THE Show Newport 2015
New Report September 21, 2015
Jim Merod writing for PositiveFeedback.com
THE Show Newport May 31, 2015
New Report September 21, 2015
Jason Serinus writing for Stereophile.com was on assignment covering "cost-no-object systems".
The most mesmerizing system I encountered at THE Show—the one I most regretted not being able to revisit on Day 3—was jointly presented by Rick Brown of Hi Fi One of Southern California and Stillpoints. Brown, shown here with Steve McCormack, worked with Paul Wakeen of Stillpoints to assemble a system whose ability to convey delicacy and nuance took my breath away.
As Shirley Horn sang Joao Gilberto's "Estate" via a Sonorus ATR 10 tape machine ($17,000) and a special, holographically remastered 2-channel tape taken from the 6-channel SACD of her Here's to Life, the music's gorgeous midrange, glowing warmth, and to-die-for timbres were unparalleled in my experience. The world debuts of the SMc Audio/ HiFi One Silver Signature edition linestage ($50,000) and SMc Audio/Hi Fi One Nexus AC power enhancer ($16,000), as well Berning/Hi Fi One 211/845 OTL mono amplifiers ($75,000/pair), were also responsible for the magical presentation.
The virtually indescribably delicacy, warmth, and tonal beauty of a 24/96 track from M•A Recordings' Sera una Noche, as transmitted by a chain that included the US debut of the Wadax PRE 1 native DSD DAC with Zepto clock, phono, A/D, and SSD server ($72,670) as well the SMc Audio components, were astounding. In both setups, EnKlien David cabling and Entreq grounding cabling allied with Entrq's Silver Tellus grounding box ($2699) conveyed a pristine silence between notes that was positively addictive.
Equally essential credit goes to the Kaiser Kawero Classic loudspeakers ($65,000/pair), whose ability to convey height, clarity, and tonal beauty turned heads in several rooms at the show. Finally, the room's 13 Stillpoints Aperture room treatments ($650/each), 44 Stillpoints Ultra 6 equipment supports ($899 each), world debut Stillpoints ESS Low Profile Rack ($8295), and 2 Stillpoints ESS Grid racks with Ultra 6 supports ($25,172 each) were essential components in the system. They couldn't totally address bass booming in the extremely difficult acoustic, but they tamed it to a remarkable extent. Experience suggests that without the Stillpoints products, the system would not have been as breathtaking as it was.
T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2015 Report
The Home Entertainment Show 2015 / SMc Audio & Wadax
The Audio Federation Newport Beach 2015 Report
AV Showrooms Newport 2015 Video Report
Hi Fi One / Stillpoints System Suite 1406
Berning / Hi Fi One 211/845 OTL amps $75,000 pr.
Kaiser Kawero Classic speakers $65,000 pr.
EnKlien David balanced interconnect $16,000 mtr. 2 each
EnKlein David USB cable 1.50 mtr pricing TBD
EnKlien David AC cable 5 ft. $8,000. 8 each
EnKlein 8 foot speaker cable $28,875 pr.
Entreq Silver Tellus grounding box $2,699
Entreq Eartha Atlantis grounding RCA $1,639
Entreq Eartha Apollo grounding RCA $849
Stillpoints ESS Grid Rack with Ultra 6’s $25,172. 2 each
Stillpoints ESS Low Profile Rack $8,295 - world debut
Stillpoints Ultra 6's $899 ea. 44 each
Stillpoints Aperture room treatments $650 ea. 13 each
Sonorus ATR 10 tape machine $17,500
Sonorus / Hi Fi One Proximity room compensation system $12,000
SMc Audio / Hi Fi One Silver Signature edition line stage $50,000 - world debut
SMc Audio / Hi Fi One Nexus AC Power Enhancer $16,000 - world debut
Wadax PRE 1 Ultimate Native DSD DAC with ZEPTO clock, phono, A/D, and SSD server - $72,670 US debut
The Munich High-End Show
The Absolute Sound Show Report
By Robert Harley | May 23, 2014
David Berning’s patented ZOTL circuit that allows an output-transformerless (OTL) amplifier to maintain a constant output impedance and to drive real-world loads has been applied to an ambitious new monoblock amplifier called the 211/845 OTL. The model number says much about this amplifier; it can operate with either 211 or 845 output tubes—without any user adjustment. The self-biasing output stage automatically adjusts for the tube type. The 60W amplifier operates in pure Class A triode mode, is differentially balanced, and features zero global feedback. The power supply is power-factor corrected. Price: $73,500 per pair. The amplifier is represented by Rick Brown of Hi-Fi One.
