NY Audio Show 2013

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Ariel Bitran  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  6 comments

Many attendees at the New York Audio Show 2013 were afraid to admit they were audiophiles, opting for complicated explanations about their passion for music. Yet, what is just so scary about being an audiophile? I walked around asking folks the next day, "What is an audiophile?" in hopes to discover just what it meant.

Thank you to all of those who participated.

Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
From left: Dan D’Agostino, Vince Galbo of MSB, and Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio Specialties.

In association with Innovative Audio, these gentleman put together a high-performance system made of Wilson Alexia loudspeakers ($48,500/pair); D’Agostino Momentum monoblocks ($55,000/pair) and Ultra-Analog preamplifier ($32,000 with power base); MSB Diamond DAC IV Plus ($27,995) with FemtoSecond Galaxy Clock ($4995), Diamond Stepped Attenuator ($2995), USB2 Signature 384kHz input option ($1395), Pro IS input option ($995), Diamond ($5995) and Signature ($4995) power bases, and Platinum Data CD IV disc player ($3995); and Transparent Reference XL speaker cables ($13,160/pair), balanced interconnects ($9270/pair), and digital interconnects ($3195 each). Power conditioning was also from Transparent, while the equipment was supported by Finite Element Pagode racks.

Art Dudley  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
Here's Channel D's Rob Robinson, who reminded visitors to the room he shared with Joseph Audio that the fine-sounding 24/192 vinyl drops we enjoyed therein (Priscilla Ahn's "A Good Day" comes to mind) were done using his Pure Vinyl software, with RIAA equalization performed in the digital domain.
Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  4 comments
Because I know Wes Bender and E.A.R.’s Dan Meinwald are always open to new sounds, I took the opportunity in the Wes Bender Studio room to play the title cut from Aidan Baker’s latest release, Already Drowning.
Ariel Bitran  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
Mat Weisfield was ultra-stoked to tell me about VPI's new 3D-printed tonearm. I'll let Art do the explaining, but when I heard the VPI room, images were rock solid and full-bodied through the 3D printed tonearm and nascent VPI Classic Direct. A turntable created out of happenstance, when the chassis for the planned direct-drive Vanquish was not ready for the show, they stuck the Vanquish parts into a Classic chassis and the VPI Classic Direct (approximately $20-25k) was born. Resourceful, those VPI fellas.
Ariel Bitran  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
The intriguing sonics and gorgeous décor of Gideon Schwartz’s Audio Arts room were easily noticed by anyone who entered. Just in front of me, a little boy took pictures with his iPhone of the imposing yet luxurious Zellaton Studio Reference One loudspeakers ($52,750/pair). Schwartz’s room, the Chairman’s Office as indicated by New York Palace signs, used to be the office for hotel inheritor and tyrant manager Leona Helmsley. Dusty multi-colored hard-bound books lined the dark mahogany shelves next to daintily painted ceramic pots centered by the wonderfully symmetrical American-crafted Audio Strata racks.
Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
A second, smaller Innovative Audio room held a system made of Wilson Audio’s Sasha W/P loudspeakers ($27,900/pair); Lamm M1.2 Reference hybrid monoblocks ($24, 190/pair); VTL TL-7.5 Series III Reference preamplifier ($20,000) and TP-6.5 Signature phono preamp ($10,500 with moving-coil step-up transformer); Spiral Groove SG2 turntable ($21,000, with Centroid tonearm) and Lyra Kleos MC cartridge ($3000); Transparent cables, power conditioning, and AC cords; and Finite Element Pagode racks and supports.
Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  1 comments
Michael Fremer entertains a packed house with an in-depth discussion on various pressings of the Beach Boys’ classic album, Pet Sounds. The event was co-hosted by Classic Album Sundays’ Colleen Murphy. For more info on Mikey’s seminars, visit AnalogPlanet.com.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
Tentatively named the JMW-3D (the suffix refers to the modeling technology used to create its high-tech tooling), VPI's new one-piece tonearm wand/headshell/bearing housing is molded from epoxy resin, which promises to resist sound-coloring resonances while remaining comparatively immune to the problem of energy storage. Although pricing has yet to be determined, VPI's Harry Weisfeld suggests that the arm may be expensive at first, although he hopes that prices may moderate as the production process itself becomes less expensive. The new arm is seen here on a prototype of the VPI Classic Direct, a direct-drive turntable based on the Classic chassis (projected price: ca $20,000).
Ariel Bitran  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  1 comments
JPS Labs leaps into the world of headphones with the Abyss: a highly customizable head-gripping $5495 listening device. More info on these intense cans be found on their website.
Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
Dupuy Acoustique, a brand relatively new to me, gave an effective demonstration of its Daisy Reflector ($995; patent pending), first seen at SSI in Montreal—a “phase-restoration device,” whose internal cabinetry and foam have been computer-modeled and CNC-machined for optimal performance.
Ariel Bitran  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
The YG Kipod loudspeakers powered by Veloce amplification were clean, dynamic, and suggested the right level of stickiness to brass.

But you didn’t hear it from me. I asked JA on Sunday: "What's the best sound you've heard so far today?" Here's what he said:

Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  1 comments
While there were many exciting cost-no-object systems on display, the New York Audio Show was also home to refreshingly small and simple systems that nevertheless offered exceptional performance.

KEF’s beautiful LS50 loudspeakers ($1500/pair) were partnered with Audio Electronics’ Constellation tube preamp ($1495), Hercules power amp ($1895), and Lightning DAC ($1295). Wireworld provided the cabling. The music, which came from a laptop, sounded forceful, dynamic, colorful, and present.

If I could have taken home any system from the New York Audio Show, it would have been this one.

Ariel Bitran  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  7 comments
I saw her first in the Clue room. She exited at the same time as random bald man #72. Were they together? I’m not sure, but the dangerously punchy sound was not helping my listening fatigue. I left. She walked into the Audio Doctor’s KEF Blade display. Should I follow her? That would be weird.

A gentleman from Music First Audio started talking to me and pointing at my camera: “We have a colorful preamp for you to take pictures of.”

“No thanks.”

Art Dudley  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
As an unabashed fan of amplifiers that use EL34 output tubes in Ultralinear circuits—an output architecture that, to my ears, almost always sounds colorful, well-textured, and believably lush—I was delighted that, in the VPI suite, a trio (!) of Joseph Audio Pearl loudspeakers were powered by a trio (!) of Citation 2 monoblock amplifiers from VAS Audio ($3000/pair—which, I guess, translates into $4500 for three). The Citation 2, which offers 50Wpc in Ultralinear but can also be switched to triode mode for 25Wpc, also uses 12AX7 and 12AU7 small-signal tubes, plus a 5AR4 rectifier, and its specially wound output transformers are said to be vacuum-potted.