Saturday, April 2, 2016

Whetstone Audio hosts Devore and Well Tempered

Some dealers have a right attitude, and some dealers have the right attitude. Whetstone Audio in eastside Austin has the best attitude I've experienced in any audio dealership.  Brian and his wife host regular events to get people in to hear gear in a fun atmosphere, and they provide beer too.  Today they gave the store over to anyone interested in hearing Well-Tempered and Devore Audio demo their tables and speakers. Door always open, beer and food on the patio, vinyl in constant spin-mode, I spent a couple of very enjoyable hours listening, browsing the vinyl racks and kicking back with the amiable folks there. There was plenty of music and zero sales BS, better than most audio shows in fact.

Noteworthy were the Devore Gibbons, a rather elegant floorstanding speaker with side-firing woofers and a perhaps up-there $15,000+ price tag. They did sound good enough however, looked like they would work in most normal homes, and had a detailed but bass-rich sonic quality that surprised many folks there. John himself told me they were selling as fast as they could make them, so clearly the business end is working out for them.  I'd love to try a pair.

The Well-Tempered table (was it the Amadeus?) was specially set up with a super Dynavector arm and Kaitora Rua cartridge, which would bump up the price of that table considerably. Amplification by Leben (I believe) with a Dynavector SUT, all on very elegant Box stand.   Lots of great music, including plenty of 'old shit' as Brian put it, that the rig handled without fuss but strangely, the highlight for me (other than a totally sentimental moment listening to Bowie's last album) was Susanne Vega -- man, I never liked that music but today, on this rig, the mood just caught us all up in a collective moment of intense resonance. I never heard that sound so good, and I asked myself why I had been so dismissive of this music in the past. Guess I just never heard it right.

Hard to say enough good things about this gathering. The crowd were relaxed, the space was cool, with a totally easy going vibe that runs counter to the snobbishness that often accompanies audio demos.  Turn up, tune in and experience audio gear in a way that is likely going to make you feel included. If only others would follow suit.  If you get to Austin and have a passing interest in audio gear, make a point of visiting Whetstone -- this is a space that makes me smile. 

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