SIDE 3
CES (Consumer Electronics Show)
T.H.E. Show

Las Vegas
Day 3, Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Track 2

The Focus room

The LA Audio room

The Hyperion room

The Reference 3A room

The King's Audio room

The ONIX room

The HANNL room

The Wilson, Audio Research room

The Cerious room

The Tone Imports, Devore Fidelity, Shindo room

The Audio Machina room

and more...

* Denotes a product carried by Audio Federation

 

Copyright Audio Federation, Inc.. All rights reserved.
All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable.

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Focus Audio speakers, Weiss Jason transport, Weiss MEDEA DAC and what looks like a Goldmund amp but says 'VA' on top
 

 

 
Focus Audio speaker
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
Not sure what speakers these are..., Gamut CD1 player, GAMUT preamplifier, Jolida amplifier
 

 

 
Gamut CD1 player, GAMUT preamplifier, Jolida amplifier
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
Not sure what room this was. The sound was actually musical and for the price range I presume they are targeting, a good value.

I just took a few pictures because I thought the setup was humorous, in a 'we try hard not to let our rooms at Audio Federation look like this' sort of way... but we understand...sometimes one will just explode into a spontaneous spaghetti mess... all by itself. Am I right? Doesn't this happen to all of us?

 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
LA Audio was displaying some of their nice looking, nicely priced equipment. We listened closely, wondering if this was another Almarro type of bargain - but for a number of reasons that I did not document they just didn't quite do it for me.
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
LA Audio P-22 40 watt mono block amplifier $1400, C-22 pre amp $700

(Yeah, I know most of us can read this information from the picture, some like me needing glasses - but some of our readers are blind, and some will also be looking for information about this equipment using Google).

 

 

 
More LA Audio electronics
 

 

 
More LA Audio speakers and electronics
 

 

 
LA Audio PRE-11 Preamplifier $3000. A very nice looking preamplifier. A lot of tubes for a pre though.
 

 

 
The Hyperion room. All Hyperion except the Sony SCD-1 player.

This room sounded OK. These Wilsonesque speakers are not the most balanced speakers - and I think the Hyperion systems with other peoples electronics sounded better than this at past shows - but the speakers still go up against the likes of the Von Schweikert VR-4 and other top almost-full-range speakers in this price category without flinching.

It looks like Hyperion has branched out from just making speakers to making electronics as well. Maybe they will next come out with a Hyperion listening chair? Hyperion LCD panel? Hyperion car?

Not really making fun of Hyperion in particular, just all these companies that seem to want to do 'everything'. I know, I know, they all say they 'hired the best designers in the field to design a brand new and bestest ever widget-o-thing'.

Harmon created Revel this way - to create a high-end speaker line - and it more or less worked. Has anybody else ever succeeded with this approach? People are not beans: you can't just move them around willy-nilly, plant them any old place, water them with money and get a great design.

There is an environment and culture required for great ideas, (assuming the designer has not already had the idea - and this proves the point: in this case the company is buying the designers idea, not the designer), and companies that do not recognize the importance of, or trash, this culture (ala Levinson) will suffer mediocre designs, no matter how much management wrings their hands.

Hey, that was a soapbox! Where did that come from...? :-)

Sorry, It doesn't really belong here... out the windows it goes. Windows? WINDOWS? Don't get me started.... :-)

 

 

 
Hyperion amplfiier
 

 

 
Hyperion amplfiier
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

The Reference 3A room. Not sure about the equipment they are using here, but of all the Reference 3A rooms I have heard at past shows, this one probably sounded the best to my ears - and assuming the speakers are in the couple thousand price category, they are an excellent value.

I'd say they are not as good as the $3700 Acoustic Zen speakers, but seem to be going for the same type of sound, and assuming they are less than the Acoustic Zen, these might be an option for those who cannot afford them, the Acoustic Zen I mean.

OK, nearing the end of this report - and you can tell - especially when I have to put the manufacturers name THREE TIMES in a sentence to make it work.

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

King's Audio, Ltd. - These speakers are $6K or so, according to a second-hand source. The sound was enjoyable, being a well-balanced blend of detail and liquidity. This room sounded better to my ears than the very dry-sounding Sound Lab* room. Personally, I think the Sound Lab speakers look nicer than these look - and they do sound better... at least they sound (a lot, more detail, better coherence, flatter response, etc.) better here at Audio Federation than these speakers sounded at the show. And please don't write me to say I put parenthesis at strange locations in my sentences, I already know this.

 

 

 
 
 

 

 
They had these amps in the Oskar Heil room, the Jolida 'Music Envoy' amplifiers, Jolida preamplifier, not sure what CD player.
 

 

 
Yet another pair of cool-looking, who knows what they might sound like, PC / computer desktop speakers.
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
Another picture of the Jolida 'Music Envoy' amplifier.
 

 

 
Not sure what room this is that had these little panel speakers.
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
MBL amplifiers, A Philips DVD player, what looks like a MBL preamplifier,  and what looks like an old tuner of some sort.
 

 

 

The ONIX room had another of these really small speakers for desktop PC use. ;-)

 

 

 

Here is the size of this wee one next to a standard laptop. You might want a midrange and some bass to go with it.

Actually, this looks like a very nice, highly finished super-tweeter that might be a fine addition to a standard sized speaker that is deficient in the upper frequencies.

 

 

 

ONIX makes larger speakers too. Oh and they made the CD player and integrated amplifier you see here as well. And the equipment rack.

 

 

 

ONIX makes cables too.

 

 

 

Another all-ONIX setup.

