Indeed, there were nice things from Sweden in the Sjofn HiFi room. I didn't get a taste of the snittar (Swedish finger sandwiches), but I was very impressed by the powerful bass and deep, wide soundstage created by the diminutive Guru loudspeakers. As Wes mentioned, the Gurus were designed with the room in mind, and are meant to be placed near room boundaries.
An enduring aspect of Audio Shows is the meeting up of old friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, who all share a sense of belonging to a single community. Shown here in a chance meeting at the Grand Hyatt's entrance are (l–r): veteran speaker designer Richard Vandersteen, tube amp manufacturer Mark O'Brien of Rogue Audio, and Stereophile's associate publisher Keith Pray.
As Robert Deutsch mentioned in his report from the 2007 Montreal Show, Ofra (left) and Eli (right) Gershman of Gershman Acoustics have been exhibitors at just about every audio/home theater show the past few years. As in Montreal, the Gershmans were demming their new Sonogram speaker at HE2007. More conventional in appearance than their flagship Black Swan, the Sonogram, photographed here by Larry Greenhill, is priced at a very competitive $2500/pair.
Omaha was showing this nifty little 10Wpc No.OD-300B integrated amplifier ($1400), which was driving Omaha's Omaha Speaker (price tbd). Do I need to say that the No.OD300B uses a pair of 300B tubes? The system sounded warm and spacious. 10Wpc may not sound like much, but the Omaha speaker seemed comfortably driven. Fit'n'finish were impressive.
Sure, now he’s smiling. But when Zvox Audio’s Tom Hannaher introduced their new model 425 all-in-one-box surround sound system at a press conference on the first day of the show, he was most distressed about the fact that while the prototype unit had worked fine before he brought it to the room that the press conference was in, in the press conference room it would not make a sound at all. I was going to suggest that he take it back to the original room to see if it worked there, but I restrained myself, thinking that he probably would not appreciate the humor in my suggestion. As it turned out, my facetious suggestion was more correct I realized. On the second day of the show, back in the original room, they plugged in the 425 prior to opening it up to see if they could see anything amiss —and, lo and behold, it worked perfectly. Gremlins, I guess. I had a listen to it myself, and found the sound surprisingly full and natural for a product of this type.
Outlaw Audio had a press conference, at which Peter Tribeman talked about all their new products in a way that effectively combined modesty with a not-inappropriate touch of blowing your own horn. He freely admitted that there are a number of companies making excellent speakers—naming several that he admired—but suggested that Outlaw Audio’s new speakers stand comparison with these industry standards. He said their aim was not to sell a boatload of speakers, but to use the best components and designs, tweaking the crossover of each speaker to produce true audiophile results. The speaker he’s holding up here is the prototype of their LCR ($700), which can function as a center-channel speaker in vertical or horizontal orientation, with switch-selected modification of the crossover, hence lobing pattern, to take into account orientation. All of Outlaw's speakers will be made in the USA.
If a long line at registration is an indication of a show’s success—and it’s certainly one indication—then Home Entertainment 2007, held this weekend at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan, could be pronounced a success by an hour after it was open to the public. The line was long enough that some people were grumbling—but their complaining stopped when they got in and had a chance see and hear all the neat stuff at the show. Exhibitors John Atkinson talked to at the end of the day seemed very happy with the turnout.
Proclaim Audioworks' Dan Herrington had a revelation one day while sitting in the smallest room of his house. "I was reading old JAES papers," he said, "when I read a measured analysis of speaker radiation patterns based on cabinet construction. A sphere was extraordinarily close to the perfect form, but then you had to deal with using multiple drivers."
Stereophile's traditional "Ask the Editors" session took place Saturday afternoon. A room packed with audiophiles hurled questions at the panel, who included (from left to right in Jonathan Scull’s photo): Ken Kessler, Michael Fremer, Bob Deutsch, Larry Greenhill, Wes Phillips (at rear), and Sam Tellig. (Not shown in photo but still very vocal were Bob Reina, Kal Rubinson, John Marks, and Art Dudley.) I dodged the bullet by moderating but I was well pleased by the insightful nature of the questions asked.