The RS10 is a high-end floorstanding speaker, at a price that is still very reasonable. It seems to be, according to preliminary information we have gleaned, a three-way or four-way model loudspeaker. The cabinet is relatively deep and narrow. At the top of the facade of a polished-brushed metal baffle is installed a funny medium diaphragm transducer plane which should be about 10 cm in diameter, and overlooking an impregnated textile dome 19 mm in diameter. On the side are three openings, masked by a countersunk black cloth cover. According to the explanations given to us by officials of the company that distributes GT Audio Rega in France, two major speakers (13 and 21 cm in diameter) and an outlet vent. The first speaker works in close support while the latter would benefit from an acoustic line leading through the vent located next door. In addition, two speakers would work in series. Everybody (woofer speakers but also vent) with a different resonaant frequency, this would have a more linear response in the lower register.The French page also gave a rave on the sound quality: "It was one of the best surprises of the 2011 session of the High Fidelity Lounge." Also spied in the equipment rack below the ISIS model CD player and OSIRIS power amplifier was a new version of the IOS preamplifier. So conventional logic would seem to follow Rega will round out the reference components series with a new top line turntable, perhaps the long-rumored, carbon and x-braced P10? Hmmm....no word on pricing or availability yet. The full, untranslated article is here...
Saturday, November 19, 2011
On-TopAudio.fr recently posted spy pics of two new Rega reference-series items from the Paris High Fidelity audio show. First up was the RS10 speaker, which is filling the void at the top of the Rega product line left by the discontinuation of the R9 speakers in 2009. Malheureusement, my French isn't as sharp as it once was, but here is a rough translation of the article's findings:
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Never content to rest on accolades and plaudits, KEF recently announced the new R series line, fusing the best technology of the Blade design with the beauty and affordability of the R series. The result, speaker performance at a price point everyone can appreciate.
More coming soon...
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Our good friends at Analogue Productions have pulled the coup of the century (thus far) with the announcement of a forthcoming SACD pressing of the Pink Floyd classic Wish You Were Here, scheduled for release in November. And of course, like the rest of the APO SACD catalog, we WILL have it here at Puretone Audio!
Wish You Were Here is a multitrack masterpiece. Now, to have it mixed for 5.1 surround sound from the original analog master tapes by Pink Floyd's Producer/Engineer James Guthrie is, well, pretty damn exciting.
Is this the biggest SACD reissue in the history of the format? Time will tell, but don't bet against it.
Wish You Were Here(?) Now you can be. Total lifelike recreation of a chart-topping, pioneering, way-ahead-of-its-time blockbuster.
You talk about a title made for multichannel SACD! It's as if they knew 35 years ago that this format would be available. Finally, technology caught up with Pink Floyd. And oh how lucky we all are to still be around to hear this legendary studio recording in its full potential.
Pink Floyd chose Acoustic Sounds and Analogue Productions to handle the exclusive production and distribution of this monumental SACD and we are honored and thrilled to be a part of EMI's huge Why Pink Floyd...? campaign that includes remastered CDs, Blue-rays, DVDs, LPs, memorabilia box sets and this, the first-ever multichannel presentation of Wish You Were Here.
On its release in 1975 Wish You Were Here topped the album charts in both the UK and the U.S. Reflecting the band's thoughts of the time on the music business and exploring themes of absence, Wish You Were Here contains the classic cut "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," a tribute to founding band member Syd Barrett.
In fact, Barrett, who'd long been absent from the lives of Pink Floyd's band members, stopped by the Wish You Were Here recording sessions at London's Abbey Road Studios unannounced. The reunion - with Barrett reportedly appearing in poor mental condition - is said to have been an emotionally stirring event for the band, and apparently that encounter would be the last any of the band members were ever to see of Barrett, who died in 2006.
As they did with their previous release, Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd made great use of studio effects for this, their ninth album overall. The record's winding soundscapes are perfect for the canvas of multichannel SACD. Spacious and airy, the record breathes like a living being.
