We're back…. from CES 2009, now for some photos

Took more than 5300 photos.

Now to process them and get them up on the site.

Here are some photos of some new products from the lines that we love:

The HRS SXR now comes in silver

This is a good deal easier to photograph than the black SXR. I am in favor. 🙂 [In fact, it looks surprisingly good – this from someone who usually prefers black].

The new Audio Aero LaSource. A prototype so what you see here does not have the quality finish that the final product will have. [The player with the black finish was featured in our Show Report Dailies.

System Two now has two racks

… and system Three has none.

Both RixRax equipment racks are now over on the second system. We wanted the added capability to compare two turntables, two phono stages, and the Audio Note Ongaku to the Kegon Balanced to the Kegon.

We put the Kehon Balanced amps on the Kharma Mini Exquisites.

The tops have been off so we can stare at the internal electronics for awhile 🙂 But the tops will be back on soon enough… 1) they take up a lot of room just laying around, 2) the safest place for the tops of the chassis is on the chassis, and 3) just to get the aesthetic effect of a system that does not have exposed tubes.

Since our Audio Note M9 Phono preamp is still to arrive, we are using the Audio Note M1 phono preamplifier to drive the Kegon Balanced. We also had the M1 on the Ongaku integrated for awhile, to get a feel for the sound of the M1 in the system that we are so very familiar with.

The M1 is a very nice pre and I, personally, want to keep it here forever. At the price it sells for on Audiogon sometimes, $700, it sounds more like a $5K to 10K pre – and it always surprises me.

All the low-end AN gear surprises me – I keep expecting a more discordant and harsh sound – like the low end of every other line of equipment. But nooooo, this has more harmonics and warmth than the top-of-the-line, which is more neutral and detailed and transparent and realistic.

The end of the rack is now ALFULLY close to the speaker. But we figure the trade-off is worth it – that we can configure some great sounding systems that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to hear.

The Audio Note Kegon Balanced on the Kharma loudspeakers.

The Audio Note Kegon Balanced. On first blush, the M1 pre + Kegon Balanced amps is very, very competitive with the Ongaku integrated amp.

I would say more neutral [OK, nothing has that 211 sound except 211-based tube amps and the Kegons are 300B-based amps] and more transparent – more separation …and solidity?

We’re still listening…

The Soundlab system without a rack looks pretty darn cool itself. The Audio Aero Prestige is sitting on a Rix Rax amp stand.

Yes, that is a Nordost ODIN between the Prestige and Edge Signature One amps.

The Ongaku is now in System Four in Listening Room Three (L3). We haven’t hooked it up yet – this is still a AN Oto integrated-driven system.

Acoustic Zen Adagio loudspeaker on Kharma amp and Audio Aero Prestige player

After going through several system configurations, this one was perhaps our favorite, especially of those with speakers driven by solid-state amplifiers.

Adagio speakers on Kharma amps

The Adagios, in this configuration, in this room (that wall behind the speakers is not symmetrical and not flat…) seemed to prefer the more aggressive Kharma digital amp than the more powerful, more laid back, and more expensive EDGE amps. It helped wake them up, so to speak.

Adagio speakers on Kharma amps

All Nordost Valhalla cabling. Yeah, each cable cost more than the speakers… but we save money using the Office Depot power strip, see? 🙂

But in the end, this is a fairly reasonably priced system at about $25K + cables.

Adagio speakers on Kharma amps

No, these speakers don’t sound as tight and controlled and have the finesse of the $45-$50K Kharma Mini Exquisite and Marten Coltrane speakers… which just seems to depress our visitors who are auditioning the Adagios.

Maybe we should just hide them next time?

We already go through the ‘You really don’t want to hear these. You’ll be spoiled and will never be able to go back”. Doesn’t work, though.

And we really LIKE the Adagios… what other speaker can you play (successfully) rock & roll AND opera on in this price range? Like none, man.