One reporter's opinion

jason fine

Fleetwood Sound Owners Group
Aug 24, 2022
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When Jonathan Weiss rolled up to my driveway with a pair of Fleetwood DeVille speakers in the back of his station wagon, it wasn’t just the speakers I was excited about – I was excited to meet the man. As an editor and writer at Rolling Stone, I’d been invited on several occasion to listening sessions at his loft in Dumbo, Brooklyn, not far from where I live, by a mutual close friend with impeccable music taste – someone I really trust, who has turned me on to so many unknown, arcane, under-recognized and amazing records over the past twenty-plus years – but for whatever dumb reason, I’d never made it. So, now, here he was, with a pair of DeVilles, to listen at my own home. Jonathan was gracious, easygoing, set up the gorgeous speakers as he drank a cup of tea, and immediately, as they were set up, we put on several recordings by Toots and the Maytals, Thelonious Monk, Solomon Burke, the Rolling Stones. The music, in my cabin’s living room, on my very mediocre system, sounded incredible, exciting…But not to Jonathan. The first thing he told me is that I needed a new amplifier and a new cartridge on my turntable in order to listen properly. But even without that equipment it sounded amazing to me, expansive and mind-opening – so much so that I immediately transported my old Rega turntable to Brooklyn to get a new Audio Technica cartridge, and spoke to my friends at Bryston up in Canada to arrange for the purchase of a Bryston integrated amplifer, because I’d always loved their equipment, and also because Jonathan, incredibly, approved. (This can be very unusual, I have since learned as we’ve become friends.)
In any case, let me jump forward: tuned-up turntable, Bryston amp, Fleetwood DeVille speakers: SONIC HEAVEN. I’m not an audiophile, but, immediately, my listening life was utterly different, better, as I beame immersed in this revelatory experience of actually, truly, hearing music I have always loved (and new music as well) but in a new way, more fully, more naturally, the way it seemed to be meant to be heard. I remember one morning, just after the rig was set up, turning on a collection of Louis Armstrong Hot 5 and 7 recordings as I was making pancakes for my son in the kitchen nearby. I meant the music as background for Sunday breakfast, but I was drawn to the living room, arranged a chair about 10 feet center from the speakers and just listened, eyes closed, spatula still in hand, as the West End Blues washed over me with a power, a grit, a nuance, a humanity, I’d never felt before. When I opened my eyes, at the end of the tune, my son was sitting next to me, also captivated, immersed – blown away.
We had experiences like this all through winter, and experiences that were amazing in different ways, too. One night, my best friend from childhood and his wife were visiting and noticed the Black Uhuru record Red on the shelf. She put it on, and I turned it up, we poured some wine and sat down to listen. All of us are hardcore reggae fans, and all of us have heard this record many, many times, but none of us were prepared for the force with which it hit us, in our heads and our hearts, with the clarity and also the depth of the music, the balance of the bass against the voices, the feeling of the instruments clashing and harmonizing – again, the humanity.
This experience has occurred over and over, over the past months I’ve listened to these speakers. Music I know sounds better, sounds true; music I don’t sounds intriguing in ways I never imagined. I hear instruments or vocal lines that I wasn’t ever aware of, entire soundscapes materialize out of sonic muck. I’ve listened to a lot of great speakers over the years, and owned many pairs, but truly, I’ve never experienced the sonic revelations of these Fleetwood Devilles. Also, truly, they are beautiful, so if your spouse ain’t digging the audiophile bachelor pad vibe, these things are sculptural designs. Right now, as I write this, I’m listening to the new stereo version of the Tone Poet reissue of Coltrane’s Blue Train. It’s a record we all know, almost to the point of it sounding cliché, right? No! Listening on these DeVille’s I can tell you that the rhythm section – Kenny Drew, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones – sounds even more incredible than you ever imagined, like being in the room with these guys as they drive and react to the force of the horns – Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller – and holy shit, this record was made 65 years ago but unless you were in the room, you have never ever heard it like this. And don’t get me started on the Beach Boys’ Holland…
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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7,354
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Beverly Hills, CA
Dear Jason,

Welcome to WBF!

Thank you very much for posting this beautifully-written and impassioned report! The way in which these speakers uniquely connect you emotionally to the music you love comes through loud and clear!

It is likely that even deeper emotional connections lie ahead as you upgrade your components around these speakers!
 

beaur

Fleetwood Sound
Oct 12, 2011
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Brooklyn
Jason,

‘Welcome to the group. Hope to see more about your system and especially the music you enjoy.

BEAU
 

Jonathan Weiss

CEO Fleetwood Sound
Aug 17, 2022
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Jason is a very modest guy. He was Editor in Chief of Rolling Stone for many years, recently released an absolute must watch feature film on Brian Wilson- Brian Wilson-Long Promised Road. Jason is now Director of Content Development for Rolling Stone, and is making TV series on Reggae, and much more. It's really good to have him here.

Jonathan
 

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