Home Entertainment 2003 Hi-Fi and Home Theater Event
Friday By Chris Boylan
In the Kimber Cable room, Ray Kimber himself was showing
off his new purist DSD (Direct Stream Digital) recordings made using his
"IsoMike" technique. Featuring local talent from WSU in Ogden, Utah,
the musical tracks included opera, orchestral, folk, string and percussion
ensembles and solo instrumentalists. Recorded in the far field (15
or more feet from the performers) with just two omni-directional microphones,
these recordings did an excellent job of capturing the ambience and dynamics
of the original performance.
Speakers driven by Krell Amplification sounded sweet
fed by Ray Kimber's own recordings made using DSD.
was on hand to show off their Trio 3.0 speakers and Bass Horns. With
an efficiency rating of a whopping 110dB/W/m, the Trios are
a natural match for tube amps, and were mated at the show with fine Balanced
Audio Technology amplification, with Cardas cables throughout. With vinyl
demo material including Dusty Springfield Look of Love and a percussion
ensemble, the system sounded smooth with a rock solid center image and plenty
Trio 3.0 and bass horns, driven by
Balanced Audio Technology amplification.
In the Pureaudio
suite, Dali MegaLine line source loudspeakers were being driven to good effect
by the Ming Da 300B/845 monoblock amplifiers.
Dali MegaLine line source loudspeakers
and Ming Da 300B/845 monoblock amplifiers.
In the Faroudja/MartinLogan
suite, the images presented by both the Faroudja DLP projector
and the Faroudja DILA projector were stunning. Complete home theater
system prices were $60,000 with the DLP projector or $90,000 with the
DILA projector - a fraction of the $500,000 system they have showcased
in the past with Krell, but the video was still
outstanding. The audio
side (Parasound electronics and amplification driving MartinLogans) was not
faring quite as well when I visited the room on Friday with boomy bass, and
a hollow center channel. I spoke to one of the MartinLogan folks later
and found out that they suspected that the Parasound C1 pre-amplifier/processor
had failed, and they were going to swap in a replacement. I'll check
it out again tomorrow (Saturday) and see if things are sounding better [editor's
note: they were - see Saturday's coverage for details]. Cabling was provided by Transparent Audio, including Super and Plus level audio cables, and a top secret prototype 50 foot DVI cable running the projectors.
MartinLogan Theater center channel.
sounding much better in the Hampton Suite which included Manley Labs amplification,
Joseph Audio loudspeakers, Orpheus CD transport and DAC, SPJ La Luce turntable
and Philips SACD player. Jeff Joseph was our host and DJ, playing about
the same selection that he usually plays at these shows including a funny
song about a beefy guy who likes to eat ("I'm just 50 pounds of bones,
wrapped up in 200 pounds of ham") and an excellent sounding older LP
recording of Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. As usual, the Joseph Audio
Pearls really sang, driven by the Manley Neoclassic 250 monoblocks.
Joseph of Joseph Audio and EveAnna Manley of Manley Labs.
hall in the Wilson room, Wilson's Maxx
loudspeakers were being driven by VTL's new Siegfried amplifier through Transparent Cables, leading to some dynamic toe-tapping fun.
Maxx loudspeakers and VTL amplification.
coolest looking amplifier at the show was to be found in the Von Gaylord Audio
room (formerly Legend Audio Design). Von Gaylord had on display their
brand new Uni amplifiers ($28,000/pr.) which they call "the world's first
liquid-cooled 200 Watt mono triode."
Gaylord's 200 WPC liquid-cooled triode amplifier.
With its power
tubes immersed in a cylinder of clear liquid dielectric, the Uni amplifier presents
a very fluid musical presentation (sorry, couldn't resist). Actually,
the amp was not hooked up for demonstration, but the Von Gaylord amplifiers and loudspeakers
that were hooked up were producing some nice sounds as usual.
Gaylord amplifier and speakers.
Acoustics had a few of their popular Pipedreams speakers on hand, including
their brand new Model 9 ($19,500/pr), driven by VAC amps. John Marks
from Stereophile came in bearing a CD of pipe organ music (do people actually
listen to pipe organ music for fun?). Anyway, it turns out that the room
was highly optimized and phase adjusted around the sweet spot which was the
middle chair in the front row. Guess who was sitting there? Yup...
yours truly. So once John heard that was the place to be, he gruffly
demanded that I move. OK, actually he asked relatively nicely. And
since I was not terribly interested in pipe music, I obliged without too
Pipedreams, Model 9 with VAC amplification
from Nearfield made it up to me by indulging my request for Rush 2112
(MFSL recording of course), which I like to use to stress out the dynamics
of a loudspeaker as well as gauge its ability to resolve the multiple layers
of detail in the mix without strain or congestion. The small Pipedreams
performed admirably without much strain, capturing a good amount of the power
of their bigger brothers.
sounding room was the one that featured Lumenwhite loudspeakers, the stunning
looking Vyger Indian Signature turntable, and Ayon tubed
Ayon tube amplification
and Vyger Indian
Vyger Indian Signature
turntable - close-up.
rounding out the "coolest looking components" list, Gallo's new Nucleus Reference
III loudspeakers ($2,600/pr.) break the mold with a very untraditional design. With a minimalist enclosure and a combination of front and side-facing
drivers, the new Nucleus looks a bit like that robot from "Mystery Science Theater
3000." But just to prove that beauty is not always skin deep, the new
Gallo actually sounded good too, with a nice extended bass and good dynamics.
Gallo's new Nucleus Reference III ($2,600).
Continue to Chris Boylan's Saturday/Sunday coverage
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