Report

 

Venetian:   2 A B    29 A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 C3   30 A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2   34  35  

  Alexis Park A B   St. Tropez A B C

 

 

Venetian Floor 29
(Wing A Part 1)

CES 2008
T.H.E. Show
Las Vegas

January 2008

* Denotes a product carried by Audio Federation
 

Copyright Audio Federation, Inc.. All rights reserved.
All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable
if attribution is given but may not be included in multi-room show reports without written permission.

 

 

 

 

Previously, on the Audio Federation CES 2008 Show Report, it is midday Tuesday and we had just finished the Wing A of floor 30. Now we proceed to go down the stairs [and past the security guards] to floor 29 [immediately below floor 30, which is a great place to put it - quite intuitive], and thereby traverse the Wing underneath the Wing we just saw, but in the other direction, now going towards the elevators away from the stairs.

It is about at this time that my goal of getting 4 wings done today were deemed, uh, pathetically unrealistic. The boring old shtick about room X being an oasis is really a polite turn of phrase to communicate that any chair, any couch, even the floor was an oasis.

It is some amount of exercise to lean over at odd angles, crouch sideways, and do one armed camera lifts trying to get just the right photo. And I was getting pooped.

Several rooms were iPodding it - and the results are predictable. Kind of a ready-made excuse if your components aren't up to the task. I have it from a reliable source that making MP3's sound good is doable - but as far as I know, making iPods sound good is still not possible. And if you value the 'high' in 'high-fidelity', then these rooms were not really in the game.

The crowds in the hallways started picking up and pretty much stayed like this for the rest of the show. Everybody was polite and having a good time. Most people go only to rooms they are interested in, but a few people were going from room to room like me. These few people and I got to be casual friends during this brief time, until we got out of sync; the women smiling and saying 'hi!', the guys trying to check out who I was by the "Quick Try and Read The Badge As They Walk By to See if They Are Someone Important" technique [how do people do this? I NEVER can read a badge unless the person is standing in front of me... quite still... for an extended period of time].

 

 

 

 

STYLE
Impressive Sweet   Enjoyable Emotional Sophisticated   Natural Workhorse Real/Truth   Magical/Spiritual
SOUND
Midi-dynamics Impressive Sweet   Enjoyable Emotional Sophisticated
 
This was a well-balanced system: all the little faults in the playback were minor and distributed fairly evenly across the different audiophile attributes.

All that is except a little 'ceramic-driveriness' associated with these brand new speakers here. Ceramic-driveriness is when you can tell that a ceramic driver is producing the sound - a certain over-sharpness to the leading and especially trailing edges of each note - and is endemic of all ceramic driver speakers until they are broken in, as we can well attest to here, where it seems we are always breaking in one ceramic-driven speaker or another.

I hope I don't embarrass Daniel by talking about the setup here a little - but few rooms are well thought out sonically, although, as it happens, most of our Most Loved of Show rooms are. This particular setup applies to most reasonably efficient cone-driver speaker setups. Horns, planers, high-efficiency system designs are somewhat different.

The slightest bit round and laid back ASR electronics seem like a good match for these speakers with somewhat sharp and sometimes forward ceramic drivers. This gives a person a degree of flexibility with what cables to use, depending on what they want to emphasize [and their budget], as long as they are not too bright nor too laid back - again trying to strike that balance - and the Argento cables and power cords seem to do the job.

The economical Oracle CD player is used only as a workhorse transport into the DAC that looks like it is from Mars [yes, I am sure it has a name, and I was told the name, but I was just happy to remember which way to turn, right or left, or straight ahead, when I left each room]. Finally, there is at least some attention paid to vibration control for the electronics and the digital. Not the brand I would use, but... :-)

And out pops a system that actually works. No, it is not a blow-you-away type system [yet :-)] but nothing has a blow-you-away price tag here either.

 
 

 
The internals of the ASR integrated amplifier. It is hard to see, but there are LEDs everywhere, each telling a story about what the amp is doing.
 
  
Tidal loudspeakers.
 
 
 

Oracle CD player
 
The DAC
 
Kind of what it really looks like from the seated position.
 
Argento cable display.

