Snatching my prize for best sound on the third floor, the world premiere of the new Wells Audio Innamorata Signature amplifier ($13,000), enhanced by the new crystal technology in Jack Bybee's A/V Signal Enhancers ($119.95) and Bybee Technologies power cables ($1500), blew me away. Whoever expected, on Reference Recordings' new Kansas City Symphony recording of the suite from Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges, such impeccably detailed, superbly controlled full-range sound in such a small room?
Sundays customarily draw a smaller attendance at shows, but CAS's Sunday across from San Francisco International Airport was especially slow until, surprisingly, things speeded up shortly before the runway was in sight. Either lots of audiophiles spend their Sunday mornings in church, or they're too occupied with family, brunch with friends, or hangovers to get a move on before noon. Happily, things were not at all slow in the room shared by Burwell & Sons and Raven Audio . . .
Mincing no words, Audioengine's Brady Bargenquast declared, "Bluetooth usually sounds like cat shit. Therefore, when we designed our wireless B1 Premium Bluetooth music receiver ($189), which just started shipping last week, we did four things to ensure good sound quality and satisfactory listening . . .
In the beginning, there was . . . No, this is not a Bible study course, but I do wish to pave the way (with gold, I wish) to the Genesis Advanced Technologies room hosted by Gary and Carolyn Koh and Joe Pittman. Mostly exhibiting Genesis products, the system was headlined by the hardly small Genesis G2 Juniors ($85,000/pair), driven by Genesis GR1440 monoblocks ($22,000/pair), unheard Genesis Muse Server/DAC ($12,000), Genesis SMC-1 preamp (prototype model$18,000) with Absolute Fidelity Balanced Interface ($5500 for 6 meters), Genesis phono preamp ($12,000), Genesis cabling, and a prototype Genesis Foundation Equipment Stand ($12,000).
As soon as I entered the room sponsored by Loggie Audio of Redwood City, CA, the system's superior air, depth, and resolution were immediately apparent. The reason: YG Acoustics "Hailey" loudspeakers ($42,800/pair), Bryston 28B SST-2 1000Wpc monoblocks ($19,200/pair), Esoteric K-01 SACD player ($20,000), Audio Reference Technology "Analyst" cabling and power conditioning, and Harmonic Resolution Systems SXR stands and platforms. Oh, and a large room that gave the system more than enough space to expand and breathe.
On the evening before the California Audio Show opened, as I gazed at San Francisco International Airport and the beautiful stretch of San Francisco Bay directly in front of the Westin SFO, I thought to myself, "This area is already accustomed to a lot of high-decibel booming and shrieking. But I wonder if it's ready for the sounds that CAS has in store?"
The answer came in the form of what appeared to be a very healthy attendance for Day 1 of the show, and some of the finest sound I've ever heard at an audio show. (The California Audio Show runs through Sunday August 17.)
The 5th annual California Audio Show takes place August 1517 in the four-star Westin SFO hotel in Millbrae, CA. Easily accessible via the freeway or BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), this smaller-scaled show showcases rarely encountered big speakers from Dynaudio, Genesis, JBL, and Sound Labs.