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In the Forum: Audio News
In the Thread: T.H.E. Show, Newport, 2015
Post Subject: T.H.E. Show, Newport, 2015Posted by Paul S on: 5/31/2015
I went to THE Show again this year, along with a couple of audio friends. This year I was better prepared, with preconceived notions about what I wanted to see/hear, and where to find that gear. I did not try to “cover” the show, at all. I just want to share the things I found most interesting.

TechDas AF-1: We started here. I happened to walk into the AF-1 room while the TD rep was being regaled by a top LA area dealer. The dealer first complained of operational problems with the AF-1, and the rep assured him that the problems had been corrected. The dealer also complained about the pricing, saying it was “too much money” to ask for the TT, to which the rep replied, “There’s plenty of money around here; take a look.” Then the dealer said, “Well, where’s Michael? I need to talk to him. No one will buy it unless Michael likes it.” To this, the rep replied that a positive review from another reviewer was just posted, and a review from MF was in the works. So, keep your eyes peeled. We spent some time in the AF-1 room, listening and trying to “target” the TT. Electronics and phono cartridge were from Einstein (nothing to say…), and speakers were small-ish, stupidly heavy, 4-way, dynamic-drive units from the all-but-invisible company, AudioMachina. I have to say, this was some of the least problematic sound at the show, and there were NO problems I could blame on a TT. I left the room with my little brain churning, trying to figure out how to get a chance to play with that TT in my own room for a while. Sorry, but it seems like a very nice TT, indeed. The AF-2 was next door, but tiny speakers there made “evaluations” altogether impossible.

AudioMachina: Back to the speakers in the AF-1 room, I generally liked them, but I think they were not well placed in the room, and I think the designer tries for too much from the (dual 10”?) boosted LF module. I would also like to try them out with paper drivers and a silk HF dome in place of what I presume is Kevlar (or something like that), and Be for HF. Sealed boxes, by the way, machined from solid Al, weigh something like 175 lbs./ea.

Audio Note: This room had THE least problematic sound at the show, better tone and more Music. System was not stressed by classical music as they played it, with a “perspective” that +/- “compensated” for the relative “lack of dynamics”, compared to bigger systems we heard. Not my personal Nirvana, but I have to hand it to them, and I think perhaps most music-loving audiophiles should spare themselves grief by starting (and stopping) with something like this.

ATC: This venerable British firm still makes its own drivers, is widely known in “pro” circles, hardly “markets” to audiophiles. We heard smaller speakers; not bad at all. I have heard the larger speakers, as well, and these are on a very short list of “monitors” I would consider.

Salk: These seemed to be the “large” Salk speakers. Not bad. Good luck finding them!

Audiopax/Avantgarde: This room also had “good” sound, despite the tweeters were placed nearly 2’ from time alignment. Maybe they calculated the distance and figured out the exact point where the tweeter “came back into phase”?

USA Tube Audio/Tineo Horn: I would not mention this, except, was this the same set-up I liked last year?!? Boomy LF, colored, boxy sound; bleh.

Herron: I would like to play with their phono stage, pre-amp and amp. Music chosen and speakers used ensured ambivalence during show demos, but there was a “lack of fatigue” from the electronics that intrigues me; I think it comes from more music, less not music.

Others: Sorry, all else was either shite or there was no way whatsoever to tell what a component might do from its “demonstration” at the show. I had high hopes for the Polish blogger, Lampizator, who had his electronics there but not his speakers, unfortunately, and no way I could “evaluate” anything in his room. Another disappointment: I was hoping for the new WAMMs, but no BIG Wilson speakers, at all. Something predictable (also disappointing to me…): The most popular source – by far – was streaming digital. If anyone knows a good place to hear this stuff at its best, please tell me.

If anyone (or anything) jogs my memories of this show, I will amend this post, apropos.

Paul S

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