HE expo in SF this past week end...what was hot

Just got back from the HT expo in Frisco this weekend. Hope many others of you made it!...I know Rivesaudio made it. Their "PARC's" were in like 6 or 7 rooms it seemed! The PARC was a big indeed! I got to hear how it sounded(or didn't sound actually) first hand. It was very transparent! It was also very effective at doing what it was designed to do, and that's correct bass anomolies in the room from the system. It simply got out of the way of the system, and made a noticeable(not suttle for sure) improvement in the sound comming from the "smallish" bass challenged rooms at the St. Francis Hotel. When they A/B'd the systems with and without the PARC in the system's, the differnce was tremendous and significant! Anyway, I wish Rives all the success in the world with his business and his products/services!....and hope he sells a TON of PARC's!... Great product.
They made a big splash at the show with the "Big Boy's" in the Hi-end biz, got a great Review in Stereophile for the PARC(and a plug for his services as well), as well as got an "out-sert" exposure in the free issure of Stereophile mag that was handed out at the show. Nice job Rives!
There were other standout's at the show as well. Sony's new SXRS(or whatever) display techonolgy is "the bomb"! You might want to watch to this to possibly become the next thing for high end Video display's! It appears to have tremendous potential, with VERY LARGE SCREEN size capability, tremendous detail and resolution, brightenss, contrast ratio, and black level. Probably will cost a ton when it comes out though. Anyway, you can check out the into on the net.
Also, I heard talk about a new display tech called "liquid tv" which sounded way cool as well! Supposedly it's some sprayed on the wall stuff that's supposed to be an actual video display technology or something...sounded wild anyway. I guess they spay this clear substance on the wall, and hook electical signals to it, and you can view images in it! I'd like to see that anyway.
Also, some French company(ehem....), which I think was called Screen Technologies or something introduced some new screen that was virtually transparent acoustically, yet did a superb job of playing back video material on it! Outlaw audio's room used the screen (85") for playing back their Dwin(?) DLP on it. The potential of the screen was immediately evident! And, the sound passed right through it like it wasn't even there!!..a big plus for sound improvement indeed!...and the picture quality of the screen was as good as I've seen I think. It will be available sometime this year I believe, and should be in the $2k range or there abouts. In the Same room, was what had to be the most killer acoustic treatment to come around in a while! Can't remember the name of thc company, but the sound was absolutely superb from the "quickly treated" room! There were some "diffusive/absobtive" pannels set around the room, which seemed to make the room sound "massive" and "open" in the midrange and upper frequencies! Anyway, for relatively cheap(and workably attractive) acoustic treatment pannels, they sure were effetive at treating reflections, balancing the sound at beter, and giving life to the room!...very qualty products for sure. I think the company was called PMI or IPM or whatever..forgot. Whatever it was, they made that difficult room sound VERY OPEN AND EXPANSIVE ACOUSTICALLY!..probably the best HT demo in the show!...really!!
That said, Outlaw audio and Atlantic Tech really put on a superb demo (Outlaw's room) with the new speakers from Atlantic debuting there, powered by Outlaw's "very over-achieving" 950 pre/pro and 100x7 channel power amp combo! That had to be the single best sounding Ht experience to be had at the show for shear sound quality!!! I must say, I have a new found appreciation for the Outlaw stuff now. For really cheap consumers can get their pre/pro and power amp combo's, that will just about give you all you could ask for sonically from a music eperience! I say that, and I used to sell Krell HTS's, Theta's, Classe's, Aragon's, and mnay other higher end pre/pro's!.and the Outlaw hangs right in there with the best of them!!!...defintely a steal for the money what they're offering.
I think for like $799(absolute hands down best sounding movie pre/pro for that money on the market ever produced in my experience!) for the pre/pro, and about $899 for the VERY STRONG,DYNAMIC AND MUSICAL 7x100 watt amp, you can have killer HT with some good spears! I would recommend what I heard there in a heartbeat to anyone looking for excellent HT gear for certain. Good Job Outlaw!
As for other video stuff, Seleco's 300 plus DlP projector was still as stunning as ever on high def, and looked fabulous on DVD material on a 110-120 inch screen. Runco continued to impress with their new projector line. For $6k, you can bet about as good as you care to ask from a DLP projector for DVD movies on a modest sized screen set up,using something like Silver Hawk and such.
There was also the very cool "3D" demo in one of the rooms, that was very very cool! The gear they were using was like $3k for some processor, an IR repeater and a couple pair of special 3D glasses. The Software is evidently becoming more availble on the horizon. And This technology definitely showed promised(looked like the IMAX 3D tech you see out there, like Vegas's "Race for ATlantis" at Cesars). You need any Hi-def projetor or tv out there for this to work for your home however, just so you know.
There were obviously lots of other cool things to talk about from the show. But these other things really caught my attention and WOW'ed me personally. I would have liked to see more "cheep" DLP and LCD projector tech at the show (like Infocus's X1, Sanyo's Z1 and suchj). So that was a bit of a let down.
If anyone else saw things cool worth mentioning, please post em!
IT was fun...
That's not the first time that Sony has shot themselves in the foot. They acquire some decent speakers to use with one of their better SACD players, then they screw it up by running the signal through one of their crappy receivers!! (and bad cable sometimes) The Wilson speakers have metal tweeters in them which are borderline to irritating. They sound bad if the associate equipment is not up to snuff.

