Saturday, April 23, 2016

Down Under Audio

I know what you're thinking. All this talk about Australia has to lead to something. Well, it does.

For the better part of the last year I've been planning to do an audio show in the US where I feature a lot of the high-end audio products I've been discussing here and in other places. While I worked with Brad Serhan, David Allen and Morris Swift on the final design of the Brigadiers Audio speakers, I spent the entire time bugging everyone to finalize production by June 2016. That, of course, is when the Newport Show takes place in Southern California.

As soon as we returned from the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas in early January, Colleen and I have been working overtime to bring together a consortium of manufacturers from both Australia and New Zealand to feature their gear at the show. And that was the beginning of "Down Under Audio," the theme of the two rooms we will promote at the show, which will be held on June 3-5.

The first choices were obviously PureAudio, Axis and REDGUM Audio--the three "Down Under" brands that we already represent at Colleen Cardas Imports. John Reilly (Axis) and Ian Robinson (REDGUM) quickly came on board--they manufacture from the same factory and their products obviously mate well together. From the swiftness of their actions, it became quite obvious to me that they've done this all before. So Room 1011 at the Newport Show will be an all Axis/REDGUM room. Of course we will be featuring the Axis VoiceBox S loudspeakers, but everything else will be REDGUM since this Australian company known for its high-current amplifiers also makes digital sources, cables and even equipment racks. John and Ian are all ready to go.

Of course Colleen and I wanted to spotlight PureAudio from New Zealand in the other room. We've represented the line since 2012; this brand has always been close to my heart and I really want people to know about it. The most exciting thing for me about including PureAudio is that I finally get to meet Gary Morrison in person. We've been Skyping for years, but I've never been able to shake his hand. I've met everyone else in person--John Reilly, Ian Robinson, Brad Serhan, David Allen, Morris Swift--but not Gary.

That, of course, brings up all the other brands we're featuring. But here's the deal--I'm going to have to hold up my promotion of those products for different reasons. One manufacturer is busy getting his legal doo-dads in order for trademarking and patenting and whatever else he needs to do, so mum's the word for a few more weeks. We're still working with another manufacturer on all the fine details, so I don't want to jeopardize this involvement because it will be awesome if it happens as planned.

One more manufacturer is involved, and I want to wait just a little bit to announce it because this is a really cool product that's been in production for a while. I've just recently been introduced to it, and it's the kind of product I love--great performance, solid engineering, amazingly low price. I want to give this company its own separate place in the sun.

But I'm not worried about announcing the US debut of the Brigadiers Audio BA2 bookshelf speakers. These are obviously the two-way monitor speakers that prompted me to go to Sydney and work with Brad, David and Morris. You know how I kept talking about the perfect 2-way speaker? In its final production form, I believe it's as close to perfect as it gets. This two-way stand-mounted monitor has evolved into something unusually impressive and satisfying for its size, and I left Sydney last September thinking it was absolutely amazing in every way.

We talked about bringing the BA1 floorstanders instead, but I think the excellence of the BA2s will act as sort of a lead-in for those speakers. I'll bring a pair of those into the US sometime this year, and I'll probably drag them around the country for a while and have people listen to them. Or maybe I'll keep them to myself. Mine! Mine! Mine!

So that's the scoop for now. Room 1011 will feature Axis and REDGUM Audio, and next door in Room 1012 we'll have PureAudio, Brigadiers Audio, Furutech and a few surprises to be announced. I'll keep everyone updated, and I hope to see everyone at the show!

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