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 B Part 2)

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 candy store catalog that is the  CES 2008 Show Report, it is late Wednesday morning, the third day of this four day show. and we are just now finishing up the second Wing of the exhibitions found on floor 29.

In real time it is now 4:50am, January 20th, about 9 days after the show. This is a round-the-clock effort, about 12 hours per day, and luckily I can put other things on the back burner for a week or, more likely, two and play around with several thousand photos and a keyboard for a week to two.

This is actually a heckuva lot of fun. I just worry about getting it done in finite time and being able to find that balance between being too negative about the sound in most rooms and the Prozac-drenched approach.

This page has a few more photos on it than the previous pages (166 photos) - but breaking it up into two kind of really small ones (in comparison to the other pages) did not seem the right thing to do - so, well, here it is.

 

 

 

 

 
       
This room just had static displays of a hole lot of Clearaudio turntables. I wondered why their statement table, over on the right there, along with the Transroter statement table, later in the show, were not being played for 'marketing' reasons. Like the Wilson Alexandria speakers, which also are never heard at a show - would hearing them reduce the mystique - that people will hear that they are ordinary, and perhaps flawed, like everything else?
 
 
 
 
 
I like this photo the best. One of the best ones of the whole show report, but that may be just me.
 
 
Do all these tables talk amongst themselves late at night?
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
    
 
 
 
 
A PS Audio power regenerator....
 
 
A couple of Valve Audio pieces in chassis.
 
The AVID turntable's controller.
 

 

The sleek, but dark, lines of the body of the table here kind of detract from the coolness of the arm tracking the LP. Maybe I should do a few close-ups?
 

 

 
OK, hope you like the added photos. The camera certainly has better 'eyesight' than my real eyes at this point. Kind of cool to see things this close-up.

 

A smaller system in this room.
 
 
Simaudio 'Moon' integrated amplifier.
 
 
 

AVID turntable without an arm or arm pod mounted. Guess this means that they were using digital media on this system, then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Our old friends the Magico Mini loudspeakers, on Pathos equipment this time. This actually seemed to work. Kind of inexpensive electronics to drive the Mini's with, but up and down the frequency spectrum, there seemed to be enough control, enough dynamics (micro, mini and macro) that this system sounded better, to my ears, than the Magico room itself this year.

The real problem with this system is that people buying $30K or so monitors like this are darned particular, and they will find flaws in the Pathos equipment and not be happy with this particular system [and there are, of course, flaws to be found, particularly a little edginess [which seems to perfectly counter-balance the Mini's inherent laid-back presentation] and the usual problems typical for gear at this price point too numerous to go into but for which to get rid of requires putting up more cashola],

 

 

 
  
 

 
OK. Yes. Those photos sucked. But they were important so that 1) you get to see all sides of the Minis, albeit like the 7 blind men and the elephant, and 2) see which amps were driving the speakers - which seem to be well broken-in ones.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Many Pathi on static display. The Pathos are certainly a photogenic lot, and very attractive in person as well.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Trying to peek in the little windows in the front of the Vincent components for you. Hopefully it kind of gives you the flavor of being there - these peek-a-boo effects that some manufactures add are eye-candy, yes, but important eye-candy.
 
Inside of a Vincent amplifier. Manufacturer's choice of transformer, usually outsourced [though not in the case of Audio Note and Kondo], is considered one of their 'trade secrets' which is presumably why there is that special canister over the transformer there, hiding its ancestry.

 

 

 

 
The QUAD room was sounding good this year, dynamic and harmonically rich, if perhaps somewhat over-shadowing the micro-dynamics. Whatever sonic slump they were in several shows ago, it certainly seems like Quad rooms are steady performers these days.
 
Quad [or is it QUAD?] was giving away free lanyards, and I politely asked if I could have a couple, which was the beginning of a funny conversation with the nice but very confused QUAD salesman.

First, here is this 'Press' person, who wants a few, purely marketing targeted freebees. Press-people aren't supposed to walk around advertising one brand over another. So I explain that we are Audio Federation, a Distributor and Dealer....

"Oh, so how did you get a press pass?"

Well, we have these show reports, see, and they have actually become kind of popular, and...

[paraphrasing] "Oh, so you are a dealer, picking up QUAD marketing toys, but you don't carry QUAD"

No, we don't but we like their sound a lot [lately], and we end up at these conferences wearing how knows who-sponsored lanyards, and we would prefer to wear QUAD ones, if and when we are next in that situation [Neli used to wear XYCE lanyards, an open-source massively-parallel SPICE simulator for electronic circuits, but for political reasons that now has a sour taste. You know politics...].

