T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures

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ecod123

T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« on: 5 Jun 2011, 08:00 am »
Saturday was a great day in Southern California. Sunny blue sky weather, balmy temperature, and T.H.E. Show Newport was in town.  :thumb:

So after the morning cuppa of java and a hearty breakfast, strapped on my helmet, jumped on my Harley . . . Newport Beach here I . . . oh, wait, I don't own a Harley, never mind. But there were over 500's motorcycles, including many Harleys, roaring on the local freeways Saturday for a memorial ride.

Alas, I was only able to spend half a day at the show but it was a half day well spent. It was a delectable all-you-can-listen-and-enjoy buffet of audio experience for a budget price of $10. The only thing better would be to hold the winning lottery ticket from Friday's Mega Millions. In that event, instead of the buffet, I would have ordered room service ala carte of all the exquisite audio gear my heart and ears desired.

Since I didn't even buy a lotto ticket for Friday drawing, the $10 buffet it would be. Thought I'd share some pictures for those who were unable to attend.

Due to time constraints, I was only able to visit SOME of the exhibits/rooms/vendors. I did try to snap pictures of every exhibit/room/vendor I visited but some rooms were more conducive to photography than others.

The photos are in no particular order, not necessarily of good quality and do not represent any endorsement of any kind.  The photos simply reflect my hurried attempt in trying to visit as many vendors as my compressed schedule allowed.

Sorry, I won't be providing analysis or reviews, which I will leave to capable others. From me, just some pictures.

And yes, the Hilton is in Irvine and not Newport Beach . . .

If you haven't gone and is within driving distance, it's a golden opportunity to audition audio equipment and meet countless fellow enthusiasts . Even if you have to fly in, John Wayne Airport is practically just across the street from Hilton. :green:

Please feel free to post your pics here if you do not want to start a new thread. I am okay with it and it's all about sharing pics with fellow audiophiles :thumb:

Be sure to scroll down to Jon L's excellent collection of pics and accompanying insightful impressions :thumb:

Now some Pics:

**Sorry, trying to fix the sizing problem on photobucket. Photos are oversized on this thread even at 320 x 240. :scratch: Will post more once I fixed the problem. :oops: So there's a significant delay after downsizing on photobucket to take effect, should have stuck with 640x480 because now at 320x240, they do look smaller. :duh:  Update: Fixed (larger pics in post#2). :D






« Last Edit: 6 Jun 2011, 11:47 pm by ecod123 »

ecod123

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #1 on: 5 Jun 2011, 08:13 am »
More (& larger) pics:









































Adding a few more pics from my brief escapade on Sunday - had to go back! :lol:































« Last Edit: 7 Jun 2011, 01:05 am by ecod123 »

In The Air

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Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #2 on: 5 Jun 2011, 12:10 pm »
Very nice work!! Looking forward to more pictures  :P

SoCalWJS

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #3 on: 5 Jun 2011, 01:36 pm »
Thanks for posting the pictures!!

My wife and I spent the whole day going through virtually every room, listening to good music and meeting great people. Definitely worth the drive over (almost 100 miles each way). I spent a few $$ picking up high res music - SHM's, as well as MFSL and Audio Gold.

Amazing how good the sound was in a few of these rooms considering the difficulties in getting everything set up and adjusted in such a short time, and trying to overcome the acoustical issues they faced.

Drooled over much equipment (that I will never be able to afford) and saw pictures of a very high end custom installation one dealer did that was truly amazing.

Well, maybe if I hit the Lottery.............  :green:

Fun time. May get to sneek off to RMAF this year!!

Bob in St. Louis

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Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #4 on: 5 Jun 2011, 02:38 pm »
**Sorry, trying to fix the sizing problem on photobucket. Photos are oversized on this thread even at 320 x 240. :scratch: Will post more once I fixed the problem. :oops:

Don't worry about the picks being too big. Folks are reading these pages with monitors ranging from old school 11" CRT's all the way up to home theater projections screens. Basically, you'll never get the picture to fit everybodys screen. I use Photobucket too and it's just about right for my screen which is a 20" widescreen. As your pictures are now, they're about 3"x5". Way too small.

