SHOW REPORT

Part Two

Floor 3

Home Entertainment Show

The Stereophile High-end Audio Show
Los Angeles, California

June 1st-4th, 2006

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 The Thiel Audio, Audio Research, Richard Gray room
 

 If there was any consensus at the show it was that the Peak Consult / Berning / Continuum room was very interesting, the Lamm room was very competent, as usual, and that this room with the new Thiel loudspeakers was not sounding very good.

In fact it sounded broken. In general, there was a maelstrom of very confused frequencies being generated.

[Yeah, this is crazy and messed up,  but I wonder how many other people also have this innate fear - that hearing a favorite song be totally flubbed will forever change the way they hear the song in the future. It obviously happens when one hears a song played back when it sounded fantastic - never again will one hear that song without thinking how great it once sounded. So it must work in reverse as well, right? Maybe attending shows isn't such a good thing after all. "Oh look, Honey, they're murdering our song."]

More Thiel Audio, Audio Research, Richard Gray room pictures.

 

 

 

 

 Thiel loudspeaker

 

 

 

 

 Thiel loudspeaker

 

 

 

 

 Thiel loudspeaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio Research amplifier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flying Mole room
 

 Well, they got a great name, or I like it, anyway. They seem to be going for the home theater market - what with the number of speakers and the source gear being of that ilk - but I admit to being a little confused.

More Flying Mole pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sonicweld room
 

A room with equipment that is quite challenging to photograph. They have built a custom camera with 3 flash attachments to try and help them take photos; me I'm stuck with my trusty 20D.

I presume that this room was going for the gold, to be able to do everything well: Enjoyability, Emotionality, Realism, Impressiveness... But I found the sound a little laid back - not at all what I expected of a ceramic driver speaker in aluminum chassis. It was as if they were underpowered or something. But they do not look underpowered, do they? Or perhaps the speakers are just tuned to be 'very laid back' to counter the known forward nature of ceramic drivers. Or maybe it is just all that black cloth on the walls, but in any case, their was not enough microdynamics that is usually associated with detail and PRaT and enjoyability, for my taste anyway.

More Sonicweld room pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Venture, Concert Fidelity, Esoteric, Weiss, Sound Application Room
 

Well, this was the best I have heard the Venture speakers sound - much livelier than with the WAVAC amplifiers at CES 2006, which made the speakers seem closed in and hard to drive.

This room also appeared to be going for the best sound possible, addressing each category of sonic goodness - but I think the only one it really succeeded in was Sophistication, though it did have some Enjoyability and Realism as well. But missing perhaps some emotionality. It was nice - but just nice.

More Venture, Concert Fidelity, Esoteric, Weiss, Sound Application Room pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  Sonics, Ayre, Spiral Groove, Lyra*, Finite Elemente Room
 

I was impressed by the sound in this room. I was repeatedly drawn into the music, it being rendered in an very Enjoyable and Emotional manner. There was plenty of detail with a Sophisticated presentation as opposed to trying to impress by spotlighting details. This was not an Impressive sound with respect to the bass either, but it was a very large room and in a smaller room who knows what Magic might happen. These speakers retail in the $13 - $15K region. Not too shabby.

Neli says: "that's one of those new Immedia turntables that Allen Perkins (Immedia owner) is making -- the one that Norbert showed us with the removable armpod that twists into the plinth at CES. The brand is called Spiral Groove. I don't know if it's the SG1 or the less expensive SG2. The vinyl playback in there was *very* nice."

More Sonics, Ayre, Spiral Groove, Lyra*, Finite Elemente Room pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sonics by Joachim Gerhard loudspeaker.

 

 

 

 

  Sonics by Joachim Gerhard loudspeaker.

 

 

 

 

  Sonics by Joachim Gerhard loudspeaker.

 

 

 

 

 Ayre amplifier.

 

 

 

 

 Spiral Groove turntable

 

 

 

 

 Lyra Skala cartridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Lyra Skala cartridge.

 

 

 

 

 Lyra Skala cartridge.

 

 

 

 

 Finite Elemente equipment rack.

 

 

 

 

 

 Lyra Connoisseur

 

 

 

 

 Lyra Connoisseur

 

 

 

 

 Sonics by Joachim Gerhard loudspeakers

 

 

 

 

 Recall CD player

 

 

 

The  Joseph Audio, Manley, Ayre, Audio Power, VPI, SoundSmith Room
 

 Well, this room was certainly a cacophony, visually anyway. What attracted the most attention was the LED in the turntable's cartridge. See details about the cartridge in a comment to our blog. But suffice it to say this was something very different and had a lot of people gawking. Now, I know some of you like to listen in the dark with out all the bright lights of the equipment staring you in the face - so this ain't for you. But for the rest of us, ...and it might even help us see more precisely just where we are dropping that cartridge when it is indeed dark.

Sonically, this room had no purpose, and achieved no result, that could be detected by this listener.

More Joseph Audio, Manley, Ayre, Audio Power, VPI, Sound-Smith Room pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Joseph Audio loudspeaker.

 

 

 

 

 VPI TNT turntable.

 

 

 

 

VPI TNT turntable.

 

 

 

 

VPI TNT turntable. with Sound-Smith cartridge.

 

 

 

VPI TNT turntable. with Sound-Smith cartridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound-Smith amplifier and pre.

