T.H.E. Show Newport 2012

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John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
The AVM electronics were being used to bi-amp the midrange and treble units of the enormous Legacy Helix speakers ($48,000/pair), which use 750W ICE-powered 15" subwoofers and a digital-domain crossover with room correction, like its smaller and less expensive cousin, the Whisper XD. The big speakers lack the Whisper's unique cardioid woofers, however. The classic Radka Toneef performance of Jimmy Webb's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" sounded suitably delicate, but the bass on Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" sounded ponderous, due, I think, to the sub-optimal acoustics of the air-wall ballroom.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 08, 2012 1 comments
This gentleman found bliss while listening to an all-Mac system: McIntosh MA6600 integrated amplifier, MCD301 SACD/CD player, and MR50 loudspeakers.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
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.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
An editor’s job isn’t always light and easy, but not every moment during Saturday’s hour-long panel (repeated on Sunday) was. Yours truly, who could only stay long enough to snap a few photos, listened closely as John Atkinson spoke about what he wants and does not want from his equipment reviewers. Pictured, left to right: Dave Clark and David Robinson, Positive Feedback Online; JA and Michael Fremer, Stereophile; Robert Harley, Paul Seydor, and Neil Gader, The Absolute Sound.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
They say Shane Censullo is 12 years old, but I suspect he’s closer to 35 or so. I snapped this photograph just after handing him all the money in my pocket.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 08, 2012 2 comments
AnalogPlanet’s Mikey Fremer has already mentioned that vinyl was HUGE at T.H.E. Show Newport. And, for once, he’s not exaggerating:
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
Not a high-tech accordion being held by Wisdom Audio’s Jon Herron in retailer Digital Ear’s room, but one of the four magnetic planar modules used in each LS4 floor-standing on-wall speaker ($80,000/pair) seen in the background. The module’s central strip handles frequencies above 750Hz; the side panels cover the range from 80Hz to 750Hz. “So much magnetic energy driving so little mass” explained Herron, results in high sensitivity and very high power handling despite the fact that the backwave from the diaphragm is absorbed rather than allowing it to reinforce the frontal radiation as with a conventional panel speaker.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
. . .is a $4295 D/A integrated amplifier with a tubed line stage and solid-state output stage that offers 440Wpc into 8 ohms and 650Wpc into 4 ohms. Hooked up with Straightwire cable to a pair of Dynaudio Confidence C1 speakers and fed by a MacBook in the fourth of the Sunny’s Audio rooms, this system rocked hard on a surprisingly successful reggae treatment of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” (I am always amazed by the new music I discover at shows, thanks to the perverse taste of exhibitors!)
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
The German AVM company has been around for a long time, but its products are new to the USA. AVM's Udo Besser was instrumental in bringing Burmester products to the US and now intends to do the same for AVM. Shown in my photo is the PA8 modular preamp (starting at $10,000), which can have various options, including a tubed output stage, added. Also on show was the ML8 Music Library, which has either 2TB of hard-drive storage or 600GB of solid-state storage, the CD8 CD player, and the 450Wpc SA8 amplifier.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
RSL, the reincarnation of California speaker manufacturer Rogersound Labs, was showing its economical CG stereo system ($1250 with free shipping, stands optional). The system was making bearable a 24/96 file of Diana Krall singing “S’Wonderful.” Usually this particular selection has me crawling out of my skin. No mean feat that it didn’t this time. The system includes a single subwoofer that was hidden behind me. The good news is that the speaker system comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 07, 2012 4 comments
More than Carol Clark's smiles were flowing in the Positive Feedback Online Hospitality Suite on the third floor. You could smell the spirits in the entryway, even before you got close enough to feel the positive spirit. I wish I could have stayed more than 90 seconds. But I doubt you would have gotten many more blogs out of this very light drinker if I had.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
Zesto was also using TAD CR1 speakers for the debut of their new Leto tubed line preamplifier ($7500, top), which, like the Andros phono stage (bottom), is made in the USA. With a system comprising a Gamut D200 power amp, a Merrill Williams turntable fitted with a Triplanar arm and a Dynavector XX2 Mk.II cartridge, a Lindemann DAC fed data from a PC running J River software, with WyWire cables used throughout, the Ozawa performance of Mahler's Symphony 1, with the Boston Philharmonic on a typically bright-sounding DG LP, had me sitting for the entire first movement, so low was the noisefloor and so high the dynamic range. AC power was being conditioned by Spiritual Audio's VX-9 power conditioner.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2012 1 comments
Tustin, CA retailer Digital Ear had several rooms at the Atrium hotel featuring Focal speakers and Devialet's revolutionary D-Premier D/A integrated amplifier ($16,500), which I am reviewing in a fall issue of Stereophile. The photo shows the Focal Utopia Scala speakers ($31,500/pair) with the black-finished Devialet hanging on the wall between them, fed digital data from a Meridian-Sooloos server. Despite the awkward-shaped room, the presentation was smooth but with plenty of recorded detail evident.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
Bijan Vahhaji of Definition Audio Video in Santa Monica presented a system made of Sony’s SS-AR1 loudspeaker ($27,000/pair; reviewed by Kal Rubinson in July 2011) with Simaudio amplification and front-end. A laptop running the Foobar media player fed signals via USB to the Sim 650D ($7999; reviewed by Mikey Fremer in November 2011). Cables were Nordost Tyr 2.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
I’m not talking any music; you can get that from my ‘94 Toyota Corolla’s car radio, which is somewhat bearable at low volume. I’m talking about a system where the pace of the Fairfield Four singing something like “These Bones” in classic doo-wop fashion—a Best Buy special, Walter Liederman told me—or the beautiful tonality and sense of space on a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Trio made me first sit up and take notice, then sit back and wish that the music would just go on and on.

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