T.H.E. Show Newport 2012

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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.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
Parasound’s compact, high-value Z Series includes the 45Wpc Zamp power amplifier, four-input Zpre2 two-channel preamp, Ztuner AM/FM tuner, Zphono-USB phono preamp ($350; reviewed in our March issue), and the impressive Zcd CD player ($399; review to come later this year).
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 08, 2012 1 comments
Avatar Acoustics’ Darren Censullo builds systems that are just as easy on the eyes as they are on the ears.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
BSG Technologies' Larry Alan Kay, many years ago the publisher of Fi magazine, spent THE Show eagerly A/B-ing the effect of his Signal Completion Stage ($3995). This all-analog processor is claimed to undo the effect of all the deleterious phase shifts that have occurred during the making of a recording, restoring what Kay calls "the geography of the recorded sound."
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 3 comments
In the fourth of the Sunny’s Audio rooms—see Jason Serinus’s stories earlier in this report—was a jewel of an affordable system, being operated here by Peachtree’s David Solomon. Peachtree’s new decco65 D/A integrated amplifier ($899), which uses a 24-bit ESS Sabre DAC and offers 65Wpc into 8 ohms, drove Dynaudio DM2/6 bookshelf speakers, the system being completed with an Apple TV and cables to give a total cost of $2000. All you need add to get music is a PC.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
Induction Dynamics of Overland Park, KS was showing its S1.8T 3-way tower loudspeaker ($13,500/pair). Using as a source an Oppo 85SE, paired with McIntosh’s MX150 pre/pro, MC 207 amplifier, and MT10 turntable, and wired with Kimber Kable, the system sounded far more neutral than I was expecting. Playing an LP of Billie Holiday singing “A Foggy Day in London Town” (Songs for Distingué Lovers), I marveled at the beauty, clarity, and warmth of the sound. Like a proverbial Dorothy searching for her Toto, I didn’t want to leave home without it.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 1 comments
SimpliFi's Tim Ryan was demming the Gradient Revolution speakers and Bladelius amplification he had shown at the New York Show, but now with two pairs of dipole woofers. But pride of place in his room was the DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core processor from the VLSI company ($1099) shown in the photo. Tim was using the fully remote-controlled DSPeaker box as a D/A preamp—it has a volume control, shown on the front panel—but it can do so much more: digital-domain parametric equalization; digital room correction up to a user-selectable upper limit of 80Hz to 500Hz; it can even be used as a two-way digital-domain crossover with fully adjustable slopes and crossover frequencies. Kal Rubinson is scheduled to receive a sample for review forthwith.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
As familiar as I am with Eficion's flagship F300 three-way loudspeaker, which I discussed earlier I've spent little time with its smaller brother, the F250 ($10,000/pair). The wonderful sound in this room made me regret our late acquaintance. Although not ideal for my large listening room, the 3-way vented Eficion F250 with an Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter has found its made-in-heaven complement in Z-Infinity Audio electronics.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2012 1 comments
I had not heard the 300W Technical Brain monoblocks ($90,000/pair) before, but driving the TAD CR1 speakers that I very positively reviewed last January ($40,600/pair with stands), they produced a sound from the Reference Recordings Nojima performance of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz that offered superb scale yet with equally superb microdynamics. The amplifier is said to run in class-A up to 120W and has "no resistors in the signal path"! Source was the Ratoc D/A converter (currently only available in Japan) fed data by a MacBook Air, preamp was also Technical Brain ($57,000) and cables were all TB designer Kurosawa-san's own. The system was powered by the Audience aR12-TS power conditioner.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
Although I had a bit of a tough time navigating some of the halls, especially at the more meandering Atrium, signage at T.H.E. Show Newport was pretty good overall. You wouldn’t find audiophiles accidentally turning up at the Whitacker Wellness Institute.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
The Magnepan room in the Atrium hotel had no fewer than three Californian retailers listed on its sign: Shelley's Stereo of Woodland Hills, Hi5 Stereo of La Habra, and Inland Sound of San Bernardino. But the sound in this room was not a case of too many cooks, the sidewall-mounted, motorized Magnepan MMC2 panels being reinforced by panel subs hidden in the room furnishings and a center-channel panel to give a presentation that sounded better than the total system costs of $4700 would suggest.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
So said the flyer drawing attention to Room 1022 at the Hilton. Intrigued, I went in, to see two pairs of Acoustic Zen Adagio mounted side-by-side, driven by an inexpensive Samsung DVD player and a Rotel amplifier. The sound was good rather than great, but considering the sub-optimal arrangement —side-by-side speakers with widely spaced pairs of tweeter, no acoustic treatment, very inexpensive ancillaries, etc —the sound was very much better than I was expecting, with precise stereo imaging. It turned out that the speakers' interaction with the room was optimized with a digital-signal processing unit, but no further details were forthcoming.

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