I was listening to Barque & Consonance's Opera Audio Consonance M-15 loudspeakers when Lino Faragi introduced himself. "I'm that crazy European guy who opened up a hi-fi shop in China—the first non-Asian to do high-end here," he said, handing me a card for Sound & Vision in Shanghai. "We do things a little differently. Come see us."
Classic Radio's JR-455 was giving me goosebumps. Tube warmth and precise analog tuning pulled in some of the most satisfying sound of the show. I didn't get the list price on this baby, but I did get a look at its naughty bits.
These behemoths from Jungson have no English name, although they do have a US price: $49,000/pair. The bottom cabinet sports a 13" woofer and the top pod has a 4" ribbon tweeter. The midrange and midrange/woofer drivers are ceramic drivers from the German manufacturer Thiel, but nobody knew their sizes.
Ming Da's MC66E headphone amp really juiced my lizard. It boasts a 15Hz–50kHz frequency response and put out 42Wpc (92dB), using two 6N6 and one 12AX7 tubes. Not available in the US, it sells for 1760RMB, or about $210 USD.
Original was getting great sound with its $3000 Leonardo CD-A9II CD player and AF 2008 preamp and AF-2008 monoblock power amps ($4500 for all three), played through Dynaudio Contour S 1.4s. But off to one side was a smaller CD player that caught my attention, the $800 CD-A6T. That's "T" as in tubes—you can see the little suckers up in the upper right hand corner of the PCB.
While I was drooling over the Classic No. 16.0, its equally charming designer, Mr. Jimmy Yu introduced himself to me. He seemed pleased that other people appreciated his work—and from the size of the crowd ooowing and ahhhing in the Classic room, I was far from the only one who did.
Show organizer Matthew Zhou is what we call an audio lifer. He wrote for hi-fi magazines for three years, penned a newspaper column on the high end for three years, has put on this show for 13 years, and has hosted a three-hour Sunday radio show on music, hi-fi, and sound for 16 years.
K. E. Lee's $8000/pair Calix Academy Jr. Phoenix loudspeakers are far smaller than the Phoenix Grand Signatures Paul Bolin reviewed, but tiny they ain't. Still, they looked a lot more manageable than those behemoths, which I helped JA wrestle into their shipping crates.
I'm a lummox of an American and I have to admit I get confused when dealing with multiple currencies. On this trip, I've been juggling USD, HK dollars, and RMB—and that really makes the going rough. So when I asked Peter Chang how much this Audio Art Jasmine Model 3A integrated amplifier (9Wpc) would cost in the US, I was sure he'd gotten confused too, when he said $42,000.
I walked into Usher's room, where the $8000 (USD) Dancer II Beryllium held pride of place. I thought the sound was a little small and every so slightly forced, but I loved the rhythmic tautness and drive. "Not the best sound I've heard today," I thought, "but not too shabby."