Herman van den Dungen and Marcel Croese, the duo responsible for the Prima Luna line of tube electronics, have introduced a new line of "Good Looking and Good Sounding" solid-state equipment under the HeDo moniker. As with the Prima Luna gear, the prices are very reasonable: $1395 for the HeDo One 80Wpc integrated amplifier, $1795 for the HeDo Two $200Wpc integrated, $1245 for the HeDo Three preamp, and $1495 for the HeDo Four power amp (the power is not listed on the preliminary literature sheet; I assume it's 200Wpc or a bit more). The four components are pictured here in distributor Kevin Deal's room at the Venetian. The frog is an optional extra.
Although Allen Perkins' Spiral Groove has until now focused exclusively on analog products, the company has taken a big step into the digital domain by announcing the forthcoming Spiral Groove DP1 line stage preamp and 24/96 DAC. Projected to become available in four months, the DPI is so new that it has yet to be priced.
In the Loiminchay room, I listened to the standmounted Degas loudspeakers (starting at $15,000/pair). Designer Patrick Chu was a painter before he starting building loudspeakers, and finds inspiration in his favorite artists. He named his smallest loudspeaker after the French Impressionist whose paintings, Chu says, are "romantic and musical." Other Loiminchay speakers include the $35,000 Chagall and top-of-the-line $45,500 Kandinsky.
Franc Kuzma was showing a fascinating tonearm, the $7300–7500 4Point, named because it has unique vertical and horizontal bearings. Kuzma said, "It's like a unipivot tonearm that can't 'chatter' in the horizontal plane."
Poor Kevin Halverson! Since Hesiod only named nine muses in Theogony, Kevin has had to double up as Muse's line of players has increased. The Erato II is available as a transport ($5300) or one-box CD/DVD/DVD-A player ("up to" $7300).
"Basically, what we're offering is some fun for a rainy Sunday afternoon," said Upscale Audio's Kevin Deal, who had two replacement I/V op-amp upgrades for the $2499 Prima Luna ProLogue Eight CD player. Both are ready to just pop in as replacements for the Eight's existing board. The Basic ("around" $150) has open slots for bypass capacitors and a heavy-duty PS. The Super ("around" $225) already has surface-mount caps and the HD PS installed.
Totem was showing their special anniversary model, The One ($3595). Along with Naim electronics, the sound created was powerful, fast, and fun. We listened to "How I Love That Woman," a soaring instrumental by Bob Brozeman.
As usual, Totem did a wonderful job of transforming their booth to provide a fun and distinct listening environment. The company was also playing their Tribe wall-mount, which provided a surprisingly robust sound.
It was late. I was exhausted. After a delicious dinner, I stopped at the Venetian with the intention of picking up my laptop, camera, and other heavy things before returning to my hotel room and passing out. When I reached the 29th floor, however, I ran into Richard Vandersteen and his family. They were also coming from a dinner, also looking exhausted.