NY Audio & AV 2012

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 19, 2012 9 comments
Prior to the onset of the Chester Group’s New York Audio & AV Show, there had been some controversy in regards to big-time local dealers Stereo Exchange and Lyric hosting their own events the weekend of the show. These events brought in big brands such as Totem, McIntosh, B&W, and Audio Research, who would be presenting exclusively at their stores. Would these dealer events keep participants away from the New York Audio & AV Show? How would these coinciding events affect one another? Were these signs that the show organizers had not done the work necessary to motivate exhibitors to participate in the New York show?

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 18, 2012 Published: Apr 19, 2012 1 comments
Long lines flooded out of the MBL room on the 18th Floor of the Waldorf=Astoria all weekend long, so I arrived at 9:30am on Sunday morning to see if I could get a good listen to the MBL system by myself. Upon arrival, MBL North America’s representative, Jeremy Bryan, was still setting up his smaller speakers, the mbl 120 Radialstrahler ($21,400/pair, without stands) along with their mbl C21 stereo power amplifier ($9200), mbl C11 preamplifier ($8,800), and mbl C31 CD player ($9,200), all members of their Corona line of electronics.

I sat to the side of the room while Bryan finished his set-up, centered in his listening position, tilting his head back and forth. After the first ten seconds of four to five different demo tracks, Jeremy blurted, “Alright! I think we’re set. Come sit down.”

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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 18, 2012 Published: Apr 19, 2012 0 comments
The MBL room was the last room I visited at the NY Audio & AV Show. I sat down in the sweet spot, on the couch midway between the MBL 101E Mk.2 "radialstrahler" speakers, each driven by a 9011 monoblock; Jeremy Bryan cued up a hi-rez file of Peter Gabriel singing "Wallflower," from his New Blood album; and OMG. This was true virtual reality! Then Jeremy explained what he had to do to tame the room's acoustics—see Ariel Bitran's blog following this one. All I can say is that it was worth the effort!
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
The passive Music First Baby Reference Preamp ($7900)
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
Manhattan retailer Innovative Audio had two rooms at the Show, one active, featuring Wilson Sasha speakers driven by VTL amplification and a dCS digital front-end, the other passive, featuring displays of equipment from companies handled by Innovative, like Dynaudio, Meridian, and, as can be seen in the photo, Dan D'Agostino. Dan, resting his elbow on a Wilson Duette speaker, which will be reviewed in our June issue, took showgoers through the design of his jewel-like Momentum monoblock power amplifier ($50,000/pair), as well as the new stereo amplifier derived from it and the Dan D'Agostino preamplifier, to be launched at next month's Munich Show. One of the joys of high-end audio shows is the accessibility audiophiles can enjoy to superstar engineers like Dan.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 16, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
Audio Shows give industry professionals the chance to check out products they have read about in magazines. Here, Wilson's Peter McGrath (right) talks to Bricasti's Brian Zolner (The "Bri" in Bricasti) about the latter's M1 D/A processor that so impressed me in the February issue. Feeding data to the M1 was Rega's super- sexy Apollo CD player, which Sam Tellig will be reviewing in the July issue of Stereophile.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 18, 2012 3 comments
High Water Sound, the New York City-based retailer and distributor, created one of my favorite demonstrations at the show, as much for proprietor Jeffrey Catalano's choice of music—Gabor Szabo's instrumental version of Donovan's "Three King Fishers" was playing when I came in—as for the exotic and unassailably musical system on display: TW Acustic Raven Black Night turntable ($40,000) and 10.5 tonearm ($5500), Tron Seven GT line-level preamp and phono preamp ($18,000 each), Tron Telstar 211 SET amplifier ($40,000), and the striking Affascinate loudspeaker ($62,000) from Cessaro Horn Acoustics, the latter using an 11" woofer in a back-loaded horn, a proprietary compression driver for the spherical midrange horn, and a modified horn-loaded TAD beryllium tweeter. The sound was tactile, impactful, and thoroughly involving on every recording I heard.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 16, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
I got to know Steve, head of VAS Audio over in New Jersey, after he picked up the Cayin SP-10a that Bob Reina reviewed in our April 2012 issue from the Stereophile Manhattan office. Steve invited me to the back of the VPI/VAS Audio Room to share a cocktail and a cookie where we discussed the hi-fi show business and our audiophile neighbors in Brooklyn and New Jersey. Steve's original home, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, places him in close proximity to some Stereophile staff, past and present, and his co-exhibitor VPI, led by the Weisfeld family, lives next door to him in Jersey. Hi-fi, like cookies, is more fun when shared with neighbors.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 18, 2012 3 comments
As well as providing the sound for the seminar room, which was where a recorded music concert, titled "Euphoria at the Waldorf," was presented Friday and Saturday evenings, The Tweak Studio's exhibit room also featured components from the premium German manufacturer Burmester: a pair of 380 Mk.2 speakers driven by a 911 power amplifier and an 088 preamp. Source was a Walker turntable and arm fitted with a Soundsmith Sussuro Hyperion cartridge. There was much to admire in this system's reproduction of Louis Armstrong singing "St. James Infirmary," but as was the case with so many of the rooms at the Waldorf, the presentation was marred by over-ripe room acoustics.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 16, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 3 comments
The relaxed and crystal-clear sound of the Legacy Whisper XDs tempted my entire CD collection, but I knew what I really wanted to hear: Phish’s Lawn Boy. Both Page McConnel’s and Trey Anastasio’s nuanced phrasing and John Fishman’s tasteful drumming would shimmer in the clean layout projected by these speakers. Legacy’s Bill Duddleston put on my CD. An audiophile in front of me turns around...
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 18, 2012 2 comments
Ayon's S3 Streamer ($8800) combines a DAC with a tubed preamp stage.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 18, 2012 0 comments
The "Ask the Editors" sessions at the NY Audio & AV Show attracted enthusiastic, informed, and engaged audiences.
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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 18, 2012 1 comments
Ask the Editors, Round Two on day three of the New York Audio & AV show was decidedly more laid back than Ask the Editors, Round One possibly because there were less panelists clamoring over a single microphone. In fact, I’m not even sure if the microphone was used this time around, since everyone could hear each other clearly in the room.

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Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2012 Published: Apr 18, 2012 1 comments
The open and relaxed feel of the orchestral music immediately impressed me upon entry to the Wes Bender Studio room. One showgoer played his demo track of Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, and immediately again, I was overwhelmed by the size these speakers could create yet how relaxed the remained. Music flowed from their pores (and drivers).

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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 18, 2012 4 comments
The dipolar Gradient speakers from Finland being demmed in the SimpliFi suite had an advantage over conventional speakers at the NY Show, in that they better coped with the Waldorf=Astoria's often-problematic room acoustics. Partnered with Bladelius electronics and DNM cabling, the Revolution speakers (right) were paired with the matching Radiant subwoofer (center), which features two 12" drivers to produce uncolored, full-range low frequencies. Stephen Mejias was sufficiently impressed to look up from his notebook. The white speaker is Gradient's Helsinki 1.5, which Art Dudley reviewed in August 2010

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