 

 

 

 

VPI TNT turntable. with Sound-Smith cartridge.

 

 

 

 

VPI TNT turntable. with Sound-Smith cartridge.

 

 

 

 

Sound-Smith cartridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VPI TNT turntable. with Sound-Smith cartridge.

 

 

 

 

Sound-Smith cartridge.

 

 

 

The Vandersteen, Audio Research, Basis, Harmonic Research Systems (HRS)*, Audioquest, Richard Gray Room
 

I always feel intimidated by rooms with the large super-sized ARC amplifiers. Don't know why. Maybe because they remind me of the farout electronics in the sci-fi films of my youth and the attractiveness of this type of equipment was one of the major reasons I became a scientist / engineer / hacker / nerd / whatever.

Unfortunately, these behemoth amps are really designed to be primarily impressive amplifiers, with a backwards glance at enjoyability, and the speakers are designed to be real sounding with a backwards glance at impressiveness (with a built-in active subwoofer) and, well, it just didn't work out. It wasn't impressive, real, or enjoyable. Perhaps because in this listeners opinion the Vandersteen V loudspeaker abandons every other property of sonic splendor - for example enjoyability. And similarly the Audio Research amps could care less about transparency and realism. Yes, assigning equipment anthropomorphic qualities is a hazard of this hobby - as if you didn't already know.

More Vandersteen, Audio Research, Basis, Harmonic Research Systems (HRS)*, Audioquest, Richard Gray Room pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vandersteen V'A' loudspeaker

 

 

 

 

ARC amplifier.

 

 

 

 

 RC amplifier.

 

 

 

 

Richard Gray power conditioner.

 

 

 

 

Room heater.

 

 

 

 

Basis turntable

 

 

 

 

Basis turntable

 

 

 

ARC CD7 CD player

 

 

 

 

ARC Reference 2 preamplifier.

 

 

 

 

Everything on a HRS MXR equipment rack in Mahogany

 

 

 

 

Everything on a HRS MXR equipment rack

 

 

 

The Eben, VTL, Acoustic Signature, Bel Canto, Nordost* Room 
 

A big room for even the big Eben X5 loudspeakers and big VTL amplifiers. They did manage to fill it up with sound though. We both heard this system a number of times. This system was designed to be Impressive and nothing else - hopefully - because that is what was achieved. The VTL amplifiers are designed to be impressive and that is it. Their forte is not micro-dynamics, from which we get emotionality, sophistication, enjoyment and realism - not to mention magic.

More Eben, VTL, Acoustic Signature, Bel Canto, Nordost* Room pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Eben X5 loudspeaker.

 

 

 

 

 The Eben X5 loudspeaker.

 

 

 

 

 The smaller Raidho loudspeaker line 'Emilie' S-3 loudspeakers.

 

 

 

 

 A plethora of Acoustic-Signature turntables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A tall Acoustic-Signature turntable.

 

 

 

 

 The big VTL amplifier - the bane of my show-going life.

 

 

 

 

 Bel Canto CD player

 

 

 

 

 VTL preamplifier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Nordost THOR power conditioner.

 

 

 

 

 Acoustic-Signature turntable.

 

 

 

 

  Acoustic-Signature turntable.

 

 

 

 

 

Acoustic-Signature turntable in the dark.

 

 

 

Acoustic-Signature turntable in the dark.

 

 

 

 

Acoustic-Signature turntable in the dark.

 

 

 

 

Belt-drive of Acoustic-Signature turntable.

 

 

 

 

 Sumiko 'Celebration' cartridge.

 

 

 

 

More Acoustic-Signature turntables.

 

 

 

 

More Acoustic-Signature turntables.

 

 

 

 

More Acoustic-Signature turntables.

 

 

 

The Wilson, VTL, VPI, Jadis Room
 

This room... this room did not 'fail gracefully'. When the music became complex, like most non-audiophile music, this system just went to Hades in a hand-basket. Bright, scratchy, confused wall of sonic discordance - in other words it turned into a 'get the heck out of this room quick' repulser beam. These speakers sounded fine in the Lamm room. Hmmmmm.....?

What was this room designed to sound like? Impressive I guess. The Wilson Audio speakers are finicky beasts - treat them with respect or stay away.

More Wilson, VTL, VPI, Jadis Room pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A VTL amplifier

 

 

 

 

The Finite Elemente equipment track.

 

 

 

 

VPI Aries 3 turntable.

 

 

 

 

A VTL preamplifier

 

 

 

 

The VPI turntable controller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jadis JD1 Mk II CD player

 

 

 

 

Jadis CD player power supply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VPI Aries 3 turntable.

 

 

 

 

Wilson Audio Sophia or Sophia 2 loudspeaker.

 

 

 

 

 Wilson Audio Sophia or Sophia 2 loudspeaker.

 

 

 

 

 

Jadis JD1 Mk II CD player

 

 

 

The AcroLink, Pranawire, Oyaide, Sound Mechanics Booth
 

Outside of the Wilson / VTL /Jadis room was a booth displaying lots of audiophile candy for the child with lots of money in all of us. Mind you, we are still on the 3rd floor. There are still quite a few rooms on this floor to see.

More AcroLink, Pranawire, Oyaide, Sound Mechanics Booth pictures.

 

 

 

 

Oyaide power tweeks.

 

 

 

 

More Tweaks from Sound Mechanics.

 

 

 

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All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable.
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