Wish You Were Here was selected by Rolling Stone as No. 209 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". And that's before they heard it like this!
5.1 surround mix by James Guthrie
Assistant engineer Joel Plante
Mastered by James Guthrie and Joel Plante
Mixed and mastered at das boot recording
DSD authoring for SACD by Gus Skinas
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Not ever content to rest on the considerable acclaim they have earned in the audio industry, the fine blokes at Rega Research have introduced the latest evolution of the popular Brio amplifier series.
The Brio-R is smaller in stature than its predecessor but bigger in sound. At a list price of just $895, the new Brio-R is a gamechanger in the small amplifier field. It packs 49 watts of power into the half-size chassis, yet still finds room inside for a world-class phono stage.
Good Things Do Come in Small Packages
The Rega Brio-R sets the benchmark for an $1000 integrated amplifier and then some. While it’s easy for those that regularly hear the world’s best (and often most expensive) gear to get excited about great sound, it’s truly thrilling to hear this level of sound quality from an amplifier with an $895 price tag. Music lovers on a budget no longer have to sacrifice quality. This one could make a crazed audiophile out of you where you least expect it.
Our good friends at Tone Audio Magazine have posted a world-exclusive first Brio-R review and you can find it here.
We now how both black and silver Brio-R models in stock.
Friday, April 15, 2011
I can't believe it's been a month since I posted anything here. Busy, busy, busy! And still coughing from my trip to Florida.
In any case I've been inundated with calls/questions/etc. about Record Store Day tomorrow (Saturday, April 16).
First off, despite getting tons of merch in, the labels once again did an awesome job of getting people fired up about things that only marginally exist.
Most notable among these releases is the one I got the most calls/message on...Phish. We ordered 25 copies of TWO SOUNDCHECKS and received zero. Zip. Zilch. Or as they say on Top Gear, zed. So if you are planning on making the trip solely for that release, sorry, but would rather tell you now. Same goes for The Deftones. And I passed on Jimmy Eat World because it's total rip-off at $45.98.
The Third Man Records releases were problematic: announced at the last minute, we WERE supposed to be getting three copies of each, which turned into NOT getting ANY of them. BUT White Stripes fans please note that the 7 inchers for RSD will be released as conventional black vinyl releases in a few weeks, as well as the Rome single which will be available. The Karen Elson single was, however, one time only. And luckily as a result of this, we've solidified a relationship with 3MR's distributor, which should make it much easier to get stuff from them in the future.
As for the rest of the stuff - yes, a lot of notable exclusions on the arrivals. But tons of stuff came in, including Bruce Springsteen, Flaming Lips, The Cars, OFF!, Bob Dylan, Mastodon, etc, etc.
And to make it fair for everyone, I've done the following:
* The early bird does not always get the worm. I worked second shift at the newspaper for several years, so I take a dim view of early birding. So I've divided the RSD releases up into three batches and will put them out at 10:00 AM, Noon, and 2:00 PM so that people arriving throughout the day can find cool stuff.
Also, in light of a few conversations last year, it's still ONE of any item per person. I don't care if your mother's brother's sixteenth cousin wants an extra copy. Then they should come and buy it themselves. Please don't put me an awkward position of lecturing about this. Buy what you want, for yourself, and be happy. THAT is what it's all about. Not speculation. Give others a chance to get something they might want.
In keeping with the RSD tradition, we're also going to have 10% off all non-RSD stock. Including Rega turntables!!! So if you have been putting off a gear purchase it will be your lucky day. Have several RP1s in stock (Cool Grey, Titanium and White) so you can save $45 by buying one tomorrow.
Our store hours will be 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Have a rocking Record Store Day! See you tomorrow!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Favorite (or should it be favourite?) Brits The Arctic Monkeys return with this teaser from a new album recorded live to analog 24-track tape over a 17 day span by producer James Ford at Sound City Studios in Los Angeles. Can you say old school?
