Peter Familari's avatar

by Peter Familari

31st August, 2017

1384 readers

By the time I’d arrived at the venue, the Melbourne winter mist rolled through Argyle Place and paused outside the front of The Vodka Temple, in Lygon Street, Carlton.

I settled into my woollen scarf, pulled up the collar of my jacket and ambled through the Temple’s ice-frosted glass doors.

Inside, the warmth of Mary Webb’s voice carried a promise of spring and a refuge from the spiteful cold.

Musical mana to the audiophiles huddled inside.

Mike Kirkham of Magenta Audio and Carlton Audio Visual organised the night’s event to showcase PS Audio’s new range called, Stellar. And a chance to compare the sound of Mary performing live to a recording of her music.

The music played through the PS Audio and heard through a pair of svelte PMC Twenty 5 26 speakers, was by audiophile terms compellingly musical.

Later, an acoustic unamplified song performed live by Mary immeasurably more so. This was no ordinary voice. No banal lyrics.  The melody was pure and unassuming, natural and deeply communicative.

A Stellar audio range and a young, rising star in a temple. The planets were aligning.

With all the delicacy of a young gazelle traversing the craggy slopes of a steep mountain pass, Mary’s voice stepped lightly around and through the deceptively simple chord structure of a complex melody, her composition called Crepuscule.

“Crepuscule”, the twilight of a golden day and a song promising hope and better days after a spiteful winter.

As the voice rose, fell, rested, giving meaning to the space between individual words, syllables and notes, the good-natured banter in the room, diminished and then fell silent.

Mary Webb was singing softly, quietly, reassuringly and leading an audience now entranced through avenues of sublime, ethereal beauty.

Great songs and talented performers do that to you all the time through their recordings and live performances. If you’re open to the experience.

Audio systems get close but no one believes they are hearing a live performance.  But here’s the thing: magical audio systems from the budget to the insanely priced, invite you to suspend your disbelief.

Compared to the best live performances like the one we were treated to at the Vodka Bar by Mary Webb, audio systems are the next best thing we’ve got to get close and personal to great music.

Mary Webb’s live performance aided by the power and delicacy of the lyrics, deft guitar accompaniment and an entirely original voice, showed how far audio systems have yet to travel to get close to the real thing.

It is always a privilege to hear fine, new audio equipment. But it is always a revelation to experience an original musical prodigy.

You can have the chance to hear what we heard at the Magenta Audio and Carlton Audio Visual’s PS Audio soiree at Melbourne’s Vodka Temple.

Mary Webb will be performing live and releasing her new album at this year’s International HiFi Show at the Pullman Mercure Hotel, Albert Park from November 3rd-5th.

In what can only be an augur of great things to come for Mary Webb, her new album that will also be available on vinyl is called, "Love Like Planets", on Halcro Records.

More information: PS Audio Stellar | Carlton Audio Visual | International HiFi Show | Mary Webb


Peter Familari's avatar

Written by:

Peter Familari

One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.

Get the latest.

Sign up to discover the best news and review from StereoNET in our FREE Newsletter.

Posted in: Retailer News Hi-Fi Music
Tags: ps audio  carlton audio visual  magenta audio  mary webb  halcro records 

comments powered by Disqus