Ok, I have Chris (aka Lonewolfny42) sitting next to me at the airport as we wait for our 1:00am (Denver time) flight, so I figured why not post some comments on what I thought were some of the better rooms.
Keep in mind that I didn't see/hear everything (a lot of Saturday was spent in front of the tv rooting on the Yankees) and that these are just my opinions.
Before getting into individual rooms, here are some general thoughts:
- it was great to see so many familiar faces as well as metting many new ones.
- there were a lot more vendors this year, but it still didn't feel overly commerical.
- vendors need to spend more time on setup and room treatments. Too many rooms had zero treatments and it had a negative impact on their sound.
- vendors also need to think about their complete setup and sound. It isn't about getting the most big names in the same room...it is about putting together something that is musically engaging and makes you want to learn more about their product or even buy it!
Ok, enough of my rants...here are the rooms:
Avalon/Boulder/Tara Labs/Running Springs Audio/Clearaudio
This was my favorite room at the show and the first mega buck system to sound really good. It was dynamic, had great depth, and the music just seemed to hover in the very large space in front of us.
Salk Sound Signature Speakers
Big shock that I liked this room.
Things started off a little rough (too much bass) on Friday, but by the weekend Jim had the HT3's working their magical combination of power and finesse while using pretty "standard" associated gear. It was great meeting Jim and his lovely wife Mary in person.
Modwright/Channel Islands Audio/Penaudio/Jorma Cables
This room was simply a well thought out, musicaly engaging system. Each song that we played had our toes tapping. As always, Dan was also a pleasure to talk with.
GTT Audio & Video (Karma, Nagra, DCS)
Played some acoustic guitar tracks and it was incredibly lifelike and really engaging. They were using some new "digital" amps (maybe some fellow ACers can shed some light).
Bastanis Loudspeakers (not sure about the other gear)
These horns didn't sound like horns and produced a very holographic and enveloping sound. Also had great dynamics and was very tube friendly with very high efficiency (96db +) and powered sub.
Klaus is Klaus and he was showing off the picture speakers and the Lorelei's. I loved watching people go up to the Lorelei's thinking they were belting out these dynamic, room filling tunes when in reality it was the picture speaker.
Red Wine Audio/Omega Speakers
What do you get when you combine battery powered amps, a modified SB2, and high efficiency speakers? MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC!!!
I didn't get to hear the modified iPod, but I was told that it was darn good as well.
GR Research/Dodd Audio/RAW
I was only able to hear Danny's still to be named open baffle design, but it was musical and fun to listen. It was well balanced from top to bottom and had a nice effortless sound. I think the Dodd amps had something to do with it and should definitely be on your audition list if you are looking for some powerful tubes that don't sound like soild state.
I'll post more thoughts tomorrow as well as tons of pictures.