Anything you liked at the Newport Show?

I’m surprised no one has reported back yet. I spent most of Sunday perusing the rooms and still managed to miss some. The ones I liked, in no particular order were:

The Quail Hill room with the Evolution Acoustic speakers (their biggest) fronted by daTZeel preamps and amps.
Quite large and yet relaxed, with all the trimmings one could ask for. Really. Even if I had the wallet, I wouldn’t have the room: those speaker are yuuge.

The Analysis Audio Omega speakers fronted by the Arion Audio gear (class D and tube hybrid).
Simply beguiling sound. Simply the best panels I’ve heard.

Avantgarde Uno XDS speakers fronted by Audiopax gear.
Very convincing and natural. No honk or tizziness. Just "where’s the sound coming from?"

Tonian Labs. I never got around to get Tony’s newest speaker’s model number but I stayed there for quite awhile.
Fronted by a simple Denon integrated and a mid level CD player it put out the most convincing percussion work.
Drums, cymbals, etc. had the impact, shimmer and air of the real thing. Oud, bass and bass clarinet never sounded so real. I see why Tony was absent from the audio scene for the last 4 years as he’s been very busy designing and building his new driver. What it has over the PHY drivers he used to use has to be heard to be believed. I still need to hear more complex music through them but I think it would pass the muster, easily.

Spatial Audio Hologram speakers had me at first listen. Open, clear and very realistic from on high to down low enough for me. I can see why they are now selling more of these than any other speaker under $5K.

Purist Audio Design speakers and I can’t remember what they were fronted with.
Remarkable sound without any grandstanding, like the Evoultion Acoustics.

Legacy V speakers fronted by Raven tube gear.
As big as the room was, it still needed more room but for as large as they were, they only played what was called for without bombast. There was one track with multiple drums playing and I could hear each and every one. Seriously good sound. Seriously priced as well.

Ryan speakers fronted by Auralic gear.
Although "mid level", I could easily live with this set up, and I’m talking about the R630 speaker, not their top of the line model. Some of the easiest listening I’ve done. Also, the wireless streaming bettered the TT by more than a fair margin. Auralic is really onto something. They now offer up to 2TB in their streamer and buffers it with the volume being done in the analog domain so there’s no decimating the signal.

The PBN Liberty speakers (again, forgot the gear) made for the most convincing live jazz club sound I’ve heard.
I’ve never heard a TT sound so alive with so much air. Mostly, they convey oddles of midrange warmth and seduce but this set up rang my bell. When seated in front, the band was directly behind the speakers.

Last but not least, was the Audionote UK room on the 14th floor. From the hallway with the door ajar (they all had towels wrapped around the arm locks so to muffle the noise of closing) I thought it was one of the most "live" sounds I heard. As I backed my way in, slowly closing the door so as to not disturb, it just sounded all the more real. When I turned around, there was cellist Vincent Belander playing counter point to whatever was playing on the Audionote system. Easily worth the price of admission and the drive.

There’s more but I can’t remember all of them right now and I’ll forgo the ones that left me scratching my head as I don’t want to offend anyone here but it really both amazes and dismays what I read about certain gear and what I hear for myself. To thine own ears be true.

All the best,

I suspect the music played in all the rooms was the boring 'audiophile default setting'...
Was anyone brave enough to put their music server on random play with a variety of recordings of all genres and types?

Thanks for the kind words, you mention Purist Audio Design Speakers - in that room we had the PBN Liberty speakers also. Our idea, (we shared with Purist Audio Design in two rooms) was to have two similar systems, all wired with Purist Audio Design Cables, powered by Tubed Equipment, in this case Alnic (distributed by Albert Porter) in one room and our Olympia Series of Amplifiers in the other.

The s system in our room was Liberty Speakers, EB-SA1 Amplifiers, LXi Preamplifier, PXi Phono Stage, DX DAC, GrooveMaster Vintage Direct DP2 Turntable with a Graham Phantom Supreme carrying a Lyra Etna cartridge, all wired with top of the line Puris Audio design Cables

Good Listening


 for more info on the components

Thanks to the  ones who went and posted. I've been in such shows few times and figured it's sufficient enough to read posts after it happened.

Hi Peter, 
I believe you meant to thank nonoise rather than Mapman.
Nonoise thanks for the very nice Newport show report.  I'd really like to hear the TonIan speakers you mentioned. 
Here's a cut & paste from the SR Red fuse thread:

The Newport Show was exceptional this year. It was a lot of fun finally meeting David. David and I had a good time in the Synergistic Research room.  Nice to finally meet Ted Denny too.

