Merrill - Thanks. An insider's view as it were. Very interesting to me. I look forward to reading more. One specific to cover might be room set up...time involved, common gremlins encountered, etc.
16 responses Add your response
So still with a bit of History.
main Partner is German Physiks. They have a new US Distributor who happens to be a Merrill Audio Dealer, so a lot of synergy. This was agreed in August last year. Most partnerships happen 6 to 9 months before the show and some have been there for years. Others evolve over time.
for myself, I try to partner with different companies as demonstration that the equipment works well across the board. Some companies like this and others just want the same partners every year. Of course some requirements for partnership are a little bizzare so the least said about that the best.
After working on the speakers, the rest slowly came together.
VPI Avenger Signature Turntable with Magentic Platter and 12 inch 3D printed Arm. $22k.
Steve Leung provide at the very last week, a brand new VAS Nova Signatue priced at $3.5k
Stillpoints agreed to provide the Acrylic Rack with 4 shelves. $10k
GIK will provide Tri corner bass traps with Range Limiter Techology.
Electronics will be
Jens Reference Phono Stage
and the World Premier of the Christine Reference Pre-amplifier.
Distinctive Stereo will provide the Emm Labs DAC2x
Cables will be from Merrill Audio.
With that we have about 1,000 pounds of equipment to be shipped!!!
That is also 1,000 pounds of equipment to setup.
Put some cost in there - $0.70/pound+surcharge+special even fees. That is close to $900 in shipping each way. In the scheme of things, this is not a lot but each item adds up of course.
Everything has to be shipping no later then 20th May to guarantee arrival on time for the show. So the rush was on to get everything prepared - equipment from all the partners, brochures, signs, music and all the little items like remotes, tablets, correct number of cables, working computers were all in.
The expectation is that Thursday morning 8am, June 2nd, 2 weeks later, when we walk into room 1417, One Thousands pounds of equipment will be in that room 13 x 19!
More to come!
Guess we will be neighbors - we are in room 1413 with Madisound and our Liberty Audio division will be in room 1415.
The Madisound room will also feature all Liberty Audio Electronics and a new speaker kit I designed for them, the ScanSpeak B1371, utilizing top shelf ScanSpeak Drivers.
And yes Shows take a lot of preparation - this is my 25th year in business and have done 2-3 shows every year so the planning gets somewhat rutine with experience.
Luckily we are somewhat close to Irvine so a 26 foot Uhaul will haul the several thousand pounds of equipment we will be bringing to fill a total of four rooms, we share in two rooms 1148 and 1149 together with Purist Audio Design and Alnic Audio .
Have a Great Show
This the final Show configuration - finally.
Room 1417 Configuration
T.H.E. Show, Newport 2016
German Physiks HRS-130 Loudspeakers
High-Polish Polyester/High Polish Veneer: $22,750
Merrill Audio VERITAS Monoblocks Power Amplifiers: $12,000 pair
*Preamplifier - World Premier
Merrill Audio Christine Reference Pre-amplifier: $12,400
Merrill Audio Jens Reference Phono Stage: $15,449
Merrill Audio ANAP Low Inductance Speaker Cables: $1,149
Merrill Audio ANAP Low Capacitance Interconnects: $1,149
Emm Labs DAC2X $15,500
VPI Avenger Signature Turntable: $21,000
VAS NY inc Nova Signature Cartridge: $3,000
Lyra Delos $1,750
12" 3D printed Tone Arms (2)
EQUI-CORE Balanced Power Cord Conditioner: $799
Stillpoints ESS Rack 34-26-4 / All Acrylic: $10,350
GIK Tri-Corner Bass Traps $150.
Up at 5am to catch a 8am flight from Newark, NJ to LAX. Only to find the flight 1 hour late. Not a problem, we arrived 20 minutes late, and 1 hour later - 12:20 we were in comfortable in Uber going to Hotel Irvine.
Check in easily. No body was around yet since it is only 1:30. Went for a nice lunch. Said a quick hi to Fremmer who was looking very slim. Almost look like he got a six pack. Must be all that good Audio.
Starting to run in to people now, Kevin Hays ( VAC), Bruce Jacobs (Stillpoints), Mike Kalalis (Analysis Audio), John Stancavage ( Parttime Audiophile).
1,000 pounds of equipment minus Stillpoints rack is in the room. Amazing. So setup will start tonight. Lets go! Pictures to follow.
It is now 3:30pm PST.
Thursday is done and we spent from 5am to 8pm arranging, talking, meeting. Finally got everything in place. Spent about 1 hour to get the imaging and stage correct. We now have it with precision, deep and wide stage without instruments being wider than normal.
