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 C Part 1)

CES 2008
T.H.E. Show
Las Vegas

January 2008

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Previously, on the Audio Federation high-end audio CES 2008 Show Reportagazna, we just finished up T.H.E. Show Wednesday evening and it is now Thursday morning, the last day, and we are on our way to the Venetian to finish up the last two wings, one of floor 29 and one on floor 30 and a few odds and ends on floor 35, etc. This should take about 4 pages of about 125 photos each - though it looks like it might be 5 or 6 as I write this.

The T.H.E. Show shuttle bus from the Alexis Park drops up off next door to the Venetian - CES not allowing us to get off at the Venetian or something. So, to get where we need to be we trudge - no, we walk with a spring in our step - through and around the Venetian - some of which looks a like it is still under construction,  using these kind of moving metal walkways. Some of these walkways are very steep, and I always think that in Colorado, they could never do this because of ice and wet feet slipping on the metal and people falling down and suing for the big money.

Here I am on one of those walkways and decide to shoot a photo because this is kind of fascinating to look at and there is nothing else to do. And, now, as I photoshop the photo I discover.... "Oh! THERE is the Mirage!". So, no, I did not get to the Mirage this show. I think there are about six exhibits there, and unfortunately for our readers, they were seemingly mostly of the uber high-end variety that we all like to listen to the best.

Next year, I'll try and pay more attention to these people who want to show near CES.

Besides the handful of good systems, and perhaps one or two great systems, hearing people playing exceptional music that they love, or perhaps 'dig' is the better word, is one of the best parts about a show. That and seeing and meeting new friends.

Otherwise, the whole show thing is hellishly stupid - all these systems that people throw together - often using components that have never seen each other before in public -  paying serious money to put it in a hotel room, lugging them to the room, setting it up at warp speed, constantly worrying about it breaking during the show and what the idiots with cameras are going to post about it on the net [that would be me. I just never can find any of those seemingly quite popular Prozac-dispensing machines], then, in just a few days, tearing it all down again and then the shipping. Shipping - where all the people who failed juggling school go. And after all that, the vast majority of rooms just don't sound all that good.





Lots of stuff in this room - and lots of stuff I don't recognize. But Exemplar electronics, Fim Energy Center, EAR-modded reel-to-reel.
OK, and 24-bit 100K Hz is better than 24-bit 96K Hz in what way? 4% higher frequency... OK. Personally, I own a ton of XRCDs, and they all are too laid back and round for systems that are not bright-sounding to begin with. So in the mid 80's, with digital the way it was, they were a life saver. Now? Now I want the details and the micro-dynamics that oh, say, an LP has. And any $12 post 1996 or so CD has, if by an artist who wants their music played on things besides iPods and car stereos.

My point? Unless they change the fundamental purpose of the XRCD, their $30-something CDs, no matter if they are 96KHz, 100KHz, or even 101KHz, are only going to sound good on systems that still sound bright and edgy. And hopefully the numbers of those systems are decreasing...







Cool way that the turntable platter lights up all green like that, huh? Forget the cartridge. Forget the clamp. The whole platter. Can I choose my own colors?
Love the analog readout for the speed. So retro, these guys. [No, I am NOT being sarcastic. I'll let you all know when I'm being sarcastic. Or ironic. I'm trying to be good here, OK? You all know what I think of the sound by now. We're moving on to other discussion points.]











I really... OK. You know what I always think when I see this room at a show [the last two CES's]. I think there are a bunch of audiophiles in the Pioneer Mobile Division, and they want to go / show at CES. So they set this all up. Build a few things. And show at CES. But Pioneer has NO IDEA these guys are here. They are kind of rogue audiophiles with money.

I'm making it all up... but that is what I think when I see car amps lying on the floor and the innovative designs of some of the speakers [esp. at the last show].

What a lovely dresser. Well, seriously, some of the Venetian furniture is prettier than the electronics.
Are they trying to show that a real speaker will sound good with their car audio electronics because their car audio electronics is THAT good? Or are they trying to show that the speakers sound so good they even sound good when driven by a car stereo? See, that's why I keep coming up with these scenarios.
Look like digital amps, but not sure. These have to handle being in cars with drivers like me with a car that is like a pot-hole-seeking missile. No white glove treatment for these puppies. Kind of wouldn't mind if our home audio equipment was car-tested. Then if we [I mean Neli :-)] drop it? Noooo problem.






