T.H.E. Show Newport 2012

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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.
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.
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:
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.
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!)
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.
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
In a handsomely equipped room that showcased the dual-mono lithium battery-powered Veloce LS-1 linestage ($18,000), Veloce V6 400Wpc monoblock amplifiers ($15,000/pair) with their tube input and class-D output stage, YG Acoustics Carmel loudspeakers ($18,000/pair), none-too-shabby Audio Aero “La Source” CD/SACD player (approx. $40,000), and Kubala-Sosna’s Emotion and Elation cabling (no price supplied), I initially thought the sound a tad dry. But then I warmed to the remarkably clear and unencumbered presentation of jazz, which was also distinguished by engaging three-dimensionality. On tracks by Tommy Flanagan and Holly Cole, I found the transparency remarkable, and greatly enjoyed the height and space of the images.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
John McDonald’s Audience company has developed a range of speakers using a proprietary 3” cone driver to cover the complete audio range. The flagship Clairaudient 16+16 ($72,000/pair) made its debut at the Newport Beach Show. Each Clairaudient 16+16 uses 16 of the latest-generation drivers firing to the front and another 16 to the back, and is specified to be flat to 30Hz.
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.
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.
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.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 1 comments
Back at the Atrium, T.H.E. Marketplace was home to Audeze headphones, Eddie Current headphone amplifiers, Elusive Disc, Impex Records, Kim Wilson Photography, May Audio, and Music Direct. Here we see Music Direct’s Besflores Nievera, Jr., happily manning the vinyl. I get up, and nothing gets me down.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 1 comments
Marten Design’s Getz loudspeakers made good sound within an all-ModWright system: KWA 150 Signature Edition monoblocks, LS 36.5 tubed line stage, and modified Oppo BDP-95 disc player. Everything was supported by Stillpoints feet, and cables were provided by Dynamic Design. I noted a smooth, solid overall sound, with a stable soundstage—very easy to listen to and enjoy.

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