T.H.E. Show Report- 2013

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,121
77
48
Marina del Rey, CA
#1
Since the show is now over, thought it might be useful for others to move reports over to the general discussion forums. Overall, attendance seemed down when I was there late Saturday and Sunday was light per usual (I sat in a sweet spot in 9/10 rooms). Since it's hard to judge based on recordings I'm not familiar with, I took 4 discs down with me and used them:

Daft Punk- Random Access Memories (folks can laugh, but 10 people requested it when they saw it in my hand- it's also well recorded)
Bliss- No One Built This Moment
Chopin Piano Concerto in F Minor- Krystian Zimerman (DG)
How To Destroy Angeles- Welcome Oblivion

Kudos to Magico for playing Metallica on Sunday afternoon--and KEF for jamming house and other non-audiophile stuff. I still heard tons of Diana Krall, go figure! The LS50s on Daft Punk had people streaming into the room--that's good audio, folks. On the other end, I had no patience to wait for a 30 minute Synergistic sales pitch on Magico Q7s...and USATubeAudio actually turned off my requested track as he heard some synths on it to put on Leonard Cohen ---really?


5 Sounds I liked:

Zesto/Vac/TAD- by far the best of the TAD Evolution One showings this year. Tons of resolution, but an organic, palpable midrange. The TADs with Concert Fidelity also were very good despite the terrible room.

Rockport/BAT- this is a great pairing. The BAT may be a hair dark, but works really well with the Rockport BE tweeters. I preferred the tube amps they used last year, but the dealer prefered the higher power of the 655SE on the Rockports. Brinkmann table sealed the deal.

YG Sonja/Tenor- much, much better driver integration with the lack of powered sub. great detail, but the Tenor hybrid let the music flow with ease. Tenor seems super overpriced to me, but to each his own

Martin Logan/Herron- tough to guage bass integration in a hotel room, but the mids were glorious and the top end extended with ease. I don't hear stats often, so take this with a grain of salt. Keith Herron is one of the most underrated guys in this business (and with a great name!).

Voxativ/Kronzilla- a different kind of sound, but this was SET with huevos. Hard to judge bass in the room, but very open/clear window type midrange with snap and tremendous dynamics

4 Sounds I disliked:

Harbeth/LFD- I almost fell asleep in this room and preferred the Harbeths with Leben--which weren't offensive themselves, although really not my cup of tea. EL34s always sound good, I've been saying for years

ARC rooms- sibilance in the upper midrange in the Wilson room (which i don't think was the speaker). The Vandys were dull and non-dynamic IMO with a hooded over sound (just like last year)- was it room, amps, or whatever? I have no idea. As far as P/P amps- Vac sounded better in both NOLA and TAD rooms. I missed the VTL room.

Trenner/Viva- creamy, smooth, non-realistic sound. Beautiful looking amps, but not accurate at all.

Sanders- not to be contrarian here, but the ML room down the hall was much more open and resolute- and not that much more expensive. Sanders also rigs their room with audio track selection--so to be fair, didn't get to hear my own music.


Random thoughts....Aesthetix w/ Wilson is another pairing that "just works". Same with Ayre and Sonus Faber, although SFs are a voiced speaker to me. TAD won the Magico/Wilson/TAD debate in this round, although sounded much better not on his own electronics. Mola mola amps couldn't save O'Hanlons amazing recordings. The Magico S1 was a tad ascetic compared to the S5 last year---i think the 3-way fleshes out the mids better, who knows. Ultimate Dynaudios have a lot of potential despite being in a cavern this weekend...didn't see SF Aida or D'Agostino products which was disappointing. MBL sounded great, but just for some reason i still won't buy a pair (efficiency likely factor)...there seems to be a "super smooth" vs "hyper detail" debate still raging in audio--my favorite rooms were in the middle.

Final thought- we all have different ears and prefer different sounds. Fremer heard me say in the hallway there is no absolute sound and yelled out something to the tune of "of course not!" I'm sure many will think I'm a fool and that makes me feel good :)
 

Andre Marc

Member Sponsor
Mar 14, 2012
3,973
0
0
San Diego
www.avrev.com
#2
Since the show is now over, thought it might be useful for others to move reports over to the general discussion forums. Overall, attendance seemed down when I was there late Saturday and Sunday was light per usual (I sat in a sweet spot in 9/10 rooms). Since it's hard to judge based on recordings I'm not familiar with, I took 4 discs down with me and used them:

Daft Punk- Random Access Memories (folks can laugh, but 10 people requested it when they saw it in my hand- it's also well recorded)
Bliss- No One Built This Moment
Chopin Piano Concerto in F Minor- Krystian Zimerman (DG)
How To Destroy Angeles- Welcome Oblivion

Kudos to Magico for playing Metallica on Sunday afternoon--and KEF for jamming house and other non-audiophile stuff. I still heard tons of Diana Krall, go figure! The LS50s on Daft Punk had people streaming into the room--that's good audio, folks. On the other end, I had no patience to wait for a 30 minute Synergistic sales pitch on Magico Q7s...and USATubeAudio actually turned off my requested track as he heard some synths on it to put on Leonard Cohen ---really?


