Although a fair number of woman are now appearing audiophile shows, both as exhibitors and attendees, rare is the woman who attends without her partner/spouse/significant other. Meet Sheri Morgenroth, who founded the Houston Audio Society eight years ago. Currently an engineer by day, and married to a man who cares not about our hobby/passion/obsession, Sheri was fascinated by records at a very early age.
This diminutive floorstander was one of my best sounds at April’s New York Show, and the same speakers at the Newport Beach Show sounded equally fine, driven again by Pass Labs electronics via Kimber Kables, despite the air-walled ballroom in which they were set-up: a huge, superbly defined soundstage, uncolored mids that worked magic on vocals and on Cookie Marenco’s solo violin recording (see next story), and overall a somewhat sweet balance. I am working on a review of this speaker, to be published in the fall.
Duplicating the system that had me enthralled at AXPONA 2012 with its clear, warm, and deliciously color-saturated sonic canvas, Peter Ledermann of Soundsmith was showing four cartridges at THE Show. Chief among them was the still-new Sussuro Hyperion OCL ($7000) with its cactus spine CL assembly. Available in an OCL diamond profile for the same price, this baby comes with a 10-year warranty including diamond retipping. Nearby were the Sussurro ($4500) and Sussurro Paua ($3500).
Bless Len Miller of Soundstring Cable Technologies for providing me with a solid presentation of John Travolta's "Stayin' Alive." As my pace increased as I attempted to cover four floors in three days, this music became a mantra of sorts.
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.’
"Let me turn off the Tranquility Bases and you'll hear what I am talking about," said Synergistic Research's Ted Denney.
I sighed inside. Ted had been subjecting me to the improvement on room acoustics wrought by his ART Acoustic bowls for the past few years and despite my skepticism, I kept hearing that improvement. Now he was talking about his series of Tranquility Bases. Ranging in price from $995 to $2995, these powered platforms have a ground plane and generate beneficial electromagnetic fields that are said to condition the signals passing through the components sitting on them and drain away the bad fields to ground. Yeah, right!
"Bigger, bigger, bigger...more, more, more!" That's how Richard Beers, President of The Home Entertainment Show Newport Beach, aka T.H.E. Show Newport Beach, describes the second installment of what he and co-conspirator Bob Levi, President of the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society (LA&OC Audio Society), wryly call "An Audio Tradition...Since Last Year."
Scheduled for Friday June 1Sunday June 3 in sunny Orange County, California's red state within a blue state, the second annual T.H.E. Show Newport Beach has already expanded from the Hilton Hotel, right across the street from the John Wayne/Orange County Airport, to the adjacent Atrium Hotel. Just shy of 300 exhibitors are expected to fill 80 hotel rooms and 15 huge exhibit rooms in the Hilton, 10 or 12 booths in the Hilton "Marketplace," and another 3540 hotel rooms and 15 huge exhibit rooms in the Atrium.
TAD premiered its new E1 floorstander ($29,800/pair) at the 2012 CES in January, but THE Show Newport Beach was the new speaker's first public outing. Trickling down the technology from TAD's massive Reference One (now being used for monitoring at London's famed AIR Studio) and Compact Reference CR 1, the E1 still uses a coaxial drive-unit with a beryllium-dome tweeter for the treble and midrange, but with the midrange cone now magnesium rather than beryllium.
Eric Hudgins' Tailored Technologies of Santa Clara, CA somehow packed a lot of equipment and sound into a small space. Audreal's PA-80 class-A amplifier ($5995), XA-3200 preamplifier ($1899), and LP-2 phono stage ($1295) were brightening up the room with the SoTM DAC 200HD ($2200) and server ($2200) and the new version of Volent VL-3 Mk.II loudspeakers ($11,000). The turntable was the Clearaudio Ovation ($5500) with MC cartridge ($800).
I had not heard the 300W Technical Brain monoblocks ($90,000/pair) before, but driving the TAD CR1 speakers that I very positively reviewed last January ($40,600/pair with stands), they produced a sound from the Reference Recordings Nojima performance of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz that offered superb scale yet with equally superb microdynamics. The amplifier is said to run in class-A up to 120W and has "no resistors in the signal path"! Source was the Ratoc D/A converter (currently only available in Japan) fed data by a MacBook Air, preamp was also Technical Brain ($57,000) and cables were all TB designer Kurosawa-san's own. The system was powered by the Audience aR12-TS power conditioner.
As Jason Victor Serinus mentioned last week, T.H.E. Show Newport Beach is now being held at two hotelsthe larger Hilton (T.H.E. Show Newport West) and the Atrium (T.H.E. Show Newport East), shown here.
This bijoux little asynchronous USB DAC ($249), which uses an ESS Sabre DAC and Gordon Rankin's Streamlength code, made its public debut at Newport Beach. It was being demmed in one of retailer Optimal Enchantment's rooms with Audio Research amplification and Vandersteen Treo speakers. Add a PC or Mac, a 1m 3.5mmdual-RCA Evergreen cable from AudioQuest ($29) and you're in business.