Stereophile Show -- Home Entertainment 2007 Hi-Fi and Home
By Bill Gaw
here to e-mail reporter.
Nagra Electronics mated with Verity Parsifal
Ovation loudspeakers gave pretty good sound for early in the day. Cabling was
the Palladium by Silversmith Audio.
Audiospace Amplifiers made in Hong Kong listing from $1600 for a KT 88 base push pull to 7600 for a 845 base SET amp. Silent demo but the build quality was excellent. The Chinese are taking over the high end just on price alone. Quality seems to be pretty good too.
Zu Audio, Zu Cable, and Zu speaker. Another highlight of the show for me. These are single driver speakers completely built in the US with the single driver covering from 28Hz to about
15kHz, where it crosses over to a super tweeter that goes up to 50kHz. There's a port on the bottom that can tune the bass just by raising or lowering the cabinet on its spikes, changing the impedance of the cabinet. also very efficient. They also use the same driver in a smaller cabinet for surround speakers and a transverse cabinet for center channels. I believe the price was $3500 per pair, but
could be wrong.
Rives, Talon, RPG, Wadia, XLO, SRA, and VAC got together using two rooms,
as a "Dare To Compare" with one untreated with speakers placed appropriately and a second room with primary difference being addition of RPG diffusers and Rives Audio signal processing to show how proper room correction can improve the music. Demo was one of the best I've heard, and far superior to what was demoed at CEDIA on the same subject.
LAMM Audio amplification, Kubala Cables and Wilson Speakers. Price in the "if you have to ask don't bother" range, but as always, the Lamm electronics are in a level of their own.
Krell amplification on display. They weren't playing anything when I was in the room, but Boy, did their amps look great.
Outlaw Audio put on the only true high definition home theater display using a Sony pro projector, with their electronics, loudspeakers and a Sony
Blu-ray player. The Model 990 preamp was mated to their new Model 9900 seven Channel 300 watt amplifier giving a very realistic audio and video
presentation that captured one for the entire demo. Afterward they let everyone know that all the products could be purchased at the show and they would pay the postage, which would have been significant for the amp as it weighs about 130 pounds.
Ambiophonics Institute, Tact Audio. Using two
Sound Lab speakers in the front and two small speakers in the back of the room, each pair being only about three feet apart and using the TACT Audio gear for DSP, and amplification, with two track recordings they got an amazing surround field that may have been as good as the 5.1 SACD and DVD-Audio recordings. You may notice that the chairs were set up in rows perpendicular to the speakers. They weren't for sitting on, but to guide one down the row to see where the field jelled. Truly a great demo.
Omaha Audio 300B amplifiers were powering their 2-way speaker
system and sounded pretty good for around the $3200 price for the system. The
company's 300B amplifier goes for $1200 while the loudspeakers are around $2000.
Bolzano speakers had a very open sound like the
MBL, probably due to the way the drivers send the sound out 360 degrees.
Reimo, Combak, Harmonics Room had very good sound from fairly small speakers driven by 300B amplifiers. Good presentation.
Finally we come to the "Best Sound of the Show" as far as this reviewer is concerned. George Bischoff along with several others, has developed a line of Line Array Speakers call Scaena. In addition, if
that were not enough, he has also developed the best sounding CD player I've ever heard, the Nova Physics Disc Player. He's taken CD playback through a computer to high end audio standards. It consists of a high end
DVD-Rom drive which downloads the disc directly to the computers very fast RAM rather than the hard drive. Using the best parts and silver wire, he claims extremely low jitter. For $11,000 one gets a transport with hard drive and I believe 2GB of memory. The unit was digitally driving a BEHOLD 300 watt amplifier into his Scaena speakers. Sound was superb, rivaling the best analog I've heard. One can also get a unit with built-in D/A conversion for somewhat more.
The system also put to good use Silversmith Audio's Palladium wire.
Didn't have time to ask him about its ability to do HD-DVD or Dolby and DTS decoding, and even pleading on my hands and knees and using references from close friends of both of us, I couldn't get him to give me one for review purposes. Guess my name isn't up in the stratosphere of audio reviewers. He did suggest that there are reviewers out there who have paid up front for a unit for review purposes but I can't
afford the entrance fee at this time. Oh Well!!
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