Sandy NYC

Lower Manhattan viewed from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade the day after the storm. © 2012 Wes Bender

It goes without saying that Hurricane Sandy pulled out all the stops as she wreaked havoc on our city.  To those of you who were put out by her ravages, my thoughts and prayers go out to you.  I hope you and yours are safe and sound.  Our location here in Brooklyn was thankfully spared most of the carnage that impacted much of the city.  

That said, we're available for a listen if you're stuck with nothing to do!  Give us a call or reach out via email.

Said the English poet & playwright, William Congreve: "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."  We couldn't agree more!


TAS Buyer's Guide weighs in on Townshend & Helius

In their annual Buyer's Guide, The Absolute Sound raved about the Townshend Audio Rock Mk. 7 turntable as well as the Helius Designs Omega Silver Ruby -- their flagship tonearm.  

Here's what they had to say about the Townshend Audio Rock Mk. 7:

The Townshend Rock 7 turntable is the latest realization of Max Townshend's unique and uniquely effective ideas about vinyl playback, including the fluid-contaiing trough that damps the arm at the cartridge end. With its own lack of resonant signatures of any type and its silent background, and with the trough taking up the cartridge vibrations that might otherwise go into the arm itself (and come back later to disturb the sound), the Rock 7 is truly remarkable in its truth to what is really on the record. The bass performance in particular is superb. And the Rock 7 has the solidity and neutrality of mastertape sound to a startling extent. The Townshend is convenient to use and stable in setup, and the ingenious suspension is so effective that outboard isolation devices are not needed. The price is modest, indeed, by high-end standards, but the sonic results are spectacular.

On the Heilus they opined:

Designer Geoffrey Owen has significantly advanced his tetrahedral bearing design, which uses twelve large rubies to produce a captured bearing with extremely low friction and single-point contact on all surfaces. This dynamically balanced arm with non-coincident bearings provides a very stable mechanical platform for a wide range of cartridges without adding its own coloration.

While it is not the last word in ease of setup and lacks adjustable VTA during play, the Omega Silver Ruby's ability to reproduce a rock-solid, precise, and complete soundstage, without truncating the rear of the stage, is reference quality. It has exceptional tonal neutrality and clarity across the sonic spectrum, with deep, dynamic, and articulate bass without bloat or overhang, and naturally extended highs without any stridency.

Schedule an appointment to audition both components at the studio.


Jennifer Warnes in concert, October 31st

Jennifer Warnes is best known for her rich distinctive voice, her exquisite interpretations of work by James Taylor, Leonard Cohen and other significant songwriters, her own original songs and for her association with the soundtracks of a number of popular films during the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

"Famous Blue Raincoat," her interpretation of Leonard Cohen songs, is a critically acclaimed classic album as is The Well & The Hunter.  All three have been meticulously reissued by Impex Records.

With a voice that is sweet & delicate yet dynamic & powerful, her close friend, poet laureate Leonard Cohen, opined that  "her voice is like the California weather, filled with sunlight, But there's an earthquake behind it"

In her only New York area appearance, Grammy & Oscar award winning singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer Jennifer Warnes will appear one night only at the Madison Theatre on the campus of Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY, October 31st at 8 PM.

Additional information and to reserve tickets, click here.

RIP Howard H. Scott


We lost a pioneer in the music industry, September 22, 2012

Grammy award winning producer & composer Howard Hillison Scott (shown to the right of Aaron Copland in this 1974 photograph) started his career in 1946 at Columbia Records / Masterworks, the label's classical division.   Soon after getting his start at Columbia Records, he was assigned to join a team of their engineers who were charged with developing a long-playing record to replace the brittle shellac 78 rpm disc (which could only hold about 4 minutes per side).  The project was designated as top secret and had been in development since 1940.  Nearing its completion, Scott was brought on board because the engineering team needed someone with musical training (who in addition to being able to read music, could more importantly read and interpret orchestral scores -- necessary to successfully transfer current 78 recordings to the new 33 1/3 long-playing format).  The "LP" was realized in 1948.

Mr. Scott went on to become an invaluable member of Columbia's classical music production team, working with many Columbia artists including Glenn Gould, Isaac Stern, Aaron Copland, etc.  The rest is of course history and Mr. Scott's invaluable contribution to both music and technology will continue be appreciated now as well as for future generations to come.  Read more about Howard H. Scott here.   