Their fourth album, entitled 'Suck It and See' on Monday 6th June 2011. The album will be released in the US on Tuesday 7th June 2011 and features 12 songs and, of course, will be available on vinyl, as well as CD and digital download.
Monday, March 7, 2011
"There is a guy called Jim Dickinson who produced a lot of Memphis artists and he has this theory that music is all about electricity pushing air molecules around, so it therefore stands to reason that all the best music comes from sea level, where the molecules are thicker - places like Memphis, Louisiana, Los Angeles and Austin. I don't know if the science stands up, but I love the idea."
- Jason Pierce of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized
*(and of course, Jim Dickinson produced one of my Top-10 all time favorites in Big Star and his family tradition is carried on by his sons Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars)
Monday, February 28, 2011
"We were staying at Holiday Inns as they were usually clean and dependable, but ultimately extremely boring and soul-destroying homes from home. The monotony got to everybody after a time. It was not possible to walk into the identical room in twenty different cities without wanting to hurt it, just a little. If there was anything built to be destroyed, it was the two-storey, motel model Holiday Inn."
- The Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan on life on the road in the 1970s United States. The band recently announced they would be touring again, with a surprise lead singer, Mick Hucknall of Simply Red and bass player, ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock. On the tour itinerary is an appearance at the prestigious Goodwood Festival, one of my favorite events in the world.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Hmmm, could this be what I think it is? A super heavy box from The Sound Organisation delivered by Chris the FedEx guy? Well, if you have already scanned the attached headline, you know what must be inside...
Deep under a thick pair of double boxes lurks a hefty branded wooden crate much like the kind used to deliver our favorite wines? Hefty woodscrews and dovetail joinery...had to run upstairs to borrow a power screwdriver.
Ahh, an Osiris instruction manual and a thick injection-molded foam cover with the Rega logo in relief letters across the top. Yes, the top of Rega's Reference kit, the 162 wpc., no-holds-barred Osiris integrated amplifier has landed.
Nestled snugly within foam confines lies the Osiris, much like its ancient Egyptian namesake, the god of the afterlife. And what a fine afterlife it will be with stereo sound like this. Imagine how it would sound with Radiohead's epic Pyramid Song wafting from the speakers.
With the included Rega Reference Mains power cable attached and hefty milled aluminum remote in hand, the Osiris is prepared for rising. And by "hefty", I do mean heavy enough to be a possible murder weapon in CLUE.
Powered up with, KEF Reference 205/2s attached, the Osiris is all of the superlatives and more. After spending a long weekend with exotic gear at CES, I thought that I had heard it all. I was wrong. For a fantastic in-depth revue of Osiris' virtues, we invite you to read Jeff Dorgay's glowing review in ToneAudio magazine.
Or stop in and hear it for yourself.
It's worth the trip.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Scottish chanteuse Isobel Campbell recently teamed with crooner Mark Lanegan for a third album Hawk on Vanguard Records that not only achieved a steady stream of critical acclaim, but also made many Best of 2010 lists.
Both artists are personal favorites of mine, so I'll try to avoid the cliche-laden descriptives that I've seen of the angelic-voiced Campbell with the fire-and-brimstone bellow of Lanegan and encourage you to check it out and let the music do the talking.
There is more video as well as streaming audio at the WBEZ 91.5 website. I strongly encourage you to pick up Hawk, available on vinyl as well as CD, or the duo's superb second album Sunday At Devil Dirt which features several US-only bonus tracks and a fantastic soundstage and sparse "sitting
in the room" production.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
I've been telling anyone who will listen (and even some that won't) that the BEST place to find new music is on Last.fm which absolutely slays the overrated Pandora with depth, obscurity and a fantastic associative matching engine. And a few months ago Last.fm treated me to this gem.
Do you like the Jesus & Mary Chain? The Ventures? The Flaming Stars?
How 'bout some fuzzed-out-surf-noir-cascading-feedback-psychofried-rawk n' roll?
