T.H.E. Show Newport 2012

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 3 comments
Jeffrey Catalano’s High Water Sound room was so hidden, tucked away at the end of a shadowy corridor, that posters were tacked to the Atrium walls, reminding showgoers to stop by.

I had wondered how anyone could possibly find their way there, so I was taken aback when I walked into a packed house of bobbing heads and stomping feet. But I shouldn’t have been surprised: Audiophiles have a way of finding great music.

Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
I walked into Muddy Waters. Folk Singer. But there was nothing muddy about it. The clarity, in fact, was intense. Muddy’s voice was big and present, full of texture; his guitar was similarly powerful.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2012 1 comments
I first heard the Zesto Andros PS1 phono stage ($3900) at the 2011 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and was impressed by what I heard. The Andros was being used in the One World Audio room in the Hilton, with a Lindemann amplifier driving speakers from Voce Audio, a name new to me. The Voce UA-3 is a large floorstander using a ring-radiator tweeter recessed behind a short horn. Source was a 1978 Luxman PD-444 turntable fitted with a TriPlanar arm and a Lyra Kleos cartridge. Cabling was all WyWires. The sound of bass player Stanley Clarke's acoustic 2009 album, Jazz in the Garden, with Hiromi on piano and Lenny White on drums, had excellent dynamics but was overall a little mellow.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2012 1 comments
Tucked away at the end of a corridor on the Hilton's ground floor, the Estelon Model X Diamond speakers ($64,000/pair) were being driven by Concert Fidelity's new ZL-120V2 Special Edition monoblocks ($34,000/pair) via Fono Acustica cables. Preamp was the Concert Fidelity CF-090LSX2 tube hybrid line stage ($24,000) with the SPA-4C solid-state MC phono preamp ($14,000), and sources were an Esoteric SDACD player feeding the Concert Fidelity DAC-040 tubed D/A processor and a modified Denon DP-3000 direct-drive turntable. Considering the system costs, the sound from CD was a little disappointing—a fine vocal presence upset by uneven low frequencies, which I put down to room acoustic problems—but to my surprise the sound from LP was considerably better focused, with more controlled lows.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 1 comments
One of my favorite demos of T.H.E. Show Newport was provided by Mike Zivkovik and Garth Leerer, respectively of Teresonic and Musical Surroundings.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 1 comments
The gates to heaven?
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
There was a continual program of live music at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach, to allow Showgoers to recalibrate their ears. A quintet led by trumpet player William Artope Jr, son of Bill Artope, the Sales & Marketing Director for cable manufacturer Dynamic Design AV, played some excellent straight-ahead modern jazz poolside at the Atrium Hotel.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 07, 2012 2 comments
At the Hilton, T.H.E. Marketplace was home to May Audio, Ginko Audio, Bob’s Devices, Eastwind Imports, Reference Recordings, Lavry Engineering, and Acoustic Sounds.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 07, 2012 0 comments
Ever wonder how Sunil Merchant of Sunny Components managed to set up all that equipment in his four different rooms? This peak behind his shower curtain tells the tale.
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 06, 2012 0 comments
Gary Katayama of Affordable Audio constructed a system that allowed Randy Bankert's Sonist Concerto loudspeakers ($5895/pair) to show how much sound they can deliver. With apologies for my potentially flawed attempts at deciphering Gary's handwriting, I heard the Baetis Media Server ($2595) and Mach 2 Mac mini (approx. $1000) using Amarra 2.3, Human Audio Table USB–S/PDIF converter ($1000), Bel Canto 3.5 USB DAC ($3500), Audion 300B amplifier ($5500), EAT E-Flat turntable ($6000), and Synergistic Tranquility Base ($1000). The soundstage was impressively big, and the sound warm but overly smooth, to the point of softening the leading edge on Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's glorious mezzo-soprano.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
I fell in love with the adorable little system from Chris Sommovigo's The Signal Collection when I heard it play some of Todd Garfinkle's M•A Recordings at AXPONA 2012 in Jacksonville. In Newport Beach the love affair continued.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
I was pleased to meet Home Theater’s Kim Wilson. If Kim’s not reviewing A/V receivers and preamp/processors, she might be taking lovely photographs of musical instruments, landscapes, city scenes, architecture, and more. During T.H.E. Show Newport, Kim had a small booth near the Atrium pool—not a bad way to spend a sunny weekend. You can see more of her work here.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 1 comments
Although a fair number of woman are now appearing audiophile shows, both as exhibitors and attendees, rare is the woman who attends without her partner/spouse/significant other. Meet Sheri Morgenroth, who founded the Houston Audio Society eight years ago. Currently an engineer by day, and married to a man who cares not about our hobby/passion/obsession, Sheri was fascinated by records at a very early age.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
John Atkinson reported on B.M.C.’s new Arcadia loudspeaker ($36,300/pair) from January’s CES. But B.M.C.’s Carlos Candeias has already upgraded his design with SpeakON connectors between the outboard crossovers and the speaker cabinets, improved internal wiring, and a revised magnet construction in the midrange drivers. In addition, the speaker’s spikes now screw directly into the speaker’s base for better grounding. The changes come at no additional cost. “We improved the model, but that doesn’t always mean you have to raise the price,” said Candeias.

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