Digital Without the ‘Digititus’

Audiophilia Reviews the Lindemann 825 High Definition Disc Player

This past week, Audiophilia’s Henry Wilkenson reviewed the Lindemann 825 High Definition Disc Player. His favorable review featured two themes:

First, if you haven’t of the Lindemann nor the 825 Player, you probably will. He writes:

You may not have heard of this player, or of Lindemann, but keep your ears out for a big sound from this quiet company.

Second, don’t expect to hear much of anything from the player itself. Wilkenson heard more of sonic attributes of the other components in the system than from the Lindemann 825 digital player “because it is quite neutral.” He seemed to be most pleased with what he didn’t hear:

What I didn’t hear from the 825 was edge, glare, or the ‘digititus’ that often afflicts CD players.

Of course, Wilkenson seemed to like what he did hear too:

The 825 is quite analog-sounding. Its treble is extended and clear…Bass response is deep and detailed. I cannot recall hearing any CD player in the 825’s class that goes deeper or with better pitch definition.

For the review, the Lindemann 825 served up Clapton’s Layla, I Shot The Sheriff, and Lay Down Sally and a couple from Coltrane too: Blue Train (from Blue Train, Blue Note-CDP7243853428 06) and Equinox (from Coltrane’s Sound, Atlantic Jazz–1419–2).

The Lindemann struck an excellent balance between clarity, detail, and tonal balance that at once provided the timbral weight of the guitar and the leading edge attack of the notes, underscoring Clapton’s highly articulate playing.

The Coltrane tunes underscored a “double-edged sword” of the Lindemann 825’s resolution and neutrality: a great recording will sound truly great, but the 825 doesn’t hide flaws in a less than stellar recording.

As a music lover myself, I really take notice when a piece of gear helps a person really connect to the music. So, it really resonated to hear Wilkenson say:

While I always found the 825 to be quite neutral, I was struck by its ability to allow an emotional connection to the music.

Read the entire review at Audiophilia.

Visit WBSNYC to hear the Lindemann 825 High Definition Digital Player for yourself!

Audiophilia Visits The Studio

Martin Appel at Audiophilia came by WBSNYC to give a good listen to the stunning Zesto Leto linestage and Zesto Andros phonostage. Martin’s review confirms what our ears also find true: Zesto makes fantastic gear that is as effective as it is sonically unobtrusive; and the Zesto linestage and phonostage pair very well with Viola Audio Labs amplification and Hansen Audio loudspeakers.

But before relating his findings, Audiophilia Editor/Publisher Anthony Kershaw and Martin both cut in to say a few candid and kind words about me and about what we’re doing here at WBSNYC. I have great respect for Anthony, Martin, and Audiophilia. They continue to inform and inspire me. So, I send a heartfelt thank you to them for saying what they’ve said and doing what they do.

Meanwhile, in the listening room at WBSNYC… Martin got reacquainted with the Zesto line and phono stages he first met in the WBSNYC room at the New York Audio and A/V Show 2012. We listened to several CDs served up by the Lindemann Audio 825 High Definition Disc Player through the Zesto Leto linestage into Viola Audio Labs Symphony amplifier into Hansen Audio Prince E loudspeakers connected with Jorma Design/Unity interconnects and speaker cables. We listened to vinyl on a Townshend Rock 7 turntable with an Omega Silver Ruby tonearm bearing a Transfiguration Axia cartridge through the Zesto Andros PS-1 phonostage into the same amplification and speakers. Martin seemed to really like the Impex remaster 180g pressing of Ellington Indigos.

Martin described his listening experience eloquently and aptly:

…it was apparent that the Zesto equipment in the loop created a synergy that enhanced the already excellent sound… Blending the Viola solid state amp with the Zesto tube equipment seemed fortuitous allowing the Hansen Prince IIs to show off their full range capabilities.

He also said that the sound, “had a rightness to it that was difficult to put in to words.” We experienced that same rightness when we added Zesto to WBSNYC.

Perhaps one of Martin’s most telling compliments is that he said:

I only wish I could have stayed longer to further enjoy the experience. Time flies when you’re having fun.

We agree.

Read Martin Appel’s full review of his visit to The Studio at, it’s part of the “In the Trenches” series.

Mike Kay 1923–2012

Michael Kakadelis, known professionally as Mike Kay, the New York retailer who owned and ran Lyric HiFi for 45 years, died on Saturday, July 14 at age 89.

He was born in Greece on April 5, 1923, served in a World War II commando unit fighting Hitler’s forces while still in his teens, then earned an engineering degree, and helped build the Radio Station of Athens before emigrating to Canada in 1955. Mike learned English while laboring in a brickyard, and washing dishes in a Montreal restaurant, then went to work in an electronics store where, after a few months, he was rewarded with a 25% share of the business.

