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  • Sound at High-End Audio Shows

    Saw this statement on the Net and have to say flies in the face of my experience at audio shows.

    The tippy-top rooms at high-end audio shows demonstrate to audiophiles what their systems lack.

    Really? That's not been my experience. I can't wait to get home and turn my system on.

    For me audio shows are graded on a different curve.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    I don't think audio shows have bad rooms but do show the variance of hi end audio. One room may have hi end one driver speakers
    one room may have large speakers playing great vinyl
    another room may have simple driver speakers playing digital. To walk around rooms there is an immense variance and something for everyone.
    Yes there is some rooms I don't like but who am i to judge what's great
    having said that sone rooms aren't last up in ideal ways.
    But we must enjoy the variance and love the rooms that sound great for us.
    analog stuff.
    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
    sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
    new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
    thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
    thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
    kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
    phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
    speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
    mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
    digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
    Dacs lampi various

    Comment


    • #3
      In all the years of doing shows we only had a few that I was really pleased with the sound, the rest of them we had to settle with tolerable. Some of the worst systems I've heard in my life were at major audio shows and the trend nowadays is even for worse sound. I'm glad I don't have to review shows!

      david
      Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
      Distribution: NEODIO

      Special Sales: van den Hul
      Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

      Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
      http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
      http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by david k View Post
        In all the years of doing shows we only had a few that I was really pleased with the sound, the rest of them we had to settle with tolerable. Some of the worst systems I've heard in my life were at major audio shows and the trend nowadays is even for worse sound. I'm glad I don't have to review shows!

        david
        My rule of thumb for shows. If a product or system sounds good, it is worth investigating. Conversely if a room sounds bad, it means nothing. Addendum. If you see the same product in several rooms and all the rooms sound good, then that product is worth investigating. Take cables for example.

        My speakers are a good example. I would have never-up to that point in time-imagined owning Magico speakers. Alon, however, is getting much better sound recently.
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
        -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

        Comment


        • #5
          When at shows to do a show report, I've always looked for the "potential" in products on display. Great sound is rare and appreciated. Good sound always makes me feel I could probably make it better at home, and even not so great sound can be forgivable if the issues really seem room or setup related. The only thing I never tolerate is bad sound where the exhibitor carries on about how great is sounds. That opens the door for criticism in the report, or being left out entirely.

          In my room at the LA show, I thought we had generally pretty good sound, especially from the Maggie .7 and Tekton Lore speakers. The Double Impacts sounded pretty good, but had issues with the room and had a very small sweet spot (they are sounding much better in my room at home now). The smaller speakers from ELAC, Emotiva and Audioengine sounded fine.

          I found it funny, but one attendee, who after sitting with a sour look on his face for about 15 minutes, called me over to tell me "To be honest, my system at home sounds better..." My only response was to tell him "I hope so, mine sounds better a home too. I've spent six years fine tuning that room, but about six hours on this one" I don't think he appreciated that.
          Steve Lefkowicz
          Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
          -
          Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
          Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
          Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
          Speakers: Tekton Perfect SET 15, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
          Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
          Speaker cables: WyWyres Diamond, Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
          Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
          Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
          Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by david k View Post
            In all the years of doing shows we only had a few that I was really pleased with the sound, the rest of them we had to settle with tolerable. Some of the worst systems I've heard in my life were at major audio shows and the trend nowadays is even for worse sound. I'm glad I don't have to review shows!

            david
            Was that just the LAMM/Wilson rooms at CES David or other manufacturers/show? Know you have been in the game for ages and done a lot!

            What was the best sounding show system you put together?

            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post
              When at shows to do a show report, I've always looked for the "potential" in products on display. Great sound is rare and appreciated. Good sound always makes me feel I could probably make it better at home, and even not so great sound can be forgivable if the issues really seem room or setup related. The only thing I never tolerate is bad sound where the exhibitor carries on about how great is sounds. That opens the door for criticism in the report, or being left out entirely.

              In my room at the LA show, I thought we had generally pretty good sound, especially from the Maggie .7 and Tekton Lore speakers. The Double Impacts sounded pretty good, but had issues with the room and had a very small sweet spot (they are sounding much better in my room at home now). The smaller speakers from ELAC, Emotiva and Audioengine sounded fine.

