Technical & Editorial

Bjorn's Music Matters Seminars

Bjorn's is a major A/V Retailer and Custom Installation shop in San Antonio, Texas. The store was founded in 1975 by Bjorn Dybdahl. He started out in a modest 1,000 square foot lease space under the banner "Bjorn's Stereo Designs". Over the intervening 35 years, the store has grown steadily while Bjorn has provided substantial leadership within the Consumer Electronics Industry. His current operation is headquartered in a standalone structure with over 15,000 square feet of retail space which includes 10 separate screening rooms. Bjorn's carries a wide range of high end audio and video products from manufacturers such as McIntosh, Runco, Definitive Technology, B&W, Rega, Denon, Monster and Klipsch to name just a few.

On Thursday, November 9, 2010, Bjorn's held its second annual Music Matters event where a number of manufacturers were on hand to show and demo their best music systems. There were also seminars throughout the day to help customers learn how to get the most out of their digital music collection including streaming audio wirelessly throughout your home using the new and affordable AppleTV solution.

My day started with a morning seminar hosted by Bjorn and featuring presentations by David Solomon of Peachtree Audio and Chris Connaker of computeraudiophile.com. David Solomon is shown above discussing the Peachtree musicBox system which pulls digital audio off your computer's USB bus and processes it in a way that brings out the best possible sound quality considering the source (a/k/a "computer").

Here is a shot of the musicBox system. My workstation is blushing as I write this. The integrated is rated at 30 wpc and sounded nice in a very large room at decent levels. It is said to have a high quality headphone stage as well. I didn't get a chance to listen to the 'phones this time.

This is the Peachtree nova. It is an 80 wpc integrated that can receive digital streams over the AppleTV box which is the black box you can just see in the left side of the frame. It was being auditioned driving a pair of Definitive Technology Bipolar Towers.

Meet Chris Connaker, founder of computeraudiophile.com. His website is essentially a forum that's intended to provide up to date information on how to set up a server-based digital audio system. He did an excellent job fielding a wide range of questions from the audience.

After the quick seminar, I headed over to the demo rooms. Seen here is the McIntosh MXA60 Executive Sound System. It comes complete with speakers and an SACD player for a cool $7,500 retail. This little 75 wpc amp was actually driving a pair of XR200 floor standing towers to demonstrate its output capabilities.

A pair of these McIntosh MC1201 mono blocks were driving the gorgeous looking and sounding B&W 800D2 loudspeakers.

Here is the McIntosh XR200 speaker with the grille on.

This is a close-up of the XR200's mid/tweeter array. The speaker is time aligned and the mid/tweeter response characteristics are varied across this array to promote consistent dispersion in two axes.

The McIntosh XR200's bass ports are on top of the cabinet and they are protected by little "shelves".

McIntosh also had a static display of their MEN220 2-channel room correction system. This unit features fully balanced topology.

The MEN 220 comes with this high quality mic and nice boom mic stand.

Bjorn's is one of a select group of only 37 retailers (and the only one in all of Texas) that will be carrying Denon's exclusive 100th Anniversary Collection. This is the Denon 100th Anniversary turntable. I loved the warm, retro analog sound of this table.

Here is the whole Denon 100th Anniversary rack showing the integrated amp and SACD player. This was an all-around very nice sounding system.

Denon was also showing this slick little shelf system with integrated iPod dock.

Monster was demoing a large part of their headphone line. These are the Lil' Jamz and heart beats Lady Gaga ear buds.

These Monster Miles Davis Tribute ear buds are more my speed.

This Monster Beats by Dr. Dre docking station and boom box sounded much bigger than you would expect. Look for a matching Blue Tooth wireless sub in the coming months.

B&W demos are always a special treat and the 800D2's pictured here were no exception. They were being fed via a Denon SACD player and McIntosh amplification. I could have enjoyed this room for hours.

Here is a shot of the very new Definitive Technology BP 8080 ST Super Towers. They were being driven by a Sherborn amp. These towers sounded fantastic, also in a large room. They have excellent bass extension and slam as well.

This is the Rega ISIS CD player. Its internal DAC was processing the USB feed from the iPad seen on the right.

The new Rega OSIRIS integrated sound nicely fleshed out while driving a pair of Rega bookshelf speakers.

This is one of the Rega RS1 bookshelf speakers sans grille. They sounded amazingly large in the demo I heard.

Yamaha was showing this two-channel receiver with the throwback variable loudness contour control.

I know this isn't a two-channel product, but I couldn't resist throwing up this picture of the new Yamaha Aventage RX-A1000 surround receiver. This new line of Yamaha electronics may help Yamaha establish an improved reputation in the receiver market. Yamaha designers paid great attention to detail in the development of this line and they feature HQV Video Processing.

Here is the completely re-engineered Klipsch RF7II. They looked and sounded simply spectacular. I am a sucker for their real wood finish and dynamic horn sound.

In the evening, Bjorn's served up some delicious Italian appetizers and wine. It was the perfect close to a wonderful day of enjoying all sorts of great music! I'll be looking forward to next year's installment.