He subsequently moved to the US, which he felt offered more opportunity, and in 1959 acquired Lyric, where he was working as a salesman. It was then a small, second-floor hi-fi shop a few blocks down Lexington Avenue from its current Manhattan location.

Mike’s wife, Catherine, whom he had married the prior year, worked alongside him as Lyric’s head of office operations for decades. She died in February at age 85. They are survived by a son, Stratis Kakadelis, his wife, Regina, whom he met while both were enrolled in a post-graduate aerospace engineering program, and two granddaughters, Michelle and Christina.


I had the pleasure of working with Mike and was blessed to count him as a friend and mentor.  A true force of nature whose point of view infected anyone within the sound of his strong Greek accented voice.  He will be sorely missed but not forgotten.   I suspect heaven will soon have a new hi-fi...

WBSNYC Makes Some Serious Music at the NY Audio & AV Show

Martin Appel of Audiphilia opened his review of our room stating that "Visiting Wes Bender Studio NYC is always a pleasure." While Martin noted that he had heard the system at CES 2012, he noticed the new Zesto Audio Andros PS-1 tube phone stage. "Wes’s room was definitely one of the show highlights for us. His Hansen Prince II’s w/Viola electronics, Jorma cables, Redpoint turntable and Lindemann Audio CD player were making some serious music."

Read more of Martin Appel's thoughts on the New York Audio & AV Show 2012 at Audiophilia.

Wes Bender Studio NYC Room: A Clear Favorite for Michael Levy

Audiophilia's Michael Levy found fine sound at other locations at the NY Audio and AV Show. But he said, "I clearly had a favorite, the Wes Bender Studios room with the Hansen Prince [E] loudspeakers w/Viola electronics, Jorma cables, Redpoint turntable and Lindemann Audio CD player".

Michael went on to note that the WBSNYC room "passed all of the hurdles." "Imaging was wide and open. " He added that, "bass and treble extension were excellent, sounding dynamic, detailed, and smooth." Importantly, while he found that instruments and voices were present with "fine detail" he noted that they were "clearly evident, but, as it would be in performance, not pronounced."

Michael's review of the New York Audio and AV Show 2012 is at

WBSNYC "Hits It Out of the Park" at the NY Audio & AV Show 2012

Henry Wilkenson said that "Wes Bender and his Wes Bender Studio N.Y.C. once again hit it out of the park sonically."  Henry liked the Hansen Prince E speakers and the "terrific" Redpoint Model MG turntable. But he made a special mention of Zesto tube phono stage "[r]ounding out the analog section was the great sounding Zesto Audio Andros PS 1." As he put it,  "[y]ou may not know the name now but I’m sure that you will be hearing a great deal about this fantastic phono stage in the near future."

Henry's full review of the New York Audio & AV Show 2012 is at

AV Guide on WBSNYC: Excellent Sound, Power, Confidence, and a Great Team

The AVguide's Mr. Plus came to the Wes Bender Studio NYC room, played some music, and liked what he heard.

"The sound was excellent - all power and confidence - but the confidence of the team was even better." Mr. Plus came ready to "show 'em" with a James Blunt test CD, but found WBSNYC already had it loaded up on the laptop. He liked that the WBSNYC "collection wasn't limited to little-known British post-dubstep acts; they had a play-anything approach that was a refreshing change to the semi-enforced sound of The Eagles burping out of hotel rooms around the world come showtime."

WBSNYC: One of the 10 Best Sounding Rooms at NY Audio & AV Show 2012

Jeremy Kipnis at Home Theater Review called the Wes Bender Studio NYC room "one of the best sounding rooms" of the whole show at NYAV2012.

"Listening to a Wes Bender Studio NYC system is like putting yourself in the hands of a master. This year's NYC debut of the Hansen Audio Prince E loudspeakers was yet another triumph for him, as the sound produced in the small hotel room was amazing." Jeremy said in his review.

Jeremy noted the exceptional "strong positive reaction to the visual design" of the Hansen Prince E speakers and the Redpoint turntable and the "controlled, well-balanced, and vivid" sound "even during the most monumentally loud moments from the great vinyl set-up."

Men tend to outnumber women in many aspects of the audiophile world. And that makes this observation by Jeremy all the more significant: "These speakers kept drawing cooing sounds from all the women in the room. They simply loved it, petting and admiring the smooth silver surfaces."

