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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 19, 2015 0 comments
How to explain this one? At other shows, the most problematic rooms for an exhibitor to control are usually the large rooms on the ground level, where a combination of air walls, air-conditioning ducts, wall composition, and secrets pacts between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (which, in this case, was literally across the street from the Westin SFO) can defeat any and all attempts at good sound. But at both the California Audio Show and the last T.H.E. Show Newport Beach, most of the big rooms on the ground floor produced excellent sound.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 19, 2015 12 comments
Yes, boys and girls, there was yet one more distinctly superior system at CAS6. In addition to Bricasti, Elac/Audio Alchemy, and the two systems from AudioVision SF that included a varying combination of Dynaudio/YG Acoustics/Bel Canto Black/Pear Audio/Nordost and more, Michael Woods' Elite Audio Systems of San Francisco Kharma/CH Precision/Viola/Spiral Groove/ Primare/IsoTek and more system blew me away. Adding to his triumph is the fact that, on Thursday evening, a frustrated Michael (pictured on the right next to Kevin Wolff of Vana Ltd. and, on the left, Allen Perkins of Spiral Groove) had told me that he was having a near-impossible time controlling the room.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 18, 2015 11 comments
Sunday, for Stereophile, began in the larger rooms on the 2nd floor of the Westin SFO. In the first I visited, Pass Labs mated its INT-60 integrated amplifier ($9000) and XP-15 phono preamp ($3800) with an SP10 Mk.II turntable fitted with a My Sonic Lab Hyper Eminent cartridge, Oppo BDP-105, YG Carmel 2 loudspeakers ($26,300/pair), and a mixture of ART, Sound Source, homemade, and stock power cables. Pass Labs' signature midrange was gorgeous, and the sense of air supreme.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 17, 2015 1 comments
Mexico's most distinguished audio manufacturer, Margules Audio, demmed a system at CAS6 headlined by the Margules U280-SC 25th-Anniversary, stereo tube amplifier ($5399). The midrange was warm and wonderful—just what the doctor ordered, in fact. Despite a little brightness on top, and a bit of shallowness on bottom, the set-up was supremely musical and capable of conveying joyful, delicate beauty with panache. That, my friends, means a whole lot in my book.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 17, 2015 2 comments
I wish I could tell you about the Linn system in this room, but both times I tried to enter, Steven Lester was in the middle of a long rap. Lester's video components always provide some of the most fun and unexpected treats at a show, and usually result in packed rooms. That was certainly the case the first time I came by.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 16, 2015 14 comments
"Do you two have a bodyguard?" I asked Elac speaker designer Andrew Jones (right) and equally legendary Audio Alchemy electronics designer Peter Madnick (left) upon hearing the tremendous sound pouring forth from their bargain system ($5500 including custom-made music server and cabling). "If you don't, you'd be wise to consider hiring one. Given the virtually illegal amount of warmth, bass, and full-range sound you're getting from those tiny little speakers and that sub, I wouldn't be surprised if at least one high-priced manufacturer is tempted to do you in, lest you give the lie to the assertion that higher prices equate with better sound."
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 15, 2015 2 comments
On paper, the 6th annual California Audio Show, taking place this weekend at the Westin SFO in Millbrae, CA just south of San Francisco, qualifies as the smallest consumer audio show in the United States. But you wouldn't have known it from the lines at the registration table at 10:30am on opening day. The place looked packed. And the reality was, given 29 active exhibit rooms, some with multiple systems, plus other active exhibits in the lobby, Friday's turnout felt perfect.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 15, 2015 19 comments
One of the highlights of Day One at CAS was the room put together by Bricasti. The opening track in Brian Zolner of Bricasti's sensational salvo may have been drawn from, God help us, the soundtrack to Alien 3, but the midrange was gorgeous, and the dynamic range immense. Simply immense. This Bricasti and friends system exhibited the largest dynamic range sweeps of any system I recall hearing in a standard-size hotel room.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 11, 2015 2 comments
There's a new audiophile-quality vinyl reissue endeavor on the scene: Intervention Records (IR). Dedicated to reissuing recordings that are "entirely new to the vinyl reissue market, particularly titles that never saw a vinyl release at all or only saw very limited release," Intervention Records' titles are sourced from the best available sources, primarily analog master tapes, and are mastered in the analog domain by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Aug 10, 2015 2 comments
The sixth annual California Audio Show kicks off this Friday, August 14, 10am, at the Westin Hotel in Millbrae. In a lovely location facing the water and within walking distance of several restaurants, audiophiles and the equally curious will enjoy sound in 29 active exhibit rooms, a "Headmasters" room with 7 exhibits, and 5 more exhibits in the hallway...


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