Marten Design’s Getz loudspeakers made good sound within an all-ModWright system: KWA 150 Signature Edition monoblocks, LS 36.5 tubed line stage, and modified Oppo BDP-95 disc player. Everything was supported by Stillpoints feet, and cables were provided by Dynamic Design. I noted a smooth, solid overall sound, with a stable soundstagevery easy to listen to and enjoy.
There was a continual program of live music at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach, to allow Showgoers to recalibrate their ears. A quintet led by trumpet player William Artope Jr, son of Bill Artope, the Sales & Marketing Director for cable manufacturer Dynamic Design AV, played some excellent straight-ahead modern jazz poolside at the Atrium Hotel.
Closing the live program Sunday at the Atrium Hotel was a concert by Audra Lee, daughter of the LA&OC Audio Society's Bob Levi. Leading a rocking trio, with a woman drummer, Audra belted her way through rock standards, including Huey Lewis's "The Power of Love." You can get a free download of Audra's single "I'm All In" here. Audra's debut album will be available in July from iTunes.
Oh, did I love the sound in this room. When I initially entered, Sunil Merchant, aka Sunny of Sunny Componentsone of three Sunny's displaying at the show, but the only one with four roomswas playing a so-called jazz LP that, for worse rather than better, whisked me back to the time that my very nuclear and highly combustible family of three joined my Uncle Herman and Auntie Anna at a resort in the Catskills. The music was so late 1950s that I could almost hear the women at the card table as they commenced yet one more round of canasta.
As fate would have it, on my third attempt to enter the Venice Audio Suiteintense conversation made the other passes futileMark Waldrep of AIX Records/iTrax had brought in some of his hi-res files for store proprietor Peter Selesnick to hear. The room was quiet, and for good reason: the sound was too beautiful to talk over.
As familiar as I am with Eficion's flagship F300 three-way loudspeaker, which I discussed earlier I've spent little time with its smaller brother, the F250 ($10,000/pair). The wonderful sound in this room made me regret our late acquaintance. Although not ideal for my large listening room, the 3-way vented Eficion F250 with an Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter has found its made-in-heaven complement in Z-Infinity Audio electronics.
Although I had a bit of a tough time navigating some of the halls, especially at the more meandering Atrium, signage at T.H.E. Show Newport was pretty good overall. You wouldn’t find audiophiles accidentally turning up at the Whitacker Wellness Institute.
More than Carol Clark's smiles were flowing in the Positive Feedback Online Hospitality Suite on the third floor. You could smell the spirits in the entryway, even before you got close enough to feel the positive spirit. I wish I could have stayed more than 90 seconds. But I doubt you would have gotten many more blogs out of this very light drinker if I had.
I was pleased to meet Home Theater’s Kim Wilson. If Kim’s not reviewing A/V receivers and preamp/processors, she might be taking lovely photographs of musical instruments, landscapes, city scenes, architecture, and more. During T.H.E. Show Newport, Kim had a small booth near the Atrium poolnot a bad way to spend a sunny weekend. You can see more of her work here.
Jason Smith of Babyjdrums Classic Vinyl and Audio had tons of classical LPs for sale, almost all in pristine condition (many were even sealed), and at bargain basement prices. Smith also sells hi-fi out of his home; his brands include PTE, Musical Surroundings, Denon, Soundsmith, and Synergistic Research. And he’s a drummer, on tour this summer with the Albert Lee Band.
Audio Note’s Dave Cope was unusually glum: The E/SPe HE loudspeakers ($9650/pair; seen in a lovely Russian birch plywood) are designed to be positioned in the corners of a room, but doing so here, in the small Atrium suite, meant that they’d be tucked beneath a strange overhang that seemed to rob the speakers of their charm. The effect, however, was largely music-dependent and I nevertheless heard glimpses of Audio Note’s characteristic drama, tone color, and texture, albeit on a smaller scale. I have no reason to believe that this impressive system wouldn’t sound wonderful under better conditions.
John Atkinson reported on B.M.C.’s new Arcadia loudspeaker ($36,300/pair) from January’s CES. But B.M.C.’s Carlos Candeias has already upgraded his design with SpeakON connectors between the outboard crossovers and the speaker cabinets, improved internal wiring, and a revised magnet construction in the midrange drivers. In addition, the speaker’s spikes now screw directly into the speaker’s base for better grounding. The changes come at no additional cost. “We improved the model, but that doesn’t always mean you have to raise the price,” said Candeias.
John Atkinson reported on Don Keele’s unusual constant-directivity CBT36 loudspeaker from last year’s Rocky Mountain Audiofest. At T.H.E. Show Newport, Keele and Marshall Kay, president of Audio Artistry, purposefully created an “economy system” (an iPad running Media Monkey, Benchmark DAC1, Crown preamp, ATI amplifier, Behringer DSP processor) to show how well the speaker could perform under sub-optimal conditions.