No, that's not a hearing aid growing out of Michael Fremer's pinna—he's the official HE2006 spokesperson, so he has to keep his phone on 24/7. HE says he hasn't heard any truly balanced stereo soundstaging yet, for some reason.
Onkyo teamed up with guitar manufacturer Takemine to produce a loudspeaker that sings like a musical instrument. Takemine's acoustic voicing technology, combined with Onkyo's innovation in driver design, made our LAGQ Spin sound vibrantly alive.
David Wilson remarked that he debuted the original Wilson WATT (Wilson Audio Tiny Transducer) almost 20 years ago to the day. Today, he showed us the WATT/Puppy 8 ($27,900/pair). Wilson, as always, a polished presenter, also noted that it was appropriate for him to give the new speaker its premier in a city noted for producing sequels, although he promised that, unlike Hollywood sequels, the WATT/Puppies have gotten better with each new chapter.
HE2006's official keynote address was delivered by Gary Sasaki, president of DIGDIA, a company that helps companies understand the ways that digital entertainment creates growth opportunities for savvy businesspeople.
There are two tiny omnidirection mics on that sweet little thing — Belkin's TuneTalk Stereo ($69.99) — displayed here by Jackie Romulo. You can record stuff directly onto your iPod and play it back later. So, if you're a student at a sleepy lecture or a hack reporter like me, you have an instant cheat sheet.
Also in the Belkin room, I had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Bruce Edgar who had furnished the room with his Edgarhorn Titan II loudspeakers ($16,000). Dr. Edgar is an experimental physicist. And also a mind reader. I sat beside him, facing the system with its outrageous array of silvery PureAV interconnects and speaker cables jutting out like all sorts of tentacles and arms and legs, thinking: "Any other cables would make this system look ugly," when Dr. Edgar said to me: "Any other cables would make this system look ugly, don't you think?"
After experiencing Shure's Push-to-Hear control switch, I was in a headphone kind of mood, so I walked on over to HeadRoom's aptly named Headphone Heaven. I imagine that this heavenly set-up will serve as a much-needed respite for many weary showgoers. I found smiling faces, comfy lounge chairs, happy flowers, and lots of sunshine. Everything in the room begged, "Try Me!"
I've never owned a set of headphones. Is that what they're called? Or should it be pair of headphones? Headphones? Earphones? I don't even know. I've stayed away from headphones for a couple of reasons: I don't like having things on my head or in my ears, and I actually do enjoy hearing the sounds around me — the banjos on the F train, the buses on Madison Avenue, the sirens around the corner, the construction in our hall. Oh, and the birdies chirping, too.