              I found it funny, but one attendee, who after sitting with a sour look on his face for about 15 minutes, called me over to tell me "To be honest, my system at home sounds better..." My only response was to tell him "I hope so, mine sounds better a home too. I've spent six years fine tuning that room, but about six hours on this one" I don't think he appreciated that.
              So much to agree with. Potential. Especially last paragraph. We've spent how long tuning and working on the sound of our systems and expect an exhibitor to equal or surpass it in six hours with some room Rx and maybe DSP (for better or more often than not worse)? Kind of like that show on the Cooking Channel where they give the chefs some raw ingredients, 15 or 20 minutes and tell them to come up with an award winning recipe. Yeah how's that working out? 😄
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                My rule of thumb for shows. If a product or system sounds good, it is worth investigating. Conversely if a room sounds bad, it means nothing. Addendum. If you see the same product in several rooms and all the rooms sound good, then that product is worth investigating. Take cables for example.
                This is the way I look at shows too. I take note of the good sounding systems, and don't write off the bad. I feel bad for the people who's rooms are not sounding as good as I know the products are capable of.
                SOURCE: VINYL - EAT C-Sharp with, EAT LPS power supply, My Sonic Lab Signature Gold
                DIGITAL - Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC. Roon Nucleus w/EAT Lps power supply. Auralic Aires G1
                PHONOSTAGE: AudioNet PAM G2 with AudioNet EPX power supply.
                PREAMP: Audionet PRE G2.
                AMPLIFIER: Audionet MAX monoblocks.
                SPEAKERS: YG Acoustics Anat III Signatures (upgraded to Sonja 1.2) JL Audio F112 V2 (x2)
                CABLES: Kubala-Sosna, Kubala Sosna Xpander.....Audio Desk Systeme RCM, Adona Rack, GIK & Acoustimac room treatment, Isoacoustics

                Comment


                • #9
                  Tolerable, Great sound is rare and appreciated, pretty much agree. I mean given what a manufacturer has to deal with in a hotel room of all places with immovable hardwood dresser and bed headboard , I think the majority really do an adequate job, which makes me want to hear them at a dealers show room or at a persons home.
                  Chris
                  ----------------------------------------------------------------
                  Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My experience at audio shows suggests something about set-up. Tape is the easiest, followed by digital, with LP playback obviously being a problem. IMHO, if a newby were to choose his source based on the sound at shows, it would be hard to justify getting an LP playback system. For every good sounding LP system, it seems there are about 4 or 5 with borderline to just plain bad sound. JMO, of course.
                    Tascam BR-20
                    Technics 1506 with tape path upgrades, FM head and custom repro amp
                    Modwright Oppo 205 full tube mod w/LPS
                    Euphony Summus server, EtherRegen, HDPLEX LPS
                    MSB Discrete DAC (dual PS, ISLPro, balanced out)
                    Pass Labs INT60
                    Daedalus Audio Apollo 11’s
                    REL S3 (Kimber Kable connection)
                    Daedalus/Wywires, Audioquest, Acoustic Zen, Sablon Audio cables
                    Core Power Equi=Power 1800 Mk3
                    Adona rack; Stillpoints and IsoPods, Tube Traps, GIK

                    Comment


                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I dunno about analog vs. digital. As Mark and I observed, rooms using digital are down half the time. This has crashed. That needs to be rebooted. Can't seem to find that song on Jriver. Know it is there. And so on. ☹️

                    • Steve Lefkowicz
                      Steve Lefkowicz commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I had no issues with LPs on four different tables, but digital? Network issues, internet issues, buffering issues with Tidal due to a slow connection. Unable to use the Auralic Mini due to internal network issues (unable to actually set the Mini up), the PC randomly not finding the right USB driver after switching DACs. Must have rebooted that server a dozen time or more over the three days of the show.

                    • mep
                      mep commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Steve-Thanks for the honest comments regarding the perils of using digital at shows. These are exactly the types of issues that Myles and I have seen at shows. Some digital people think we are making this stuff up, but this is what goes on at shows.

                  • #11
                    There are some exhibitors who seem to get show setup consistently better than others. For many years, Dan Meinwald's EAR/Marten rooms have consistently sounded great. Over the past few years, Ryan Speakers rooms have been exceptional. Same with Steve Norber's Prana Fidelity.
                    Steve Lefkowicz
                    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
                    -
                    Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
                    Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
                    Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
                    Speakers: Tekton Perfect SET 15, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
                    Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
                    Speaker cables: WyWyres Diamond, Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
                    Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
                    Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
                    Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

                    Comment


                    • rbbert
                      rbbert commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Philip O'Hanlon?

                    • Steve Lefkowicz
                      Steve Lefkowicz commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Philip's exhibits not only usually sound great, but he has some of the best music to demo with.

