My Russian neighbor’s blind grandfather, Vlad, has very discriminating ears—but only when I tell him what to listen for. If I don’t, he just bitches about my choice of music. And he refuses to listen to “weak” American orchestras.
Not surprisingly, Vlad worships Mikhail Glinka. “Herb! Play Russlan and Ludmilla!” When he asks for “Pyotr Ilyich,” I groan and quietly put the vodka back in the freezer.
A week ago, after an intense back-and-forth about Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Diaghilev, and the Ballets Russes, I persuaded Vlad to perform a blind comparison of two fairly similar push-pull tube amps: Rogue Audio’s Stereo 100 power amp ($3495), which uses KT120 tubes to output 100Wpc, and Cary Audio’s new SLI-100 integrated amplifier ($5995), which uses KT150 tubes to produce 100Wpc.… Read the full article