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"Here are shots of my new Boenicke Audio SLS2. My new favorite speaker. Aside from being accurate and doing speakerly things well, it's massive in the fun factor area. Tremendous fun. With the tubed output of the Transducer... well, I'm having a blast. The last photo is of Madeleine Peyroux. I did her concert and we ended up swilling beer and eating oysters 'til the wee hours with her band. She's as sweet as honey and as down-home as grandma's pie. Undoubtedly smitten." - Fred Crane

Fred is the proprietor of StereoDesk and the forthcoming AudioPrana, cyber-space and brick'n'mortar hifi establishments respectively.

The Boenicke Audio SLS2 is an all-out scale up of the SLS aka slim loudspeaker, taking the latter's artillery to four 10" horizontally opposing mid/woofers, two 4" front-firing widebanders, one rear-firing ambient tweeter and built-in Italian PowerSoft class D amplification with four preset xover/EQ settings and endless adjustments via PC feed.

Have kit, will travel. Like his favorite speakers, Fred thinks out of the box. So he does little shindigs in parallel to public concerts. He sets up shop on the premises so attendees so seduced may hear the night's performers on a quality hifi during intermission or pre and post the live performance. One recent Crane gig involved the Boston Baroque.

Aside from the big rig he'd also set up a personal headfi station with MacBook source, Wyred4Sound DAC2-DSDse and Mal Valve headphone amp, Burson Conductor sans lid on display and a number of HifiMan cans plugged in.

Here pictures tell the whole story. In particular the many smiles unsuspecting concertgoers had for being exposed to quality sound are priceless.

How much groovier does it get? We'll have Fred spell it out.

Fred again: "One of the truly fun elements of our biz is offering our services to various concert venues. We set up a few Singer sewing machine tables—look for British phone booths near New Year's—run some wire and badabing, badaboom, instant headphone stations. Folks get to listen to the performing act in a relatively high-end format. Watching their faces wake up and smile is a lot of fun. Those of us long immersed in the hobby forget how struck we were upon first hearing sound that possessed the full vitality and beauty of music. I also get a kick out of watching them listen to hi-rez on the Astell&Kern AK120 player into a fine pair of IEM. Then I take out the little credit-card micro SD holder from my wallet and tell them I have a near terabyte of music in my pocket. How much fun is that in a city? I can hop a bus or flight and still have music for every desire and situation. You can always buy underwear if you skip town. A terabyte of your favorite tunes is a bit more involved.

"We don't sell any hardware at these events. We do have business cards out should people show interest. Still, a certain number of people are impressed enough to solicit us. The one constant and perhaps predictable subset of the population that shows an interest is the musician. So far there have been sales to a member of every band we've worked. It's also a nice tip of the hat given that they buy with their ears, generally having no background in audiophilia whatsoever.

"Madeleine Peyroux's concert was fantastic. She had a string quartet in addition to her rhythm section. Her new creation The Blue Room is true to its name. Madeleine is like a cat playing with her ball of yarn; a ball of yarn called melancholia. The tender and terse get equal straight shots, lacking just enough sentimentality to make them believable. The band was tight and right in the pocket. After the gig we hung out in the green room. Green rooms can vary greatly in terms of comfort. My parents were musicians. I learned quite early to do what you have to, go with the flow and keep your skin as thick as need be. I went back to thank Sue Auclair, publicist and friend who helped me in the endeavor and to thank Fred Taylor who booked the gig. It was a lovely bonus that Madeleine was as soulful, beautiful and down-to-earth as her songs have us imagine her. And as providence divined, we're to marry in June. Ha. Made you look though. No, I fear things went no further than food and drink and a few laughs. Still, a superlative evening the likes of which won't leave my memory too soon. Or as Nat Cole put it, 'when I grow too old to dream, I'll have her to remember'.

"If you haven't heard her new album, give it a listen. Madeleine is nearing the midpoint of what will be a most entertaining career. The last chapter gives us some new shades. For gear we had the Coffman Labs G1-A full-function tube preamp with built-in headphone section. It was fed via a Metrum Octave MkII. We were sporting cans from HiFiMan (modified HE-500) and Mr. Speakers (the balanced Mad Dogs). Adjacent was the beautifully lit Burson Conductor whose demo units have a plexi top with LEDs inside to light up the glory that is Burson's discrete designs. On table deux were Astell &Kern AK120 and AK100 feeding a pair of HiFiMan RE-600 and RE-400 respectively. Smiles abounded." 

Fred for new chaplain of the church of hifi! Go forth and sin some more...
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