                  • #12
                    Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                    Was that just the LAMM/Wilson rooms at CES David or other manufacturers/show? Know you have been in the game for ages and done a lot!

                    What was the best sounding show system you put together?
                    I should amend my comment from "tolerable" to "acceptable" because that's what it really is. All the US shows we did was always with Lamm electronics since Alexis Park but we changed speakers. My shows included Wilson, Kharma and various vintage speakers and front ends were nearly always with a tt from my own collection with CEC & Weiss while I was the distributor. The best sound we had was in 2003 at The Show with the Bionors, everything just fell into place and room was just perfect for what we were showing. iI was even a surprise for us since I had only recently purchased the Bionors without having really heard them and they came straight from Japan to the Show. Amazing sound! American Sound tt was also a first at the venue. I remember people walking in and their jaws dropping and sitting down for hours listening. We had a few more shows that the sound was good but nothing ever came close to that one. I've been happy with the sound of our rooms for the past couple of years with Kharma but the systems were only presenting about the 20%-25% of their potential, c'est la vie....

                    david
                    Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                    Distribution: NEODIO

                    Special Sales: van den Hul
                    Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                    Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                    Comment


                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Sorry didn't get to hear the Bionors. Took a sabbatical from audio and CES from 2002-2005 or so due to personal issues.

                    • david k
                      david k commented
                      Editing a comment
                      And I took my sabbatical from 2005 to 2012.

                      david

                  • #13
                    I try to make allowances for rooms at Audio shows given the short setup time, awful AC power, room anomolies, room half-filled with chairs etc. But there is really no excuse for poorly matching speakers to the room size or showing brand new gear straight out of the crate. I actually prefer it when Dealers put new speakers on static display, rather than trying to run them in during the show.

                    That said, i've walked into some rooms which sounded surprisingly good and hung around for a while. At the Melbourne Hifi Show last year I gave my 2nd Best in Show to the Kyron Audio room. Those guys literally worked through the night on room treatments, ac power and dialing in their Kronos speakers & awesome Murcury subs. They ended up getting good sound stage depth & imaging in that room which was no small feat.

                    My Best in Show was the Audio Note room who were running a very simple setup comprising a mid-level Integrated amp, cd player & their AN-J stand mounts from memory, with only minimal room treatments. The sound was smooth, warm, open & musical. I genuinely enjoyed sitting down for a listen & thought that would make a very nice simple 2nd system in the study, with maybe a VPI Classic tt added on.
                    Last edited by Bodhi; 08-04-2017, 04:08 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      I see these trade shows as somewhat of a circus. As a distributor or Manufacturer you feel obligated to attend so as to not miss out on an opportunity to display your wares and get the next distribution deal or sell the next box. You ordinarily can't miss it.

                      Changes in strategy now with home based selling and internet sales and manufacturer direct make the final decision an expensive one. Add to that the drudgery of a multitude of smaller shows and it means you may or may not see a display in the best possible light.

                      At AXPONA something was way off on a track I was familiar with ... the system was running out of phase. At least they didn't throw me out for advising them. So we've all been there and its easy to make mistakes or get it wrong under show conditions.

                      Odds of getting the sound right is minimal. I always come home, as Myles indicated, and turn my system on and say ok, I am not missing that much or wow mine is better at a), b), c),....... I don't expect much today in terms of sound quality. Assembling a several hundred thousand dollar system in a bedroom is tough.

                      I take it as entertainment, when you consider the sound of anyone's systems changes by the hour ( at least mine does) you may never hit a room at its peak ever... YMMV .
                      Phono: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
                      Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas Lamda, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
                      Amps: Custom Direct Drive, Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2. Bedini 25/25
                      Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
                      Speakers: Beveridge Model 3 Direct Drive amps, REL S/2 x 2, Quad ESL pair
                      Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        I thought shows were more about orders and contracts than sound. And to present/announce new products. And to hob-nob. I suppose shows open to the public are a bit different. If you come to listen, wait until the last day or so.

                        Comment


                        • mep
                          mep commented
                          Editing a comment
                          That would be trade shows like CES. Consumer shows are not about orders and contracts.

                        • MylesBAstor
                          MylesBAstor commented
                          Editing a comment
                          One reason for having regional shows is for companies without distribution in that area to get some exposure. That does on occasion lead to a manufacturer picking up a dealer in that city or area. Remember not all dealers exhibit at audio shows but go instead go around listening like consumers for equipment for their stores.
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