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Home Entertainment 2004
Hi-Fi and Home Theater Event

Report By Rick Becker
Page 2
Click here to e-mail reviewer


In addition to stereo and monoblock power amplifiers, Innersound also has the RCP-1 Reference Preamplifier with a very trick volume control.  (See Chris Boylan's report).  The CD source was a Linn cd player that, along with the preamplifier, and a Rives parc parametric equalizer, was on a Harmonic Resolution System stand.  For those wishing to venture into the surround sound arena, a center channel loudspeaker is available.  The entire line seems penned from the same hand (Roger Sanders'), and presents a coherent, contemporary statement that is visually refined, being neither under nor over-stated.  A slightly smaller Kachina loudspeaker, which sounded very similar in the next room, is also available.  Chris named the Kaya system Best Stereo System of the show, and I would certainly echo that it was one of the best, preferring not to speak in such absolute terms.



In visual counterpoint to the silver and light wood finish of the Innersound equipment in this room, was a redpoint audio design Testarossa turntable, built by Peter Clark from Scottsdale, AZ.  The basic table starts about $7500, but with arm, suitable cartridge, and vibration absorbing shelf, ends up looking more like a $15K rig.  The platter-dampening device is oil and shot filled, weighing about five pounds.  My friend Art Shapiro was present in the room when one of three support devices under the platform on which the turntable was mounted, slid out.  The turntable nearly fell on the floor, its cartridge screaming as the Morch tonearm slid across the record.  Fortunately, no damage was done, but it must have been a dramatic moment for everyone involved in the rescue.  When I visited the room, the table was sporting the designer's personal ZYX cartridge.



A banner in the Linn room asked "Is your Chakra balanced?" presumably in reference to their new, smaller stereo digital amplifier.  I wish they had been using the Linn turntable that was on silent display.


Friday Night

That takes me up to dinner with my friends Art Shapiro, Mark Katz (also of Positive Feedback Online), and Loren Frumker.  On our way back to the Hilton traffic was blocked for the arrival of soap opera stars at the Radio City Music Hall 31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  I finally made my way to the XM Satellite Radio/Delphi Concert, (Thanks for the VIP ticket, Steve!) and over the course of the evening fell in love with Carla Lother, Nicole Henry and Joan Osborne.  Tom Scott led the great New York All Stars house band and wailed on saxophone. The concert, which was broadcast live, was a benefit for the ELF Foundation to support the establishment of Rooms of Magic for the entertainment of children recuperating in hospitals around the country.  Not only were the performances entertaining, but the sound quality was the best I've heard at a live performance in quite a while, if somewhat too loud.


3rd Floor

After coffee, bagels and camaraderie in the press room, I started on the 3rd Floor, beginning with the Manley Labs/Joseph Audio room which has become such a perennial powerhouse that the powers to be eliminated the voting for People's Choice Award.  But before I tell you how good his room was this year, let me admit that I was fooled into thinking he was playing his new floorstanding RM55LE when in fact he was playing the Insider, his high quality in-wall loudspeaker hidden behind the curtains.  I could use the excuse that I was sitting in the third row, or that it was the first room of the morning for me, but I wont.   Powered by the Manley Stingray integrated tube amplifier, these in-wall loudspeakers (with the Infinite Slope Crossover of Joseph's larger loudspeaker) sounded great. 



Joseph Audio's big rig, with the RM55LE (priced around $12K, if memory serves me well), driven by the big Manley Labs Neo 250 monoblocks, sounded almost as good as the $20K Pearls I heard a couple of years ago.  This year a Theta digital front end and the La Luce turntable with Manley Labs Steelhead phono stage started the chain.  Cardas wiring, as used in the loudspeaker, carried the signals, and Equi=tech cleaned up the electricity feeding the system.  I've said before that rooms set up on the diagonal often sound very good at shows, and this year, Joseph switched over to that orientation.  The soundstage was exceptionally wide and open, and I was immediately drawn into the music.  Once again, I have to say this room was among the handful of bests at this show.  Not only did EveAnna get a big hug for letting me review her Mahi monoblocks last year, but I picked up a fresh batch of “Tubes Rule” stickers for my new Tracker that replaces the one I trashed coming home from the Montreal show in March.



Click here for page 3


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complete listing of show exhibitors.

Click here to see our 2003 show coverage.








































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