520 Flavors and Counting
"We are your one-stop shop for cables and tweaks," proclaimed Joseph Cohen of The Lotus Group, while leading me through two rooms filled products. Even the new products took up two pages of notes. Through it all, I remained extremely jealous of legendary mastering engineer Steve Hoffman, who had settled onto a couch in front of the fabulous Feastrex $55,000/pair speakers, and was blissfully tapping his foot to the extremely realistic, full-range sound of a jazz combo playing back on a A Feastrex modified EMT studio type CD player with outboard line transformer.
Not to say that the tweaks weren't fascinating. But after two days of exploring cables and tweaks while music ranging from the sublime (as in this room) to the godawful was blaring in the background, I was longing to join Steve in grooving with the music.
Joe, meanwhile, was getting his kicks showing off the high-priced Audio Replas line from Japan. "This company is pretty much over the top in everything they do," he uttered while showing me the company's 4 lb metal housing for outlets. Said to achieve ultimate vibration isolation, they cost $850 retail, which could set up quite a reverberation all its own. Audio Replas' copper-alloy outlet holder will set you back an additional $1450.
A company named fo.Q (I know, I know...) offers a host of far more reasonably priced damping materials that can be used for earphones, headphones, cellular phones, components, speaker cables, etc. $27.50 is a price for one of the items. There's even a turntable mat. Of course, if you want something state-of-the-art, do check out Audio Replas' 4m thick quartz turntable mat and matching record weight. Although costing over $6000, Joe reports that they are especially effective on acrylic plattersheads up, Mikey Fremerand "completely transformative on the SME-20."
Joe's own company, PranaWire, has a new 4-gauge power cable for $3750. Everything is hand-made. Given some very positive recommendations from people I trust, I've been eager to try some PranaWire in my system for some time.
Oyaide's Tunami GPX-R uses beryllium copper that is platinum/palladium-plated. They also have a new Focus 1, 110 ohm XLR connector that features a bayonet release. The AR-910, made from 5Ns silver, costs $800.
Acoustic Revive has also improved its RD-3 CD demagnetizer. The company's RL-30 MK III LP demagnetizer features negative ion technology.
I hope I've got this all straight, which is not what I can say about the state of my mind at the end of a very long CES day. Joe Cohen is a fabulous guy with music in his heart. Although not all of his latest products are yet on display on his website, do check out www.lotusgroupusa.com.