T.H.E. Show Newport 2012

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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 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.
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.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 1 comments
I might have missed the wine tastings, but I did not miss the gourmet food trucks. Like vinyl and nautical-themed clothing, lunch trucks have been making a big comeback. Don’t ask why. Just enjoy it.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
Bluebird Music’s Jay Rein was pleased to show the Spendor Classic SP2/3R2 loudspeaker ($4295/pair), which takes the tweeter from Spendor’s SA-1 and combines it with the company’s original BBC technology, construction, and design.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 2 comments
"Daedalus Audio and ModWright Instruments have teamed up to show how good a sound you can get for close to $15k," Daedalus' Lou Hinkley explained as I entered the room. Indeed, for as much as I could hear over a very loud conversation, the sound of a track from River, Herbie Hancock's Tribute to Joni Mitchell, and another from a Norah Jones album was very, very nice.

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