Trelja in New York
Well, here it is. My own personal show report. I guess I should be ashamed of myself. Taking up all of this space and all. First, I regret that I did not meet anyone from Audiogon at the show. The show had a MUCH larger attendance than I ever could have anticipated. I mean it was gigantic. And many people there had no idea about high end audio. Second, my lucky day! While I was standing in line to purchase a ticket, a guy announced that the show sucked, and was offering to give his away. Guess who the lucky recipient was? Well, I was able to save the price of admission. I did give my $4 coupon to the guy behind me. Now, for the show... I was disappointed in the sound of most of the rooms. Other than exhibitors displaying on the 2nd and 4th floors, the rooms were just too small. It was a joke. Virtually everyone displaying on the 9th, 10th, and 42nd floors were in bad rooms. Especially, those on the 9th and 10th floors. These manufacturers simply overpowered the rooms they were in. Sound was horrible. One exception to the "too small room" set was Talon speakers. A lousy sounding speaker in my opinion. Thin, weak, and underpowered. Anemic. They definitely get the "all show, no go" award. This is a speaker with a 5 digit price tag? I wonder how someone who owns this speaker feels. They were eclipsed in the "biggest disappointment" category however. By none other than the $85K Dynaudio Evidence. Yes, they play loud, and without strain. That is the best thing I can say about them. But, they need to go visit the Wizard. They have no heart, or soul. These two speakers are proof positive of two things. One, you don't have to spend a lot of money to get good sound. And two, brains and money do not necessarily go hand in hand. Next up for duds was the Creek demo. Nice turntable, but their amp/speakers were terrible. I have heard Creek amps sound a heck of a lot better. Poor job by a good company goes to Rogue. I forget the other companies in their room already, and they should take my lead. Their electronics are a bit pushy, and need to be mated with speakers and cables which are more mellow. It was not the case here, and the sound was bad. Linn was also getting poor sound, despite the fact that they were in a good room. Too much bass and brightness. Are they going for the boom and sizzle crowd? Silverline and Triangle speakers can sound much better than they did at this show. And what is going on with Alon these days? Here was a great speaker company. Their new products seem to be aimed squarely at Donald Trump and Fabio. Expensive would be a supreme understatement. What happened to this company, with its value oriented philosophy? They would dominate just about any room. Nice treble coming from the Raven tweeter. Guess that answers our questions. Seems to be a great, high sensitivity tweeter. Should we think of this tweeter for the SET crowd? Another disappointment, Red Rose Music. They are coming hard, but give them a good listen, and see that if you stop listening to what they tell you you are hearing, the sound is definitely not worth the asking price. Don't believe the hype. Nice treble though, ala the ribbon tweeter(just like Alon). One more. Whoever that horn speaker company is who was in the Atma Sphere room, please GET OUT of the speaker business. Now. And Atma Sphere, you did yourselves a tremendous disservice by teaming up with that company. Fundamentally flawed is all I can say about those horns. Speaking of horns, I was not able to listen to the AvantGardes(ran a demo every 30 minutes), one of the few I could not hear. As I said, most of the sound was bad. I wonder how I would feel if I was showing my products with this kind of sound. Mortified, I think. OK, enough griping, let's get to the winners. First up is Trelja's "Best of Show" award. It goes to the Vandersteen 5s, driven by the new Cary V12 amps. By a landslide. A LOT of companies should take a lesson from what these guys are doing. Impressive. Most impressive. Next up is "Most Stunning" component. This one is also a landslide. The forthcoming Western Electric 300B amps. Yes, you read that right. Art deco. They are not yet operational, but coming in the summer. Just let me put it this way, if they sound 25% as good as they look, they will be the best amps you can buy. And, actually a bargain at $16/pair, complete with WE300B tubes. JMLabs speakers sounded great. These guys are pros. Coincident took the "Best of Show" on one of the tough floors. I know I may seem to lack credibility on this one, but it is true. They did not destroy their sound, and that was enough to earn them the Blue Ribbon. The word smart comes to mind when thinking of the Musical Fidelity room. Unlike Rogue, they mated their products very well. Enough so that the whole system sounded warm and full, despite the new MF line being more neutral and analytical. These guys understand what good sound is. They used Analysis Plus cabling, and it was good(Megasam knows a good combination when he hears it). Merlin speakers struck me as something to try to hear more of, despite not sounding well in their rooms. Cary amps sounded good in most of the places they were playing. Mirage sounded good to me, despite having one of the empiest rooms in the whole show. The Joule Electra room(I forget who they teamed with) fell into the same group as Merlin for me. Not spectacular at the show, but I would like to hear them in a better setting. Dick Sequerra was a prince to me, despite being a God in this industry. Israel Blume was also stellar, though he is not yet a Dick Sequerra. All in all, not a bad time. Just that there were far too many people to be able to give some companies a really good listen. I think less attendance would be a boon to people like us. We would be able to focus more into every room. Hope everyone else who went enjoyed themselves.