NY Audio & AV 2012

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 2 comments
the Waldorf=Astoria lobby

In some ways I do not envy exhibitors. Beyond the harsh realities of stuffing your stuff into a hotel room for a long weekend in an attempt to entertain and/or entice prospective buyers or assuage the hardcore audiophile's delicate sensibilities, there are certain compromises that need to be made. Perhaps the most perplexing is one's choice of music. It can neither be too hard or too soft, too hot or too cold, too big or too small. It needs to be just right.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 12 comments
Sunday's Seminar where David Chesky handled moderation (and jokes). From left to right; Andreas Koch, Larry Ho, Rob Robinson, and David Chesky

There were a number of seminars at The NY Audio & AV Show 2012. I moderated Saturday's version of I Want To Take You Higher – The Present and Future of Digital Music Delivery and Playback which included Rob Robinson (Channel D), Larry Ho (Light Harmonic), David Chesky (HDtracks & Chesky Records), and Andreas Koch (Playback Designs). The seminar was an hour long which isn't really much time for introductions, presentations, Q&A (and jokes).

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 1 comments
I had an opportunity to sit and talk to Michal Jurewicz of Mytek Digital about their Stereo 192-DSD DAC ($1,695) and I'm happy to say I'll be receiving one for review in the not-so-distant future. The Stereo 192-DSD DAC has caused quite a stir with its ability to play back native DSD (via USB) and 24/192 via USB, Firewire, S/PDIF, AES/EBU, and Toslink for less than two grand. Much more soon...
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 3 comments
The Bladelius Embla sits center bottom

Tim G. Ryan of SimpliFi Audio had a lot to warm the cockles of the computer audio lover's hard drive including the Bladelius Embla CD Player/DAC/Preamp/Music Server (Standard $4,500, Basic $6,000 and Classic $9,000). I wrote about the touch-screen enabled Embla during my CES 2012 coverage but I'll repeat it here to save you the click. The Basic model includes five digital inputs (AES/EBU, RCA, Toslink, USB, Ethernet and optional Blutooth) all capable of accepting up to 32-bit/192kHz data. The Basic model adds a 32GB Solid State Drive so you can rip your music to SSD or play it from disc and the Classic adds a 64GB SSD drive and 3 analog inputs. You can load up your Embla with up to 2TB of Solid State Storage goodness (I did not get the price for this but figure—a lot).

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 0 comments
Philip O'Hanlon of On A Higher Note was spinning the vinyl during my visit

NJ Dealer GTT Audio was showing the big YG Acoustics Anat III Professional Signature Loudspeakers ($119,000/pair in custom titanium finish), Soulution 501 monoblocks ($55,000/pair), Soulution 720 preamp ($45,000), Soulution 750 phono stage ($25,000), Soulution 540 CD/SACD Player ($32,500), and an analog front end fronted by the Brinkmann Balance turntable ($24,000).

