Joseph Audio's Jeff Joseph didn't bring any new goodies to the show this year. He once again demonstrated the $2495/pair Insider. "I'm still trying to demonstrate how incredible an in-wall loudspeaker can sound—if it uses an infinite slope crossover, that is."
Paul McGowan's $2500 PS Audio Power Plant Premier is radically different from his earlier power regenerating products. "For one thing, it's 85% efficient, which means it runs cooler and uses less energy," McGowan explained. "It has 10 Power Port receptacles with Nano Crystalline filters. It's even remote controlled."
Pathos Acoustics has one of the uniquest design esthetics in audio. Paolo Anriolo and Giaani Borinato beamed with delight as Jon Iverson and I oohed and ahhed over the $8000 Endorphin CD player and $1950 InControl preamplifier.
Pathos products don't resemble anything else in the audio world, but the $35,000/pair 150W Adrenaline Class-A monoblock is stunning even in a room packed with other Pathos gear. It's a zero feedback design and it sounded even more stunning than it looked.
At the GamuT house, the first beauty that caught my eye was their new Phi3 loudspeaker dressed in drop-dead gorgeous zebra wood. "In Europe," said designer Lars Goller, "anything striped is really hot right now."
GamuT doesn't rent a display room at one of the hotels, instead they figure the best way to show off home loudspeakers is in a home. So they rent a palatial pad in the Las Vegas suburbs, invite us over for dinner (they fly in a Danish cook and assistant) and then we retire to the living room to check out the speakers and electronics.
VAS Audio's Sze Leung is the most consistently up audiophile we know—he's always raving about his latest listening session or discovery. "This one's incredible," he exclaimed, pointing to the 80Wpc Cayin H-80A Class-A tube hybrid integrated amplifier (approximately $4000)."
Zanden's Kazutoshi Yamada builds amplifiers like Medieval villages built cathedrals: To glorify the quintessence. Jon Iverson and I were lured into his room because his Model 9600s were so . . . shiny (hey, we're guys, we're not complicated). Then we heard 'em driving the Ascendo System Z-F3 loudspeakers. Wowsers.
Bel Canto's John Stronczer made a bold decision to demonstrate exclusively with a music server streaming Music Giants. He ran the output from his laptop to the $2495 e.One DAC3 digital-to-analog processor and then directly to a pair of e.One REF1000 1000W monoblocks ($1995 each).