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  1. #1
    RGA
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    My CES 2010 Show Report

    My show report is slowly being uploaded - I have sent 10 sections in so far with at least 2 more to be made.

    I am no photographer and you really realize how an external flash can help in rooms where lights are coming from all over the place.

    Lot of good sound at CES from polar opposite designs. At the end of the report I intend to post my 5 favorite budget systems (speakers under $10k) and 5 favorite system (speakers over $10k). Basing it on the speakers makes some sense because generally speaking a $5k speaker is connected with more modest front end gear and expensive speakers usually had expensive front end gear. Plenty of exceptions but I needed to draw the line in the sand and speakers made the most sense.

    What I found really interesting is that some of the people I auditioned gear with tended to agree with me on "most" rooms but then we would discuss a room and have completely opposite opinions. I liked the Magico room for example but another audiophile who had heard it disliked them quite a lot. So I can glean that there was a difference in source music. I think my report starts weak and gets stronger because I was in a hurry to get the pages in and didn't write a lot of commentary.

    What was most interesting is that the systems in my top 5 consist of two ways, three ways+, panels, horns, ribbon/woofers, systems with SS and tube, etc.

    I also tried to be as blunt as I could without being too negative.

    page 1 http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=650
    page 2 http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=683

    My fellow writers - very nice guys and we shared the same views on most rooms - though we were way off on some.

    http://www.dagogo.com/View-Event.asp?hEvent=25

    cheers,
    Richard G Austen

  2. #2
    RGA
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    I am sorry I already posted something similar on this forum - this is kind of a double post - please delete the older thread moderators if you can

  3. #3
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Nice read, appreciate the effort you put in. I think I need to put this event on the calendar for next year.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

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    Lot's of good pics and efficient commentary. Thank you!

    Good job.

    LeRoy

  5. #5
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    RGA

    Great read!
    Nice to see what the other half listens to on gear I will never see much less listen to or own.

    thanks for taking the time to write and post this info.
    NAD D3020
    Denon 2910
    Denon DMD 1000
    MSB Link DAC III
    Von Schweikert VR2
    NAD 7240PE
    NAD 5240
    Hughes AK 100
    Tascam 122
    Technics SL 1700
    Rogers BBC Monitors LS3/6

  6. #6
    RGA
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    Jim

    I highly recommend you try and go. In October or so you can sign up. You have to claim that you are an industry affiliate - with a businees name but they don't check. Sign up early so you don't have to pay the $100 entry fee. they will mail you your badge.

    Then you are out your flight and hotel but I paid $880 air and hotel for 5 nights and this from Canada.

    I think this is probably the best money that you will ever spend on audio - and I consider it money spent on audio because you are paying for your long term education on which route to travel down long term. You hear the best of the best in most cases. The companies typically bring their top of the line pieces and all the rooms are pretty much the same. You also see which manufacturers choose which gear to run with their speakers or amps etc.

    And you also see and hear stuff you would never otherwise audition - Studio Electric - never heard of them - quite nice. While I was there there was another Canadian - not a dealer or anything just a guy who signed up - anyway he bought a set - the Studio Electric guy will build them and ship them.

    You get to meet the guys who actually design the gear, Richard Vandersteen was there for example, chatted with Ray Kimber and the head guy of Teresonic etc.

    Just make sure you bring music with balls otherwise all you hear is Diana Krall and whatever male vocals equivalent I heard in many many rooms or some classical pieces which usually don't present systems with too much stress. You can also see which rooms will let you play difficult discs and which rooms shy away from it and like to control the music played and the volume - they have something to hide IMO.

    The exception was Kimber who controlled the music but was there to promote "recordings" not the gear and the stuff he was playing - "High Altitude Drums" and complex full scale orchestreal works with organ at high levels, is another matter entirely.

    I make note of this in later pages when they get posted. The editor is wading through piles of stuff and trying to piece it together so a few mistakes entered in there unfortunately.

  7. #7
    RGA
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    Fred Crowder covered a couple of rooms I did not - DartZeel and Tidal/BAlabo although I did audition the Dartzeel the room was busy and I only heard it for a tiny bit but I did like it - never returned the room. These hotels are big. It's amazing that I pretty much went 10am until 6pm Thur, Fri, Sat and until 4 on Sunday with maybe a 15 minute break and I still missed many rooms.

    http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=694
    Last edited by RGA; 02-06-2010 at 01:56 PM.

  8. #8
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rich. Nice coverage from you, Fred, and Consantine.

  9. #9
    RGA
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    Some more coverage - yes we're slower than other sights but hey - it lasts longer...