5 Sounds I liked:

Zesto/Vac/TAD- by far the best of the TAD Evolution One showings this year. Tons of resolution, but an organic, palpable midrange. The TADs with Concert Fidelity also were very good despite the terrible room.

Rockport/BAT- this is a great pairing. The BAT may be a hair dark, but works really well with the Rockport BE tweeters. I preferred the tube amps they used last year, but the dealer prefered the higher power of the 655SE on the Rockports. Brinkmann table sealed the deal.

YG Sonja/Tenor- much, much better driver integration with the lack of powered sub. great detail, but the Tenor hybrid let the music flow with ease. Tenor seems super overpriced to me, but to each his own

Martin Logan/Herron- tough to guage bass integration in a hotel room, but the mids were glorious and the top end extended with ease. I don't hear stats often, so take this with a grain of salt. Keith Herron is one of the most underrated guys in this business (and with a great name!).

Voxativ/Kronzilla- a different kind of sound, but this was SET with huevos. Hard to judge bass in the room, but very open/clear window type midrange with snap and tremendous dynamics

4 Sounds I disliked:

Harbeth/LFD- I almost fell asleep in this room and preferred the Harbeths with Leben--which weren't offensive themselves, although really not my cup of tea. EL34s always sound good, I've been saying for years

ARC rooms- sibilance in the upper midrange in the Wilson room (which i don't think was the speaker). The Vandys were dull and non-dynamic IMO with a hooded over sound (just like last year)- was it room, amps, or whatever? I have no idea. As far as P/P amps- Vac sounded better in both NOLA and TAD rooms. I missed the VTL room.

Trenner/Viva- creamy, smooth, non-realistic sound. Beautiful looking amps, but not accurate at all.

Sanders- not to be contrarian here, but the ML room down the hall was much more open and resolute- and not that much more expensive. Sanders also rigs their room with audio track selection--so to be fair, didn't get to hear my own music.


Random thoughts....Aesthetix w/ Wilson is another pairing that "just works". Same with Ayre and Sonus Faber, although SFs are a voiced speaker to me. TAD won the Magico/Wilson/TAD debate in this round, although sounded much better not on his own electronics. Mola mola amps couldn't save O'Hanlons amazing recordings. The Magico S1 was a tad ascetic compared to the S5 last year---i think the 3-way fleshes out the mids better, who knows. Ultimate Dynaudios have a lot of potential despite being in a cavern this weekend...didn't see SF Aida or D'Agostino products which was disappointing. MBL sounded great, but just for some reason i still won't buy a pair (efficiency likely factor)...there seems to be a "super smooth" vs "hyper detail" debate still raging in audio--my favorite rooms were in the middle.

Final thought- we all have different ears and prefer different sounds. Fremer heard me say in the hallway there is no absolute sound and yelled out something to the tune of "of course not!" I'm sure many will think I'm a fool and that makes me feel good :)
Hi Keith:

Thanks for your thoughts.

What is so great is that we all have different preferences.

I do disagree with you whole-heartedly about the Harbeths, Vivid, and Sanders rooms. :cool:
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,121
77
48
Marina del Rey, CA
#3
Andre- I should add that I LOVED Vivid with Luxman last year in the same exact room. This year didn't have the same magic for me- and last year was on a 5k integrated. I really enjoyed the LS50 as well if it wasn't clear in my write-up.

Speaking of different preferences- I brought a new audiophile to the show (the most important thing about this weekend)- after a day, I could tell he likes a warmer sound than I do- and I told him congratulations. Don't let others be your guide; find your own path. Sometimes we listen too much to reviews and friends and not our own heads.

Cheers,
 

Andre Marc

Member Sponsor
Mar 14, 2012
3,973
0
0
San Diego
www.avrev.com
#4
Andre- I should add that I LOVED Vivid with Luxman last year in the same exact room. This year didn't have the same magic for me- and last year was on a 5k integrated.

I really enjoyed the LS50 as well if it wasn't clear in my write-up.

Cheers,
Yes, the LS50 caused quite a stir. It's all good...I love hearing different takes on the various demos.
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,883
59
48
La Jolla, Calif USA
#7
Keith, I am a little surprised that you did not like the Wilson/ARC room on the 2nd floor. Steve and I both thought this was the best sound at the show. Debbie W and her crew nailed it, IMHO.
BTW, i think you mean that Philip O'Hanlon's recordings couldn't save the MolaMola's, LOL.:)
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,608
18
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#8
Keith, I am a little surprised that you did not like the Wilson/ARC room on the 2nd floor. Steve and I both thought this was the best sound at the show. Debbie W and her crew nailed it, IMHO.
+1... I concur.....
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#9

taters

New Member
Jun 7, 2012
314
0
0
#10
I thought High water sound had one of the best rooms. He's one of the few guys that
play real music at the show. I think the Synergistic people were very rude. A guy kept
trying to ask a question and they totally Ignored him. The guy walked out.
 

