T.H.E. Show Newport
Beach (The Home Entertainment Show) 2013
Have given much thought on what it is about T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2012 that makes it so
very special. Of course it is the people first and foremost! Then we may want to factor in that mysterious and elusive
audiophile ‘must-have' desire to eventually reach what I'm going to call 'Cali Cool'. But how is one to define Cali Cool? What are the qualifications for a component
or some other thing to be tagged with that term? Like high-end audio reviews – because
frankly none of us are really 'qualified' by some school – perhaps Cali Cool boils down to style, or attitude... or perhaps
it is something truly
indefinable? Ok, sure we could call this entire T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2013, with its combination of high-end audio, live jazz music, great DJ'ing for those young at heart or the exotic cars here, to earn T.H.E. Show Cali Cool in and of itself. Yet if one tried to report on this event in a more granular level, there is far more to it imho. And so with that said let's get to all the gear pics
plus what is here at the Newport Beach event to hear, see and do.
Hmmm... nice er, ummmm..... poster. These can be
seen throughout the hallways.
T.H.E. Show staff was hard at work making sure
everyone was receiving their tickets in a timely manner as eager music lovers
for this event to begin.
And then comes the ribbon cutting ceremony. And
if you felt my Steampunk look is different, check out Michael Fremer's
(center, Hawaiian tee) headband Go Pro video camera. If you need a really
great weatherproof unit, the Go Pro is perhaps the best out there for under
$500. Also works great on racecars too! Great choice Michael!
Up first is Triode Corporation who brought to T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2013 their new TRV-DAC 1.01 and Kojo Technology Array power conditioner ($2500 and $4500 respectively). Of course they were using their tube amps to drive the Crescendo speakers ($16,000). The TRV-DAC 1.01 handles 24-bit/192kHz and uses the 6DJ8 for output tube and 6N1 for power regulation. The sound in this room was fast and dynamic, yet still handled small dynamics
The Lotus Group brought their top-end gear! They were featuring their large G2 speakers,
Hanns T-60 turntable ($75,000 and $8350 respectively) and impressive T-60 turntable with hefty 43 lbs platter and magnetic levitation. The company's G2 speaker design objective was to "realize a shape that would provide the best possible sound while fitting into a real world environment". The style is beautiful and a nice break from the usual boxes. The company states they took 72 measurements over 360 degrees in the horizontal plane and 360 degrees in the vertical plane to finally reach what they felt was the best possible sound both audibly and technically. The
a 4" midrange and pair of soft dome tweeters (one front and one rear facing)
are augmented with a pair of 12" dual voice coil woofers. For crossover duties they take advantage of modern technology and employs a digital crossover. Adding to this design is room correction for optimum in-room sound. Sensitivity is 92dB/W/m and internally they use
Acrolink 99.99997% pure copper wire and Oyaide PCOCC-A pure copper wire. For digital guys, the front end is by
Sony is here at T.H.E. Show with DSD of course, but they were
pushing their newish SS-NA5ES ($6000/pr) small stand mounted speakers that are an interesting two-way four driver setup. Sony makes some darn good equipment and they do care about
the music! This two-way, four-driver bass reflex bookshelf speaker has a 25 mm soft dome tweeter centrally located between two 19 mm soft-dome tweeters. For midrange and bass a 130 mm aluminum cone woofer fills the bill nicely. Frequency response is 45 Hz to 45 kHz and they were relatively full sounding to my ears. Only major drawback is the lackluster sensitivity is 86dB/W/m at 4 Ohms. Sony does make some impressive home audio products, yet they are rarely reviewed or seen 'in the wild'.
Amplifier manufacturer Red Dragon was showing the Cali Cool
Studio Electric Type Three speakers ($8500). Using a sphere for the 6.5" co-polymer driver for midrange in said sphere, the goal of Studio Electric is to eliminate and unwanted resonances. For bass an 8 inch gel coated composite driver is used while for highs is a 0.75" silk dome tweeter. This qualifies as Cali Cool due to,
well... just look at it!
In Red Dragon's other room had their M500 MkII and M1000MkII monoblock amps ($799 each and $1099 respectively). These amps use efficient Class D technology and the company offers a very generous 45 day in home trial and three year warranty.
Audioengine, a company whose products including the A5 and S8 ($399/pr and $349/each respectively) my wife and I thoroughly enjoy, has a great sense of humor. Here is their rep <cough>
Hugh Janus <cough>. This guy is most definitely Cali Cool.
My wife Heather with Morgan D of Audioengine.
Well, that's it for my show report. Goodnight
Oh, wait, you want more?
The Coffman Labs room was their new G1-A preamplifier ($5495, remote
control options adds $300). This tubed preamp is special as they use Russian military
MiG fighter switches and other MIL grade parts. All internal wiring is ultra-fi point-to-point, so you know there is absolutely no circuit boards allowed
here! Also note the awesome Manley Labs amplifiers trying to hide under the
table. The Manley Neo-Classic SE / PP 300B is a 300B triode amp made right
here proudly in Chino, California. Tube compliment is two 300B for output, a 6SN7 for driver, 6SL7 for input and lastly a pair of 5AR4 for power rectification. Output power is 11 watts in triode and 24 watts in
push-pull. Of course Manley Labs is perhaps the epitome of Cali Cool.
Also from Coffman is their new H1-A tubed headphone amp ($2295) that uses the same high-end concept and utilizes a single power source and vacuum tubes. It also has a line out for preamp duties. All cases of their gear are carefully machined. There are three impedance selections for headphones and a
1/4" plus a mini jack depending on your 'phones and it produces about two watts so can drive pretty much
Aaudio Imports room really sounded good. Darn
good! Now i rarely start with those comments, especially at a show, so you know if you are here please go listen for yourself. Gear-wise, we have the
Audion Black Shadow2 MKII 845 tubed amp, DEQX room correction processor ($13,499 and $4500) plus
Stage III Concepts wire ($4600 on up).
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