LAAS 2017

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Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 18, 2017  |  8 comments
At the Los Angeles Audio Show, held June 2–4, John Atkinson spoke with Elac's Andrew Jones about speaker design, building affordable loudspeakers, and Elac's Adante AF-61 speaker, which made its debut at the show, driven by Audio Alchemy amplification.
John Atkinson  |  Jun 11, 2017  |  1 comments
The first room I went to at the 2017 LAAS was that hosted by LA dealer Optimal Enchantment featuring a system based on Vandersteen's Model Seven Mk.II speakers ($62,000/pair) and M7-HPA amplifiers ($52,000/pair), which I reviewed in May 2016, this time reinforced by a pair of Vandersteen's SUB NINEs operating below 100Hz. It may have been the first room I visited but as good as many other systems sounded, they didn't match what Vandersteen refers as System NINE for its effortless sweep of sound, precise, palpable imaging, and smooth yet detailed high frequencies.
John Atkinson  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  4 comments
Following my keynote speech at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning, my beat at the Los Angeles Audio Show was the Sheraton Gateway's 1st and 5th floors. Even with just the two floors, this was a daunting prospect—considering that this was the show's debut, it had a larger number of exhibitors than any of us had anticipated. So without further ado, here's the first of my three reports.
John Atkinson  |  Jun 10, 2017  |  1 comments
I tend to be skeptical of tweaks. Too often in the past, I have heard an astonishingly audible difference when the whatever is demonstrated by its promoter, only for any difference to stubbornly disappear when I try the same thingamabob in my own system. But listening to the difference when Isotek's Bjorn Hegelsted replaced the cheap power strip and stock AC cords in a MoFi Distribution system using the impressive but affordable Wharfedale Diamond 225 speakers ($449/pair) driven by a Quad Artera Play CD player ($2199) and Artera Stereo amplifier ($2299) with a star-wired, 6-outlet Isotek Polaris conditioner ($495) and Isotek Premier AC cords ($149 each), the improvement in image palpability and dimensionality, the elimination of "shoutiness" on female voice, was extraordinary.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 08, 2017  |  8 comments
One of my greatest personal discoveries at the LA Audio Show this past weekend was that I absolutely love Harbeth speakers. I adored every system I heard them in. In the Gene Rubin Audio/Fidelis Distribution room, there was a beautiful pair of Harbeth Monitor 30.1 two-way speakers ($5495/pair), driven by an LFD NCSE Mk.II Plus integrated amplifier ($6795), with the source being an Acoustic Signature Challenger Mk.III turntable ($4995) with an Acoustic Signature TA 2000 9" tonearm ($2395) and a DynaVector 20X2 cartridge ($995), through an LFD LE/SE phonostage ($1790).
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  0 comments
"Ampsandsound is a startup with big promise!"—a text message like this from Herb Reichert and I knew what I had to do.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 07, 2017  |  22 comments
"So how did it sound?" they like to ask as I'm walking out. If I enjoyed the sound, I'll be honest. But what if I didn't?
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 10, 2017  |  3 comments
"Natural" doesn't only describe the finish of Tocaro Model 42 speakers in the Austin Hifi room.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 07, 2017  |  5 comments
After a forgettable lunch (the food at the Sheraton Gateway hotel was mediocre at best) a change of pace was required. It was time for a mid-day treat: compact horn-loaded speakers. Greg Roberts of Volti Audio and Pete Grzybowski (nicknamed "Triode Pete") seem to consistently know how to produce good sound in hotel rooms.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 06, 2017  |  2 comments
The LA Show was my first time aboard the (appropriately) hyped Magic Bus! A one-of-a-kind audiophile-mobile custom-built by Sony contractorJon Whitledge, the Magic Bus is a rare feat.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  2 comments
How to conduct a successful MQA demo when the person requesting same already has made up their mind? That question, or some variation thereof, must have run through the mind of Meridian's SW regional sales manager, Courtney Careccia, when the sole attendee (besides me) in her room on a slow Sunday asked for a non-MQA/MQA comparison on her all-Meridian system. After no more than 45 seconds—it could have been less, but certainly not more—the man asked to switch to the MQA version, listened for a much shorter time, stood up, declared the whole thing was a sham, and marched out the door. It was almost as if the comparison had never happened.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  7 comments
First stop on the show's final day, a return to the High End Zone/Perfect8 Technologies room on the 2nd floor. I couldn't cover this exhibit on opening day because the visually striking Perfect8 Technologies Point Mk.III loudspeakers ($125,000/pair), a point-source dipole design with Symmetrical Radiation house in propriety "super silent glass," got trashed—badly trashed—in transit, and their replacements did not arrive in time.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 07, 2017  |  0 comments
One of the several rooms from Audio Plus Services at LAAS was headlined by the Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista CD player ($9999) and Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 800 integrated amplifier ($11,999) driving Focal Sopra No.2 loudspeakers ($13,995/pair) via Crystal cabling. Solid Tech's Rack of Silence ($5795) and assorted IsoAcoustics Iso-Pucks completed a chain whose electronics—even the loudspeaker—had less than 24 hours of break-in. Hence, beyond saying that the timbres were beautiful, I shall refrain from critical comments that most likely would not apply had the system been show-ready.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 05, 2017  |  81 comments
Industry veterans EveAnna Manley (left) and Mary Cardas (right) were in a particularly ebullient mood when I encountered them in the second-floor hallway. "We just got mansplained," laughed EveAnna. "Whatever you do, man, don't mansplain us," she continued, as the two women recounted the tale of entering an exhibit incognito—they were judges for the "Alfies," the LAAS awards—and discovering some salesman talking down to them.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 06, 2017  |  8 comments
At first-time show venues with hosts of unknowns, some exhibitors luck out, while others unwittingly end up with unmanageable spaces. Alas, to retailer Brian Berdan of Audio Element in Pasadena did fall the distinct dishonor of two larger 2nd floor rooms with the noisiest, constantly-on air conditioning I have ever encountered at an audio show. Perhaps to compensate for an environment destined to repel rather than attract, Brian tilted the Wilson Audio Yvette loudspeakers ($22,500/pair) upwards, so that people who didn't even bother to sit would get more of a sense of all they can do.

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