LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Sometimes you have to travel to get close to something from home. GTT Audio's Bill Parish lives within a few miles of our home but we hadn't met until Denver. Go figure. Room 535 featured the YG Acoustics Anat III Pro Signature Loudspeakers ($119,000), Tenore Audio 350M Mono Amplifiers ($100,000/pair), Tenor Audio Line 1/Power 1 Linestage ($75,000) and Kubala Sosna Emotion cables throughout. During my visit we listened to music streaming through the Bryston BDP-1 ($2,500).
VTL
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Luke Manley and Bea Lam gave a Press Preview prior to the show's start on Friday to introduce the new VTL Zigfried II ($65,000/pair). The Zigfried's were driving the superb TAD Reference Ones and we were treated to CD, LP and tape (in that order). I was there to hear, well you know what I was there to hear—music! And a MacBook Pro with Amarra Pro feeding a dCS Paganini DAC but it didn't work out as planned so I came back on Sunday. I did get to hear some wonderful music on CD, tape and vinyl and interesting comments by Luke and Bea regarding their working process.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Talk about a retro-cool looking system. The Signal Collection featured the Jestons-esque Davone Audio RAY loudspeakers ($7,500/pair), Absoluta "Partenope" Integrated Amp ($15,995), Korg MR2000s Digital recorder/player ($2,499) and cables from Black Cat and Stereolab. The Korg MR200s can store approximately 120 hours at 44.1 kHz/16 bit so I'm stretching a bit to include this as a computer audio room but the great sound they were getting makes it an easy fit and owes no small thanks to the always superb MA Recordings they play.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Hegel is another company that has jumped in head-first to the computer audio pool. Two of their integrated amplifiers offer USB DACs (H70 $1,995 USB DAC Optional and H100 $3,000) and they offer the HD2 USB DAC ($350) and two USB DAC & S/PDIF Converters - HD11 ($1,200 available December), HD20 ($2,000). The system for RMAF consisted of The HD2, HD20, P30 Preamplifier ($7,500) and the H20 Power Amplifier ($5,750). Hegel chose the Totem Hawk Loudspeakers to give voice their system.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
The Musical Fidelity M1CLiC Universal Digital Controller/Network Audio DAC ($1,999) was sitting pretty in between the Penn Audio Cenya monitors ($3,995) while the Musical Fidelity M6i 200wpc dual-mono integrated amp ($2,999) handled the power play.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
MBL North America was showing off their Corona Line's Combination B System (from $39,000) that includes the MBL 126 Radialstrahler, MBL C31 CD Player, MBL C11 Preamplifier, MBL C21 Power Amplifier. A hot-rodded Sonore Music Server with VortexBox Engine from Simple Designs (starts at $1,999) acted as served.

The MBL C31 CD Player ($9,200) includes coax, Toslink and USB inputs so we listened to 16/44 and 24/96 music files stored on the Sonore Server. Jeremy Bryan of MBL North America spun some, hmm let me re-phrase that since there's nothing spinning—he played some Tower of Power "Diggin' On James Brown" and I noted that this was a smile-worthy moment, my highest compliment. I also noticed that the MBL sound and character was more than present in this modest-by-MBL-standards system. To my ears, that's a good thing.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Hold on to your gumption, we've been invaded! The Synergistic A.R.T. room treatment devices have caused more science-minded audiophile minds to boil over than the idea that cables make a difference. Thankfully, I'm here to cover computer audio and sitting amid all of the Vibratrons and Satellites is the Mach2 Music ($1,649 - 2011 2.5 Ghz Mach2 Music Server w/Snow Leopard) hot-rodded Mac mini acting as music server and hiding behind it handling D/A duties is the new Synergistic Research The Music Cable ($3,599 introductory price).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
The Fort Collins, CO-based brick and mortar store Alternative Audio room featured the Bryston BDA-1 DAC/BDP-1 digital player combo ($2,195/each). The rest of the system I listened to included the Audio Research VSi60 integrated amp ($4,495) and the new Vandersteen Treo loudspeakers ($5,990/pair) all wired with AudioQuest cable. Stevie Ray Vaughan was playing here too and the sound was "hefty yet nimble" and I remember thinking—nice, real nice.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Tempo Distribution's room was manned by, among others, John Quick and John knows me well enough to know what music will get me to smile. The Doors "Riders On The Storm" washed over me in waves feeling as good as getting caught in a rain storm amid summer heat.

The system responsible for my mini-vacation was fronted by a Macbook Pro into the dCS Debussy USB DAC ($11,499), dCS Puccini U-Clock with 24/192 USB Interface ($5,499), the Musical Fidelity M6 500i 500wpc dual-mono integrated amp ($6,999) driving the Verity Audio Lenore loudspeakers ($16,000).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
I swear someone told me there was a music server in this room. OK I lied. Someone told me there was a Western Electric 757A System: 728B Woofer, 713C driver, KS-12027 Horn (all circa 1947), a Charlie King modified Stellavox deck and a King/Cello tape preamp, Frank Schroeder (the guy and the turntable he designed for Artemis Labs), Joe Roberts of Sound Practices fame, JC Morrison designed Silbatone electronics and, and, and...

And great sounding music and a pleasant reminder (or a hard slap in the face wake-up call depending on where you stand) that hi-fi has a beautiful and long history and progress is anything but linear. With the exception of Computer Audio, of course.

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