T.H.E. Show Newport 2012

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John Atkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2012 1 comments
Von Schweikert's new VR-44 floorstanding speaker comes in two forms: passive ($22,000/pair), and Aktiv ($25,000/pair) with a 300W amplifier driving the 8.8" composite alloy-cone woofers below 200Hz. Both the woofers and the 6" midrange unit are loaded with labyrinths, and the tweeter is a ring-radiator type. Superbly finished with either Steinway Black Gloss or Mercedes Platinum Silver, the VR-44's produced a full, musical sound at THE Show, driven by Jolida tube amplification and with the source an open-reel recorder from United Home Audio playing a tape of Van Morrison playing "Brown-Eyed Girl."
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.
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.
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.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
Oh, did I love the sound in this room. When I initially entered, Sunil Merchant, aka Sunny of Sunny Components—one of three Sunny's displaying at the show, but the only one with four rooms—was playing a so-called jazz LP that, for worse rather than better, whisked me back to the time that my very nuclear and highly combustible family of three joined my Uncle Herman and Auntie Anna at a resort in the Catskills. The music was so late 1950s that I could almost hear the women at the card table as they commenced yet one more round of canasta.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
Solen is the authorized dealer for Motus Audio loudspeaker drivers, designed in the US and manufactured in China.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
Here shown in striking white, the F300 is a 3-way, two section ported loudspeaker whose two sections hold a total of four drivers. (The supertweeter is hidden in back.) The F300 boasts a frequency response of 25Hz–40kHz and, with the right jumper cables between its two sections, an especially warm midrange. Special to this loudspeaker is its Heil Air Motion Transformer tweeter, which produces striking detail.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
Everyone who knows Dan Meinwald of EAR USA looks forward to his exhibits, as much for their wonderful sound as for the opportunity to discover sometimes unusual, musically engrossing vinyl titles. This year was no exception. Once an attendee who was dominating the proceedings finally settled down, and Dan played a master tape-sourced file of Heifetz and Smith playing Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata and a hi-rez copy of the Concierto de Aranjuez (I think), the room transformed from a showcase for a loudmouth into an island of warm sanity. It was luscious.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
This was the first time I've encountered ESS Labs at a show. Rico Caudillo, CEO, explained that after an eight-year cessation, the company returned to the scene maybe four years ago. Pictured here, left to right, are the imposing, all-dipole Transar ($19,000/pair) and smaller AMT Limited ($4495/pair).
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 2 comments
Audio Note’s Dave Cope was unusually glum: The E/SPe HE loudspeakers ($9650/pair; seen in a lovely Russian birch plywood) are designed to be positioned in the corners of a room, but doing so here, in the small Atrium suite, meant that they’d be tucked beneath a strange overhang that seemed to rob the speakers of their charm. The effect, however, was largely music-dependent and I nevertheless heard glimpses of Audio Note’s characteristic drama, tone color, and texture, albeit on a smaller scale. I have no reason to believe that this impressive system wouldn’t sound wonderful under better conditions.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
The title may have veiled what this seminar was about, but there were some light moments during the two-hour Friday afternoon session that discussed "what to listen to and for in music." Pictured (left to right) are Tony Weber, 40-year industry veteran and Regional Sales Manager for Cary Audio; Tim Brisson, formerly of MIT cables; Bruce Brisson, who engineered the first purposefully built audio cable in 1981, which was marketed by Monster Cable; Paul Stubblebine, for 34 years a mastering engineer; and Cookie Marenco, a five-time Grammy nominee who is founder and producer/engineer for audiophile label Blue Coast Records.

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