 Here's some of my top picks ... not in any particular order:

Best Demo:

Synergistic Research.   SR was demonstrating in a HUGE room, the largest at the show. The holographic imaging was spectacular.  When they moved the SR products out of the room, and disconnected others, the image became like a small flat movie screen like you'd see at the smaller movie theaters. When the products were moved back into the room and everything reconnected, it became like a huge, 3-D presentation at a good Imax theater. I want all of their stuff!!

Best Sound:

Keep in mind that I judge primarily on natural musicality and an organic presentation. There may have been systems with more "wow," but for over the long haul, I'll take the systems that play music like its real.

1.  Venice Audio ... Harbeth 40.2's driven with Naim solid state electronics and a Well Tempered TT.   What wonderful speakers and sound. The tonal balance was right on the money and we just grooved with what was coming out of those speakers. At $16,000 per pair they kill some speakers I heard at the show costing in excess of 100k.

2.  Sonic Flare ... Wilson Sasha speakers, Einstein electronics, Graham TT.  Danny Kaey, who runs the room is a music lover and a record collector extraordinaire.  I love the rooms where they will play the music that you bring into the room. The sound in this room was, to say the least, wonderful. Very natural with a broad, deep sound stage and a true to life presentation. People just didn't want to leave Danny's room. Its always like a party of music with everyone enjoying it immensely

3.  Magnaplaner:  They used three MMG's this year with one being a center channel.  Okay ... the sound was really great, but its a planned presentation by appointment only. They only use pre-selected  program material. No way would you be able to have them throw on some of the music you brought into the room. But ... very impressive, none the less.

4.  Precision Audio & Video:  Finally!  Mike Slaminsky really put a good room together this year. Real music from a system consisting of equipment I've never heard of and can't remember ... but the sound was excellent. Could it be because that Mike has finally gone over to the dark side and put a turntable into his room?  Nice!

5.  Von Gaylord Audio:   I'm saving one of the very best for last.  Ray Leung,  engineer, designer and a super gentleman was demonstrating his latest incarnations ... and how musical they were.  Robert and I were the only ones in the room besides Ray and  his wife and we just couldn't leave. The sound/music was that good. A very natural presentation with just the perfect tonal balance. I'd say Ray's speakers, as far as a natural presentation is concerned, are right in there with the Harbeth 40.2's that I alluded to earlier, but Ray's speakers are a lot better looking in my opinion. The finish is superb; reminiscent of the finish on the beautiful Venture speakers.

Here's Ray's website if you want to see his offerings.

 So, that's it ... again, there may have  been systems at the show that many would prefer over the ones I listed ... but I'm in it for the music, not the audiophile bull that just wears you out after awhile.

Sorry we couldn't have met more of you who attended the show. Perhaps next year we can get coordinated and have a record playing party in Danny Kaey's room.  I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Take care ...
I thought the HR4 speakers from OceanWave was very interesting. Only $6k, including built-in bi-amp modules. Very lifelike, great imaging especially for small room, near-field listening. Great value.

I went this year with checking out certain vendors in mind. In retrospect, I'm not sure it was the best idea, but its done now. I think, for me anyway, this year was much less spectacular. I heard very few systems that did anything for me. But let me describe for you the few that did.

I was waiting at the Mbl room at opening. They played some great music, most of which I was not familiar with. But the system sounded absolutely wonderful with the 101 E MK II speaker played through the new Nobel Line mono blocks, Mbl's big preamp and either their DAC or an RTR. The sound was very open, lively, deep, and convincing. I returned again around 4:30 PM for another extended listen of about an hour and it only sounded better to me. If finance weren't an issue, I'd have an all-Mbl system. For me, they are always tops each year and supremely musical.

The Magnepan room was fun with it's three-channel presentation using the three of the MMG panels. I don't particularly like the scheduled demo way of presenting the speakers, but it is what it is.

I also got to sit in the sweet spot in the Sanders room. Next to all others, only the Mbl room was better to me. I really like ESL speakers (I have MartinLogan Vantages) and the Sanders just sung. Excellent extension and great bass response as well. And that beautiful midrange that ESLs are known for. I'm not super hot on the 70s look but the sound really is very nice. I could easily live with Sanders Sound for sure. I recall also liking them much in previous years of attending THE Show.

Gamut. That was a nice room with speakers, amp, and preamp all by Gamut. Didn't notice the maker of the TT, but the sound was very nice. The TT was very quite on the three or so tracks I heard and all were from different records. For stand mounts, the speakers were nice and full and I liked the lively musical presentation.

