Surrounded By TAD Speakers
As regular magazine readers may know, I have not succumbed to the blandishments of surround-sound in my own listening room. But I still look at Shows for that convincingly magic experience. Listening to Ray Kimber's four-channel Isomike recordings in his 35th-floor room at the Venetian was indeed magic, though that was due in large part to his DSD-encoded masters capturing the appropriate spatial information. But across the hall, TAD was showing off a surround system comprising five of its Reference One speakers ($60,000/pair), driven by Pass Labs amps with a variety of commercial recordings, from two-channel to multichannel on SACD.
TAD/Pioneer speaker designer Andrew Jones (above) had told me while I was measuring the Pioneer S-1EX speaker just after Thanksgiving for our March issue's feature review that he was planning to demonstrate hi-rez multichannel sound, without video, on Blu-ray disc at CES. Unfortunately, mastering problems prevented that from being possible, but the sound from multichannel SACD, was still superb, if not quite as convincing as Ray Kimber's recordings.
It wasn't being played when I was in the TAD room, but the open-reel recorder you can see in Jon Iverson's photo is an old Technics RS 1800. According to Ultimate AV editor Tom Norton in his CES Report, a company called The Tape Project plans to issue prerecorded analog tapes in 15ips, half-track, two-channel format. They will also sell refurbished Technics decks (estimated price about $8500).