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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wasn't she just in the background of John and Stephen's picture? We posed her next to the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet's Spin and she really lit up. It's an impressive sounding SACD—and the group is playing at HE2006 tomorrow. Did I mention the concert was free?
California manufacturer Channel Islands Audio brought two new products to the show: the $895 PLC•1 passive preamp with remote and the $4,500/pr D•400 class-D power amps. Also in the room were the Von Schweikert Audio VR-5SE speakers ($18-22k depending on finish). Sound in the modest hotel room was surprisingly spacious and well-balanced. Left to right in the photo: Albert Von Schweikert, CIA's Dusty Vawter and Greg Schug.
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?"