For Windows users:
If the pics are too large to fit your screen hold the [Ctrl] button and tap the - button until it fits. The + button does the opposite (this is what I use to make little pics bigger).

Hope that helps man, don't stress about it.
Bob

vin69

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Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #5 on: 5 Jun 2011, 11:22 pm »
The show was good. Hopefully next time they will find a place with more parking. Some of the demo rooms facing the courtyard had to stop their demos due to the noise from the concert in the courtyard.

Jon L

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #6 on: 6 Jun 2011, 06:12 am »
T.H.E. Show 2011 Newport Beach

Excellent Show.  Photos first and impressions being added.  I played my own demo tracks in every room that would allow it to get a-little-better-than-usual-for-show-conditions impressions for myself.


IMG_1711 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Tons of CD's, Mo-Fi's, SACD's, vinyl available.



IMG_1710 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Concert Fidelity, Reference 3A, Cable Research Lab room. 

I have always loved Reference 3A speakers, which are essentially crossoverless full-range driver speakers with a tweeter and one capacitor added.  Concert Fidelity electronics were driving various Ref 3A speakers, with de Capo i playing at the time.  Very smooth frequency response without anomalies, especially for a (almost) crossoverless system with good showing for bass given speaker size in a large room.



IMG_1708 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Concert Fidelity electronics with Silicon Arts monoblocks. 



IMG_1716 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Representing the growing interest in headphone systems, quite a bit of headphones, head amps were represented.  I am heavily into headphones, especially electrostats, but at T.H.E. Show, I tried to concentrate on speaker systems and leave headphones for a local Head-Fi meet. 


IMG_1717 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Venture Audio, Weiss, Precision Audio & Video room.

Venture Audio Grand Ultimates ($89,000) taking center stage in this large room and making a great showing.  Beautifully made speakers and smooth, detailed resolution, no doubt helped by Weiss digital front-end.


IMG_1721 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Weiss transport and DAC.  Very nice..



IMG_1719 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Synergistic Research, Magico, Scott Walker Audio Rooom.

The whole room was fitted with Synergistic Research Active Shielding cables with controlled demo meant to show the difference with Active Shield turned on and off.  Also the effects of Acoustic Art resonators were demo'd.  Top-of-the line Esoteric digital front end and preamp were used to great effect here, not to mention the indomitable Magico Q3, which at $34,000 are somewhat of a bargain in Magico land. 

People around me basically reported anywhere from "no difference" to "huge difference" with the demo.  I personally thought the active shielding made substantial difference in clarity, resolution, thus soundstaging, and the bass really becomes much more taught and impactful with active shielding.  Those little Acoustic Art resonator half-balls all over the room made more subtle difference to my ear, but worth investigating at home  I think, possibly giving you longer decays and more "excited air" type of air..




IMG_1720 by drjlo2, on Flickr

The Magico's truly appear indestructible with bass prowess expected of super stiff construction. 



IMG_1723 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Brooks Berdan, VTL room.

Wilson Sasha speakers sitting pretty with VTL tube monoblocks powering them effortlessly. 



IMG_1724 by drjlo2, on Flickr

The Wilsons were headed by full DCS digital setup with music server feeding Puccini CDP via U-clock's usb-to-spdif converter.  One certainly could not accuse this DCS digital front-end of not having enough resolution.



IMG_1728 by drjlo2, on Flickr

E.A.R. USA room.

Beautiful Marten Coltrane speakers with diamond tweeters.  Unlike some of the B+W diamond tweeters, Marten's implementation did not seem to attract undue attention to the diamond-ness of its tweeter, a good thing.  E.A.R. Acute CD player with its tubed output was undoubtedly contributing to the warm, acoustic sound of this room despite the ceramic drivers, which often are accused of sounding "cool." 



IMG_1732 by drjlo2, on Flickr

ModWright, Daedalus Audio, Dynamic Design, Durand Tonearms, Galibier Design room.

The Daedalus Athena speakers ($8950) was looking and sounding quite lovely in this room, again nice tone and warmth.


