HE 2005 Show Reports Thread

OK, I'll start it and you all can chime in with your impressions:

Here's the best rooms that I heard and some other impressions and goodies:

Big Rooms
Singer had one of the big rooms with 2 sets of VTL electronics, DCS digital and Peak speakers. The big rig (3 piece DCS and $70,000 speakers) had a buzz in the left channel and sounded a bit hi-fi to me. The smaller rig, with the new DCS one piece unit, wins my best of show vote. Definitely listen to this if you can. But I bet they'll be trying to demo the big rig mostly.

The JM Labs - Pathos room also sounds nice. I really like the sound of these medium sized JM Labs speakers with tubes driving them.

9th and 10th floor Small Rooms

ARS Aures Audio had some very fine sounding speakers poweres by a low powered SET amp. These speakers souond good, but look like a cross between Darth Vader and Alien.

MBL sounded very fine, as usual, with smaller speakers in a small room. Some boom was evident though.

Brinkman w/ Martin speakers gets my second vote. EMM digital was prevalent at the show, but the difference between the EMM and the Brinkman vinyl (recent Stereophile review by Fremer) was minimal. Very good sound.

Sonic Spirits (of NY Audio Rave fame here at the circle) sounded fine, both demoing during the show and in the after hours system for the club meeting. Good job Phil.

Von Schweikert VR4-SR and VAC electronicvs were good, as expected.

Kharma Ceramique also was well worth a visit. Funny, I didn't like these too much at the last show 2 years ago, but they were good this time round.

Butler Audio was showing off a new 100W 300B hybrid amp that they claim is very SET like. SET with 100W of power, with almost no heat thrown off and only 1 tube. Patents on this one. Nice for the techies but it didn't sound SET like to these ears. Perhaps the speakers were to blame? Who knows.

Those are the one's I liked.

I was underimpressed with the show in general.
I missed seeing some of the great names like B&W and Krell. Also, no Pipedreams or big Dali's. Also, I didn't find the Red Rose room until it was too late and I had to go.

I too agree that the smaller of the two side by side demo's by Sound by Singer was superior to the larger one, especially considering cost.

The San Francisco show a couple of years ago was much better. ... Bigger rooms with bigger systems.

Should I hop on a plane tonight and catch Saturday and Sunday? I don't really have the time but hey, life is short. I could redeye tonight from San Francisco to New York and then fly back Sunday night in time to catch few hours before heading to work Monday.

What's your vote. I have a good three or four hours to decide! (United Airlines and the Hilton don't get to vote on this one!)

The MBL room was amazing, extremely open and airy, a bit boomy but hey, room was smalll for the speakers. I give them a 9. VTL & dcs room is also very nice. As the previous message said that big names like Krell, B&W (a lot more) are M.I.A. Even the crowd is a lot more lossen up then last year. Anyways, it was good enough for me to enjoy it and it was worth my time & money. I just hope to see a bigger show next year!
Drrdiamond, I've heard that Pipedreams is out of business.

Ptmconsulting, which model Peak speakers was Singer running? I have a pair of the Incognito's being driven by Atma-sphere equipment [OTL's]. This is a great sonic match, as the Peak Consult speaker line just BEGS to be driven by OTL's, IMHO. I think that this speaker line is one of the best kept secrets in the USA!
Rooms You Might Want to See

Our favorite rooms at the end of day 2 seem to have a lot to do with speaker size being appropriate for the room size - small speakers in the very small rooms on floors 9 and 10 seem to work best at this point.
From most reasonably priced to more expensive, here are the rooms we like today

(but by tomorrow we may change our minds!)

The room with Epos speakers driven by a Music Hall turntable. Here we have a system that costs around $3K - $4K that is listenable and enjoyable and musical... and they had the window open, so us show goers got some welcome fresh air.

The Almarro Room as always their small systems do a lot of things right - especially in that midrange, as god or better than many of the big boys, but without the big price.

The Hyperion Room - Interesting and complex music still sounds... interesting and complex on this system with modestly priced $4500.00 speakers.

The Acapella Fidelio 2 room - The small $6800.00 (with stand) speakers fill the room without over-filling, and have a wonderful engrossing sweet spot if you can get that center chair!

Disclaimer: Audio Federation sells Acapella speakers

The MBL room playing too loud and too much music with a bass beat as usual. Yes, the MBLs have bass, can we move on? But these $15K 111E speakers with the (pair of) $13K amps actually sound pretty darn good... and check out that humongously awesome preamp!

The Marten Design / Brinkmann room - Nice speakers (around $15K, arnd $18K in this piano black finish), nice sound, nice front end... any questions?

Disclaimer: Audio Federation sells Marten Design speakers

The Kharma 3.2 room - We think we've heard the $21K 3.2E speakers sound better (i.e. with the Lamm ML2 amps) but the little Kharma $3K range amps do an admirable job and the system does not overwhelm the room like so many of its brethren.

The big Lamm / Damoka room with the big Vitavox horns. No, it doesn't do everything right - but big room, big realistic sound. Play one of your favorite pieces of music to hear how it sounded like when it was recorded.. And check out that turntable the Damoka folks brought with them - It has to be the most wonderfully retro-looking table at the show.

Disclaimer: Audio Federation sells Lamm amplifiers.

We even thought the Sound by Singer big JMLab / BAT room sounded about as good as we have ever heard those big JM Labs ever sound...

More info and pictures, including
"Rooms You Might Want to Avoid" at: http://www.audiofederation.com/hifiing/2005/HE2005NYC/index.htm

Clarification to Audiofederations post on the MBL speakers/room....The 111E's that are referred to are not being demonstrated or at the show. The 111E's are $23,600 and are at Rhapsody Music & Cinema. The 116's are being demonstrated at the show and the list price is $17,900. The 121's are also being demonstrated at the show and list for $9,999....Regards
Maybe my opinions will not match those of most, but I felt the MBL room was one of the poorest in terms of interface/match between the room and the system.

Don't get me wrong, I respect MBL a great deal, but there was just too much system (amp and speakers) for the small room they were in. I've always felt the achilles heel of the speaker was the underdamped low frequencies. Siting close to the wall, let alone near the corners, only exaccerbates the situation. The lows excited a lot of resonances, and the sound was boomy. Though some will say you can never have too much clean power, I think I heard otherwise.

MBL makes smaller equipment, and though they aren't the most prestigious components in the lineup, probably would have better served the event to my ears.

Apart from that, my friend attended the Friday night event at Rhapsody, featuring the Radialstrahlers, and was most impressed. And, believe me, he does NOT impress easily. Sounds like Rhapsody did an excellent job in setup there.
Hi. My favorite sound at the show was, by far, the Lamm/Peak/Continuum/Stereovox Room on the Tenth Floor (1041). The width and nearfield depth of the soundstage, and instrument seperation were jaw-dropping. It just awed me in a non-hifi kind of way. No bells and whistles, just one of the best representations of the live musical event I've ever heard, as good as the all time, ultra-classic Joseph Pearl/Manley/Spotheim Room from a few years ago.

Best sound for dollar is a tie between the Hyperion and Almarro Rooms. Both were Awesome! The Hyperion speakers sound so good, delicately detailed while retaining the body of the entire musical presentation, you can't help but break out in a big smile and notice your hands instantaneously clapping at the end of the demo; it's not even funny.

Honorable mention for best sound is the Lamm/Damoka/Vitavox/Thorens room for its clear, deep, natural, true to life, not bigger than life, sound, and the Silverline Room w/Bolero Speakers and Silverline electronics. Thanks.