Coming in glorious polished chrome is Art Audio's Vinyl Reference tubed phono stage ($3,995). This tubed unit is packed with Lundahl transformers for MC input and main output. To give
you a tease, i can attest that this baby sounds clean, clear, and very musical in my system. So how can this be said with such confidence? Easy, i have a unit within my reference system at home. Expect the review to appear within the March edition of
Superior Audio magazine.
Now let me tell ya', i have heard about music lovers desiring bass within their system, yet this 21-inch self-powered (1,000 watt)
subwoofer can achieve 135dB at 20Hz. To put this in perspective, the Cabasse Saturn 55 ($19,000) is verging on enough bass to shake the foundation of your home... and perhaps your neighbor's too! So if you are seeking to purchase a
true subwoofer, here ya go!
Not one to get too heady, the Granite Audio Model 823 ($1,000) features OTL (output transformerless) amplification with a centrally located 12AU7
flanked on both sides by a pair of 6BQ5. Input is via a pair of single ended (RCA) and 1/8-inch stereo mini jack. Wanna get heady with a friend?
Can do as a pair of 1/4-inch stereo headphones jacks allow both you and you friend enjoy the music.
Logging this under the 'Way Cool' idea that should have been thought of earlier is Ron Welbone's new remote control stepped attenuator. With 60 steps of attenuation and balance/mute adjustment, Ron offers both a single input unit ($180 kit or $240
assembled) and the four input version ($230 kit and $310 assembled). The digital readout can be red, blue, or green LED. High quality, low cash outlay... rock on!
Now i believe in freak occurrences, but it is right now snowing in Vegas. Living in the New England area myself, snow is no big deal. But here in Las Vegas snow is generally not something you see. Vegas is in the middle of the
desert(!) and this is big flake wet snow, not that puny little stuff mind you.
Tek Line, with all their tweak power chord goodies, also offer TL-2010 interconnect ($79). Those who love the sound of thin wire may enjoy this 22-guage Teflon insulated RCA cable. If you have a tight spot behind your gear this stuff is ultra flexible too.
Did i just step into a time warp and entered a Lafayette Electronics
store or what? Apex Jr. in California was showing a vast amount of parts. Capacitors, resistors, jacks, chips, sockets... This is all part of THE Show's "Tweak Ally."
Besides parts at Tweak Ally are vintage audio components like drivers from Altec and JBL, tubed Fisher receivers, McIntosh monoblocks,
Marantz yummies, tubed Scott units, and on and on. Alas, no Stantorian drivers or Tannoy 10-inch dual-concentric drivers. Damn! My loudspeaker fetish is being held at bay while i got me a big ol' stack of Vegas money burning a hold in my pocket!
Look folks, home music servers are here and will soon be about as normal as using e-mail. VRS Audio Systems had their Gold unit ($7,400) with its 500GB serial ATA
hard drive that outputs to a 24-bit/192kHz soundcard. The soundcard will handle DTS, Dolby Digital, DVD-Audio, etc. The unit operates quietly with the aid of a special linear power supply.
The big buzz of the show is the NFS Audio room. The way cool parrots on the door were like metal to a magnet since Billie is the Enjoy the Music.com mascot
(see Billie's webpage here). The room had many modded toys including Apogee Mini Grand speakers, Adcom amps, etc. But the real kicker is that NFS Audio is not a store
or a distributor. NFS means Not For Sale! This is a room paid for by a couple of guys who just wanted to hang out and have fun
in Vegas with their system at the show!
Almarro, who earned a Best Of 2004 Budget Beater
Award, was showcasing their new M2A loudspeaker ($2,700 or so depending on finish). They really sounded darn good and looked beautiful! Uh oh, my loudspeaker fetish is beginning to kick in. Must resist the urge to review them, must resist the urge... Oh heck, whom are we kidding?