THE Show was more spread out this year and just seemed like the general vibe on Saturday was down from previous years. Really, I think, it is better to have two days to go so you can slow down a bit and try to see more vendors. Again, not as much fun this year as in previous years but I had to go it alone when the person I was to attend with had to stay home to take care of a domestic duty. He did get to go the previous day but he seemed to have a similar take on the vibe as well. There were a ton of reviewers in attendance and I had to give up my spot for two or three of them. In the end, I hope that benefited the vendor. Business is business.

On a side note, I looked and asked for the new Wilson Audio Sabrina's but they apparently weren't being shown. I really liked them last year with D'Agostino/Bricasti electronics; that was a very satisfying musical setup. I was hoping to have some comments to contribute to rinpoche but alas, only the larger Sasha was being demoed.

In the end, what room a vendor is given and the skill at which they have to setup their gear properly in that room, and of course the quality of the media they play, will all determine the overall quality of their sound. I can only imagine that some of the other rooms I heard, but weren't so impressed with, could have sounded better if they were able to get more of these critical factors right.

Pokey 77 said
"In a side note, I looked and asked for the new Wilson Audio Sabrina's but they apparently weren't being shown."

Sabrinas were used in the Peachtree room on the 11th floor.  Peachtree featured two integrated amps/dacs:  one for $1,500  and one for $2,000. The speakers on the lower priced model were the new $500 Elac bookshelf speaker, and the speakers on the higher price model were the Sabrinas.
Best sound I heard, I did not expect...

It was in a closet of a room with an apathetic rep streaming requests through Tidal, in the Mark Levinson/JBL room.  Pair of JBL K2 s9900, with tidal streaming a mix of all kinds of music.

Absolutely blew my mind.

Went into every room at the show on Friday.  Alexandria's, German Physiks, and the Magicos were very impressive, but the JBL's made music sound...and feel, like an event that filled the room with orgasmic living joy.

My dad and I tried leaving that room for 20 minutes, but every time we tried, a new song came on, and we ended up being blown away all over again.  Could not find one thing they did badly. Wide variety of music on demand, and it not only aced all of made all of it sound better than I had ever heard it.  I have never heard music sound so impressively gigantic, dynamic, and positively engaging. I wanted to walk out with them.

I was almost relieved when they told me they cost 55000 dollars.  
My first time at this show and definitely the biggest. Most of the rooms made me feel pretty happy with my own set up at home. I'm sure I did not get to every room but of what I did see there were a few stand outs. As the OP stated the Tonian Labs speakers left an impression that was just stuck in my head. The drum track I listened to was so real I could I swear I was standing on the stage next to the drum kit. I've never heard anything sound like this and his components looked like mid-fi stuff. Biggest complaint, could have had a little more variety of music.

As stated by another poster, the Gamut speakers and gear were a stand out for me. I loved this sound.

I am a fan of radial or omni designs but I had never before heard the German Physiks Carbon MK4 speakers and they were easily the best radials I've ever heard. Better to me than the more expensive MBL speakers. These radials make mine sound broken. They were using Merrill Audio gear and VPI turntable.

See you guys at CAF

Lance sounds like a worthwhile cross country trip for you. 

Hope to to get down your way soon.  Am also hoping to make caf for at least a day. 

As you might guess the GP speakers are on my list of speakers to hear.   Might be at CAF.   Have heard the MBLs at United Home Audio and they are very special. 


I quote you "Sabrinas were used in the Peachtree room on the 11th floor. Peachtree featured two integrated amps/dacs: one for $1,500 and one for $2,000. The speakers on the lower priced model were the new $500 Elac bookshelf speaker, and the speakers on the higher price model were the Sabrinas."

So, did you like the Sabrina's with the Peachtree? I've really liked the Sabrina's the two times I've heard them with both ARC and D'Agostino power. A bit to a lot out of my comfort zone on a total price basis though.

I heard the German Physiks with Merrill mono blocks but was underwhelmed. Goes to show you how much taste varies. And probably the tracks I heard played weren't up to the task. The speakers just sounded lack luster. You could tell the amps could grip the speakers and they had authority but there was no energy or liveliness to them. Makes me wish I went back to the 14th floor for an additional listen. Who knows, maybe I'd have had a different experience then.

Gamut room was nice, very lively open analog sound.