IMG_1735 by drjlo2, on Flickr

ModWright tube-modified Oppo BDP 95, LS100 tube preamp, and KWA 150 Signature amp.  Tubes in source, preamp into strong SS amp is one of those classic recipes for a reason.



IMG_1736 by drjlo2, on Flickr

The veneer on Daedalus speakers was rich and beautiful. 



IMG_1739 by drjlo2, on Flickr

The Lotus Group Room.

One of the standout rooms. Lotus Group G2 speakers were quite an interesting design.  It's a fully open baffle design with a second tweeter on the back and midrange, bass driver open in the back.  The speakers are not exactly cheap, costing more than $70K, but it comes with 3-way active crossovers and bass amp included.  One just needs to find 4 channels of additional amplification.  Esoteric digital front-end and SMc Audio VRE-1B buffered passive preamp must have been outputting some seriously uncolored signal because the system sounded unbelievably clean, uncompressed, and resolute.  There's something about open baffle bass that satisfies the soul and calms the room. 



IMG_1741 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Back view of the G2 speaker.  Unusual, but works. 



IMG_1743 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Upscale Audio, PrimaLuna, Nola Speakers Room. 

I remember the PrimaLuna electronics when just starting out.  They were great for the price and solid performers, but they have gone through some serious evolution over the years because the sound was gorgeous.  The beautiful Nola speakers were no doubt doing their part in this system, which was wisely judged in terms of speaker size vs. room size. 



IMG_1744 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Full-on tube assault, with the prototype PrimaLuna CDP with essentially a tubed preamp built in. 



IMG_1747 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Immaculate Nola speakers showing off its open-baffle top end.





« Last Edit: 8 Jun 2011, 01:45 am by Jon L »

Jon L

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #7 on: 6 Jun 2011, 06:13 am »
Continued.



IMG_1749 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Second Upscale Audio Room with Nola and Mystere U.S.A.
Those are Nola Contender speakers ($3400), which seem to be a bargain.  I unfortunately didn't get a chance to give a serious listen to this system. 



IMG_1754 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Audio Research, Vandersteen, AudioQuest, Basis Audio room. 

The Vandersteen 5A Carbon ($24,000) were a knock-out beauty, and the photo simply does not do it justice.  I do not believe this room even had capability to play CD's, and only vinyl was being spun, to good effect.  One might associate Vandersteen with warm, cozy type of house sound, but the 5A's were sounding mighty extended, clear of any veils, and lithe.  This room was being kept to a low volume by exhibitors, but I believe a higher volume level (not truly loud) would have impressed more people.



IMG_1756 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Vandersteen VLR speakers, which are coaxial, sealed designs.  Audio Research CDP and electronics. 



IMG_1757 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Very interesting speakers but did not get a serious listen.



IMG_1758 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Sure looks nice and well built. 



IMG_1760 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Magnepan's new 3.7 speakers driven by Audio Research solid state monoblocks.  It's always difficult to judge huge planar speakers in small rooms like this, but the setup sounded promising, not bright at all.



IMG_1763 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Bevy of Audio Research feeding the Magnepans, even a reel-to-reel deck. 



IMG_1765 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Tanny, Cary room. 

Classic pairing of Tannoys and single-ended amplification.  No serious listen unfortunately.



IMG_1766 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Affordable Audio Room.

Bel Canto front-end into tubed integrated amp or Bel Canto monoblocks.  Joseph Audio speakers. 


IMG_1769 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Same setup hooked up to Zingali speakers with horn-loaded tweeter, which thankfully did not have a horn/cupped-hand coloration at all. 



IMG_1772 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Bel Canto is doing some interesting things with their digital gear with the VBS, Virtual Battery Supply, which reportedly dramatically reduces noise.  It's not actually a battery but a high-performance AC-to-DC-to-AC power supply. 



IMG_1773 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Sunny Components room.

Wilson speakers driven by all-Boulder electronics, sounding like what Wilsons do best when powered by amplification of enormous power and control.  There was stupendous dynamic swing and impact in this room, but when choruses without bass was played, there was some real delicacy being represented. 



IMG_1776 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Music server was going through Weiss firewire converter box into Wadia CDP's DAC section. 






