CAS 2011

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Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 16, 2011  |  0 comments
I’d never heard of Chapman Loudspeakers, but they’ve been around for 40 years, designing and manufacturing a range of compression-line floorstanders, right here in the USA, on Vashon Island, Washington. The company’s T-8 ($8995/pair) uses a new Scan-Speak tweeter, revised Scan-Speak side-firing woofer, and has a sand-dampened internal chamber.

Chapman’s Jesse Jones explained that they wanted the tweeter to be smoother and more forgiving to more types of music while retaining the music’s essential energy.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 17, 2011  |  0 comments
In the much smaller Music Lovers/Musical Surroundings room, we heard a sound very different from what we heard in the previous, massive ballroom.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 19, 2011  |  6 comments
Through a system built on all-Linn electronics (Akurate DS: $6990; Akurate Kontrol: $6500; Akurate 2200 power amp: $5200), Tannoy Definition DC8 loudspeakers ($3600/pair, in lovely Espresso Walnut finish), and MIT cables, we listened to a series of short excerpts of hi-res demo material, from female vocals to a familiar drum solo off the good, ol' Sheffield Track & Drum Record.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 16, 2011  |  0 comments
The fellows in the VooDoo Cable room were playing Joni Mitchell’s Travelogue, arranged and conducted by Vince Mendoza.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  3 comments
San Francisco is just as I remember it: Misty and gray, but smiling nonetheless.

The 2011 California Audio Show, sponsored by Dagogo, is being held Friday through Sunday, July 15 through 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in Burlingame, CA, just minutes away from the San Francisco International Airport.

I arrived moments ago and have settled into my clean, quiet room. Actually, I should say I’ve settled into my fairly quiet room—I’m directly across from the Amarra suite and someone’s playing large-scale orchestral music in there. (It sounds pretty good, too!)

I’ll be blogging as fast as I can, so please check back often.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  First Published: Jul 16, 2011  |  0 comments
I had no idea that the very first room I’d enter would offer such exquisite sound and music. I was in Bob Hodas’s Acoustic Analysis room and The Tape Project was spinning the Bill Evans Trio, the Sonny Rollins Quartet, Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane, and so much soul.

It was a packed room of bobbing heads and tapping toes, unable to resist the smooth, smooth flow. Here was a lively sound, a vibrant sound, a sweet, flowing, blooming, effortless sound, marked by so much body and heart and an absolutely wonderful sense of timing.

The system:

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 16, 2011  |  0 comments
In one of several rooms set up by local dealer Audio Vision, an attractive and deceptively simple little system was making some outstanding music: Simaudio 650 D CD/DAC transport ($7999), Simaudio 600 I integrated amplifier ($7999), Dynaudio C1 Signature loudspeakers ($8950, with stands), and cables and accessories from Shunyata: Black Mamba power cables ($595 each), Anaconda power cables ($1999), Anaconda speaker cables ($3499/2m pair), Anaconda interconnects ($2499/1m pair), Dark Field cable-lifters ($295/pack of 12). The components sat on a Quadraspire Sunoko rack ($395/level).

Dyanudio’s Mike Manousselis always—always—plays good music and on this day it was Radiohead, Cold Cave, Low:

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 11, 2011  |  0 comments
The pendulum has swung back to the West Coast. Just one week after the Capital AudioFest, three weeks after AXPONA NYC, and six weeks after T.H.E. Show Newport Beach, the second California Audio Show is set to begin. Scheduled for July 15–17 in the Crowne Plaza SFO in Burlingame, the show is located just minutes from San Francisco Airport, a few giant steps from a major freeway, a free shuttle ride away from the airport's BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stop, and an eight-minute walk from CalTrain's Broadway Station.

Show organizer Constantine Soo, founder and editor of, reports that the show currently promises 42 rooms of various sizes, all with active exhibits playing music. The list of exhibitors and brands, complete with a generous helping of California retailers, service providers, and distributors, includes a host of companies whose equipment resides in the homes and dreams of Stereophile readers.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 17, 2011  |  0 comments
The smallest Audio Vision room held the smallest system:

Bel Canto e.One CD 2 CD player ($2995), Bel Canto C5i integrated amp/DAC ($1995), Bel Canto e.One 1000 MkII monoblock power amplifiers ($6000/pair), Bel Canto e.One DAC3.5VB ($4945), Anthony Gallo 3.5 Reference loudspeakers ($5999/pair), Clearaudio Concept turntable ($1400) with Clearaudio Aurum Beta Wood cartridge ($575), Cardas Clear Light speaker cable ($1039/2m pair) and interconnects ($692/1m pair), and Quadraspire Q4 Evo equipment rack.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  6 comments
Confession: I judge albums by their covers. I do it all the time. And when I saw the cover for Amon Tobin’s ISAM, I decided it would be beautiful, I decided it would be mine.

Because it’s been haunting me lately, satisfying me lately, because it’s found its way into my column and into my mind, because it’s beautiful, because it’s strange, and even at the risk of it becoming inextricably tied to thoughts of uncomfortable seats and smelly hotel rooms, I’ll be using Amon Tobin’s ISAM as a “reference disc” during the 2011 California Audio Show.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  First Published: Jul 16, 2011  |  1 comments
From down the hall, I heard The Doors. Inside the Wells Audio room, a VPI Scout turntable (still just $1800 after all these years) was spinning “Riders on the Storm.”

The system:

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 19, 2011  |  1 comments
Jon Iverson might like this.

Widea Lab is a young Korean company. The company says they’ve got some strong candidates for US distribution and will also be selling via Amazon. Their first product, the Aurender (short for Audio Renderer; $5700), is a digital music server utilizing a customized Linux OS, linear power supply, and storage for over 5000 lossless and uncompressed CDs.