I did not get out much this time as I had to man the Listening and Measurements room. I also often only got a short listen to most rooms so don't take my opinion as gospel. Overall, this venue was a lot better than last time in NY. I would say LA handled the people better and I did like the mass marketers TV land rooms on the main floor for a quick peek. But the listening rooms were clearly better this year than the past two. And while it is a pain to be handing out tips all over the place in NY, it feels good to be in the city.
Friday was great as the people volume was on the low side as was Sunday. The pace was high but you could get into rooms. Saturday was a madhouse and I guess that is good to have that kind of interest. Overall I think the sound was a lot better, not just the rooms but the setups and synergy.
I liked the Rives room with the sound panels, good sound, I did not check the untreated room. The speakers were Talon.
Cabasse did not do it for me this time.
I missed the TAD/Pioneer room mostly because I already made up my mind I like them. I have heard them at a couple of shows now and while I would have trouble identifying any specific feature like "clear highs" or whatever, I simply like being in front of them. I missed stopping in and seeing Andrew Jones and checking his latest oddball CD mix.
Magico was Ok, They had an odd shaped room with a cove and that probably pulled a little imaging out of them. I think they missed the bottom half octave which was supposed to be one of the amazing things about that small driver. Considering these are the number one speaker according to those in the know, either the room was bad or I am deaf.
The horns did not do anything for me: all the horns.
The Zu room has great guys and I like what they are doing. Sound was not for me this time. Not sure why they did the room at an angle as most of the rooms were fine head on.
Years ago I thought Dynaudio was over valued but the last couple of shows I have found they sound very good.
High on the sexy scale this year were the GamuT and Chord rooms.
Bolzano did not do it for me this time.
Moscode sounds good but I only got a peek.
Sorry I missed the Cayin room. Last year I decided that I needed to know first hand what it was like to have a tube amp and bought a Cayin T-35. It was assembled about as well as amps come with good components. They save money with a sane enclosure: no 1/2" front panels. They sounded great. I almost kept mine but I had my eye on some scan-speak woofers. . .
Yes, I am scrolling Stereophile blogs to remind me.
Gamut was interesting. First, I really like Lars and Franc. When I first went into the room I thought the sound was busy. Again, I could not put my finger on why or what. I went back later and was really impressed. I ran off to get my ref disk and ran through the ten tracks. Every cut was amazing. The guitar track was clearer than I have ever heard it. On other tracks I heard highs I have not heard in a long time. I have lost a fair amount of my upper hearing range, so for me, a lot of tweeters have an "everything else up there" sound above around 9K. In the Gamut room I could very clearly hear crisp and definite individual pings and bells. I think the very slight issue I heard had to do with room and setup. If I got it right, for around $25k I could get the speakers, amp and CD. That would do it for me.
Proclaim did not do it for me this time.
Heard about 30 seconds of a smaller Wilson in some room, great as always.
I am really tempted to troll for Andy Singer but I won't. Never made it to his room. I also missed some new planer speaker I wanted to see. Never made it to the ballroom to buy new CDs, something I like to do at the shows.
John Marks: I want a set of every track I heard you play. I loved them all. Time for JMR to come out with a test CD. (BTW, John got our tube vs SS test right).
Kal: Thanks for sitting in one of our sessions and adding input. (Kal also got the tube vs SS test right)
John Atkinson: Amazing you make yourself so available. Best in show for me was getting to use your SACD player all weekend. I flew out of bed Sunday to get an extra couple of hours to run through my SACDs. Thanks!
Copyright: Peter J. Smith 2007 Return to helarc.com