Full disclosure: Denon holds a special place in my hi-fi heart, because the brand’s former parent company, Nippon Columbia, brought me to Japan for my first time, on a sort of mini–press junket cooked up by the firm’s U.S. marketing guru. When I say mini, I mean it: It was just myself; Ken, the marketing guy; colleague Ken Pohlmann; and the late consumer electronics editor Bill Wolfe, whom I already knew well through long associations at titles like Video, Car Stereo Review, and (Plain Ol’) Stereo Review (S&V’s precursor).
I don’t remember the official excuse for the trip—some digitalaudio development, no doubt— but in retrospect, I’m pretty sure it was Ken’s way of consuming his remaining marketing budget in congenial company. It was an epic trip: We endured an incredible 23-hour Boeing 747 incarceration (due to a polar turnaround for a medical emergency somewhere back in steerage), a major typhoon immediately after arrival, and some insanely inebriated, four-hour traditional Japanese dinners that left my folded legs nearly useless, followed by next-morning technical briefings at 7:30. There would be subsequent Japan trips, but none to equal the first.
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