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Stereophile Hi-Fi'98 Exhibit

    TRADE  SHOWS
HI-FI  '98
CES  1999
CES  2000
CES  2001
CES  2002
CES  2003
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Jonathan Skull, Senior Contributing Editor
Stereophile Magazine, Sept. 1998:

" 'Rock Solid Music' by Granite Audio pursued a different vision of audio that fits more easily into the home.  Their tubed electronics and speakers are encased in an attractive artificial granite that's said to offer a high degree of damping.  Six stock colors are available; customized hues can be made to order.  Vishay, Alps, Holco, Sprague, and other quality parts are used throughout."

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GRANITE AUDIO SYSTEMS

Larry Greenhill, Contributing Editor
Stereophile Magazine, Sept. 1998

"I thought about the other surprises at Hi-Fi '98.  Next to my hotel room - and quite tolerant of my very loud snoring - were the folks from Granite Audio.  Dragging my sore bones back from a full day of reporting, I was drawn to their room by the stunningly realistic sound of Eric Clapton's voice.  Playing at the time were Granite's Model 280 three-way dynamic loudspeaker driven by two Teslovak KT88s in Granite's Model 860 30W triode/60W pentode tube amplifier.  The 150-lb speaker (Model #280) features a 10" bass driver, a 5" midrange, and a 1" tweeter.  Listening to other vocalists - Paul Simon and Doug MacLeod - I was even more impressed by these loudspeakers' ability to throw a realistic sonic image of a solo vocalist.  Despite the company's 20 years in business of supplying the pro market, Granite is just now seeking retail dealers."

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A LOOK AT HI-FI '98 FROM INSIDE THE FISHBOWL
By Don Hoglund, President Granite Audio
( First published in Stereophile Letters-to-the-Editor Sept. 1998. )


On the last day of the show I had my most memorable and moving experience with a visitor.  We were all quite tired, mentally fried, and ready for the show to end early.  At this point a man about 70 years old came in.  He politely sat on the table in the back and patiently waited to occupy a seat without disturbing others.  He had a curious box hung around his neck just below his chin.  It caught my attention because it was hung so high up and by the way he clutched it as if it were full to the brim of a priceless liquid.

In between songs he asked in a difficult German accent if I would play a request.  He was very polite and suggested that the song was quite esoteric and might not be to my liking.  He prepared us both for the possibility that I might turn it off early.  He took a seat and I played the song.  It was unusual and I did like it.  I offered to play more.  He gingerly fingered his selections hung just below his eyes.  Each time he made excuses for his esoteric choices and agonized over which to play.  With each excuse he revealed a little of himself and his selection torment increased.  Why, I thought?

His cherished music was esoteric to say the least.  He released the CDs one at a time after retrieving the previous one. They were made from 1920s and 1930s 78 rpm records.  This was before tape recording, so the original source recordings were live-to-disc and live-to-cylinder.  We're talking about the days before tape hiss was invented.  Some were acoustic recordings made without amplifiers or even electric motors.  Power line filters? -- What's a power line?  AC hum? -- Who's he, can't he sing?  Few of the lyrics were in English.  Several CDs were made by playing the original disc or cylinder on antique wind-up Edison machines with a modern microphone placed in front of the antique horn.  As an antique radio collector who's familiar with these early music machines, it was fascinating to me to effectively hear 80 year old Edison cylinders played through a modern $30,000.00 system.  The "sound" of these machines is recognizable and clearly came through on the CDs.

While listening to his unique music I pieced together his story from his puzzling behavior and brief revelations.  He had a passionate love for the human voice and a hearing impairment that blocked out most other sounds.  Where he lived he was unable to play his modest stereo loud enough to hear the beautiful vocals.  His music was so esoteric that he'd worn out his welcome at all the LA stereo stores.  His only chance to enjoy his music was to find new benefactors.  Most of the HI-FI '98 exhibitors would tolerate but one cut of his room-clearing selections.  He was tormented in his play list because as the choices got more esoteric he was more likely to get kicked out, but also enjoyed them more because he got to hear them less.  He was torn between what he really wanted to hear most and what he thought I would tolerate.  I was moved by his love of the music and found myself thoroughly enjoying it.

After an hour and a half he was satisfied and took his enjoyable music on down the hall to places unknown.  But, something had happened to us back in the room.  We felt relaxed and refreshed.  I felt like I'd had a hot shower, massage, and a good meal.  Two hours earlier we were hot, hungry, miserable, and exhausted.  This rejuvenation carried us through the rest of the show and the exhausting chore of breaking down the display and re-crating a ton of granite.  What happened?  His music had changed us.  We were different for having listened to it.  That little box around his neck needed to be clutched, as it was indeed full of a priceless thing,  MUSIC !!!

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