California Audio Show ths wknd bttr than expected

If you live in the SF Bay Area, I encourage to attend the show today or tomorrow (7/31-8/1) in Emeryville. It's a small show, as first-year shows tend to be, but it exceeded my expectations with several excellent rooms. Only if people attend in decent numbers this year is there a chance for this to be a regular event, which would be a great thing. Lots of local companies not showing this year but if the show does well, maybe they will next.

Congratulations to Constantine Soo.
I went yesterday to the show and it is small but very good. Here is your chance to audition much of the equiptment shown in many of the audiophile magizines at a leisurely pace. It is aslso an excellent opportunity to meet and talk with many audiophile about music and the equiptment.
Stand out rooms for me:

Lotus Group Granada open-baffle speaker. I'd heard it before, but this time I understood what all the fuss is about. Have them play the Boz Scaggs.

Evolution Acoustics with Dartzeel and Playback Designs. These were the smaller EA speakers in a fairly small room and I really loved the sound. Jonathan Tinn plays excellent music.

Magico V3 on the 14th floor.

Revel Ultima Studio 2 on the first floor. First time I had heard this speaker and it's hard to find fault with it. An engineering tour de force it seems to me.

Whichever room was playing the Quad ESl-2805. Too much bass where I was sitting but they sounded sweet and true like no other.

The new Martin Logan Ethos speakers impressed me.

YG Acoustics Carmel are very impressive on a lot of levels.
Correction: those Revels were the Salon2.
Nice show, first time for me
Went yesterday, going back today, liked a number of things heard,
give some kudos to Soundscape's room, not necessarily my favorite equipment BUT he had it meshing finely with the room no overdone or bloated bass, very listenable, same for Audio Note's room. Wish I could say that for more rooms but the chance to hear all this equipment is worthy of your time.
To be fair heard only two of the four floors so that's why I am going back today
07-31-10: Drubin
Stand out rooms for me:

Lotus Group Granada open-baffle speaker. I'd heard it before, but this time I understood what all the fuss is about.
This room also included the SMc Audio VRE-1 preamp, correct?
I'm not certain, Grant, but probably. Lotus Group distributes the VRE-1, right?

07-31-10: Drubin
Lotus Group distributes the VRE-1, right?
Yes they do.

A lot of Benjamins in that Lotus Group system!
And that's just for the Prana Wire cables. But at least it was a system actually that sounded like a (half) million bucks
Most of the rooms had quite good sound and many were excellent. This is unusual in my experience in an audio show. The ones that had poor sound seemed to be playing music inappropriate to the system. For example, I recall one system with SET amps and super efficient speakers playing rock and roll. It was very shrill.

I was personally thrilled to meet John McDonald as I'm using a lot of Audience cable. And to bump into Ori (of Oritek).

Once again the most natural sounds, the most engaging and emotional experiences TO ME, came from systems employing tubes and/or LP.

Ditto the OP. Check out this show if you have an opportunity. The sound in some of the rooms was very engaging, especially listening to some of the vinyl I brought along. Got a chance to meet and talk to a few folks that I've purchased from or corresponded with in the past. For the most part, a really good group of people.

Of the rooms/floors I visited, I really liked the Loggie Audio room featuring the Acapellas, and for high value to performance - Grant Fidelity. Ian Grant is a nice guy too.
would someone attending this show please let me know if the Levinson #53 monoblocks are playing in one of the rooms? IF SO, can i get some CANDID
impressions on their sound? i am very interested in what M.Levinson has accomplished beyond the performance of the 33/33h amplifiers. there is little that has been published so far about them, other than "how expensive they are" or "how they sound on billy joel records", etc. Thanks!
It was my first audio show and lots of fun. Congrats to Constantine Soo.

Good sound at reasonable price at the Sonist-Glow-Wireworld room.

Tonian Labs speakers were very impressive but I now wonder if the recordings played, made by owner Tony Minasian didn't account for some of that.

Also like the Audio Note room, Tone of Music with the Quads, and Grant Fidelity - good sounding budget gear.
This also was my first audio show, and it was a lot of fun.

Best sound for me:

-YG Accoustics with DCS

-Evolution Acoustics with Dartzeel and Playback Designs.

- The room with the Quads I thought had the most reach out and touch it experience, but whoever set it up spent a lot of effort on treatments.

- I brought my own music which sounded great in the above rooms but the bass was booming in the Magico room

I'll go next year.
Excellent blog posts and photos by Jason Serinus up on Stereophile.
great show. saw some stereophile writers there too. people were nice and the vibe was good. think it was because it was a smaller show. really enjoyed the evolution acoustics, it was great - especially when they where using the reel to reel tape. Legacy room suprised me how good it sounded. I always thought having all of those drivers would make an incoherent mess, but it sounded big, detailed, and balanced...of course the room was really big. Most of the rooms sounded good to really good. Only a couple provided a sound that drove me out. Felt the Genesis with Parasound room was too bright. Fun time!
I attended the show on Saturday, and had a great time. I thought Constantine Soo did a great job putting the event together. The venue was pleasant: conveniently located next to a major freeway exit, adequate parking, decent restaurant, easy check-in, and wide representation from the audio manufacturing industry. Many rooms offer different equipment in the morning and afternoon, and further varied their equipment selection from day to day – allowing the attendees to hear for a great deal more than just having the same equipment set-up for all three day of the show. All in all this was a great effort for a first time event, and I hope there are many more in future years.

