Ensconced in the third hotel in its four-year history, the three-day California Audio Show opened on August 9, 2013 in the five-floor Westin Hotel in Millbrae, CA. Otherwise known as the Westin SFO, the hotel resides on One Old Bayshore Highway, a hefty stone's throw from San Francisco Bay, directly across the water from the airport runway where Asiana Flight 214 crashed on July 6.
JIB cabling, long linked to its factory in Berlin, has now birthed a distinct US branch. Aptly named JIB-USA, it's located in Fremont, CA. At CAS, Allen Ong and his son displayed, among other models, the company's new DSP-001 speaker cable ($7150/2.5m pair). Composed of UP-OCC that is cryogenically treated, insulated with Teflon, and terminated with rhodium connectors, the cable made its silent show premiere.
Time to settle into deeper listening. We'll spend a bit of time in Loggie Audio's second room, built around Ypsilon and (TEAC) Esoteric electronics and the equally excellent YG Acoustics Sonja 1.2 loudspeakers ($72,800/pair), not only because it sounded so good, but also because it presented the US debut of what may very well prove to be a major cable line.
The fourth annual California Audio Show is poised to get underway August 911 in a new venue, the Westin San Francisco Airport (Westin SFO), in Millbrae, CA. The only West Coast consumer fine-audio show between Newport Beach (in very southern California) and Denver, CAS4 is expected to draw close to 1000 audiophiles per day to listen to systems in at least 41 sound rooms, 16 of which are of medium or large size.
Many of David Wilson's highly acclaimed, long out-of-print recordings are poised to make old and new generations of audiophiles very happy. On August 1, the first two of a selected batch of Wilson Audiophile Recordings will return to circulation as high-resolution (176.4kHz/24-bit), CD-quality, and MP3 downloads. Distributed by Naxos via a host of mass-market and hi-res digital music stores, including Chandos' "The Classical Shoppe," eClassical24bit, HDMusic, HDTracks, HiResAudio, Linn Records, Onkyo, and Qobuz24bit, the first titles in the series are Recital, James B. Welch's disc of four centuries of organ music, and Beethoven and Enescu Sonatas, performed by violinist David Abel and pianist Julie Steinberg, this magazine's "Recording of the Month" for February 1984.
Zesto’s George Counnas gets excited about his tubed phono and line preamps
It was a first-time venture for Elite Audio Systems, San Francisco’s newest and unique fine-audio emporium. On June 29, 2013, proprietor Michael Woods opened his doors to an event, co-organized with Peter Truce of the Bay Area Audiophile Society’s Analog Committee, that drew close to 60 folks to two mainly analog listening sessions.
My ears first opened to the tantalizing sounds of JansZen Model ZA2.1 electrostatic hybrid loudspeakers ($7495/pair) with AirLayer outboard side-firing tweeter option ($495/pair) at AXPONA Chicago. In California, they were again paired with an exaSound DAC and, I think, Bryston linear amplifiers. With the source a PC equipped with J River Media Player feeding the DAC via a stock USB cable, the sound was quite nice on a track of somewhat formulaic jazz.
Dusty Vawter’s CIAudio, which stands for Channel Islands Audio rather than a governmental overseas espionage agency, was making really nice sound on a recording by Ben Harper. Doing the honors in this reasonably priced system were CIAudio’s Transient Mk.II asynchronous USB DAC ($699), VDC5 Mk.II 5V upgraded power supply ($329), PLC1 MKk.II passive line controller ($899), and D200 Mk.II 200W monoblocks ($3500/pair). Von Schweikert VR-22 loudspeakers ($2895/pair) completed a chain that began with a MacBook Pro equipped with Pure Music software, and also included a PS Audio P10 power regenerator, Billy Bags equipment rack, and GIK room treatments.
EAR USA’s Dan Meinwald had more to share than two new products from Tim de Paravicini; he also opened the door on lovely tube warmth. Thanks to two new sources, the EAR Acute 4/DACute 4 CD/SACD player ($13,000) and Helius Alexia turntable ($5500), the latter equipped with the Helius Omega 10” tonearm ($3100) and Dynavector KX-1s cartridge ($5450), an LP of doo-wop, and a CD of The Persuasions singing the Beatles had great height and exemplary center imaging. A Chad Kassem test pressing of the Ray Brown Trio’s Soular Energy further exhibited lovely and warm tube sound.
Dexter Gordon was in the midst of turning head over heels, or vice versa, over the sound of his LP, Dexter Blows Hot and Cool, in the Venice Audio room. He may have blown a bit cool over the out-of-control bass, but he surely found the beauty of his tenor sax, and the clarity of the cymbals hot indeed.