2023 California Audio Show – Constantine Soo experiences
CAS10 (2023) Show Report
CALIFORNIA AUDIO SHOW 2023
Hilton Garden Inn, Emeryville, CA
September 22nd via the 24th, 2023
Produced by Dagogo
Exhibitors at this 12 months’s California Audio Show, held from September 22 via 24 on the Hilton Garden Inn, Emeryville, CA, showcased extraordinary electronics and audio system to the San Francisco Bay Area audiophiles. Hundreds of attendees got here to the present, leading to rooms always stuffed. Belmont-based Blue Coast Music president Cookie Marenco held a big sales space with Australian pianist/singer Fiona Joy Hawkins and singer/violinst Rebecca Daniel, gifting away promotional copies of audiophile LP and SACD by the musicians. This report begins with two bookshelf audio system costing $4,000 and $5,000 every pair, particularly the Audio Note UK AX Two/II and the Rogers LS 3/5a Classic 15 Ohms.
Industry veteran Leonard Norwitz was co-hosting the Audio Note UK 1223 Room, offered by Nick Gowan and Lee Chen of Campbell, CA-based dealership True Sound, taking part in stunning classical music. He joked that it will’ve been the room rattling German heavy-metal music had Audio Note UK proprietor Peter Qvortrup been current. Some could say it’s blessing in disguise, however for myself, I’d like to have witnessed how a pair of the $4,000, entry-level Audio Note UK AX Two/II midget bookshelf would rock the room, for they sounded huge and composed.
News additionally from the room was that an AX Three with a bigger footprint is because of hit the market. I simply thought the corporate ought to promote the heck out of the AX Two/II, as a result of they’re a few of the mightiest bookshelves I’ve heard, and for a comparative pittance. Featuring a 0.75-inch dome silk/polyamide tweeter and a 6-inch paper woofer, the speaker is rated at 89 dB/6 Ohms. Though not the 95 dB+ sort like its larger brothers, the AX Two/II is nonetheless rated as requiring solely 7 watts per channel, accepting as much as 100 watts. If I had a medium to small listening area, I’d get these first, save the cash for TubeTraps and amplifiers, posit them in an equilateral triangle association, toe the audio system in fully to get the total on-axis presentation with minimized side-wall reflections.
The room additionally featured the $4,300 TT Two Deluxe turntable with two opposing inside motors! In addition to the swashbuckling deal of a tonearm within the $2,500 Arm Three/II that I reviewed, the $1,300 IQ3 moving-magnet cartridge was additionally featured. Outputting at over 6mV, this cartridge warrants additional investigation. But the star of this room is arguably an Audio Note UK built-in amplifier that’s outfitted with an in-house designed customized double C-core output transformers, producing 28 watts per channel by way of 4 EL34 tubes, with two 6AU6 enter tubes and two 5670 for rectification. Introducing the Audio Note UK Cobra, and it additionally comes with an inside DAC with a distant and retails for less than $5,500! An ANUK built-in with all that for lower than $10,000? I walked by at round 2pm on Saturday and it was all standing room by the door. Lee of True Sound, herself additionally standing by the door, confirmed me her iPhone with a customer depend of 85 since morning!
Down the corridor was the Technics Room in 1215 with a pair of the $5,000 Rogers LS 3/5a Classic 15 Ohms bookshelf audio system on customized Skylan stands, pushed by the $10,000 Technics SU-R1000 built-in amplifier, with companion SL-G700M2 Network SACD participant and the frequently horded and locked away $4,300 Reference class SL-1200G-S turntable, with Clearaudio Virtuoso V2 moving-magnet cartridge. Per Bill Voss of Technics USA, “1200GR /1200GR2/1200G/GAE are all Grand Class however the 1200G is the flagship and was our 1st coreless re-introduction in 2016.” Cabling was by way of the Nordost Heimdall2. Antonio Long of dealership AudioImaginative and prescient San Francisco hosted the room personally. Costing $1,000 greater than the Audio Note UK AX Two/II up the corridor, the Rogers nonetheless sounded very truthful in instrument timbre recreation whereas not as insane in dynamic renditioning. The Technics system clearly performed an important position in feeding the Rogers with high-quality supply supplies and amplification, and the SU-R1000 built-in amplifier with its “hairline floor end” metallic physique and white-lite massive twin meters show render it one of many classiest wanting tools in existence. Stay tuned for a evaluation of it in these pages. System isolation was by way of Quadrapsire Sunoko Vent Shelf/Isolation and Harmonic Resolution System Isolation. Several attendees associated their choice for this room to me, together with Blue Coast Music artist Fiona Joy Hawkins.
After these two rooms have been 4 different reveals, every respectively that includes pairs of $54,000, $55,000, $60,000 and $65,000 speaker programs.
For occasion, Aaudio Imports of Dana Point, California held the foremost exhibit in the whole lodge, within the Lobby Pavilion, and firm proprietor Brian Ackerman introduced the British-made $54,000 Wilson Benesch A.C.T. 3zero audio system, accompanied by the $33,000 IGx infrasonic generator subwoofer system. Electronics have been by way of the Greek-made, $52,000 Ypsilon DAC 1000 SE, the $54,000 Phaethon SE built-in amplifier, and a Pink Faun 2.16 Ultra Music Server Streamer. With two stacked pairs of ASC Isothermal TubeTraps adoring the corners of the entrance wall behind the audio system controlling standing waves, the Wilson Benesch have been arguably the audio system producing probably the most visceral dynamic impacts of the whole present, by way of its new one-inch Fibonacci hybrid silk-carbon Tweeter, crossing over at 5,000 Hz to the immediately amplifier-coupled, high 7-inch Tactic 3.0 driver unit for midrange, and get this, one other of the identical 7-inch Tactic 3.0 unit for woofer under the tweeter and two extra in “Clamshell Formation” in an Isobaric association inside the cupboard! Attendees described wonders of the sound of the amplifier-coupled 7-inch midrange, and you will need to hear it to expertise the primary direct-to-driver unit outdoors of the likes of the Lowthers. A bona fide sensational sound!
Because the 7-inch woofer on the entrance baffle and the interior twin woofers are all wired in first-order crossover slope, the midrange to bass integration was merely elegant. And it was greater than good for the WB engineers to cap the dual, Isobaric woofers to cross at 500Hz, internally.
Manufactured utilizing bio-composite supplies from solely renewable sources, the composite monocoque cupboard of the A.C.T. 3Zero is the biggest within the firm’s Fibonacci line.
The equally priced Ypsilon Phaethon SE built-in amplifier makes use of transformer attenuation, which means the sign goes via not transistors however a hand-wound transformer. I’ve listened to the corporate amplifications all through the years and I’m impressed by them more and more every time.
A full line of American-made Stage III Concepts cable system adorned the room, together with a $36,000 pair of the Cerberus speaker cables, the $25,000 Poseidon AC Power for the $21,500 HB Design (Germany) PowerSlave Marble MkII Power Distributor, the $13,400 Proteus AC Power for the Phaethon built-in amplifier and two, $10,000 Kraken AC Power, one for the Ypsilon DAC 1000, and the opposite for the Pink Faun. Interconnects have been the Stage III Ckahron XLR for $16,500 the pair, two units of which I exploit as my reference.
Brian additionally showcased stray magnetic subject therapy merchandise of Audio Realignment Technologies of the central California coastal city of Morro Bay, whose $7,000 22X and $4,500 6Xs Brian stands firmly behind. Dennis Barish of Audio Realignment Technologies was on-hand to reply questions.
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November 10, 2023 at 08:38PM
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