My biggest concern was the small size of the rooms and how the vendors handled this limitation. With some exceptions the volume in the rooms overwhelmed the space. My guess is that vendors were trying to demonstration the potential of the offerings by filling the room with full spectrum sounds showing the power and extension of their equipment. Quite often this resulted in a harsher and more brittle top-end than I heard from the same equipment under other conditions. Even Audio Note, one of my favorites, which still sounded very very good, would have been well served to adjust the volume down slightly. Still, some room did sound absolutely great like Loggie Audio’s with Acapella and Audio Image’s with Magico for example; but, I believe these room were larger than most. Regardless of the room size limitation this show was a lot of fun, and I hope it happens again next year.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention Evolution Acoustics with Dartzeel and Playback Designs. To me this was one of the best sounding rooms playing digital front end ... smooth, natural, and engaging. This was my first audio show and one of biggest surprises was the "digital" sound in many rooms when employing anything but vinyl. The sound was not as natural as I expected. I wonder if this is typical of audio shows.
I too was impressed with the new Tonian Classic 7.1 1B, although it would have been nice to hear these speakers powered by tubes rather than a single transistor. Several people pulled out CDs and handed them to "mister not-enthusiastic" while I was in the room. I'm not sure whether any of the other recordings were Tony's unless he's a huge Dead Can Dance fan.

Also (begrudgingly) enjoyed the Lotus Granada. I just can't get into a single component that exceeds, depending on options, the US median household income. I awkwardly had to witness some vinyl carrying visitor just rip one of the members of the Lotus staff after they’d listened to one of his records. I've never experienced that before. Kudos to the staff member for handling it so well. Don't remember the recording or the sound after that.

Speaking of vinyl, I spent most of the day hanging out with the Clearaudio reps. and listening to Mike Zivkovic's Ingenium. For the most part I thought this was a wonderful sounding Lowther DX3 driver speaker (slightly expensive for what it is). I mostly enjoyed the people who hung out in this room; many brought along some great records.

I also enjoyed Quad ESl-2805, but my friend who lives and dies by his ESL 57 was not impressed.

Sadly I was disappointed with the AN display. They were too bright for my ears, although I have heard them many times before and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I also thought the YG (forgot to note which model), were very good but slightly glaring. The great thing about the Magico V3/VAC 200 was the Anouar Brahem recording that was being played when I walking into the room. Man talk about a visceral moment.
That was a good one. The duet with Anouar Brahem on oud and another musician on a bass clarinet. CD - ECM 2075.

We had debut Simon Yorke S10 with Convergent Audio's Pre amp& Amp.I chose to use the Quads 2805 because the are tonally honest and affordable, just to show you can how a great turntable and amplification can be used with an affordable speaker. The Quads were in a rather small room 12x18, being a dipole with a large 10 feet by 8 feet tall window behind was not ideal but show conditions are such. I though we got about 65% of the sound the system was capable of which not bad. Several attendees told me it was there favorite room of the show... so for that it was all worthwhile. Thanks to all who took the time to come in for a listen.

I attended the California Audio Show and, except for the A Capella room, did not hear much music that would satisfy me in the long run. I go to trade shows for the total experience; unfortunately, really good music is not always a part of it. However, almost always there are a few exhibits that deliver good music, too. If this show returns next year, I will go again.

It seems to me that your observation about the sound quality is true generally for all of the shows I have attended. I think the source of the problem lies in the hotel rooms as well as in the equipment set-up. Typically the rooms are small boxes with a lot of reflective surfaces and little room remediation treatment. Under the best conditions, it's hard to make a system sound coherent, transparent, balanced, etc. Trade shows do not provide the best conditions.
Thanks for the feedback Cedar. We agree on the room with the Acapella's. Phenomenal sound stage, with front to back layering like I've never heard ... except maybe at a real concert! Then again, one might expect that from a system that costs nearly $200K. As mentioned earlier it was in one of the larger rooms. So that was probably a factor as well.

As far as the show, honestly I was reluctant to go because of a fear I might contract a good case of "upgrade-itis". Instead it was a chance to see/hear some nice equipment and to meet with like-minded folks; and I still feel pretty good about my own system.
funny you mention, "still feel pretty good about my own system"....I felt the same way. I went home, and powered up and listened to my gear and was happy. I think part of the reason is my gear is about 1/20th the cost of some of the show systems but still providing me lots of enjoyment.