Remember the name: Salagar Sonics. It's the name of a new American speaker company, whose first product, the Salagar S210 ($7500/pair), still in prototype form, made a strong impression at HE 2007. It's an active two-way—digital crossover; the amp uses the latest B&O ICE module—with a Scanspeak AirCirc tweeter and a 10" Peerless VIFA mid-bass driver, in an unusually-shaped (and highly inert) enclosure. I thought these speakers sounded terrific: lively, low in coloration, and with excellent imaging.
Wandering around HE 2007 with my camera, I'm always watching for interesting-looking products to take pictures of. As soon as I caught a glimpse of the Scaena Iso-Linear Array speakers, I knew I had another subject. It’s available in several colors, including pewter/titanium (real metal), but, personally, I wouldn’t consider anything but the red that was on display. And it's not all just looks, either: this is a serious design, with multiple mid-tweeter modules and subwoofers with digitally controlled active bass management. The speaker is available in various heights, the price for the version shown at HE 2007 was $44,000/pair.
As you can see from Larry Greenhill's photo, Chord's RED Reference CD player ($28,500) is one sexy piece of kit. The gleaming metalwork, the sturdy clamshell clamp, its swooping lines—it's just gizmoidally drool-worthy.
That's pronounced sheeYEUfn (like that helps) and it's from Norse mythology—Sjöfn inspired passion through her singing. Guru Pro Audio head of R & D, Ingvar Öhman is clearly passionate about his loudspeaker, which he likened to "VWs that perform like Ferraris." The Gurus($1800/pair) are small, designed to be placed near the room boundaries, and were pretty impressive.
I never miss the John Atkinson Trio's performances. I like to watch my friends play music and it's a great chance to bond with my fellow audiophiles for an hour or so. But this year wasn't like other years—the boys just flat-out smoked! Allen Perkins of Immedia, already one of my favorite drummers, has been studying with Peter Erskine for a few years and he has burned away any clutter (not that there was much) and is now even more purely him than ever. Bob Reina's regular gigging with Attention Screen has focused his strengths and, I suspect, freed him from having to express everything he has to say every time out. He's playing freer, looser, and tighter than ever. And JA (photographed here by Bob Deutsch), I suspect he's been woodshedding. With editing Stereophile, producing records, and measuring every component we review, where does he find the time?
Larry Greenhill has already blogged about how good the Escalante Fremonts sounded in the Sound By Singer room Escalante shared with VTL. They did a disappearing act that would have done David Blaine proud. I was so impressed, I came back for a second visit and came away even more impressed—not just with the Fremonts, but with the VTL/dCS system that enabled them to sing like they did.
For Stereophile writers, a show like HE 2007 is not just an opportunity to find out about new audio equipment, but also to meet their colleagues and catch up on the latest industry gossip. Here, by the booth selling Stereophile CDs (including the new Attention Screen Live at Merkin Hall) we have (from left to right) Stereophileassistant editor and primary blogger Stephen Mejias, Home Theater techical editor Geoffrey Morrison, illustrator Jeff Wong (known to readers for his cartoons in the www.stereophile.com forums), editor John Atkinson, and senior contributing editor Wes Phillips. Jeff subsequently took my picture; I wonder if it’s to help him work on a cartoon...
The official closing time of HE 2007 was 5pm on Sunday. I was surprised to see, then, that there were some people registering even as late as three o'clock Sunday afternoon. Now, that's real devotion to the hobby!
At CES, the Vandersteen/Audio Research room always strikes me as being like an oasis—and not just because of the potted plants they have in the room. And so it was in the room sponsored by New Jersey dealer Audio Connection at HE 2007: music presented without hype or bombast, and simply relaxing to listen to. The speakers were the Vandersteen 5As ($16,900/pair +$5000 for carbon fiber cabinets), with Audio Research PH7 phono stage ($5995), CD7 CD player ($8995), Reference 3 line-stage preamp ($9995), and Reference 110 amplifier ($9995). The analog front end was the Clearaudio Anniversary TT and Stradivari cartridge, with a Graham Phantom tonearm. Cables were Audioquest William E. Low Signature interconnect and Everest speaker cable.
Verity Audio had Nagra's CDP CD Player ($13,495) driving its P-LP line stage ($11,495) and pyramidal PMA mono amplifiers ($10,995/pr)—all connected with Silversmith Audio Palladium interconnects ("starting at $4000/pair). At the other end was a pair of Parsifal Ovation loudspeakers ($19,495/pair).
There were a lot of turntables, and a lot of vinyl at the show, not just on demo, but for sale as well. LP vendors like Acoustic Sounds and Music Direct were doing brisk business in their booths in the Ballroom.