MBL
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 0 comments
MBL was playing their Combination D System ($259,700) and each time I passed the MBL room there was a (long) line of people waiting to get in. Once again I was ushered in, cutting the line, but I could not bring myself to displace anyone especially the guy in the sweet spot since he looked to be having an out-of-body experience.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 5 comments
Sony was using the EMM Labs XDS1 CD-SACD Player-DAC ($25,000) with music sourced from a laptop to showcase the Sony SS-AR2 loudspeaker ($20,000/pair). A pair of Pass Labs X600.5 600 Watt Class AB Mono amplifiers ($22,000/pair) and a Pass Labs XP-20 2 Chassis Preamp ($8,600) completed this relatively simple system.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 0 comments
Music First Audio makers of passive preamplifiers, step up transformers, and phono stages were rescued by a Bladelius USB DAC ($695) when the DAC they brought to the Show didn't work. The other source on hand was that lovely Revox A77 deck. Their Baby Reference Preamplifier ($7,900) played music through a Bel Canto S-300 amp driving a pair of classic Rogers LS3/5As. Everything except the speakers sat on a Hi Fi Rack rack which is, as you can see, strong enough to hold a double-decker bus.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 0 comments
There was a nice stack of digital devices in the NYC dealer Ciamara room including the Weiss MAN301 Music Archive Network Player ($9,083 for standard version; $12,262 for the version with an on-board DAC), Weiss Medea+ DAC ($19,680 + $2,119 for the Firewire option), Bricasti M1 DAC ($7,995) which was in use while I was visiting, and the Lavry Gold DA2002 ($11,250). Also playing was the Viola Solo Preamp ($45,000), Viola Bravo II Power Amplifier ($59,000), and the TAD Compact Reference CR1s ($37,000 + $3,500 for the stands).
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 0 comments
I've been in the Amphion/Hegel room is each of the shows I've covered for AudioStream (and prior) so after asking if there was anything new in Montreal (there wasn't) and saying, "I'll see you NYC in a few weeks", I'll report that while there's nothing new, the Amphion Argon 7L loudspeakers ($6,495/pair) were driven by all Hegel electronics including the H4ASE power amplifier ($8,000), P4A mk2 High End Reference Pre Amplifier ($4,600), CDP4A High-End Reference CD player ($4,000), and the HD11 32 bit High End Audio DAC ($1,200). The HD11 DAC offers (2) Coaxial and (1) optical inputs offering up to 24-bit/192kHz and (1) USB input providing up to 24-bit/96kHz.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 0 comments
The Kubotek/Haniwa room was showing off their Full Digital Control System ($36,000) which consists of the DHSA01 Digital System Amplifier and the HSP2B08 2-Way Horn Speakers. So what makes a system fully digital? I asked this question of Robert W. Bean of Kubotek specifically, "Where does the D/A conversion take place?" and Robert answered, "It doesn't. It's all digital all the way through." Which had me wondering how I was hearing music...
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 0 comments
The Red Wine Audio room featured their LFP battery-powered Isabella Preamplifer with the Isabellina Pro DAC option ($5,500). This DAC actually houses two separate DACs—the 24/192k Wolfson DAC for high rez and an NOS DAC for 16/44 (selectable with a toggle switch). Inputs include USB (16/48k) and S/PDIF (Coax and Optical 24/192k) and as you can see it sat atop the MSB Platinum Data CD IV ($3,995).
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 0 comments
what's wrong with this picture? (hint: it's not that suit)

The Innovative Audio Maxwell Suite housed an interesting digital setup consisting of the Meridian Control 15 Digital Media System ($7,500), Meridian Media Source 600 ($3,500), Meridian Media Core 200 ($4,000), dCS Puccini CD/SACD player/DAC ($18,000), and the dCS Puccini U-Clock ($5,500). While you can use the Meridian Control or Source products as stand-alone units, you can also connect them through their SpeakerLink ports which is an Ethernet variant allowing control from a central device, in this case the Control 15 or the Meridian iPad app. Since the SpeakerLink technology uses RJ45 “ethernet-style” cables you can distribute the system around a room as they did in the Maxwell Suite.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 17, 2012 0 comments
Dan Lavry of Lavry Engineering has been vocal about his belief that 24-bit/192kHz is not only overkill (not his language) but detrimental to sound quality. In his paper titled "Sampling Theory", Mr. Lavry states, "Sampling audio signals at 192KHz is about 3 times faster than the optimal rate...It compromises the accuracy which ends up as audio distortions." Whether or not Mr. Lavry is correct and everyone else isn't is not a topic for today. The Lavry Engineering room was showing two of their consumer DACs—the LavryBlack DA10 ($1,148) and the Lavry Gold DA2002 ($11,250) as well as the AD11 ($1,680) analog to digital converter.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 16, 2012 0 comments
Attention Screen, Robert J. Reina on piano (Bob is also a Stereophile reviewer), Don Fiorino on guitar and other stringed stuff, Mark Flynn on drums, and Chris Jones on double bass, rocked the house with their raucous blend of improvised funk psych jazz sounding at times like Miles Davis making his bitches brew mixed with groans from the Mississippi Delta and Webern meets Debussy with a touch of Bill Evans for good measure. I was only able to stay for two songs but hearing live music is always a lovely and refreshing experience amid all of the hi-fiing. Kinda like having the main course as the intermezzo.

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