And, for those who weren’t brave enough for Tornado Potato or Rolling Sushi, the Aura restaurant and bar proved the perfect place to see and be seen, to mingle, to catch up on business, or to simply enjoy food and drink.
The title may have veiled what this seminar was about, but there were some light moments during the two-hour Friday afternoon session that discussed "what to listen to and for in music." Pictured (left to right) are Tony Weber, 40-year industry veteran and Regional Sales Manager for Cary Audio; Tim Brisson, formerly of MIT cables; Bruce Brisson, who engineered the first purposefully built audio cable in 1981, which was marketed by Monster Cable; Paul Stubblebine, for 34 years a mastering engineer; and Cookie Marenco, a five-time Grammy nominee who is founder and producer/engineer for audiophile label Blue Coast Records.
T.H.E. Show Newport was also home to a car show and wine tasting, held each day in the Hilton Courtyard. I must have missed the wine, but I did see this awesome little guya BMW Isetta, I thinkfrom the collection of Upscale Audio’s Kevin Deal.
One of my favorite displays of T.H.E. Show Newport: Focal’s sleek XS Book multimedia speaker system ($399) was making big sound, playing music from a laptop (through plain-old iTunes, I think) and connected to Cambridge Audio’s smart DacMagic Plus ($599). My mind raced, counting all the friends who could use a system like this.
My very favorite gear of T.H.E. Show Newport was presented by Ross Blomgren of RJB Electronic Services. Blomgren specializes in the repair and restoration of antique jukeboxes, radios, and hi-fi, and the products he had on display were, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful to be found at the show.
Carlsbad dealer Audio Revelation put together a beautiful little system: Vivid Audio V1.5 loudspeakers ($7650), Luxman SQ-38u integrated amp ($5990), Wavelength Cosecant DAC ($3500), and Well Tempered Versalex turntable ($4400) with a Dynavector XX2 phono cartridge ($1950)all you need to make music.
First of all, I loved the way On A Higher Note’s Philip O’Hanlon coordinated his outfit with both his demo room and the Vivid B1 loudspeakersthe dude can rock a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, and slippers like nobody’s business. Second, it was awesome to hear O’Hanlon say, “Up next is a song by Destiny’s Child, with Beyonce, called ‘Bills, Bills, Bills.’
Stereophile's Stephen Mejias (left) is given the hard sell by the youngest audiophile at the Show, Shane Censullo. Shane was tireless throughout the weekend, handing out flyers on behalf of his father's company, Avatar Acoustics.
Time and time again, I’ve had the good fortune of running into VTL’s Luke Manley just as I arrive at a show. It’s always a pleasure to chat with Luke and just as fun to listen to music with him. While his room often represents my very first chance to listen at any show, the sound he and his partners create is one that stays with me for the duration. That was the case again here at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach.