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T.H.E. Show Newport Beach (The Home Entertainment Show) 2014 Report
T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2014
The Home Entertainment Show Report, Part 3


  Alpha Design was here at T.H.E. Show 2014 here in Newport Beach and we gave you all the details on them within our Munich High End 2014 show report two weekends ago.

 

On static display are a wonderful collection of VAC amps. VAC uses a great, innovative auto-bias scheme, incredible quality parts and build. So naturally it makes sense their gear is so highly prized by audiophiles worldwide.

 

Ayon Audio CD-3sx, Stratosphere and NW-T with the OrthosXS tube monoblocks. These monoblocks represent Ayon Audio's 3rd generation KT150 vacuum tube units. The OrthosXS provide true balanced or single-ended operation combined with the ability to deliver 300 watts per channel. All of the unit's gain stages and power stage have been redesigned from the previous generation and are now optimized to provide for the shortest signal path and the most direct signal flow.

 

Have fun virtually driving with Napa Acoustic NA-208A speakers an NA-208S ($399 and $199 per pair respectively).

 

VPI Industries' incredible Classic Direct turntable ($30,000) includes tonearm and we see it here with the terrific Lyra Etna cartridge ($6995). Yum!

 

I wish more manufacturers were like KEF. KEF smartly used their R900 ($5000 per pair) speakers here at T.H.E. Show 2014 and they sounded great! While some rooms seem to use overly large speaker's in the upper level rooms within the hotel, manufacturers truly should remember the most important thing to achieving sound quality is the room-speaker interface/integration. Loved the new Blades within the big room at Munich, though they'd devastate this smaller room here at T.H.E. Show. Well played, KEF. Well played indeed.

 

Fidelis Audio had the Wilson Benesch Square Series Two speakers with the LFD NCSE MKII amplifier ($5999 on up and $6895 respectively).

 

VPI Industries Classic 2 ($4000) with JMW Memorial tonearm includes an anti-skate mechanism, 2" Delrin feet with three ball bearing bottoms inverted bearing. Other features include the hardened stainless steel shaft, 60 Rockwell chrome hardened ball, phosphor bronze bushing and PEEK thrust disc.

 

GloveAudio by CEntrance just released their new A1 DAC/amp combo ($599) that takes the optical digital out of an Astell&Kern AK100 and AK120 and has its own 24-bit/192kHz DAC and less than 1 Ohm with 1 Watt output amplifier. It handles both balanced and unbalanced headphones of course. Notice how the Astell&Kern unit fits securely into the A1. Very interesting.

 

So rounding tings up.... my first main comment is that there were far too many big loudspeakers in smallish rooms. Look guys, you can try to get that combo to sound good, yet the odds are highly against you. This is especially true if you are not using a proper room correction device. Next time please bring smaller speakers or get a bigger room would be my humble suggestion. Some proper room acoustic devices like those from RealTraps, Sonex, etc is also a good idea too.

On the plus side of things, it was great to see so many under 40 year old enthusiasts at T.H.E. Show 2014 here in Newport Beach! The close-knit online communities like Head-Fi, AVS Forums, etc had a great group of guys bringing much coverage of this event to their crowd and social networks. There was also a nice showing by the lovely ladies, which is the norm for German and Italy shows yet is now starting to increase here in the States. Am only a tiny bit surprised there was little discussion about the Apple and Beats deal, yet that's ok because we are but a very small niche' market whereas the true driving force is within the mainstream area. i look forward to Q3/4 2014 as things will be coming our way and the more youthful crowd is gaining momentum as the baby boomers are finding their final resting places. Sometimes it can be hard to make a transition, yet the high-end audio industry has some very innovative companies that can create excellent products to meet the demands of their customers. 

Best of T.H.E. Show 2014Those of you seeking my personal awards or Best Of, well, sorry to disappoint yet so few rooms really got my attention for truly outstanding sound that it just doesn't merit making an awards listing. i shall make no apology for being so honest. But if you really want to push me on this matter, then i would pick the following:

The Von Gaylord room earns Enjoy the Music.com's Best Sound @ T.H.E. Show 2014 with an exquisite and engaging sound that was wonderfully dynamic and world-class imaging.

KEF wisely knew their room was on the smaller side and thus demonstrated their R900 ($5000 per pair) speakers. The KEF R900 have earned Enjoy the Music.com's Best Sound @ T.H.E. Show 2014 for beautifully delivering a harmonic texture that was natural and exciting. The soundscape produced by the KEF R900 was equally as impressive. By mating a proper-sized speaker into the room they succeeded where others failed. . 

MrSpeakers earns Enjoy the Music.com's Best Sound @ T.H.E. Show 2014 for their Alpha Dog headphones ($599). The Alpha Dogs have a naturally full and extended sound that my ears loved! They were very comfortable to wear too! Combined with specially manufactured 3D printed cups and custom connectors, MrSpeakers goes the extra mile to deliver a product very worthy of an award. Of course we asked for a review sample and you'll be able to read a full write-up on them in the coming months.

Enjoy the Music.com's Best Value Award @ T.H.E. Show 2014 would go to Magnepan for their .7 speakers (~$1200 per pair) that keep the planar love alive yet at prices real people can afford. Having reviewed their speakers and knowing their 'family sound', the .7 should be a resounding success for the company. Bravo Magnepan!

Napa Acoustic earns Enjoy the Music.com's Best Value Award @ T.H.E. Show 2014 for their entire line of products. They continue innovating their high quality and reliable vacuum tube products and speakers while keeping prices virtually anyone can afford.

Of course in the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

---> We have more with many photos from Jeff Poth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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