T.H.E. Show 2019

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 11, 2019  |  15 comments
I don’t know about you, but I find the design of Esoteric’s Grandioso series enclosures quite attractive. In Long Beach, they also sounded great. Paired with Von Schweikert Endeavor E-5 MKII Speakers ($40,000/pair), an entire SUV full of Grandioso gear (including multiple outboard power supplies) impressed as exceptionally lively, solid, and musical.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 11, 2019  |  1 comments
It always helps to end 7.5 hours of show coverage on a high note. That was certainly the case in the Audio Concepts room, where the midrange sounded gorgeous on a recording of Beethoven’s Paris Trio
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 11, 2019  |  2 comments
Please join me in giving a hearty shout out to newcomer Alaia Audio, whose exhibit proved that all is not parched in the state of Arizona.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 10, 2019  |  10 comments
An intriguing system from MK Audio LLC of Charlotte, NC, brought to the fore Arion Audio’s nearly full-range AMT line-array Apollo System loudspeaker ($24,900/pair). The Apollos, which were paired with active subwoofers, claim an astounding 105dB sensitivity—sensitive enough to work with Triode Labs' 2A3 3.5W vacuum tube amplifiers (no price supplied). At least I think I was hearing the 2A3s, because also in the rack were Arion Audio’s LS-500 hybrid Class D amplifiers ($6995/pair). Preamplification was the company’s LS-200 hybrid line-stage ($3995).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 10, 2019  |  1 comments
After trying more than once to get into the CAD room at Munich High End, I ended up hearing a significantly smaller version of their system in Long Beach. This time, the hybrid integrated amplifier was the excellent Aesthetix Mimas ($7000 without optional modules), which I’ve reviewed for the August issue of Stereophile, and the speakers the diminutive Swiss Boenicke W8 SE ($12,500).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 10, 2019  |  4 comments
You’re going to need to indulge me a bit, because, due to some communication difficulties, I’m not totally confident of some prices and components in this room. If I understood correctly, the handmade-in-Japan, 1-bit Sparkler Audio S503 CD Player/Transport costs $1650, and the build-it-yourself EleKit TU-8600R integrated amplifier, also from Japan, goes for $1785.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 10, 2019  |  5 comments
See that weird looking thing? It’s the outboard crossover to end all outboard crossovers, and it belongs to the relatively slim Evolution Acoustics Exact Series Maestoso 3-way loudspeaker system ($18,900). Heading an impressive and hardly bargain system from Blue Light Audio of Portland and The Audio Association of Anaheim Hills, the Maestoso made one of its first show appearances since I covered its debut at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest—was it three years ago?
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2019  |  5 comments
When I entered my penultimate Scott Walker Audio room, Kevin Wolff of Bowers & Wilkins was playing outtakes from a 1989 recording by Branford Marsalis. The sound of Marsalis's sax was so distinctive and, to my ears, beautiful that I began to smile. (Trumpet was another instrument whose sound this system conveyed with perfection.) As Kevin segued into a 16/44.1 file of Thomas Dolby's "I Scare Myself," I scribbled in my notebook, "This is a system that reminds you of what the high end is all about."
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2019  |  21 comments
Oh boy, was soundstaging excitingly three-dimensional in the Scott Walker room that headlined Gryphon electronics. Listening to 15ips tapes played on a Sonorus reel-to-reel deck ($19,500) by Philip O'Hanlon, of Gryphon distributor On a Higher Note, the extraordinary depth on Sarah Vaughan's "When Your Lover Has Gone" certainly seized my attention.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2019  |  1 comments
Tonal beauty, clarity, and transparency were just some of the hallmarks of a system that, to my ears, was musical to a "T." (Should that be "M"?) I loved the warm yet neutral sound of a recording by Ana Caram—I detected no extra "tube-like" sweetness, for example—and the system's ability to present music with a quality I can best describe as "grace": not scientific, I know, but when the spirit moves you, the least you can do is acknowledge it.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 08, 2019  |  1 comments
In the second Scott Walker Audio room I visited—since I visited five of them, I know it's going to start sounding like "Five power cables, four balanced interconnects, three phono cartridges, two mighty monoblocks, and a speaker shaped like a pear tree," but it really did sound like Christmas in most of these rooms—the Constellation Argo integrated amp ($29,000), Magico A3 Speakers ($12,300/pair), and MSB Discrete DAC ($12,500) vied for pride of place with an Aurender ACS10 server ($6000) and Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE Power Conditioner ($6,495), Atmosphere cabling ($18,500), and various room acoustics products ($3,500), plus a Solid Tech Rack ($2,600).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 08, 2019  |  84 comments
Scott Walker Audio staked out its own mini-empire at the Hilton Long Beach, occupying six of the hotel's largest suites on the third floor. The first one I encountered revealed the inimitable Ted Denney of Synergistic Research staging a pretty ballsy demo. Ted set up two identical systems in adjacent rooms, both with a McIntosh C2600 tube preamp ($7500) and MC462 Amplifier ($9000), Elac Adante AF61 floorstanding speakers ($4995/pair), Bluesound Node 2i streamer ($500), and Solid Tech Rack ($2600). The difference was that one system took advantage of a Synergistic Research PowerCell 8 UEF SE power conditioner ($2995), new Synergistic Research entry-level Foundation interconnect and speaker cables plus UEF Blue power cords ($4000), and a host of various Synergistic Research room acoustic products ($6500), which in my experience are quite effective if nonetheless baffling to many.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 07, 2019  |  8 comments
Small does not mean negligible. Especially when a system includes the first West Coast showing of ATC's new CD2 CD player ($2349) and SIA2-100 integrated amp/DAC ($3749).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 07, 2019  |  3 comments
As one of the only companies to send out a press release prior to the opening of T.H.E. Show, ATC—along with its host, Lone Mountain Audio—earned pride of place in my "I can't possibly do them all" list of show coverage priorities.

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