We at Tri-Art are beside ourselves with joy in reading the words of Kamarr Richée, who felt he had to write about his experience listening to Herbie Hancock’s Future Shock on the Pebbles Turntable through Audeze LCD-2 Headphones at CES 2015.
We’ve been granted permission to share his ‘ode’ to music with our fans. Please read on!
Lost in Sound, by Kamarr Richée
“there are moments in life that have been far beyond my limited, though certainly expansive, vocabulary. sitting in downtown Guadalajara, staring at the full moon and contemplating the gravity of the birth of my firstborn is one of them. the stirring in my soul when i sneak a view of the side of my wife’s head as she doses in the passenger seat while i drive on the freeway. that moment when the sun first peeks around the corner of the rooftops after a tedious, gloomy morning with work and car troubles all along the way, suddenly melting the frost which was creeping along the edges of my heart. today I felt a similar such moment, and it will leave a point in my mind for years to come. the moment? listening to Herbie Hancock’s Future Shock on a superbly looked after vinyl, using literally the world’s best headphones, on a meticulously manufactured, pulley-operated, mostly wooden turntable in the middle of CES, possibly the only place in the world right now where one could actually truly experience a feeling of future shock.
i was first drawn in to the booth by a gentleman representing Audeze, the proud purveyors of the aforementioned headphones. my friend and i had already grown jaded to the claims of “improved sound quality” that almost every headphone company touts at the show. if you take their word for it everybody has the best sound, everybody has won every award, everyone is groundbreaking; more often, though, everyone is just proving what any teenager or rock guitarist could tell you: if you turn up the volume, you can hear more sound. Audeze was different, as they were the first booth adequately equipped to back up their claims. see, it really doesn’t matter so much what headphones or speakers you use if your listening to compressed formats like the ubiquitous mp3. there were booths that claimed they could “reclaim” the lost audio through some special software magic, but that’s a pipedream at best, maybe even a bold-faced lie. no, you need quality to make quality, and Audeze was actually using FLAC, what is referred to as a lossless audio format, to substantiate its claims. i was impressed. we exchanged business cards, and talked about getting in touch in the future, with us both coming from Orange County and all. i was working my way out of the booth, picking up my free trial code for TIDAL, the lossless answer to the more pedestrian offerings of other streaming services, when i saw the turntable setup by Tri-Art Audio. the modern use of bamboo has resulted in an array of elegant takes on otherwise tried designs, but Tri-Art’s purists will tell you that like most things in the Hi-Fi world, this has everything to do with the sound. i was invited to choose my own album to listen to, but after thumbing through, could only think of one name i wanted to hear but had not seen: Herbie Hancock. i had, in my enthusiasm, flipped right by him, and was invited to what would be the highlight of my day. the set-up in its entirety is not cheap; i’m talking more than $4,000, but if you have the money, and actually care about what you put in your ears, it is more than worth it.
what i experienced was the aural equivalent to what is readily pursued in many other aspects of life today. we shop organic to prevent exposing our families to unnecessary chemicals and genetic manipulation. we look at the social practices and beliefs of a company before buying a pair of jeans. when i was a kid, organic living was a quirk; so maybe soon we will all appreciate the values of the audiophile who is careful about what quality of sound they allow into the ears, hearts, and minds of themselves and their loved ones. i can tell you this much: my kids, all the way down to the 3 month-old daughter, all feel the difference in their souls twixt vinyl and digital, and in those blissful minutes at the booth in South Hall, i was lost in sound.”