NY Audio Show 2013

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 0 comments
A second, smaller Innovative Audio room held a system made of Wilson Audio’s Sasha W/P loudspeakers ($27,900/pair); Lamm M1.2 Reference hybrid monoblocks ($24, 190/pair); VTL TL-7.5 Series III Reference preamplifier ($20,000) and TP-6.5 Signature phono preamp ($10,500 with moving-coil step-up transformer); Spiral Groove SG2 turntable ($21,000, with Centroid tonearm) and Lyra Kleos MC cartridge ($3000); Transparent cables, power conditioning, and AC cords; and Finite Element Pagode racks and supports.
Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
JPS Labs leaps into the world of headphones with the Abyss: a highly customizable head-gripping $5495 listening device. More info on these intense cans be found on their website.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 17, 2013 0 comments
Tentatively named the JMW-3D (the suffix refers to the modeling technology used to create its high-tech tooling), VPI's new one-piece tonearm wand/headshell/bearing housing is molded from epoxy resin, which promises to resist sound-coloring resonances while remaining comparatively immune to the problem of energy storage. Although pricing has yet to be determined, VPI's Harry Weisfeld suggests that the arm may be expensive at first, although he hopes that prices may moderate as the production process itself becomes less expensive. The new arm is seen here on a prototype of the VPI Classic Direct, a direct-drive turntable based on the Classic chassis (projected price: ca $20,000).
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 0 comments
Dupuy Acoustique, a brand relatively new to me, gave an effective demonstration of its Daisy Reflector ($995; patent pending), first seen at SSI in Montreal—a “phase-restoration device,” whose internal cabinetry and foam have been computer-modeled and CNC-machined for optimal performance.
Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2013 0 comments
The YG Kipod loudspeakers powered by Veloce amplification were clean, dynamic, and suggested the right level of stickiness to brass.

But you didn’t hear it from me. I asked JA on Sunday: "What's the best sound you've heard so far today?" Here's what he said:

Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2013 7 comments
I saw her first in the Clue room. She exited at the same time as random bald man #72. Were they together? I’m not sure, but the dangerously punchy sound was not helping my listening fatigue. I left. She walked into the Audio Doctor’s KEF Blade display. Should I follow her? That would be weird.

A gentleman from Music First Audio started talking to me and pointing at my camera: “We have a colorful preamp for you to take pictures of.”

“No thanks.”

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
While there were many exciting cost-no-object systems on display, the New York Audio Show was also home to refreshingly small and simple systems that nevertheless offered exceptional performance.

KEF’s beautiful LS50 loudspeakers ($1500/pair) were partnered with Audio Electronics’ Constellation tube preamp ($1495), Hercules power amp ($1895), and Lightning DAC ($1295). Wireworld provided the cabling. The music, which came from a laptop, sounded forceful, dynamic, colorful, and present.

If I could have taken home any system from the New York Audio Show, it would have been this one.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
Music Hall’s Roy Hall was excited about his new a15.3 integrated amplifier and matching c-dac15.3 CD player/DAC combo. Just as any good integrated amplifier should, the 50Wpc a15.3 includes a headphone output, front-panel mini-jack input, moving-magnet phono stage, and remote control. The one-box c-dac15.3 combines a three-input (optical, coax, USB-B) Wolfson DAC section with a CD player, itself based around a Burr-Brown 24-bit/192kHz-capable DAC. Build quality seemed excellent. Each unit will sell for $549. Music Hall just keeps churning out interesting, affordable products. I’ll look forward to learning more about these units later this year.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 17, 2013 0 comments
As an unabashed fan of amplifiers that use EL34 output tubes in Ultralinear circuits—an output architecture that, to my ears, almost always sounds colorful, well-textured, and believably lush—I was delighted that, in the VPI suite, a trio (!) of Joseph Audio Pearl loudspeakers were powered by a trio (!) of Citation 2 monoblock amplifiers from VAS Audio ($3000/pair—which, I guess, translates into $4500 for three). The Citation 2, which offers 50Wpc in Ultralinear but can also be switched to triode mode for 25Wpc, also uses 12AX7 and 12AU7 small-signal tubes, plus a 5AR4 rectifier, and its specially wound output transformers are said to be vacuum-potted.
Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
Peter Ledermann of Soundsmith is a nice guy, I promise.

The Reception Hall was teaming with audiophiles and exhibitors expressing hellos and chatting about gear and music. Here’s a look:

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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 17, 2013 5 comments
Let's just come out and say it: loudspeaker designer Jeff Joseph, of Joseph Audio, always makes a good sound, and his system's performance at this venue was no exception: organic, open, natural, un-spectacular, un-bombastic, and just plain lovely. The speakers in question were the Joseph Audio Pulsars ($7000/pair), driven by a Unison Unico 50 amplifier ($1450), fed by a Lynx Hilo D/A converter (street price: $2500) and a laptop equipped with Channel D's Pure Music software ($129). Cables were by Cardas.
Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2013 0 comments
Canned jazz: that inoffensive blend of 80s synths, smooth sax, and punchy bass guitar. There was a lot of this at the New York Audio Show.
Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1 comments
This year, the surprising lack of SRV (and overabundance of easy listening) made me glad to hear his perennial cover of “Little Wing” through Sony’s new and more “affordable” SS-NA2ES floorstanding loudspeakers ($10,000/pair) through Pass Labs amplification. Last year’s system impressed me thoroughly, striking a balance between romance and detail. This year’s system favored speed and attack accenting flourishes I had never heard before in SRV’s Hendrix cover but sounding a bit cool on “Breaking Silence” by Janice Ian.
Ariel Bitran Posted: Apr 17, 2013 6 comments

Many attendees at the New York Audio Show 2013 were afraid to admit they were audiophiles, opting for complicated explanations about their passion for music. Yet, what is just so scary about being an audiophile? I walked around asking folks the next day, "What is an audiophile?" in hopes to discover just what it meant.

Thank you to all of those who participated.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 17, 2013 0 comments
I got to hear KEF’s X300A powered desktop speaker ($800/pair) when I visited the company late last year. Now the system has found its way to the States. KEF's animated brand ambassador, Johan Coorg, gave a characteristically colorful demo.

The X300A uses KEF's Uni-Q point-source driver array and places twin class-A/B amplifiers and a high-quality toroidal transformer in each cabinet. Further, each speaker has an internal 24-bit/96kHz asynchronous DAC. The signal flows not through standard speaker wire, but via a "digital inter-speaker connection," or USB link. According to Coorg, this is to ensure that high-quality sound is carried through the entire signal chain.

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