If so, check out our friends from Brooklyn, The Vandelles. It's all of the above and more. Their new single Get Around is up at Alarm Press.
And of course, being a reformed OCD CD-collecting-collector completist, I had to contact The Vandelles and pick up multiple copies of their impossible-to-find previous releases to share with my worldwide friends. Both the self-titled EP and the full length Del Black Aloha are available for purchase in our Discogs store.
Not enough? If you are in the New York metro area, go see them at Pianos in the lower east side Saturday night.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
While the mainstream media continues to shovel yet another truckload of doom-and-gloom, sky-is-falling, Rome-is-burning stories perpetuated by the cartel of major record labels (which in fact haven't been record labels, but rather cash cows to be reliably milked daily by the parent companies); other people who are passionate about music and musicians are seizing the opportunity provided by the implosion of the industry's big guns.
Wilco is the latest band to strike out on its own with a bespoke label. Based in Easthampton, Mass., dBpm Records will be distributed by the equally sovereign Anti- Records group (yes, the same folks that give us Tom Waits, Neko Case and Grinderman, among others).
It's this kind of foresight that puts music back into the ears of not just the consumers, but the fans, while downsized and bombed out monolithic record companies continue to wring their hands with fright.
Of the 50 or so energetic and omnivorous people I met when I first joined the industry in the late 1980s, perhaps a handful of them are still there, either victims of downsizing or tired of beating their collective heads against the beancounters' walls. These are people who knew music inside and out and made it not only their livelihoods, but their lives from dawn til, well, dawn. Some of gone back into independent music and are finding the journey and lack of red tape much more gratifying while other still love music, but hate the business.
Personally, I think it's a great time to be involved in the record industry. More music is available and accessible than ever before thanks to places like like Last.fm, and much of it continuing to evolve into higher and higher quality formats, along with the "resurgence" of vinyl.
Wilco has put their own money into the till with the highly successful Solid Sound Festival at MassMOCA, which will return this summer.
So while the equally monolithic and endangered New York Times continues to pander to the record industry (yes, those same insightful people that brought us the sue-your-consumers RIAA) and its ridiculous PR claims about downloading threatening the viability of over-leveraged hedge fund wagers like EMI Records, the music itself flows on like a river, finding new and organic outlets that are better and stronger than before.
Maybe it's time for me to pick up the fiddle again, eh?
Friday, January 21, 2011
Nat King Cole - Where Did Everyone Go? $34 Analogue Productions
In what some consider his last great album prior to his tragic passing, Nat "King" Cole approached the dramatic dark side of love in the spirit of Sinatra's saloon songs to timeless, haunting effect with the album Where Did Everyone Go? The distinctive orchestrations of Gordon Jenkins for strings accompany the intimately expressive and supremely musical voice of the incomparable Nat "King" Cole in such classic songs as "Someone To Tell It To," "I Keep Going Back To Joe's," "Spring Is Here," "The End Of A Love Affair" and other reflections of one who had and now has not. Nat "King" Cole and arranger Gordon Jenkins followed their hit albums Love Is The Thing and The Very Thought Of You with this striking shift toward the dramatic. The result again stands among its era's finest, most stylistically defining recordings of popular music and still retains its grand sense of tragedy and beauty. Using the original first generation 3-track session tapes from Capitol's vaults and custom headstacks, console and monitoring chain installed at AcousTech specially for these releases, mastering engineers Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman along with DSD specialist Gus Skinas bring you an entirely incomparable SACD experience. For this deluxe hybrid SACD, the album is featured in stereo on the standard resolution CD layer and high resolution stereo DSD layer, while the DSD multi-channel layer features high resolution 3-channel sound. Two bonus tracks recorded for the album, "A Farewell to Arms" and "Happy New Year," are included for their first release in original production quality. In addition a 3,200-word essay by Chris Hall about the album is included. No expense was spared to make this the ultimate digital version of this album and a historic reissue. Originally released in 1963. *(5 available)
Nat King Cole - After Midnight $34 Analogue Productions
In this felicitous blending of Nat "King" Cole's supreme talents as jazz pianist and vocalist with small combos featuring fellow jazz alumni, classic pop and jazz met in a wildly successful brew. A combination of new and familiar songs are featured, including fresh recordings of classic hits like "Route 66." Musicians include Harry "Sweets" Edison, Juan Tizol, Lee Young, Stuff Smith and Willie Smith augmenting his famous Trio. In addition to the full original album, five additional tracks and one alternate take from the original sessions are included in this release. Mellow, classy, focused and vibrant, After Midnight was a hit and an instant classic upon its release in 1956 and remains a gem to treasure today. Mastered from the original first-generation full-track monaural session tapes by Steve Hoffman, Kevin Gray and Gus Skinas to high resolution DSD and standard CD, the exemplary recording is presented in appropriately exquisite sound quality. Recorded in 1956. *(5 available)
Freddie Hubbard - The Body & The Soul $30 Analogue Productions Impulse! Series.
