I went to the show yesterday. Pretty much the same thing as last year. The only difference being it is in a new venue.
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I think the car stuff is probably unnecesary, few Lambo candidates in the crowd that I saw. The new venue works better. The thing that got me chuckling is that when we regular folks are trying to see and get a listen, the occasional "reviewer" from "bumwhole stereo review" tries to occupy the vendors time. The arrogance of a few of the reviewers was really interesting to say the least....they probably dont get to act like that at their day job at the best buy geek squad, not that theres anything wrong with working on the geek squad.
This show gets better and larger every year. It really has grown to the point that it is a full day and then some to cover it. I am struck by how much equipment sounds really good, I mean really good, in less than excellent conditions ala a hotel room. Kudos to the LAOC Audio Society for a job well done.
I flew down on Saturday just for the day. The Irvine Hotel was also having a show of exotic cars (Lamborgini, Ferrari)and the hotel had both in many rooms together. I particularly liked the headphone room (although Oppo was a no-show?). I was surprised at how good the Hifiman headphones sound. Especially the new HE1000. The $3000 price tag will force me to give them serious consideration when they arrive next month. No, I have no connection with any headphone maker. In fact, they had Stax phones on display (similar to mine) just for comparison and it confirmed, for me, why I have never looked to replace them.
If you like this hobby, I recommend going next year. It's $15 well spent and you'll be thoroughly entertained for the time that you're there. Unfortunately, I had to catch a late plane and felt that I would like to have stayed longer.
I spent Saturday and Sunday at the show. The new venue is great. The entire hotel staff made it perfectly clear that they were doing everything possible to make the weekend an enjoyable experience for everyone. Dinner and Breakfast in the hotel restaurant (not the buffet) was amazing. I had a steak dish on Saturday night ... and the chef actually came out to discuss the meal. How often does that happen?
On the show itself ... I honestly don't see myself going over to the digital download side. I have too many records to listen to and enjoy the hunt for more records too much. With that said, there was some really good sound this year ... and most rooms were playing some actually good music instead of that dreadful audiophile crapolla.
Did anyone check out the new E.A.T. turntable? Amazing sound, an amazing value and beautiful as well. It's reviewed in the upcoming TAS.
Had an excellent day there Friday. I do regret missing the Wilsons.
My favorite room had Silverline Bolero Supremes with a 1/4" tape source. Went back a 2nd time.
Venice Audio's setup was very nice.
Ocean Way (never had heard of them) had these big audacious things, but they sounded great.
Liked the Larsens really had their own sound that I liked a lot.
I was hoping to like the Ryan Speakers. High quality, but when I was in there their was a lot of chit chat. I couldn't really listen.
I am surprised how much loud talking goes on in the rooms,
but most of the morning we did have an excellent time with many
rooms very sparsely filled and good music selections.
Somehow after lunch, the music selections went south. We'd be in rooms where something nice drew us in, then the guy says "check this out" and changes it to some awful thing designed to show off the speakers. It was terrible.
In one room, they had some tube amps (the largest amp tube you can get or something). They were gold and ridiculous. Sounded nice. I forget how many tens and tens and tens of thousands of dollars they were, but two dudes walked in and blabbed on and on about them. Talking about all the technical stuff, but wouldn't even listen to them. Finally I thought I'd get relief when one of them sat down, but then he leaned in close to me and said, "I just CAN'T get my eyes off those tubes." Shut up, already.
Most of the rooms were very relaxed. No sales B.S.
All morning we heard jazz and female jazz singers, which was great, but in the afternoon we started asking for rock. Oof. They don't know how to pick stuff. It all becomes, soundtrack rock.
We saved the first floor for last, which was a good idea. It has all the pomp. This one room with big horn speakers had beautiful opera on. It was amazing. but then he switched to pipe organs to show off the power. Bye-bye.
There was one first floor room that sounded good. The speakers looked like they had gold plated football for drivers. I don't know what they were called. They were hysterical looking. And the room had great people watching. But they sure sounded good too.
The Fritz room sounded good too. Very small time looking business with a "losing lease" sale going on. But they DID seem like a good deal.
It was my first time really sitting down with electrostatics. Didn't love them.
The Vandersteen Sevens sounded solid and he picked great vinyl, but I wasn't knocked out.
Zu Audio room was interesting, but while I was there they only played really experimental stuff. So in the end, I couldn't really judge the system.
On these really beautiful revealing systems, I heard a lot of Steely Dan. Which was a bad choice. I like Steely Dan, but wow, on these systems the recordings fall flat.
That's what I can remember. Very quickly in the morning, it just became a day of listening to music on great systems. Totally worth it.
Sorry for the late post---somehow I missed this one. Having recently rejoined the Hi-Fi consumer club, I am pleasantly surprised by the newer companies offering such high-value products. While the older companies somehow continue to sell their to-me often over-priced products (the pricing structure of a product line seems to increase steadily as the company becomes older, until), newer ones are there for anyone seeking a more cost-effective alternative.
Comments on some already mentioned topics:
- The staff at the hotel were great.
- Some rooms DID play their system too loudly, but those were mostly Home Theater type companies.
- No truly bad sound (maybe I missed those rooms), as I have heard even at CES.
- Retailors were generally good at figuring ways to get good sound in not good rooms, very thoughtful and creative.
I heard some really good sound, but was truly impressed with my first hearing of the Sanders ESL's. What a great loudspeaker---I can't get them out of my head!