You like QUAD, you admit to people you like QUAD, but you don't carry it, ... blah blah blah... Soundlabs* ... blah blah blah... floor space.... blah blah blah ... I gotta go take some more photos....

As you might guess, Audio Federation confuses the heck out of salespeople.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Little QUAD speakers.

 

The bevy of QUAD electronics has apparently grown quite a bit of late.

 

 

 

 
Synergistic Research had a real system this year, with Timing Applications [which is what I believe T+A stands for. I mean, this is Vegas, T&A might be honestly misinterpreted.] electronics and Thiel speakers on Finite Elemente equipment racks.
 
 
 
   
 
 
This is from Synergistic Research, called the Enigma [yes, I know most of you can read that] and it says something like Singlar Towlr in the bottom left of the top there. The turntable knob on top has a picture of a diode on the right side and battery-like things [for + and - ?] on the top and left.

Anyway, cool and not-ever-seen-before-by-me tube there on the right.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
This room was a static display of a few ETI cables.

 

 

 

STYLE
Impressive Sweet   Enjoyable Emotional Sophisticated   Natural Workhorse Real/Truth  Magical/Spiritual
SOUND
Did Not Hear This System
 
The Burmester room was playing some music quite loudly, but by the time I actually got here, the piece was over and they were busy switching things so people could listen to the smaller system.
 
The smaller system.
 
The big system.
 
 
     
 
 
The small system. Yes, it is dizzying for me too.
 

 

Burmester gear is visually very reflective.

 

 
 
Awesome looking heat sinks there, but I'd hate to pick this up without gloves.

 

 

 

The guts of a Burmester amp. The look of Burmie gear is so elegant, even the clear Plexiglas cover has style.

 

 

 

 
Bel Canto electronics, Joseph Audio speakers.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
Not sure what type of sound this system is going for. In a large sense, it is a prototypical example of the 'modern' system as advocated by people on forums such as Audiocircle: DIY music server laptop, high bang-for-the-buck electronics, and higher-than-average efficiency speakers. These specific cables are kind of out of place here, and the Redpoint turntable is definitely a little [lot :-)] too uptown - but in general this is the kind of sound those system designs are going for - if they are lucky.

Definitely Enjoyable, and even a little Sweet - the main problem here is that the Emerald Physics speakers, based on hearing them in several rooms, a a little reticent various places in the midrange, and lower midrange, and this is an important area where lots of information is communicated. But they go loud, and have good midi-dynamics [which many higher-end speakers do not] and I can see people enjoying this sound for awhile, assuming they do not have too much audio nervosa.

 
 
ModWright-modded Slim Devices Transporter.
 
 
Ultradrive Pro loudspeaker management system.  Using this as an equalizer?
 
 
 
 
     
Emerald Physics loudspeaker

 

 
Absolute Definition multi-channel amplifier.
 
The Redpoint turntable in blue. There is someone actually doing laps in the pool outside the window there.
 
 
 
The laptop.

 

Communications. No, I didn't see Uhura, silly.

 

 

 

 
Genesis speakers, Esoteric digital
 
 
 
 
 
Horrible photo number #173. This is an FM Acoustics preamplifier, a lovely piece of equipment. Yes, I know it doesn't look like it. That's because I flubbed it.
 
 

 

 

 

 
I know what you are thinking... The Pathos electronics worked with the Magico Mini, why not this, another David and Goliath system setup with PS Audio electronics on Rockport speakers?

Well....

I just listened to it long enough to hear that, no, this was just another situation where the renowned Rockport speakers did not live up to their reputation. We've heard them at a lot of shows, sure wish they would be setup with equipment of commensurate quality. Then we can see if they really are too cold sounding and too difficult to get good midi-dynamics out of.

 
 
 
 
The guts of the above PS Audio component.
 
Now we include several photos of the PS Audio 'Memory Transport'. I told you everybody and their dealer is making one of these. The fact that I want them, even though I know they will not sound worth a darn - is testament to the fact that other people must want to buy them too.
 
 
 

 

More horrible photos time. Really racking them up lately. Just wanted to show that not only sales pitches, but useful information appears in the little window.

Time to dance a jigg [but not in front of the security guards in the stairway, Mike]! End of Wing 'B' on floor 29. Now up the stairs to the mirror Wing on floor 30.

 

 

 

 

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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