reaction to this compliment was it may have been a "gotcha," but I know better), and after checking out the website to his store, I know I have to schedule a visit on my next trip to Southern California. Dan carries some of the more unique and compelling hi-fi brands such as Cardas cables (the best in the world, in my humble opinion), Rega (of course), Wilson Benesch (who made my favorite TT in the world, the original Act ONE) and many others.

He carries two very intriguing brands in particular. The first brand is The Funk Firm, which makes some of the weirdest, coolest-looking turntables in the world. The Funk Firm was started by Arthur Khoubesserian, who was responsible for the stellar Pink Triangle turntables from England. As you can see in the picture below, the Funk Firm 'tables are beyond cool. And they're not terribly expensive, either (about $2500, depending on options). Plus, I've heard them on a number of occasions, and there's some substance behind all that style. These 'tables really need to be seen--and heard--to be believed.

In addition, The Funk Firm is getting ready to release a tonearm in the US that has been making waves in Europe. It's a drop-in replacement for Rega arms, and it's been challenging some of the super-expensive arms from the likes of SME, etc.

Finally, Dan carries the unique Trenner & Friedl loudspeakers from Austria. I've been interested in this brand for a long time because of the stunning look of their speakers. I'm especially taken with their tiny ART monitors. These speakers are very small and precious (not precious as in cute, but precious as in dear...and not dear as in darling, but dear as in "don't even breath on my expensive speakers").

I've heard incredible things about the ARTs, that they truly do sound huge for their size. You'll notice that the speakers are exceptionally deep and ported on the rear. This allows these tiny speakers to dip down to about 44 Hz, which is around the same bass performance as many medium-sized floorstanders. Their dimensions are influenced by the Golden Ratio, which explains why they are internally wired by Cardas, another company that believes in using the Golden Ratio in their engineering.

If you'd like to know more about Blackbird Audio/Gallery, check out their website at http://www.blackbirdaudio.com/.


  1. Marc thank you for your kind words about Cardas cables and for writing about Blackbird Audio. If someone is looking for one of the true "good guys" in the industry Dan is a Gem.

    Colleen Cardas
    Cardas Audio

  2. Marc,

    Thank you for the great article about Blackbird Audio/Gallery and some of the lines I carry.
    I feel very fortunate to have these brands to offer to my friends here in Southern California and am double lucky that in doing so, I'm able to work with such great people as Colleen Cardas, Bob Clarke - who distributes Trenner & Friedl (and more), and over a very long distance, Arthur Khoubesserain of The Funk Firm and the kind folks at Wilson Benesch.

    I've enjoyed our comments back and forth through facebook and look forward to any opportunity to have you over for a visit!

    Best regards,

    Dan Muzquiz
    Blackbird Audio/Gallery

  3. No problem, Dan! Like I said, you sell some extremely interesting products...ones that deserve more exposure in the US. I'd love to stop by on my next trip to SoCal and hear the ARTs and much more!

  4. One of the best guys in business & like Marc i also got to know Dan via Colleen. And its been an honor to share a word with him off n on.

    With experience & years behind him in Audio Industry, Dan exudes brilliance in knowing the technology, products, brands & even owners!

    Here is a man who can be trusted eyes closed. (Ladies may want to avoid that, for he is a charmer ;) )

    For this time ..to Dan!

  5. Marc,

    Thank you for your article about Dan Muzquiz and Blackbird Audio. Dan has been my audio dealer for more than 6 years. Dan carries great audio equipment but his service goes one step beyond. Dan matches components to get the very best performance at a given price point. This process is extremely important and has clearly audible results in his systems.

    Very respectfully,

    Steve Boddy

  6. Thanks for your input, Steve and Windowshopper!