Started tuning the bass but we were too tired to finish, so will start again this morning at 6am. We already had about 50 people come through although it was not opened officially yet. Mostly press, friends of the press, SF Audio society, LA Audio Society and so on.
Here is a link to the setup. Note the Stillpoints rack is 200 pounds fully assembled!
Started at 5am Friday morning. Still too much bass boom and the imaging was not correct. Turntable required some more alignment. We did not have a ground wire which seem to work with the Jens Phono stage. So a lot to do before we start today.
Fortunately everyone was up early. Started with the Bass. Got that done in 2 hours, which is great! Got the music playlist setup with some difficulty
Fremmer came in the day before while we were setting up. Not that it was better - not the best, sent him a note to come back on Sunday. So hope that was good.
While the doors don't open till 10, we started to have folks come in at 9am. A quick tidy up for the room and off we went. Must have been about 200 people for the day. Steve Rocklin (Enjoy the Music), Ron Nagal (Enjoy the Music). We have more from Stereophile, TAS, PartTimeAudiophile etc. A brand new writer for PartTimeAudioPhile - Mo, was a sharp person, with a very good ear, and keep with Scott Hull's wonderful termperment, Mo is simply delightful.
Richard Beers memorial was at 6pm, so we shutdown exactly at 6am.
We had dinner with the San Francisco Audiophile Society Officers. Such a great bunch of people. Alon Sagee took over a few years ago and has done some wonderful things for that society, rebuilt it with this group of excellent officers.
Going back, Uber could not find us. 11pm at night and we were waiting more then out 10 minutes for Uber.
It was a good night but exhausted.
Here are pictures from Saturday.
Start a little later today - 8:30. Move the speakers just a bit, controlled the bass a bit more and now it was superb. Finally. While we were started to get good comment on Friday, today we were simply raking in the compliments. The stage was wider, deeper with the new placements and settings. Excellent vocal realism.
Had a nice chat with Dan D’Agustino who was about to come in but it was too crowded. He had equipment across the hall.
So with the room always so crowded, we could not keep the door closed, it reeked. With the room open, it was noisy but still workable. Lots of vanilla sticks were placed around to keep the oder pleasant.
Jonathan Valin (TAS) was our biggest surprise. This man as many know is very hard to please.Unsolicited, he uttered, after the 2nd lp, "simply lovely". Then proceeded to say, "This is the best I have heard the German Physiks" twice. Take that any which way but as a compliment. So to prove he like the room a lot, he took a picture with us. - posted under the link.
With the constant stream of people and the room being full all the time, we probably had the best day. While the day ended at 6 pm for the show, we stayed with guests till 7:30pm.
This was our best day with sound, number of visitors, compliments, and the customers.
So how do you gauge if you had a good day
1. Repeat visitors and those that bring others back. Typically this happens on a Sunday. However we had a large number this Saturday.
2. The unsolicited comments from those leaving. We had so many with "Best in Show". And we had some very stiff competition.
3. The length of time that people stay. This was not only long, they stayed for all kinds of music.
While the questions are always good, it is also a lot of curiosity so this is not always a good gauge, mostly fans.
We got a view of a new upcoming disruptive Audio site called the http://audioflea.com/ It was very nicely done, excellent precision search function for the users. Very nice interface for the sellers. It should be a winner. Will have to wait and see.
(See Picture) Anne Bisson was at my late lunch. We were playing her records to promote her great talent. Her recordings are simply excellent sonically with some of the best dynamics around. Vocals, piano all great. Now she has a tape of the Blue Mind album. Heard that at XtremeFidelity.com in NJ which just took you to another place.
Yes we are big fans of Anne Bisson. A talented lady. Every time we played her albums visitors would sit up. Of course there was the rush of Shazaming her song. There are 3 albums and all of them excellent. Blue Mind is my favorite.
The last day has the most adrenaline built up from the previous day. The system is sounding perfect in every way, the room is set, the partners have geled and are working in a nice flow. The music selection is done.
Doors open at 10, we are there at 9am, playing vinyl.
As we are on the top floor, the mornings are very, very busy. The room is always packed with a line to the door. Although we try to keep the door closed, the oder is stale, so we keep opening the door. That means quiet passages or high contrast music cannot be played. This is one of the forte's of the system so a big dissapointment.
of course when we get a reviewer, we try to lock the door so we can pay attention to them.
So far very good comments are excellent. Visitors returning and word of mouth is excellent also.
So things are going smoothly, then......