Next up was the Galibier room. One of my favorite things in life, are valves, vinyl and big fickin' horns. Walking into Thom's room I was extremely pleased not to see a digital anything in the system. Then again, what would you expect from a master turntable designer.
What we did find was the Galibier Gavia turntable with the Stelvio platter ($10,500) outfitted with brand new Durand Talea tonearm and the Dynavector XV-1s cartridge ($4500). Sitting atop the table getting really dizzy was the Hagerman UFO speed Strobe (no longer available). This thing is WAY too cool. If I ever get any free time, I'll build the one I bought a few years ago.
The front end and amplification chores were taken care of by Quicksilver Audio. The Full Function Preamp ($3900) was feeding a pair of Triode Monoblocks ($3595) which in turn fed the ultra cool Classic Audio Reproduction T-3 Field Coil speakers (stated price approx $14,750 per pair). Again, power cables were provided by the fine sounding Kaplan Cables and the other cabling was by Discovery Cables.
Ayon Audio USA
Ayon Audio had a few different systems set up in their room. On one side was the Ayon Spirit push pull KT-88 integrated amp driving a pair of Affirm Audio Elation rear loaded horn loudspeaker ($9995). The source was the Ayon Audio CD-2 tubed CD player. Power conditioning was provided by the passive Clarity Cables 3D power conditioner.
On the opposite side of the room we had the beefy 125 wpc Ayon Triton KT-88 amplifier being driven by the Ayon Polaris two chassis preamp and either the Ayon CD-1s or the CD-5. The floorstanders are the Legacy Audio Focus HDs. All of the cabling, cordage and power conditioning for the room was provided by Clarity Cables. Unfortunately, I didn't pick up the name of the name of the black monitor speakers.
Mike Allen of JoLida had a room full of very reasonably priced and good sounding audio gear. When I visited the room Mike was using one of his newest offerings the FX-10 ($450) which is a 12 wpc EL84 integrated amplifier. It comes in a variety of colors. As you can see from the pics, this little gem is geared towards a younger audience who is looking for something that not only looks cool (hence the industrial yet retro design and blue LEDs) but sounds good and has an iPod interface and a remote.
The speakers were the diminutive Nola Boxer monitors (approx $1500). I was pretty impressed at the new FX10s ability to command these 90db mini-monitors. The bass sounded firm and well under control from these tiny and very inexpensive amps. Needless to say, I was impressed.
The other new product Mike was showing was his new USB DAC the FX DAC Mini ($110). Though I didn't get a chance to give it a listen, no doubt it sounds pretty good like the rest of the JoLida gear.
Just for fun, Mike brought a modified Tascam BR 20 reel to reel from United Home Audio ($3995). The other supporting equipment was the JD10 CD Player ($950), the JD1701 50 wpc Hybrid Integrated ($550), the JD 502 RC 60wpc 6550 tube amp ($1300), and the JD 3000B tubed preamp ($1000).
BPT and Empirical Audio
On the first floor of the Marriott in one of the larger rooms at the show I found Chris Hoff of Balanced Power Technology (BPT) and Steve Nugent of Empirical Audio. Chris and Steve had one of the more impressive sounding systems of the show. Chris had brought out his latest evolution open baffle speakers which consisted of a pair of 60" Bolender-Grabener ribbons crossed over at 200Hz and mounted in oak baffles with wave guides on the rear. Sitting just behind them was a pair of open baffle arrays of woofers. The arrays had four 15" custom woofers from DIY Audio specifically designed with a higher Q so they would work well in an open baffle.
The front end of the system was a Mac-Mini feeding a Fireface400
FireWire to S/PDIF interface unit. From the Fireface Steve was driving a DEQX HDP3 active crossover which has two digital outputs per channel. The DEQX was then reclocked to reduce jitter by two Empirical Audio Pace Car 2s. The Pace Cars then drove another pair of Empirical Audio Overdrive Signature DACs. From there the signal was then amplified by a custom pair of BPT Hypex amplifiers (200wpc) arranged in a vertical biamp configuration. The crossover point for the ribbons was 200Hz. The entire room was being powered from a bank of Balanced Power Technology BAT battery power supplies and the Empirical Audio Substation power supply feeding the Overdrive Signature.
The sound in this room was big and open with a massive soundstage. Imaging was quite good from what little time I spent in here. Chris and Steve utilized the DEQX to do some room correction on the ribbons and also used to do some time correction on the woofer array.
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