NYAV12: The Part-Time Audiophile Finds a "Tour de Force" at WBSNYC

Michael Fremer Listens to Vinyl at WBSNYC RoomThe Part-Time Audiophile had some kind words about his time in the Wes Bender Studio NYC room (and nice photos too!) at this year's New York Audio & AV Show. There, he found more than a room, but rather a "tour-de-force".

In his Confession, the Part-Time Audiophile said, "You have to give credit where it’s due...Bass power. Treble clarity. Mid range draw. It was unreal! Well done."  With such a glowing review, we'll have to overlook the little mistake over the Redpoint turntable. 

Apparently, while the Part-Time Audiophile was there, a full-time audiophile, Michael Fremer, came by and played some of his records on the Redpoint MG. We must agree with the Part-Time Audiophile:  "That man knows his vinyl and he’s a hawk for good sound."  Indeed.

Stereophile's Stephen Mejias: No Limits to Wes Bender Studio NYC

During his review of the New York Audio & AV Show, Stereophile's Stephen Mejias wrote that there are "No Limits to Wes Bender Studio NYC".  True, he might've liked some "limit" on the volume at which he heard ZZ Top's "LaGrange". Even so, he felt that it "showed the showed the system could rock and snarl" and said "the sound was nevertheless clean, clear, and detailed, without being harsh."

Then, Stephen played "a personal favorite, James Blake’s 'Limit to Your Love,'" and noted that "the system had no problem controlling the low bass."

Stephen summed up by saying, "Wes Bender Studio NYC clearly cares about the way things look and sound. The components here shared a clean appearance and worked together for a big, bold sound."


"Immediate Ecstasy" in WBSNYC Room at the NY Audio & AV Show

Earlier this year, Audiophilia's Michael Levy referred to the Wes Bender Studio NYC room at CES 2012 as "audible ecstasy" while listening to the Redpoint Model D turntable.  At the New York Audio & AV Show, Arel Bitran writing for Stereophile titled his review "Immediate Ecstasy in the Wes Bender Room"

Arel was "immediately impressed" by the "open and relaxed" sound as demo track of Strauss's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra".  But he decided to "really put this system to the test" and played "NR17" (from Syclops's "I've Got My Eye on You") with all its bombastic and frenetic fun. We're glad he did. Arel found that the "Hansen Audio Prince E loudspeakers were fast, spinning the tune into overdrive, with each of those on-the-beat kicks propelling the music forward in a snappy fashion. Bongos bounced from wall to wall. Synthesizers and electronic noises fluttered and zoomed around the room like birds and airplanes." The effect on the room was palpable. As he notes, "Everyone in the room got wild-eyed, pupils dilated. What exactly is going on here?"

In an amusing outburst that continues the association of the sound in Wes Bender Studio NYC rooms being described as "ecstasy", according to Arel, "Wes Bender’s sales partner, Dan Meinwald, screamed, 'If it gets any louder, we’re gonna need some ecstasy!'"  Arel's response was, "Well Dan, as far as I could tell, everyone in that room was already rolling."

A Few Flickr's of WBSNYC at the New York Audio & AV Show 2012

Over at Flickr, "setpower1" posted a few nice photos of Wes and the Wes Bender Studio NYC room at the New York Audio & AV Show 2012. You can see the photos at setpower1's photostream via the links below (links will open in new window).

Close-up of a Redpoint Turntable with a Dynavector cartridge and a Tri-Planar Precision Tonearm.

The Hansen Audio Prince E in natural leather. 

Wes Bender stands in front of the system in his room at the NY Audio & AV Show 2012.

The Wes Bender Studio NYC system at the NY Audio & AV Show 2012.



Positive Feedback at the NY Audio & AV Show 2012: Analog "Amazement"

In his review of the New York Audio & AV Show titled "Springtime in NYC & Vinyl is Everywhere," Positive Feedback's Marshall Nack said he preferred the analog sounds over digital in the Wes Bender Studio NYC room.

He called the analog sound coming from the Redpoint Audio Design Model MG turntable "pretty amazing". And said that "More amazement lay in wait" with the Zesto Audio Andros PS1 tube phono stage. In fact, he went on to say that "This tube phono stage just might qualify as a giant killer."

"Audible Ecstasy" - Michael Levy at Wes Bender Studio NYC, CES 2012

Audiophilia's Michael Levy said Wes Bender "created a state of the art listening experience" at CES 2012. He thought "The Prince E speakers were exceptional performers in every parameter, which of course meant that the rest of the system was well matched." When it came to analog audio at WBSNYC, Michael was even more succinct: "Vinyl and shellac pressings on the Redpoint turntable were audible ecstasy." And we didn't even have to coerce him with hot cops!