Met up with lancelock  and this was my first ever audio show.  Like lance I found some things I really enjoyed, but nothing that made me feel that my system was particularly lacking, even compared to the mega buck systems.

i am learning that various systems have strengths with different genres. The hardest thing for me to understand is the goofy music that is constantly played in these rooms.  I like a variety of music, but what I hear as audiophile music makes evaluating a system very tough.  I listen to some very mainstream classical, old alternative music from the 80's, typical 70's fare such as Gerry rafferty and Dan fogelberg, as well as new age such as montreaux, Patrick ohearn, Alison brown, etc.. None of which gets played.  However you'll have plenty of rooms playing cricket farts and toenails being clipped.  It makes it hard to tell if I actually like what I am hearing or not.  I will bring a sample cd and lp to the next show show I attend.

i felt the gamut room was fantastic and relatively affordable.  I went there on at least 4-5 occasions and it always sounded very good.  I was also astounded by the lack of room treatment.  It was a warm musical system that I could easily live with and not feel that it was taking over the room.

this was my first chance to hear mbl and I was impressed by its ability to just completely fill the room.  There wasn't a bad seat in the place.

nola with the vac gear was also notable.  I have a friend who,sings Nola praises and after that room I kinda agree.  A softer, expansive presentation that somehow doesn't lack for detail.  Not a very immediate sound, but utterly non fatiguing.

i also liked the evolution acoustics room.  Gorgeous and massive.  Great sound in that room when I sat in the sweet spot.  But, yikes.  Even selling a kidney would come up short to buy that set up!

hopefully I will be better organized next year.  I apparently missed quite a few rooms so take my comments with a grain of salt.

I wasn’t able to visit most of the rooms mentioned, but the room that really knocked me out was Kyron Audio from Australia.

Their Kronos speakers are cone dipoles and they are powered by a large box that is an all-in-one (dac, preamp, amp).

They played music with great transparency but, somehow, not all the cues that tell you you’re listening to recorded music.

Huge soundstage, great depth and layering, great clarity, each instrument playing in it’s own space. Very natural and musical, the sound was mesmerizing.

Way too much for me to afford, of course, but I wish I could.

Mapman, I am available any day after this weekend so make a day to come by for a listen. See you at CAF.

Pokey77, I guess we do hear differently. I will admit I was in the German Physiks room at the end of the day and only heard two tracks, one being much better than the other. Interesting.

2out2sea, it was great hanging out with you at the show and the rest of the Janszen zA2.1 speaker owners club. I had a blast. 
Liked both Brooks Berdan locations featuring Roksan gear and record cleaning solutions, liked Wyred for Sound's new reference amp and preamp. It is an awesome match with the KEF Reference speakers. Really liked Legacy's room as well. Audio Element's room was also amazing too. Zesto Audio's room was nice too, although I thought Pioneer's reference speakers were even better than the Kharma's they had on display this year. Still nice though. 1More triple driver headphones were a standout IEM at only $100 a set. I felt they compared with Westone W30-40 and Noble's Trident at over $3-500set + and still worth every dime even at that price. Peach tree audio truely stepped it up with their new intregratef amp/dac solutions and Elac speakers. Killer 2k sound making NO apologies what so ever. They even set up Wilson Sabrina's to give you a healthy taste of what Canadian influence can have on a reference state of the art solution on just under 25! Elac is doing some serious damage to the expectations of what can be expected for only $500 and a decent intregratef amp to go with their Unify series speakers. Those should be on the short list of anyone shopping for an affordable speaker that punches WAY above their weight class. Awesome show fit for a lasting legacy of fantastic sound to be remembered months or even years after attending. A must for any audiophile's bucket list.

Always interesting to see how different people levitate towards different things for different reasons.

Absolute Sound?   What Absolute Sound?

No surprise audio is not much different than other pastimes in this regard though.

The show was wonderful the people were wonderful as well as the speakers and great live music.The best!!Oh yes the hotel was great as well.
ebm ...

The staff at the Hotel Irvine is top notch. Both last year and this year, they knocked themselves out to give the best, most friendly service imaginable. 

Did anyone try the food from the food trucks?  There was a truck that served Hawaiian style food. The brisket with rice dish was fantastic. I had it twice and was stuffed each time. Yum!

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner.

I confess I was more interested in what the Peachtree electronics and the Elac speakers could do than in evaluating the Sabrinas.  Like danzspkrman, I was impressed by how good the Peachtree/Elac combination was.  In addition, I wasn't in a position to fairly evaluate the Sabrinas when they were used. The room was crowded when I was there and I ended up standing, and then sitting, well to the left of the left hand speaker (my recollection is that the Elacs were set up on the adjacent wall to the right, providing me with a better orientation).  When the Sabrinas were used, I was listening for whether they would reveal any weaknesses in the Peachtree unit .  If they did, it was not obvious to me.

Sorry I can't be of more help.


