HE 2006

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Stephen Mejias  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  1 comments
I managed to catch Leland mid-dance. I showed him the picture and asked if it would be okay.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  2 comments
Southern California's Brooks Berdan, Ltd. continued to affirm the store’s reputation for high-quality sound in its Ayre/Vandersteen room, which had also impressed Wes Phillips in an earlier blog entry. Listening to the Ayre MXR 300W monoblocks ($16,500/pair), K-1x preamp ($7000), C-X5e universal player ($5950), and about-to-be-released power conditioner, connected to each other and the wood-finish Vandersteen Quatro speakers ($10,700/pair) by Ayre's own cabling, I encountered a soundstage whose height and depth had no right to exist in such a small space. But beyond issues of size and depth, listening to a Channel Classics SACD of the Ebony Band Amsterdam performing the music of Silvestre Revueltas enabled me to enter that composer's phantasmagoric universe in a deeper, more all-consuming way that I had ever before experienced. It was as if I was inside Revueltas' head, haunted by the very demons that drove him to write his extraordinary music. To discover myself so immersed in music in the middle of a bustling show was a rare gift.
John Atkinson  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  0 comments
The Black Swan loudspeaker ($30,000/pair) from Canadian manufacturer Gershman Acoustics is unusual in that it uses a separate enclosure for its woofer section, flanked by extensions of the satellite's side-panels. The speaker's finish was excellent and the sound, with the speakers driven by McCormack universal player and electronics via Magnan cable, was equally excellent, even taking the the small size of the hotel room into consideration.
Wes Phillips  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  1 comments
Jon Iverson already posted a picture of Channel Island's D•400 amp ($4000/pair) and PCC•1 remote control passive preamp ($895), but he didn't mention how freaking powerful the combo sounded driving the Von Schweikert VR-5 ($18,000/pair). CIA's Dusty Vawter switched over to his also powerful-sounding D•200s and handed me a D•400—holy moly! The thing weighs a ton! The 0.25" side panels are all heatsink, which made me wonder, has Vawter produced a class-AB amp to join his class-D designs?
Stephen Mejias  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  0 comments
Alberto Gonzalez flew from Costa Rica to be with us for the weekend. He introduced himself to me after the Ask the Editors session. Alberto keeps a blog called Audiolismo.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  5 comments
The South African Vivid Audio K1 loudspeakers ($20,000/pair) in the Musical Surroundings room—seen here behind Musical Surroundings’ Garth Leerer (right) and Stereophile’s Michael Fremer at the Sunday afternoon raffle—produced an impressively large, sit-up-and-listen soundstage. A similar case of a soundstage that dwarfed the speakers that produced it awaited in the Gamut room. The L-7 flagship speakers ($14,900/pair), paired with the Di150 180Wpc integrated amp ($9800) and brand new CD3 ($6000), produced an amazing sense of space and depth, as well as some mighty low bass extension. Learning that the system lacked a power conditioner and was powered by stock power cords and $300 Siltech silver cables only increased my admiration. As the audiophile press has affirmed for several years now, Gamut is on to something very, very good.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  3 comments
Loudspeakers based on the Lowther full-range driver have a considerable following—our own Art Dudley included—but most will admit that the driver has its limitations, including some midrange resonant peaks and less-than-impressive bass response. These have been addressed in The Second Rethm by a set of modifications to the driver and the availability of an extension to the cabinet that produces better bass response. I heard a couple of the Rethm speakers (I don’t remember which models) a few years ago at CES, and was not too impressed, but I quite liked the sound of The Second Rethm with the cabinet extension. The extension adds $2000 to the $7500/pair price, but I suspect it’s worth it.
Wes Phillips  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  4 comments
I'm a guy who loves traditions: I attribute it to growing up in Virginia, a state that reveres tradition, my wife claims it's just OCD. Whatever—I have made it a tradition at every HE Show I can remember to visit Luke Manley's VTL room at the last minute on the last day because it always lets me leave on a high note. Manley did not disappoint this year in the room he shared with dealer Brooks Berdan, the "king of analog."
Stephen Mejias  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  0 comments
I was fooled into believing that Ryan Adams was in the Mobile Fidelity room. He was telling me he wished I'd steal all of his records and screw all of his friends. This seemed strange, indeed.
Wes Phillips  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  1 comments
Other Stereophile writers, most specifically Jason Victor Serinus, have mentioned how good the Immedia room sounded and they are absolutely right: It sounded wonderful. I heard it twice and both times I was tremendously impressed with how relaxed and natural it sounded at moderate loudness levels. Many demonstrations rely on loudness to generate excitement, but Immedia's Allen Perkins let his system just bloom naturally.
Wes Phillips  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  0 comments
I wandered into the ModWright/Red Dragon/Acoustic Zen/Golden Sounds room expecting good sound because Dan Wright's stuff always delivers, but I was wowed by the system's synergy.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  1 comments
You could smell the chocolate from just outside the door. Walking into the Moscode room, I was greeted by a bowl of silvery Hershey's Kisses.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  0 comments
I heard some truly excellent-sounding systems at HE 2006, but if I had to pick one listening experience at the show that transcended all others, it would have to be Kimber’s IsoMike demonstration. The system itself is described by Wes Phillips in another blog entry, and I’m sure it would have sounded very good playing back normal CDs, but what made the sound more closely approach reality was that the source material consisted of four-channel recordings made by Ray Kimber using his IsoMike setup. (Ray is shown here holding a scale model of his IsoMike baffle.) I’ve been often disappointed with multichannel music playback, but this was completely convincing. The voices and instruments present in the room in a way that was at times spooky. Wes was right: Ray Kimber should be King of the Universe.
Wes Phillips  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  3 comments
I joke sometimes at Home Entertainment Shows, as I regard the crowds jostling one another to enter rooms, paw through bins of records, or get the good seats at the musical events, that "these are my people." The thing is, it's true. I do the same things.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jun 06, 2006  |  0 comments
Leland Leard of Music Hall is a pair of spectacles the color of Jenny Lewis' dress. My eyes grew large and happy when I saw the Watson Twins vinyl propped up beside White Stripes and Gnarls Barkley discs.

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