Event - Dick McCarthy's CBS Studio Press Party
Jim Merod
7 August 2000

Richard Gray & Dick McCarthyThe July 21st luncheon event at CBS Studios in Burbank, sponsored by Dick McCarthy representing Richard Gray's Power Company, was a low-keyed demonstration of suave professional engagement from start to finish.

Dick McCarthy demonstrated the virtues of the now somewhat over-debated RGPC conditioning devices that, situated in multiple locations at the High-end CBS audio showroom, were doing their appropriate job -- improving the dynamics of a superior sound system.

The proud director of the CBS listening room is Jeffrey Allen, an enthusiastic, charismatic man who has a fondness for Jeff Rowland amplifiers. I believe that I counted eight (!) of the big Rowland monoblocks strapped into the system. After the hearty lunch we were served out on the Executive Patio, I'm not sure that I was counting straight. But the set up, designed to give CBS engineers a better "look" into their own recording/mastering work, revealed a pleasant sound stage -- somewhat forgiving on the top end, a tad laid back in the way that many audiophile devotees prefer. I'll wager that this big, impressive rig will succeed in its aim to lead professional sound workers toward greater appreciation for sonic nuances.

Robert Greene, Senior Editor at The Absolute Sound was on hand with one of his own recordings -- or, at least, a recording that had been made in Philadelphia not long ago under Greene's watchful eyes and ears. His disc -- the lower-res 44.1 version (since a DVD player was not in the chain that day for his higher-res disc) -- provided a good look into the resolving power of the CBS sound reproduction set up.

Stereophile’s Tom Norton was on hand as was Jeff Kirk, Vice President at Quad Teck Digital, the "SuperBit Plus (32 Bit) Mastering" facility in Los Angeles. The occasion, quite literally, brought together a number of the best and brightest in the world of high-end audio.

For the event, McCarthy offered a look at the soon to be availableModel 1200S, a sleek, redesigned shelf/rack mountable unit employing the circuit topology of the 400S. The new unit has the power capacity of two 400’s combined. It features twelve Hubbell outlets in a 20 amp system designed to remove or limit A/C line noise while not restricting current. McCarthy's enthusiasm for his products and his work is obvious. The occasion that he sponsored was full of good humor and understated high energy.

As a footnote to the hospitality at CBS, one notes that the reproduction of Diana Krall's now ubiquitous voice, on the grand CBS audio rig, demonstrated how much the sound of deeply tailored human vocals -- buffed out with state of the art single-track as well as ambient reverberation; coiffed to the hilt with layered acoustical staging -- produces what may be thought of as "twenty-first century sonic intimacy" an experience as far from Julie London's mid-'50s vocal seductions as you are likely to desire. Compare guitarist Russell Malone's sonic presence on Krall's albums to Barney Kessell's vivid (if, also, equally subtle) immediacy behind Ms. London's sultry self. Such sidebars haunt one's memory winding south, inside traffic for two hours, through and (mercifully) beyond the noisy clutter of LA.