Soundproof

New Member
Jan 13, 2012
429
0
0
Oslo, Norway
#11
I'm always amused by show reports, they never agree and demonstrate clearly that preferences are all over the place, when it comes to "what's best."
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,121
77
48
Marina del Rey, CA
#12
Keith, I am a little surprised that you did not like the Wilson/ARC room on the 2nd floor. Steve and I both thought this was the best sound at the show. Debbie W and her crew nailed it, IMHO.
BTW, i think you mean that Philip O'Hanlon's recordings couldn't save the MolaMola's, LOL.:)
Yes, a freudian slip :)

I much preferred Sashas w/ Aesthetix. I'm just not an ARC guy I guess- last year I had similar thoughts as I was looking at the Ref 75 for my own living room.
 

Velocitymj

New Member
Mar 21, 2013
10
0
1
www.acustomelectric.com
#13
Keith, I am a little surprised that you did not like the Wilson/ARC room on the 2nd floor. Steve and I both thought this was the best sound at the show. Debbie W and her crew nailed it, IMHO.
BTW, i think you mean that Philip O'Hanlon's recordings couldn't save the MolaMola's, LOL.:)
It seems that there are camps who love the Wilson's and those who don't like them
I was hoping to hear some great sound from the Wilson's at THE Show, because the private systems I've heard (Watt Puppies) have never impressed me. Unfortunately, I didn't hear one room where I thought that the Wilsons were installed and sounded good.
The person I went with owns all Audio Research and he was disappointed at ARC's room with the Vandersteins too. But with the Wilson's, he came away as a reaffirmed member of the camp of never hearing a Wilson set up that he liked.
As a side note: For me the big disappointment was Evolution's room. Last year, paired with darTZeel, the Evolution MMMicroOne sounded very impressive. And Veloce, which had the same room now for three years in a row, was disappointing this year.
I think that everyone was impressed with Pioneer's $159.00 speakers and under $800.00 system. Same with Magneplanar's room. Inexpensive gear that stood out. Esp. the Maggies.
I thought that Magico's Q7's would have been better served by Constellation's amplification and better attention to room acoustics.
If you're going to brag about your $750K system in the room (with Synergetic binding post jumpers costing $15K a pair... which I'm sure made the Q7's sound $15K better;)), you would think that you could throw down for some absorbers and bass traps, instead of relying on 4 little brass bowls surrounding the system to fix the resonance.
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,883
59
48
La Jolla, Calif USA
#15
It seems that there are camps who love the Wilson's and those who don't like them
I was hoping to hear some great sound from the Wilson's at THE Show, because the private systems I've heard (Watt Puppies) have never impressed me. Unfortunately, I didn't hear one room where I thought that the Wilsons were installed and sounded good.
The person I went with owns all Audio Research and he was disappointed at ARC's room with the Vandersteins too. But with the Wilson's, he came away as a reaffirmed member of the camp of never hearing a Wilson set up that he liked.
As a side note: For me the big disappointment was Evolution's room. Last year, paired with darTZeel, the Evolution MMMicroOne sounded very impressive. And Veloce, which had the same room now for three years in a row, was disappointing this year.
I think that everyone was impressed with Pioneer's $159.00 speakers and under $800.00 system. Same with Magneplanar's room. Inexpensive gear that stood out. Esp. the Maggies.
I thought that Magico's Q7's would have been better served by Constellation's amplification and better attention to room acoustics.
If you're going to brag about your $750K system in the room (with Synergetic binding post jumpers costing $15K a pair... which I'm sure made the Q7's sound $15K better;)), you would think that you could throw down for some absorbers and bass traps, instead of relying on 4 little brass bowls surrounding the system to fix the resonance.
Velocitymj, you and your friend went into and heard the room on the 2nd floor with Debbie W and the new Alexia's??:confused: If so, what room did you guys prefer to this one?
BTW, I do agree with you that the Evolution room was nothing special this year.
I have also been in the "not too impressed" camp by Wilson's in the past ( due to their insistant use of the Focal sourced Titanium dome), BUT I have to say, that the new silk dome is in a different league and now I believe that they are great speakers.:D
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,121
77
48
Marina del Rey, CA
#16
it's interesting that Jason Serinus heard wiry violins and Jacob Heilbrunn heard an acerbic top end as well. Both on digital, I also noticed--- I heard the same stridency/sibilence as well on my cuts from the Bliss album.

those who heard tape probably heard a much different and better demo.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
1
0
#18
Do those speakers have a valve stem on the back and a sign that says "Inflate to 75 psi"?
 

cjfrbw

Active Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,174
7
38
Pleasanton, CA
#19
Do those speakers have a valve stem on the back and a sign that says "Inflate to 75 psi"?
Straining at stools comes to mind.
 

mauidan

Member Sponsor
Aug 2, 2010
1,519
0
36
Pukalani, HI
#20
Do those speakers have a valve stem on the back and a sign that says "Inflate to 75 psi"?
I don't think so, here a cut away picture:
Nimbus.jpg

Sensitivity: ~92dB/2.83V
Impedance: 8 Ohm
Low frequency cut off -3dB: ~32Hz / 25Hz in-room
Weight: ~250lbs
Dimensions: 53" H (from floor to peak) x 17.5" W (at the woofer center) x 26" D (including rear wall curve)
Price: $7,895
 

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