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kennyt 01-11-2008 08:10 AM

CES 2008 Audio Update
 
The high end audio was once again in the Venetian tower and was even bigger than last year. Word was T.H.E. show was dead and very small this year, it seems many of the smaller companies ponied up and moved to the Venetian. Almost every room was filled with gear and it took us an entire day to get through two floors!

Several companies were off site, including Mark Levinson who was showing off their new amp line, topped by the $25,000 per #53, a 500 wpc DIGITAL mono-block amp, also on display was the new 532, a 400 wpc dual mono amp that hasn't been finalized yet buy may come with some things previously only found in the #33! Levinson reps swear it is simply the best sounding amp they have ever made, and if I can keep from drooling on it will hopefully have one soon to report on!

Joseph Audio was demoing there new RM 55's with a full compliment of Bel Canto electronics and what can I say, there is just something magical about this combination, the speakers were gorgeous and sounded great as well, and those little Bel Canto Ref 1000's are amazing! Andrew has five in his system now and I must admit I'm jealous! His review isn't out yet but from how he was talking about them I'm sure it will be a rave!

Escalante Design had two rooms at the Venetian and were used in another, they had their Fremonts in a two channel set up with Electrocompaniet AW400 mono-blocks. I love these guys, not only do they make some of the finest sounding speakers in the world, but they also showed in multichannel, which they did with their smaller Pinyon and Juniper speakers and Uinta subwoofer on a cool Electrocomaniet system that allowed the preamp to selectively switch the mated amplifiers to function as bridged mono-blocks in two channel and swap back to two and three channel amps when in multichannel! The company is even environmentally friendly! The Fremonts are one of the fastest speakers I've ever heard, and they had the best sound of the show. These speakers are highly efficient yet able to be plugged into a wall outlet without damage! They have been one of my favorites since I first heard them at the now defunct Stereophile show in NYC some years ago and every time I hear them I know why they left such an impression.

Avalon Acoustics was demoing their new Indra and the Diamonds were also on the floor, and both sounded so smooth and seductive. You could get lost listening to these speakers!

King, a chinese speaker builder had a pair of full range electrostatic speakers that were awesome, especially as they were quoted as $4K a pair! I had to practically drag Andrew Robinson out of that room, and am still surprised he didn't leave the show with them!

Meridian was showing the 8000 series loudspeakers with and 808i source, for such a simple system the sound was jaw dropping!

Merlin and Joule were demoing with an Audio Aero source, this is another all time favorite of mine, and I just had to pull myself out of the room quickly or I might never have seen the rest of the show.

Hovland had their big mono's playing and not only are these guys as nice and enthusiastic as they come, their gear is off the charts good! This room sounded fabulous and we also had to go back for more!

I know I'm missing many, and will try to post more of them later as I remember them, but here's a start!

Lotus 01-11-2008 07:40 PM

Re: CES 2008 Audio Update
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kennyt (Post 9212)
The high end audio was once again in the Venetian tower and was even bigger than last year. Word was T.H.E. show was dead and very small this year, it seems many of the smaller companies ponied up and moved to the Venetian. Almost every room was filled with gear and it took us an entire day to get through two floors!

Several companies were off site, including Mark Levinson who was showing off their new amp line, topped by the $25,000 per #53, a 500 wpc DIGITAL mono-block amp, also on display was the new 532, a 400 wpc dual mono amp that hasn't been finalized yet buy may come with some things previously only found in the #33! Levinson reps swear it is simply the best sounding amp they have ever made, and if I can keep from drooling on it will hopefully have one soon to report on!

Joseph Audio was demoing there new RM 55's with a full compliment of Bel Canto electronics and what can I say, there is just something magical about this combination, the speakers were gorgeous and sounded great as well, and those little Bel Canto Ref 1000's are amazing! Andrew has five in his system now and I must admit I'm jealous! His review isn't out yet but from how he was talking about them I'm sure it will be a rave!