The second of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's two Impulse albums features the 25-year old in three separate settings. He is heard along with a tenor-saxophonist backed by strings ("Skylark," "I Got It Bad" and "Chocolate Shake" are all given beautiful treatments), with a 16-piece band and in a septet with Eric Dolphy and Wayne Shorter. This well-rounded and highly recommended showcase shows why Freddie Hubbard was considered the top trumpeter to emerge during the early '60s. Mastered by Kevin Gray (1 left!)
Hank Mobley - No Room For Squares $30 Analogue Productions Impulse! Series.
One of Mobley's best, this album features two 1963 all-star quintets: one with Lee Morgan and Andrew Hill, the other with Donald Byrd and Herbie Hancock. Philly Joe Jones is the driving force throughout. Mastered by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman. *(1 available)
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Over the top? That's Vegas in a nutshell.
The main entry hall of the Venetian Hotel, host for the high-end audio portion of the CES festivities. Not shown in this pic were all of the porn "starlets" buzzing (pun intended) around all weekend for the AVN show (it was far too early to see their bleary eyes at 9:00 AM.)
Yes, that's also a wholehearted recommendation to douse one's self with hand-sanitizer while attending CES.
Cambridge Audio showed a new iPOD/iPAD dock that extracts using Apple's pure digital stream to bypass internal DACs to the DAC of your choice at the ridiculously low price of $299. As digital audio increases in popularity, economics of scale will rule the marketplace, with bargains like this becoming more common. Anticipated release date for the US/North America is March, with a matching DAC to follow later in the year.
Whew. The warm glow of Cary Audio's CAD 211 Founder's Series twin monoblocks drew me in like a bug to a zapper.
Like a moth to a flame.
Like a bird to a...wire?
All jokes aside, seriously some of the best sound I've ever heard come out of tube power. An interesting design with a pair of 300Bs as power tubes and a pair of giant 845s in the output stage, providing the best of SET, Class A, Class B and Class A/B designs pushing to 150 watts in class B, 110 watts per channel in Class A/B, and 70 watts per channel in Class A in a zero-feedback configuration. Also worth noting, the special edition Jaguar Anthracite finish on the chassis. Fantastic imaging and soundstaging, dynamics to die for, stellar bass punch...and all in all, a gorgeous package. If my notes are correct, not as expensive as one might think. I believe they said $20,000/pair, with the entire system I heard at right around $65,000.
Why it's our favorite Fosgate Signature products, with a new friend. On top right we have the tried and true Fosgate Signature Phono Stage, a tube rollers' delight. On the bottom, the Fozgometer, and the new item is a forthcoming Fosgate Signature Headphone amp slated for debut in just a few months - the anticipated price point is right around $1000...
The more conventional side of the Clearaudio turntable line. Fantastic build quality, superb sonics. Also got a chance to audition a new Benz Micro cart that is at a perfect $600 price point.