2013 CES / THE show
My favorite of both shows may just be the pairing of the TNT Audio amps and Kaiser Kawero Speakers ($66K) in the Wadax room at THE Show. One of the most profound show turnaround stories was the appearance of the Audio Power Labs 833TNT Monoblock Tube Amplifiers ($175K) which were used in a less than acceptable system with the Leonardo Model 8 Ribbon-Planar Speaker at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. At that time I had said, “I believe, individually, these components have the capacity to sound far better and perhaps utterly enchanting, but this was a tough demo.” In a stunning about face the 833TNT was glorious when paired with the Kaisers!
Ricky Brown at Wadax had this rig set up superbly. Though the Kaiser is not a huge speaker, by placing them farther away than usual they were able to breathe and cast a monstrously large and utterly natural soundstage far closer to attendance at a live event than most systems at the shows conveyed. Both vinyl and file playback were neigh unto unassailable; hearing a comparison of Una Sera Noche first via a 24/196 file from the Wadax Hermes Server ($44K), then from the test LP through the Wadax Pre 1 with Phono ($34K) was a treat.
2013 CES / THE Show additional coverage
Todd Garfinkle MA recordings “The sound in your room was tremendous, flawless! Perfecto!”
Darrin O’Neill FM Acoustics No. American distributor “…You should have absolutely received a best of show award…”
2012 CES / THE Show
The Audio Beat
Spain’s Wadax showed their fascinating PRE 1, a combination preamplifier/phono stage/DAC ($32,500) together with their new La Pasíon powered loudspeakers ($106,500/pair, with dedicated 400-watt amplifiers for each woofer and midrange driver). A C.H. Precision CD player ($36,000) was used as a transport for digital sources, while a Brinkmann Oasis direct-drive turntable ($13,700) with the Brinkmann 9.6 'arm ($4000) and Brinkmann Pi cartridge ($2700) and Echole cabling completed the system.
The ferociously complex Wadax PRE 1 is a fascinating component. As explained to me by importer Rick Brown of HiFi One, it can perform a remarkable array of functions, including analog-to-digital conversion of phono signals, in which RIAA equalization is applied in the digital domain. It can also serve as a DAC via its USB, S/PDIF, TosLink and BNC inputs and, when coupled with the Pasíon, contains a 5Wpc amplifier for the speakers’ tweeters. Even more impressive, a user can, using a test LP supplied with a phono-equipped PRE 1, play that recording, record the signal generated by the analog playback setup to a thumb drive or laptop, and send it via e-mail to Wadax. He will receive back software that can be uploaded into the PRE 1 to compensate for any and all electronic discontinuities in the owner’s analog system entirely within the digital domain. In addition to being an incredibly sophisticated piece of audio gear, the PRE 1 is built like a battleship and a striking piece of industrial design.
Now I am someone who generally prefers to keep digitization as far away from my LPs as possible, but the Wadax was, as far as I could hear, sonically indistinguishable from the top echelon of dedicated phono stages. The system sounded superb with the jazz LPs and acoustic-guitar duets Brown spun as well as the Julie Driscoll/Brian Auger "Light My Fire" from the remastered CD of Streetnoise. Bass guitar and upright bass had first-rate pitch definition and were exceptionally articulate and bloomy. Driscoll’s voice was dead-bang on in every way and surrounded by a well-defined space. While very expensive, the Wadax gear may well be a precursor of high-end things to come.