Escalante Design had two rooms at the Venetian and were used in another, they had their Fremonts in a two channel set up with Electrocompaniet AW400 mono-blocks. I love these guys, not only do the make some of the finest sounding speakers in the world, but they also showed in multichannel, which they did with their smaller Pinyon and Juniper speakers and Uinta subwoofer on a cool Electrocomaniet system that allowed the preamp to selectively switch the mated amplifiers to function as bridged mono-blocks in two channel and swap back to two and three channel amps when in multichannel! The company is even environmentally friendly! The Fremonts are one of the fastest speakers I've ever heard, and they had the best sound of the show. These speakers are highly efficient yet able to be plugged into a wall outlet without damage! They have been one of my favorites since I first heard them at the now defunct Stereophile show in NYC some years ago and every time I hear them I know why they left such an impression.

Avalon Acoustics was demoing their new Indra and the Diamonds were also on the floor, and both sounded so smooth and seductive. You could get lost listening to these speakers!

King, a chinese speaker builder had a pair of full range electrostatic speakers that were awesome, especially as they were quoted as $4K a pair! I had to practically drag Andrew Robinson out of that room, and am still surprised he didn't leave the show with them!

Meridian was showing the 8000 series loudspeakers with and 808i source, for such a simple system the sound was jaw dropping!

Merlin and Joule were demoing with an Audio Aero source, this is another all time favorite of mine, and I just had to pull myself out of the room quickly or I might never have seen the rest of the show.

Hovland had their big mono's playing and not only are these guys as nice and enthusiastic as they come, their gear is off the charts good! This room sounded fabulous and we also had to go back for more!

I know I'm missing many, and will try to post more of them later as I remember them, but here's a start!

The show plus a "private," showing in Colorado made me decide to use Avalons in my new HT. I'm going all Bel Canto Ref1000s for the 7 speakers too.

I couldn't be happier.

I owe Andrew a drink or three in thanks for the Bel Canto advice.

kennyt 01-11-2008 08:38 PM

Re: CES 2008 Audio Update
 
Nice choice Lotus!

Which Avalon's did you spec it out with?

Lotus 01-11-2008 10:38 PM

Re: CES 2008 Audio Update
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kennyt (Post 9295)
Nice choice Lotus!

Which Avalon's did you spec it out with?

The cheap stuff!

Well ok not so cheap, but the Avalon Symbols (7 of them) and the Symbol Center and Symbol Subwoofer.

I just haven't heard a better surround sound setup. The imaging of a complete symbol setup is awe inspiring.

kennyt 01-12-2008 04:13 PM

Re: CES 2008 Audio Update
 
OK Lotus, you are running a Runco SC-1 and Symbols?? I would have thought you'd go the distance and do Diamonds for fronts at least!

I saw these on static display @ CES, they are really cool looking speakers. I wonder how easily the bottom mounted speaker terminals work for the various wires on the market today. It kind of irks me that I could buy a speaker and have to buy new wire as well!

I was thinking about this post today while running errands and I realized I forgot some highlights.

Proclaim Audio works had their speakers on display, I had seen these in NYC at The Home Entertainment show, but regrettably didn't get to hear them, these are some of the coolest looking speakers made and were featured in a MHT lifestyle section recently.

http://www.modernhometheater.com/fea...007/slideshow/

I finally got to hear them and they sounded great! The use of separate spheres for each driver allows for almost no points for the sound to bounce off of and make for very clean sound, add to this how cool their center channel is (think Hooters ads) and the diversity of color options and tweak-ability allow these speakers to do thinks no other speaker can!

Wisdom Audio was demoing their speakers, which come in in wall, on wall, and free standing versions. They had some trouble @ CEDIA but really brought it @ CES this year. They were for one in a real room not the box they had built for CEDIA and had reworked the bass management system making for some startlingly good sound.

Lotus 01-12-2008 08:22 PM

Re: CES 2008 Audio Update
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kennyt (Post 9317)
OK Lotus, you are running a Runco SC-1 and Symbols?? I would have thought you'd go the distance and do Diamonds for fronts at least!

Well I'm selling my Martin Logan Summits and replacing them with Avalon Indras.

That will be for my 2 Channel setup, then again maybe I'll only get 5 Symbols and put the Indras in the HT and buy Eidolons for my stereo setup.

Decisions, decisions....

Plus I'm able to do this because I don't buy watches!


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