The Clearaudio Statement turntable. Sorry it is a bit blurry, but all of the chrome reflections threw off my focus shooting in low-light settings. A serious piece of audio kit, wouldn't want to have to carry it up the stairs, but if you could afford this, you can probably afford someone to carry it for you.
TWO FEET of snow is what I was fortunate to return to; somewhere under that pile is my Mini Cooper S. It's a good thing the antenna was still visible, like a periscope.
In Vegas people were running around in Ugg boots, parkas, hats and scarves when it was in the 50s...this how the rest of us live.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
The best-sounding room on the 30th floor was the marvelous Estelon speakers. A proprietary marble composite material is paired with some exquisite workmanship to produce magical sounds that both harnesses power and allows for fine detail. Loud, soft, a very well-balanced and natural tone that allows the music to stand first and foremost. Because it is all about the music, not the price, which in this case was around $44,000. Very impressive, especially when paired with the Burmester power amps and equally at home doing the Beatles and Nat King Cole.
Ayon Audio's sound jumped out at me from the hallway - beautiful tube monoblocks powering $90,000 Legacy speakers. Austrian-made tube magic that looks as good as it sounds, which is superb by any standard, with fantastic soundstaging and natural dynamics.
DeVore Fidelity shows off their newest creation, a retro-natural sounding floorstander with a gorgeous furniture quality multi-ply zebrawood facing. And extra points for being one of the few rooms to be spinning a steady diet of vinyl.
Calin Gabriel of Shunyata Research explains the finer points of power purification. Shunyata is one of the few cable companies to back up their claims with research and testing. Attention to detail and matching of wire sizes are but a few ingredients.
Our good friends at the SoundOrg paired the impressive Rega DAC ($995) with Dali speakers. Add an Ipad, an Airport and you have magic. How impressive was the Rega DAC? I texted in my order for one from the room (no room service) and it will arrive when I return to Connecticut.
But only if it stops snowing and they stop serving me free margueritas.
KEF's Q900 sounded stunning. Eight inch woofers? Check. One inch tweeter? Check. A breakthrough at $1595/pair? Checkmate. The best sub-$2000 speaker I've ever heard and performance-wise surprisingly (and maybe a bit scarily) close to the $5000 XQ40s that I live with and love every day. Really a breakthrough at the pricepoint and proof that the "high-end" of audio performance does not necessarily refer to price.
NAIM Audio had some of the most innovative products on display. With a eye towards fine packaging, superb sound, and input and output flexibility and foresight in the design. Part server, part DAC, part amp, the NAIM line makes sense in many, many ways. Plus Jenny from NAIM is exceedingly cool, races motorcycles at Miller Motorsports Park, and is a knowledgeable and passionate IndyCar fan.
Actually while I'm thinking about it, I've definitely noticed a changing of the guard. Gone are the pompous and stuffy shirts of the old guard audiophiles that look down their nose at music and in their place are younger, energetic and passionate music people that allow the enthusiasm to infuse their products.
The SoundOrg pairs the impressive Rega DAC ($995) with Dali speakers. Add an Ipad, an Airport and you have magic. How impressive was the Rega DAC? I ordered one from the room (no room service) and it will arrive when I get back home. If it stops snowing and they stop serving me free margueritas.
The KEF room - the ungodly power of the Q900 series. Eight inch woofers? Check. One inch tweeter? Check. Ridiculous performance at $1595 per pair. Checkmate. The best sub-$2000 floorstanders I've ever heard and perilously close in performance to the $5000 XQ40s.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Okay - this is how it all happened.
Woke up Tuesday morning to hear the unmistakable sound of Nikita (my dog) heaving and getting ready to urp, urr, throw up, as dogs do from time-to-time. Right next to my pillow. Thanks, Nikita. Two heaves wasn't enough warning for the ENTIRE BREAKFAST to land there.
I had been considering going to Vegas to the CES and T.H.E. Show for about a month, with usual concerns about time, travel time, cost, etc. After the cleanup, I went to @PuretoneAudio headquarters and checked the weather forecast - hmmm, northwest Connecticut, snow Friday and Saturday. Okay, another sign.