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
There were a number of people listening here - and I was happy to hear that, at least throughout the midrange, things sounded sweet and fairly dynamic. Too many times I see a bunch of people in a room and I hear what they are hearing and I feel so sorry that they somehow got trapped in the room and have decided to wait until the song ends or something out of politeness [just use the 'Oh, I just got a call on my cell phone. I'll take this outside' technique like the rest of us do].
 

    

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
This room had two home theater setups, back-to-back, both with people watching a different movie. This was kind of a lose-lose situation - and there was no way it was going to sound good for either of these two groups of people.
 
 

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
Beautiful, beautiful - but I am not sure that Hovland will ever work right with Avalon speakers. It is like sweet meets sweet - they for some reason seem to cancel each other out - so it sounds underpowered and not sweet at all, to me.
 
 
Why oh why didn't I take more pictures of these? Earth to Mike's brain.... Wake Up!

 

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
I really like being in rooms with the drapes open. The view is fascinating and gives one something to look at if one tires of seeing the 1000th beautiful tube amp or something [I hope you dear reader, aren't like that because we have a few more 1000 beautiful tube amps to go before the end of this report here...]
 
  
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
Interesting name, American Acoustic Development. Anyway, sometimes I take the first photo of the 'upstairs' portion of the room - as people are coming out of the sunken living room part. Keeps me busy and moving forward towards the end of these halls that never seem to end. So here ... oh, this isn't one of those situations... Well, anyway, now you are prepared just in case.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
Again, beautiful view of the city and mountains in the distance outside the window. OK, back to high-end audio. Notice the tweaks above the window, and in the upper corner? They are between $200 and $2000 each and, though they definitely do something, the only true demo I have heard had them increase midi-dynamics and reduce micro-dynamics. This is what I explain to Neli when she starts thinking about trying these out here at Audio Federation. Not that we won't eventually get them in to try - but first lets get some more Odin cables, and some custom Jorma Prime for the Supreme's bass units, and ....
 
 
   
 
 
Sorry, these photos suck - but I thought it was important to get a photo of them for the 'record' so to speak.
 
 
 
 
AVID turntable.
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

STYLE
Impressive Sweet   Enjoyable Emotional Sophisticated   Natural Workhorse Real/Truth   Magical/Spiritual
SOUND
More or less same as above: i.e. the system succeeds at what it is trying to do
 
Hansen speakers and CAT amp, same as last year. Bo-ring. [Just kidding, Wes :-)]. A little different front end, and I think smaller speakers? Anyway - we always like this room, the Hansen do a good job of producing that Big and Open sound that we like - and with the rest of the good stuff that goes into music reproduction present and account for as well.
 
 
Hansen center channel speaker.
 
   
OK, this is the SAME speaker, one with the camera on auto [on the left there] and one on manual [that would be the one on the right]. I think the real color is in between somewhere, but more towards the gray - and the speaker is picking up some color from the room.
 
Stuff on an HRS* MXR equipment rack
 
This is a turntable. OK, it looks like a Red Point turntable but in an aluminum finish.
 
The Emm Labs* CDSA
 
 
The CAT amplifier doing the amplification thing.

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
OK, Uh, I like the slogan "In Admiration of Music". I am not so sure about "Trust Your Senses". I mean what has touch and taste and smell to do with things? And the eyes... well, anyway, how about "Trust Yourself"?
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
The Immedia Spiral Groove brand is getting around - I have seen their logo on their phono stage in many systems here at the show. I have heard and liked their speakers before. I have no idea about the phono stage [and most people here at the show will use almost anything if someone else arranges to get it here before the show and get it out of here after the show].
 
 
 
 
 
The Copperhead arm on a Spiral Groove turntable. Looks kind of like overkill [no, not the Overkill brand], but it might sound great.
 
 
 
Two photos, yes, of the same thing and both photos suck. The Silver Cube phono stage from Lehmann Audio
 
The Black Cube Decade phono stage from Lehmann Audio
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
Kind of a minimalist room for Proac this year.
 
 
 
Yeah, this the the way power amps are supposed to look.
 
 

 

 

 

 

STYLE


Not Sure

 

SOUND


Not Sure

 

 
Another Usher labs room - kind of a lot smaller than their one down in the Meeting Rooms Level 2 section.
 

 

 

 

Copyright Audio Federation, Inc.. All rights reserved.
All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable
if attribution is given but may not be included in multi-room show reports without written permission.

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