Acoustic Sounds' room with a few of their favorite things. In particular the Thorens turntable, preamp and amplifiers.
Neli uses this Feickert universal protractor to setup tables sometimes. And I use Neli.






OK well, people usually ask me about these speakers because, even with the beautiful Cary gear populating every direction on the compass, these speakers stand out. And, with my limited [aka 'whatchya talkin' about Willis?'] knowledge about speaker design, this would seem to be the optimal design: no speaker baffle reflections, no corners, etc.

But so far these speakers have just been good. Not great. Not spectacular. But then again, the electronics - this system, is setup to handle a speaker that is somewhat efficient but adding a lot of warmth and rounding treatment to the music - even with the bi-amping of the speaker with what looks like a digital amp on the woofers, this is not going to be very detailed or transparent or dynamic [midrange and up].

What I'm saying is, I didn't learn a lot more about these speakers at this show - but its not my fault. Its the associated equipment's fault. Its either that or there just isn't a lot to learn - but I prefer the former interpretation, so that I can look with anticipation to hearing these speakers at the next show and maybe a different front end. Or a smaller room.

Somebody's digital amp on the woofer units.
Audio Magic power management.
Lots of beautiful Cary equipment on static display.






SEAS makes drivers and this is what was in their room, along with some SEAS people.






Cardas makes things, as well as cables, and next time these shots will be in focus [yes, sounds like a real good idea Mike]..






There are a couple of Muse rooms. This one was focused on simplicity and the home theater.






This Cardas room had a system, with Joseph Audio loudspeakers and Bel Canto electronics and Running Springs Audio power conditioner.
Running Springs Audio power.
Patricia Barber - we missed you! [in truth, we played a track of hers near the end of the year here at Audio Federation - it had been long enough that we could actually stand to hear it again. It reminded us of.... being at high-end audio shows. :-)]
A smaller system with Joseph speakers and now with Manely electronics.
Mr Joseph was kind enough to put this iPhone [or iPhone-like thing - there are iPhone clones coming out of the kitchen sink] into its slot for me to photograph.
Joseph in-wall speakers.






The second Muse room, though I am not sure it is there room, primarily, or Elite Audio Video Distribution's. But, the sign says, on the top line, Muse - and that is what I go by. Otherwise, one of the few times we got sunshine in Las Vegas [it was cloudy a lot of the time].

The sound here? I am not sure if this is the Reference 3A room that people on Audiogon liked [but not mentioned elsewhere as far as I can tell] or the 3A room at the Alexis Park.



It didn't suck - it wasn't great - but really, the music was strange enough, and the LP's white-with-smashed-dragonfly appearance was strange enough - and the running commentary by a relatively famous reviewer-type talking about the songs drawing my attention with fragmoids of sentences like 'Now this is God talking ....' that I was more drawn to the content and characterization of the music and not the sound.

THAT made this one of the better experiences at the show - but that is just me.

OK, in this, about the twentieth photo, the 'flaw' as it was described to me, looks like a bug or dragonfly of some kind. See, I thought this was really cool. A pure white album has been done before, it is boring, and they are all the same. This flaw probably varies a little from batch to batch - which would make each LP unique? In any case, this is a cool feature, not a flaw, in my book.

And, uh, I forget which album this is going to be. I mean it isn't the Beatles 'White Album' so I just decided this was just all wrong. Personally, I think the White Album should be ALL white - and all other LPs should be prohibited, BY LAW, from being white.

As we mentioned in the dailies, the LEDs on the spindle or clamp, guess it is the clamp, rotate in the wrong direction. Which is so cool - messes with your head - and no hangover the next morning.

The famous Furutech DeMag that so confuses the pretend scientists of the world.
A HannL record cleaner.
The LP [disc] flattener from Furutech.
Looks like a Tazer? But it is an anti-tazer - and if this and a Tazer should ever do battle, then... I would like to watch.
A view of the TOP LAYER of the circuitry in a Plinius amp. The bottom layer probably has a big transformer and who knows what else.



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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