Checked the available travel packages, and finally some flights popped up that didn't involve spending 18 hours each way in airports...the audio gods were conspiring. They were clearly saying, "yes, son, by all means come to Vegas and hear new gear!"
So as I am wont to do, I booked the trip for Thursday...audio gear, Las Vegas, getting out of Dodge for a few days (I've been carefully compiling Western references and cliches to use). Fly across the country on two days notice, meet with my fine reps from Rega (Steve and Adam), Cayin Audio USA (Steve), KEF (Steph and Brian), and Musical Surroundings (Steve) as well as some (*apparently every other person in the audio industry is named Steve).
Hang out with my good buddy and gear guru Jeff Dorgay from ToneAudio magazine.
Eat, drink, be merry. Maybe even put a few dollars down against the Jets.
So Thursday morning I set out for Bradley Airport to begin a hellish journey courtesy of American Airlines.
Three words of advice - don't fly American. Ever. Even if they become the last airline in the country through cross-mergification.
It's been a few years since I was a regular weekly traveler but I can't even begin to tell you how lousy this airline has become. I always thought Southwest and US Air were the undisputed kings of the cattle car journey, but they have been surpassed. CT to Dallas part of the trip was smooth on a completely jam-packed plane. Not another ounce of luggage could possibly have been stowed.
Problem #1 - seats the size of a child carseat. I'm 6'3 and 200 lbs. My shoulders are about eight inches wider than the seats. Yogic contortions follow. Keep the elbows tucked. Keep the shoulders tucked. Don't mind the fact that my head is eight inches over the headrest. Don't mind the fact that my seat is pitched forward at a 15 degree angle, it's good for the abs.
Arrive in Dallas-Fort Worth, DFW, the airport made famous in song by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Stretch. Pray that circulation resumes in all appendages. Take the tram halfway across Texas to the other American terminal to find that I could have easily made an earlier flight to Las Vegas. Asked at the desk, received a look like I had just asked for the clerk's personal ATM PIN numbers; "no, sir, every seat is booked on this flight"...okay thanks, American.
Sit back to wait another two hours for the next flight. Shop at the Dallas Cowboys team store, conveniently across from my gate. Alas, no red-headed Jesus icons or garden statues available. Yet.
Return to gate desk. Ask if there is any possible way I can bribe someone to get out of the dreaded E (middle of three) row seat that was staring at me from my boarding pass. Of course not "no, sir, every seat is booked on this flight"...okay thanks again, American. We now know the first phrase taught in American Airlines' customer service training sessions.
Finally board the plane at 6:00 PM central time. I had a cinnamon pretzel at the airport, which was my first food since 11:45 AM at BDL. Will there be any snacks or food served, since we are flying right at dinner time?
But I can buy half a chicken sandwich on a kaiser roll for $10.00, credit or debit card only. Or a stack of Lay's chips for $5.00.
Uhhh. No thanks again, American.
THEN the captain makes an announcement "our primary ______ (airflight control?) system is down, we will be flying on backup. Our protocol is for the co-pilot to go back into the cabin and check the function prior to takeoff."
A collective groan erupted from the sardines packed into the aluminum tube at the mere thought of being unpacked and repacked.
At American, apparently they have only the best, the oldest and most archaic planes in the sky. THEN the co-pilot walks back down the aisle WITH A FLASHLIGHT and shines it out of the porthole window on the wings on each side.
Not exactly confidence inspiring. AT ALL.
Finally we take off into the night sky. It got dark in about 10 minutes in Dallas. The Flatlanders song "Dallas" pops into my head. And yes, the plane we are flying was probably the equivalent of a DC-9.
Hell, I have no doubt American would still be flying Lockheed Super Constellations if the FAA would let em.
West-Texas-Waltzing over the panhandle in the night sky. Not many lights down there. Or is is thar?
(to be continued...)