Thanks. I have been to an Elac demo before and I think that their speakers sound great. Very amazing for the price. I heard the towers and several of the bookshelf variants and they were all impressive. I also heard them from the doorway for a few moments at Newport and what I heard was also good. They do need quality electronics but the result is pretty nice.

I couldn't make the show this year and am happy to read your show reports.  I just got a new Dennis Had IFA-1 EL84 amp this week to pair with my Spatial Audio Hologram M4 Turbo S OB speakers (a match made in heaven!) and am happy to hear that at least one attendee enjoyed the sound of these wonderful speakers.  If you have MBL sort of dough to spend, the world is your oyster, but the price the Spatial Audio speakers allows the rest of us income-constrained folks to hear true music reproduction.  Cheers.  
Most of the speakers I heard were totally a pipe dream for me.  Let me start at the low end.  With all of the buzz on Elac I had to go listen.  The room was crowded with all of the fanfare.  I am not buying the hype.  For me the sound was just average.  Then I went to a tiny speaker named Silverline SR7for $600.  I would take those over Elac any day.  For $100 more your sound is warmer and enriching with the Minuet Supreme Plus.  Two speakers I enjoyed were the Nola Grand Reference Gold and the Seraphim Prime.  Both of those speakers in the $20k range.  I also thought the Spatial Audio speakers had a beautiful sound and offered great value for the money.  Similar to Nonoise The Legacy / Raven room was awesome.  I purchased the Raven Integrated MK2 Reflection tube amp.  I can't wait to hook it up to my Wilson Audio Duette 2's.  

After six years of attending I am getting a bit tired of THE Show.  Yep -- many great sounding rooms filled with equipment that I will never be able to own.  A few new rooms (equipment) but nothing to really write home about.  Or, is it just me?  Attendance down, too, don't you think?
injection wrote:
" ... boring 'audiophile default setting' "
Totally agree. Good turn of phrase.
I've been fishing to find a snappy phrase to mirror my sentiments on musical variety at shows, and this does it nicely.

I'm a little fed-up of pro-forma female vocal set to unimaginative acoustic backing, wet-jazz and made-for-HiFi library stock (not TRUE Library records, which are often terrific).
Where's the rare odd Northern Soul 45rpm, with crackles and pops (on a great AMG deck)?
Where's Kraftwerk when you need them most?
Where's Throbbing Gristle or Nurse With Wound when you need to clear a room?
Where's ESG or Liquid Liquid when you really want to show-off what a system CAN do?
Where are those Charlie Patton of Skip James 78rpms? (If one can afford a pair of Magico Q7s, you could easily afford, say, 4 or 5 nice Patton originals at $25k a pop?)

Yes, I know, no decent dealer will play Throbbing Gristle - ever - but I can live in hope ... be funny to see the reaction with "Slug Bait" blasting at full volume on a pair of Raidho D5.1's ...
Best room I heard was Odyssey. Room filling wide and deep stage, great natural realistic tone. Not without two issues, room related, a boomy bass heavy left side, which Klaus was obviously frustrated with and the other, a somewhat noticible low level noise. It made me feel real good for audio guys like Klaus and a little queazy from the sound/cost of other manufacturers. Anyone know what table and cart he had?

Sorry no-one mentioned the Raidho rooms as yet.  They sounded fabulous driven by their new (gulp) $30K amplifier.  I was only looking for costs involved in upgrading my Raidho D1s to D1.1s (now shipping them to Denmark this Tuesday based on good news from Lars Kristensen. Thank you Lars), but am seriously considering selling my Pass mono's to help fund a Danish amp purchase.  Additionally was looking to add to my headphone amp collection and to compare my LCD3s to the LCD4s from Audezy.  Can't say that I heard better than my current favorite: Decware Zen Taboo Mk3, however the balanced Woo Audio WA22 sounded real sweet on the LCD3s.  The LCD4s do sound better than the 3s particular strong on female voice, but not enough to upgrade, particularly if there's a new amp coming my way


I too visited Klaus's room. Sounded very good on rock music. Clean, open, realistic; nice punch. I was there when a man and his son had apparently just made the deal to buy the system in the room. They were pretty happy. I didn't catch the name of the TT. For the level of the sound, Klaus's prices are very good.


Went specifically to hear any Raidho speaker and the smaller stand mounts were not working and they switched to a speaker that was also designed by the designer of the Raidho's. So, I didn't get to hear any of their line. Maybe someday I will.


I too noticed a lower attendance and not much new happening. I do also admit that really one needs two days to see all the rooms. I wonder if I missed a really great room or two? I'm not a marketing guy, so no real suggestions, but it would be nice to see some newness breathed into the event. By the way, loved Sanders Sound and Mbl; I could easily live with either in my home.