« Last Edit: 6 Jun 2011, 08:27 pm by Jon L »

Jon L

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #8 on: 6 Jun 2011, 06:13 am »
More.



IMG_1778 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Dynaudio, T+A, Octave. 

One of the stalwarts in speaker land, Dynaudio continues to make well-engineered and built speakers with state-of-the-art driver technology. The standmount speakers sounded refreshingly vivid and engaging, which was welcome after some rooms with laid-back, polite, "audiophile" sounds. 



IMG_1784 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Sanders Sound System room.

Sanders Sound Model 10c electrostat system.  Another standout room, and as soon as I entered the room, I could tell that electrostat magic was in the air.  Digital crossover that is able to roll things off steeply at 48dB slopes, enabling ridiculously low crossover point for the 'stat panel (172 Hz).  Microdynamic life simply bubbled and ebbed in front of the admittedly small sweetspot, and the hybrid bass blended with the panels as seamlessly as one could hope for.



IMG_1786 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Very modest electronics were being used with the 'stats, including generic interconnects and cabling.  TASCAM SS-R05 was being used as digital source, which is a compact recorder for installation and live recording.  Audio files were being played off of Compact Flash card, which meant no personal CD's could be played.  This is a personal gripe of mine, show rooms with either no capability or no willingness to play people's discs.  So my enthusiasm for this system has to be conditional for now, pending an opportunity to play my own reference tracks in the future. 



IMG_1787 by drjlo2, on Flickr

What beaut!



IMG_1789 by drjlo2, on Flickr

VMPS, WyWires room.

The new VMPS RM 30 Series II speakers were manning this room, with new 10" side firing passive radiator and two 6.5" front woofers. The planar/ribbon midrange and tweeters were doing their low-mass thing with a lot of life and speed as usual, and I do not believe that new 10" passive radiator was intruding in the clarity at all, a good thing.   



IMG_1791 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Oppo used as transport into Nufroce DAC9, feeding Ampzilla Ambrosia II preamp and Ampzilla 2000 II monoblocks.



IMG_1794 by drjlo2, on Flickr

MBL room. 

If you have to ask, you can't afford it room.  This was another controlled demo, with somebody controlling the music server with an iPhone.  Stupendous bass tracks were showcasing the equally stupendous bass weight, impact, and extension of this beautiful system, probably the best bass I have heard at the Show.  The 360 degree drivers obviously have a unique presentation, but the room was way too small to showcase their strengths in my opinion. 



IMG_1795 by drjlo2, on Flickr

MBL transport, DAC, preamp which are stunningly beautiful.  There was a music server hidden somewhere hooked up to the DAC via asynchronous USB. 


IMG_1797 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Second MBL room, a bit more friendly pricetag and less hernia-inducing.



IMG_1798 by drjlo2, on Flickr

YG Acoustics, Tenor, Kubala-Sosna room.

YG Acoustics Kipod II speakers made out of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy and high-tech parts.  As expected, there was a sense of very low speaker self-noise and distortion.  dCS Scarlatti was digital front-end feeding Tenor amplification through Kubala-Sosna cabling, with the entire setup sounding rich, harmonic, and clean. 



IMG_1800 by drjlo2, on Flickr

dCS digital and Tenor preamplification.



IMG_1804 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Estelon, Edge Electronics room.

Estelon XA speakers ($44,000) are made from a marble based composite and had that low-distortion sound recognizable from other speakers with tank-like cabinets.  I am glad to see that ceramic drivers are being implemented with expertise more and more, doing away with their previous reputation.  Edge NL12.2 dual mono amplifier ($24,000) was more than up to the task of driving these formidable speakers. 



IMG_1805 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Vandersteen, Theta digital, Pass amplification. 



IMG_1806 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Audio Summa room with Conrad Johnson and Silverline audio. 



IMG_1812 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Burmester room. 

High-price, high-bling systems often disappoint in actual audition, and I wish I could say the same about Burmester.  Unfortunately for someone's wallet, this was the real deal, probably the most standout all-solid-state system at the Show.  Again, the room was ludicrously too small for a system this caliber, but somehow they manged to tune the system to excellent sonics.  This system had that life and microdynamics often missing from large solid state systems.  It also could boogie with the best in terms of clean, solid basslines and impeccable timing.  Most of all, this sytem made you want to just sit there and keep playing your favorite tracks. 



