T.H.E. Show Newport 2012

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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.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 3 comments
I sat in the Hi-Fi Company’s Hi-Fi Chair ($1500) and, while I immediately felt ridiculous, I also kinda sorta liked it. A lot.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
One of my favorite displays of T.H.E. Show Newport: Focal’s sleek XS Book multimedia speaker system ($399) was making big sound, playing music from a laptop (through plain-old iTunes, I think) and connected to Cambridge Audio’s smart DacMagic Plus ($599). My mind raced, counting all the friends who could use a system like this.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 1 comments
Walter Swanborn of Fidelis AV (pictured kneeling next to Holger Stein of Stein Music) hosted the North American debut of the Harbeth M30.1 monitor ($6495 in tiger ebony finish). Paired with the LFD NCSE 75 watt integrated amplifier with SE phono stage ($6295), Palmer 2.5 turntable with Audio Origami arm and Dynavector XX2 cartridge ($11,995), MSB Media Transport ($3995) and MSB Platinum Signature DACIV with Signature power supply ($17,500), the system produced the strongest and most predominant midrange of any I heard at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
In the second of four rooms from Sunny Components, Inc., Michael Manousselis paired Dynaudio's Confidence C2 Signature loudspeakers ($15,000/pair) with Boulder's 1021 Digital Player ($24,000), 1010 preamplifier ($14,000), and 850 monoblock amplifiers ($11,500/pair). Arrayed on a Finite Elemente Reference Rack ($15,000). Everything was connected with Transparent cable. The superb highs on this system immediately clarified why Dynaudio's Esotar2 tweeter has garnered so much praise.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
I have always greatly admired the match of Robert Lee's Acoustic Zen loudspeakers—in this case the wonderful Crescendo loudspeaker ($16,000/pair), a 3-way transmission line design with a horn-loaded ribbon tweeter—with the Triode Corporation electronics imported by Santy Oropel of TWIN Audio Video. Here, the Crescendos formed an especially sonorous alliance with the TRV-CD5SE CD player ($3250), TRX-1 remote controlled tube preamplifier ($3200), and TRX-M845SE monoblock power amplifiers ($22,500/pair).
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 06, 2012 1 comments
Finally I had a chance to hear the loudspeakers lauded by Stereophile equipment reviewers, the Voxativ Ampeggio Signature by Schimmel ($32,500/pair). This single-driver, ultra-sensitive speaker headlined an excellent line-up from Alfred Kainz's highend-electronics, Inc. that led me to write in my notes, "Beautiful. Remarkably close to natural sound. The highs are wonderful, especially the cymbals."
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 2 comments
Jason Smith of Babyjdrums Classic Vinyl and Audio had tons of classical LPs for sale, almost all in pristine condition (many were even sealed), and at bargain basement prices. Smith also sells hi-fi out of his home; his brands include PTE, Musical Surroundings, Denon, Soundsmith, and Synergistic Research. And he’s a drummer, on tour this summer with the Albert Lee Band.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
And, for those who weren’t brave enough for Tornado Potato or Rolling Sushi, the Aura restaurant and bar proved the perfect place to see and be seen, to mingle, to catch up on business, or to simply enjoy food and drink.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 2 comments
John Atkinson reported on Don Keele’s unusual constant-directivity CBT36 loudspeaker from last year’s Rocky Mountain Audiofest. At T.H.E. Show Newport, Keele and Marshall Kay, president of Audio Artistry, purposefully created an “economy system” (an iPad running Media Monkey, Benchmark DAC1, Crown preamp, ATI amplifier, Behringer DSP processor) to show how well the speaker could perform under sub-optimal conditions.
Stephen Mejias Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
T.H.E. Show Newport was also home to a car show and wine tasting, held each day in the Hilton Courtyard. I must have missed the wine, but I did see this awesome little guy—a BMW Isetta, I think—from the collection of Upscale Audio’s Kevin Deal.

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