Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Random Photos from Down Under Audio at the Newport Show

Once again I'm trying to keep this blog infused with new content, and life again gets in the way. Down Under Audio at the Newport Show was a success--it was easily the best show ever for Colleen Cardas Imports both business-wise and sound-wise. Now I'm just incredibly busy dealing with the aftermath. Colleen Cardas Imports is now representing three of the Down Under Audio brands--Brigadiers Audio, Les Davis Audio and The Wand. The first two were no surprise to anyone, since I've been promoting the development of these brands over the last year. The third brand was a surprise since Simon Brown, designer of The Wand tonearm, seemed very happy with selling direct in the US. But everyone involved with this show became family, and Colleen Cardas Imports is finally distributing some amazing analog products--and that now includes The Wand.

The photo above was taken by David Robinson, publisher of Positive Feedback Online. I look tired in that photo because I was tired, but also happy I was to pull off this event. Two rooms, seven manufacturers and countless emails later...we did it.

First, the Axis/REDGUM room was a model of simplicity and ease. Ian Robinson and Lindy Gerber of REDGUM had the whole room set up and running in about two hours, and the sound was superb. (John Reilly of Axis had to cancel a week before the show since he was under the weather, but he's feeling much better now.) Room 1011 was an oasis for me--while the room was always full of attendees, Ian and Lindy always keep things organized and running smoothly. They've done a few audio shows before, and it showed.

The photo above was taken by Dave Clark at Positive Feedback Online. A running theme throughout this report will be that I was far too busy to take my own damned photos.

This is also from Dave Clark. It's the best photo I've seen of the entire system in Room 1012: Brigadiers Audio BA2 speakers, PureAudio Control preamplifier, PureAudio Duo 2 power amplifier, PureAudio Vinyl phono pre, MSB digital stack, Audio Union Helix 1 Turntable, two The Wand tonearms with a Hana cartridge on one and my Transfiguration Axia cartridge on the other, Furutech cabling and power management, Quadraspire racks and Rogoz speaker stands.

Close-up of Brad Serhan's Brigadiers Audio BA2 loudspeakers in New Guinea rosewood. Absolutely breathtaking in both sight and sound. I love these speakers. They did so well at the show.

I almost destroyed this beast. Evidently you're not supposed to pick it up once it's been set. I did exactly that because a) they set it on a really flimsy stand that would not hold it up throughout the show and b) I did not read the email that said don't pick it up once it's been set. I dodged a bullet, however, and didn't damage it. And I have to say it's a spectacular turntable that produced some of the most solid and realistic sound I've heard from analog.

Ian Robinson and Lindy Gerber. In Facebook I wrote:

"Thank you so much to Ian Robinson and Lindy Gerber of REDGUM Audio for being so wonderfully self-sufficient and professional throughout the show. They were a true pleasure to work with and constantly amusing me with their quirky and humorous music selections. Just absolutely incredible people and we're proud to represent them."

"Say hello to Simon Brown, the newest member of our family. He makes the modestly priced The Wand tonearm which is so brilliantly designed that it's right at home on a $40,000 turntable. He's the kind of fun, quiet man who makes me want to jump on a plane and fly to New Zealand because it must be an amazing place if he lives there."

"What can I say about Les Davis, a guy from halfway around the world who has so much in common with me musically? He came up with this simple little device that makes music so much more enjoyable and doesn't cost crazy audiophile prices. I'm very glad he burst through Brad's front door with a sheet of his material and a pair of scissors."

"Meeting Gary Morrison in person was a true pleasure, especially after four years of Skyping. Great sense of humor, nice and wry, and utterly approachable even though he is a genius. PureAudio equipment is the stuff of dreams, and it's so gratifying to hang out with the guy with all the talent."

"Brad Serhan, my brother, who is supremely talented and is far too humble to know it, with Morris Swift, the man who believes in him and keeps him focused and also has such an impressive range of knowledge about the industry. Thank you Brigadiers for fighting this battle with me. Also David Allen who's holding down the fort in Sydney."

I also wrote the following for John Reilly: "Thanks also to John Reilly of Axis VoiceBox, who was under the weather and could not travel to Newport. But in many ways he had the best show because dealers took all our pairs away! See you soon, mate...get well so we can eat more Malaysian food!"

And for my friends at Furutech: "Finally, much love to everyone at Furutech. Cables and power management often get lost behind the scenes, but Furutech has supported our hi-fi shows for years and we owe a big chunk of our success to their extraordinary products. Thanks to Graeme and Frank in Japan and Scot Markwell herein the US."

Les Davis Audio, now open for business!

Brad, Morris, Gary and I in the hallway outside the room, catching our breath.

Doing my part with the social marketing.

Colleen and I stayed up late one night and designed this. It turned out better than we expected!

Once the show was over, I took everyone on a tour of my homeland. Simon, Les, Gary and Brad hanging out with me on the Huntington Beach pier.

We were all coffee-deprived during the show. GOOD coffee, that is. That's Gary, Brad, Lindy and Ian enjoying some nice gourmet coffee made from a French press in some hoity-toity south county strip mall.

Brad and I after dumping off the show gear at Blackbird Audio. That's why I'm all sweaty.

Dan Muzquiz and Brad. Dan was a huge part of our success at Down Under Audio. He's the guy who stored and organized all the gear for us. That was vital to our plan since we moved to New York and I could no longer just stick everything in a truck and head on down.

This is how we left Dan's showroom. Sorry, Dan! We love ya buddy!

After the show, we took everyone to Riverside to visit Leif Swanson and Damon Von Schweikert of Von Schweikert/Endeavor Audio. Leif and Damon have actually been important allies for us in the high-end audio industry--we've shared a room with Leif in the past and he loves the sound of PureAudio amplification with Endeavor Audio loudspeakers. I'll return the favor by saying that the Von Schweikert/Constellation room at the Newport Show was absolutely incredible. Mind-blowing sound. Killer realism. Sound so good I may have wet my pants a little.

Damon (at far left) and Leif (behind the lens) were generous hosts and took us for a tour of their factory and then out to lunch. Having everyone get together like this underlines one thing--many of us in the industry actually support each other even though we may be competitors. We know we're all in this together, and that's how we make this industry grow.

Anyway, I may post some more photos in the coming weeks. Even after two weeks I'm still a bit exhausted. But Down Under Audio was definitely worth a year of my life. In fact, we're already talking about doing it again next year!

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