Cabasse sounded pretty good when I dropped-in to their big room. I was just getting comfortable, enjoying the (familiar) demo song they had on, when they suddenly stopped the music as the big climax to the song was coming!! I freakin' HATE that!! There was no one asking to play anything else, and there were a few of us enjoying the listen. It was stupid to interrupt just so someone could go into a marketing blab. They should have waited until the end of the song, when we would have been impressed with what we had heard, and in a mood to listen to a "pitch". I was outta' there like a shot, grumbling loudly!!

The room with the JM Lab Grand Utopias was playing boring elevator music, not the kind of material to impress people into buying a megabuck speaker. And there was no one around to assist anyone who may have wanted to play some real music...that they needed badly!!

Some good Audio rooms:
Joseph Audio/Manley/Orpheus/Cardas
Hovland/Triangle/Audio Aero
Naim/Wilson Benesch Chimera/Fujitsu
Music Lovers' Spectral/Wilson
Clearaudio turntable rooms

Good Video (I didn't look at all of them)
Good Guys showing D-VHS High Def. That looked really good!! I'm totally pissed-off that we only have a tape format for High Def. movies at home (crappy satellite feeds with butchered 4:3 picture and bad sound don't count!!) It'll be nice when I can go down to the video store and rent a High Def. movie on disc!! They were showing D-VHS in the Sharp/Parasound room, but something was screwing-up the picture in the details; they were mushy and noisy....and they didn't seem to notice!! Fujitsu plasma looked good in some rooms, not so good in others. That means bad cable, and/or bad set-up skills, and sometimes no line filtering.
Just to add to my last post...

I just checked Show coverage on the 'Net to find out who Clearaudio was exhibiting with. I couldn't remember the speakers...it was Avalon - no surprise there that the sound was good.

I was disappointed with the Meadowlark/Rogue Audio room; the sound was thin and edgy, and that was with a turntable source!! Now I've seen a show article that says the Meadowlarks only had twenty hours break-in before the show. Like, DUH!!!!!!!!! You don't bring NEW speakers to a show without break-in. That's just goofy!! I've owned a pair of larger Meadowlarks, and they absolutely have to be broken in for 100 to 200 hours. That was an amateur mistake on Meadowlark's part, and Rogue suffered for it.

There's a couple of rooms I missed because of crowds,scheduling, never making it back, etc. I've since read good things about a couple of rooms that I missed. Dang!

A note on show reports at Enjoy the music.com and Stereophile: If they liked the sound in a particular room, why did they not mention all the components in the system?! Speakers, amps, cables, turntables or CD players don't make sound all by themselves. So why not mention ALL of the components in the system? With Stereophile that's easy to figure out - no ads - no mention. A couple of companies have told me that recently...now I've seen it. Not fair, really...those same companies paid a lot of money to exhibit at the show. If they were part of an outstanding system, they deserve a mention. So, is it pettiness/payback or just incompetence that they are not recognized in the articles?
Thanks for the reports, guys!

I do have a few questions?

Did anyone who attended the previous two shows in NYC attend this show? If show, what were your impressions and comparisons?

Also, despite much more involvement by Audiogon, I see far, far less actual chatter and energy from Audiogoners here in the Discussion Forums. Is this just less people chiming in, or was the event on the West Coast more low key. NYC was an absolute madhouse, and I for one, enjoyed myself.

Thanks again!
I was at both NYC shows as well as this one. This felt much less crowded, but the St. Francis is a more spacious hotel in some ways--the hallways are wider, better stair and elevator service, etc. Rooms seemed bigger here, and less noise in the hallways. I actually had the "small" Kharma room to myself for a few minutes on Saturday, which was quite a treat. It seemed generally easier to do serious listening than here than in New York. Works for me!

The show felt smaller to me in terms of exhibitors and it seemed like there was much less fancy home theatre on display (though I don't pay a lot of attention to that).

As always, some very big names were MIA: Thiel, Levinson, Revel, ARC, Aerial, Eggleston, Coincident, Classe, Paradigm....

Show is back at the Hilton in NY next year, in mid-May.
Sorry to hear of your problems at the Cabasse room, Golden-ears. Given the great room the big Cabasse was in, I am not surprised they could engineer a great sound. Still, I thought the Butler/cabsse put on a stunning show. It was the only room I visited three times.

At the Sony video demo, the LED projectures were neat, but I wonder how practical. The rooms were blackened, which leads me to believe the image is fugitive. that's not p[aractical in a home environment.

There were some big name rooms I did not enjoy.