IMG_1821 by drjlo2, on Flickr

One can rarely surpass Burmester gear for pure asthetics. 



IMG_1838 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Ayon Audio, Bassocontinuo, EKCO UK, Lumenwhite, Vovox room.

If Burmester showed you what great solid state can do, Ayon Audio room showed you what tubes can REALLY do.  Lumenwhite speakers' high resolutionn paired nicely with numerous tubes to hit that elusive balance where music is simply enjoyable.  Ayon Audio CD-5 with tube output stage was feeding their tube preamp, feeding tube monoblocks, I believe their Orthos II KT-88 triode/pentode amp.  Tubes everywhere, and it sounded like it, with bubbly microdynamic life and that realness. 


IMG_1831 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Eight KT-88's each channel to keep the heating costs down.



IMG_1832 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Ayon Digital.



IMG_1839 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Lumenwhite speakers with gorgeous finish.



IMG_1840 by drjlo2, on Flickr

Front view of the Ayon amp.  Again, lots of tubes all over the place and loving it.



IMG_1842 by drjlo2, on Flickr

A little snack at the Hilton cafe for the road.



IMG_1841 by drjlo2, on Flickr

And we are out of here!


IMG_1704 by drjlo2, on Flickr

The biggest mystery of THE SHOW was how Kevin Deal of Upscale Audio managed to lug all that gear in this car  :scratch:
« Last Edit: 8 Jun 2011, 01:44 am by Jon L »

Jon L

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #9 on: 6 Jun 2011, 06:13 am »
more.

Russtafarian

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Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #10 on: 6 Jun 2011, 06:16 am »
Quote
Some of the demo rooms facing the courtyard had to stop their demos due to the noise from the concert in the courtyard.

Ha!  I got caught in the middle of that one.  I was running sound for all the live performances Saturday and today and I had vendors coming up to me both afternoons chewing me out because the music was killing their demos.

While I was sympathetic to their plight, the only way to make them happy would be to stop the performances and send the musicians packing; and that was not my call to make. 

Live music isn't like a stereo that you can turn down to a soft level.  Musicians bash and gash things and spit through twisted metal with the intention of making loud strange noises.  As long as they were playing, it was my job to make them sound kick-ass for the audience.  It was fun! :P


Russ

Jon L

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #11 on: 6 Jun 2011, 06:35 pm »
Show impressions added. 

richidoo

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #12 on: 6 Jun 2011, 08:27 pm »
Thanks ecod and Jon for the great pics!!! Looks like an excellent show.

Jon L

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #13 on: 6 Jun 2011, 09:40 pm »
more

AB

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #14 on: 6 Jun 2011, 10:23 pm »
Great Pics. Thanks for that.

You write "The veneer on Daedalus speakers was rich and beautiful."

I'm pretty sure that's not veneer but solid wood.

TONEPUB

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #15 on: 6 Jun 2011, 11:40 pm »
Well Jon, as Burmester owner, I couldn't agree with you more...
:)

But I thought there were a lot of really good rooms at this show.  I think most
of the mfrs did a great job.

ecod123

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #16 on: 6 Jun 2011, 11:49 pm »
Jon L,

Thanks for the excellent collection of show photos and the accompanying insightful impressions. :thumb:
 

Tyson

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #17 on: 7 Jun 2011, 12:24 am »
Good stuff Jon L!!  As someone that has been to many shows, I love the "Didn't get a chance to seriously listen to this room".  When I post stuff like that it means I really did not like the sound of the room ;)

Bob in St. Louis

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Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #18 on: 7 Jun 2011, 12:26 am »
Good stuff Jon L!!  As someone that has been to many shows, I love the "Didn't get a chance to seriously listen to this room".  When I post stuff like that it means I really did not like the sound of the room ;)
Well, at least he's being tactful.  :wink:

Tyson

Re: T.H.E. Show Newport (Irvine) 2011 - Pictures
« Reply #19 on: 7 Jun 2011, 12:38 am »
Something I clearly lack :P