 

 

 

The Microlab room

 

 

 

Not sure what speakers or electronics this is. I know that Dave and Carol did a write up at Positive Feedback on these at the show, so if you really need to know what they are, be sure to check there.

 

 

 

Companies that just build drivers have rooms at the Alexis Park as well.

 

 

 

Nola speakers. Plinius amplifier

 

 

 

A display of a number of HANNL record cleaning machines. How loud are they? Don't know, but it is our primary criteria that we are not rendered (temporarily) deaf by our record cleaning machine - which is why we use the old, small engine, Loricraft*. Maybe these will be quiet too. I hope so.

 

 

 

STABI XL turntable, fixed VTA $18000, adjustable VTA $19500, STOGI Airline tonearm: $9000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plinius gear, ASR switcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across the Alexis Park parking lot we can see the sign for the T.H.E. Show "More High-End Exhibits Here".

This shows the extent of my folly that here it is Saturday afternoon before I make it to the T.H.E. Show next door, assuming it ends Monday when, in fact, it ends Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

Wilson Sophia speakers with Audio Research Corporation (ARC) amps.

A predictable sound: Big, bold, but missing a lot of the sonic cues (like harmonic balance, consistent microdynamics, etc.) that make the images in the soundstage take shape and appear to be Real. But is wasn't horrible and I liked it a lot better than the BAT amps on the Wilson MAXX 2 speakers, and in fact, it sounded better than I have ever heard JM Lab or B&W sound - and probably on a level similar to the MBL - so this is probably near the top of the heap in terms of the big-wall-of-sound approach to music reproduction - which is what most people with just a casual association with our hobby are looking for.

Better alternatives to this system would be, in my opinion, using Lamm* hybrid,  big EDGE*, or maybe even the new seemingly better sounding Halcro amps with these speakers, or on the other bigger Wilson speakers.... or on the bigger Acapellas* of course if you really want to go first class :-)

My point here is that the 'ordinary people' who want to buy a nice system want this big kind of sound, and the ultra high-end does not really offer all that much in this area - I think Kharma and Marten Design make speakers that will do this to a limited extent in a small to modest sized room only. The other offerings in large speakers with punch seem to have their sonic problems that make them perhaps not much better than the system above. [Going down the list, we have not heard the Avalon Sentinel, which is the largest speaker Avalon makes - so this may join the short list of the large, truly high-end speakers: the Acapella Triolon and Spharon, and, hopefully when driven correctly, the Wilson Alexandria X2 speaker]

 

 

 

Inside of an ARC amp

 

 

 

ARC electronics, VPI turntable.

 

 

 

VPI turntable on a wood-pulp platform extender device

 

 

 

ARC Reference 21D amplifiers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cerious Technologies room. Yet another ceramic driver speaker. There was some buzz on the net about this room after the show, but I went in here curious because of the interesting name, and did not hear anything special.

Maybe they are very inexpensive (which would indeed be unusual for a speaker with those Accuton ceramic drivers). One can judge overall room sound, comparing the sound to all possible systems in the room, or one can evaluate the sound based on the cost of the system. For example, if these are $20K, like the Magico Mini speakers about this size, then this room had better rock. If these speakers are $500, well, they might then be a price-performance breakthrough that will 'rock' the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio Reference speakers, Connoisseur electronics. How can they have registered the trademark 'Connoisseur'? I swear the govt. is getting dumb and dumber day by day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You got your Paramount 300B amps on the bottom, the EDGE G2 preamp, a CD player, and a VPI Scoutmaster on top.

 

 

 

Paramount 300B amps

 

 

 

Not sure what kind of speakers these were, but I thought this system sounded pretty good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PS Audio 300 on the bottom, an unknown to me 300B amplifier, a preamp whose name looks like it was marked out, a Panasonic DVD player, and a turntable of some sort.

 

 

 

Royal Device speakers and electronics, Nightingale amplifiers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nightingale Armonia integrated amplifier and 5-channel integrated amplifier

 

 

 

Tone Imports, Devore Fidelity 'Gibbon' speakers, Shindo Laboratories electronics, Accuphase CD player.

Neli says: "I really think all that Shindo gear made the DeVore speakers sound as good as they *can* sound. Good for the devore's I guess, but bad for the Shindo, which I actually think is better than we've heard it.

That turntable in there is a Garrard 301, remanufactured (and presumably re-plinthed) by Shindo Labs."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peek-a-boo

 

 

 

The Michael Wolf room with DK amplification and Musical Fidelity CD player

 

 

 

The DK VB.1 Reference amplifier

 

 

 

Musical Fidelity A308 CD player

 

 

 

Nice looking power distributor

 

 

 
Tone Imports, Devore Fidelity speakers, Shindo Laboratories electronics
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
Reimyo DAC
 

 

 
Marchand Electronics, Inc.
 

 

 
Marchand Electronics, Inc.
 

 

 
Marchand Electronics, Inc.
 

 

 

Audiona room

 

 

 

Audiona room

 

 

 
Audio Machina speakers, Nagra solidstate amplifier, Audio Aero* Prestige CD / SACD player / preamplifier

Neli says: "I kinda like those little Audio Machina monitors... musical & well integrated. If you look closely at the Prestige in that room ... it's got one of those Signature Edition tags on the drawer-front."

 

 

 
Audio Machina speakers
 

 

 
Audio Machina speakers
 

 

 
Nagra MPA solidstate integrated amplifier
 

 

 
Audio Aero* Prestige CD / SACD player
 

 

Copyright Audio Federation, Inc.. All rights reserved.
All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable.

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