    Doug's coverage http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=696

    Fred's final coverage and conclusions http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=699

    My 3rd set http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=705

    Next up from me should be: Vandersteen, Aesthetix, Clearaudio, Rogue Audio, Wilson Sophia II, Bel Canto, Herron Audio, Audio Note (room 1 budget room).
    Last edited by RGA; 02-22-2010 at 08:54 AM.

  10. #10
    RGA
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    Okay the next set is up http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=706

    Next up will be Nola, Audio Research, Kondo(Audio Note Japan), Octave, Dynaudio, Mystere, Martin Logan, Prima Luna

  11. #11
    RGA
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    CES report number 16 is up - Nola, Audio Research, Kondo(Audio Note Japan), Octave, Dynaudio, Mystere, Martin Logan, Prima Luna

    http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=707

    Nest Up:
    Reference 3a Grand Veena,
    Antique Sound Labs,
    Sanders Sound Systems,
    Gallo Reference 3.5 loudspeakers,
    Uniwave Tek & ChatÍau Research loudspeakers,
    Chang Lightspeed Audio

  12. #12
    RGA
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    Page 17 is up: Gallo's new 3.5 should interest many who love rock - and I bet there will be next to nothing better value for dollar wise for the home theater lovers.

    I covered

    Reference 3a Grand Veena,
    Antique Sound Labs,
    Sanders Sound Systems,
    Gallo Reference 3.5 loudspeakers,
    Uniwave Tek & ChatÍau Research loudspeakers,
    Chang Lightspeed Audio

    http://www.dagogo.com/home.asp



    COMING SOON:

    Teresonic
    Avalon Acoustics
    Karan Acoustics
    Zanden Audio Systems
    Sibatech
    Sonist Loudspeakers
    Glow Audio
    Meridian

    Acoustic Zen
    Triode Corporation
    Ensemble
    King Sound
    VAC
    Ayon
    Acapella
    Einstein Audio
    Bergman
    Ypsilon

  13. #13
    RGA
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    Page 18 is up covering

    Teresonic
    Avalon Acoustics
    Karan Acoustics
    Zanden Audio Systems
    Sibatech
    Sonist Loudspeakers
    Glow Audio
    Meridian

    http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=715

    Next Up:

    Acoustic Zen
    Triode Corporation
    Ensemble
    King Sound
    VAC
    Ayon
    Acapella
    Einstein Audio
    Bergman
    Ypsilon

    Coming Soon

    Wilson Audio MAXX3
    Lamm Industries
    PBN Audio
    Edge Electronics
    Silbatone Acoustics
    Classic Audio

  14. #14
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Rich, I noticed Dagogo is covering AKFest. Will you be going? A couple of us are planning to attend.

  15. #15
    RGA
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    No I can only afford one show a year - if even that many.

    Fred Crowder has been to most of them for the past 20+ years and his assessment has been similar at all of them. One reason I tried to be as thorough as possible because it may be quite some time before I get chance to hear them again. I hope you enjoy it. Having said that I would love to go to RMAF in October. It's tough for teachers to get the time off - I wish some of these shows were in July/August.

  16. #16
    RGA
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    Page 19 is up and they say I don't like panels

    Covered some of the best panels you'll find and ones most audiophiles can afford. The Prince II from King Sound. Also covered truly great speakers from Acoustic Zen matched with affordable tubes from Triode Corp out of Japan and Acapella which are priced above $80,000 and sounded it.

    http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=717

    Next Up:
    Wilson Audio MAXX3
    Lamm Industries
    PBN Audio
    Edge Electronics
    Silbatone Acoustics
    Classic Audio

    Coming Soon:

    Soundlabs
    Trenner and Freidl
    Viva Audio
    Heed Audio
    Gershman Acoustics
    VAC
    Manley Laboratories

  17. #17
    RGA
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    Yup me again

    Page 20 is up covering one of the best rooms at the show and one that I might take grief on for nopt really loving despite the well over $200k price tag.

    http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=718

    What didn't make the show report is the Silbatone group which is purely a millionaire's (actually they're in the billionaire camp I believe) toy company. A group of mega rich South Koreans got together to make a no holds bar system of musical pleasure based on their love of old horns - no doubt the Altec living voice which you will see in a number of high end shops in and around Seoul. I can't describe how gorgeous the sound here was on female vocals on a turntable that most would kill for and they were saying probably won't make the grade as a final production unit.

    Next Up:

    Soundlabs
    Trenner and Freidl
    Viva Audio
    Heed Audio
    Gershman Acoustics
    VAC
    Manley Laboratories
    Classic Audio

    Coming Soon:

    MSB
    Harbeth
    Spender
    Exposure
    Scaena Loudspeakers
    McIntosh
    Kronzilla
    Peak Consultant

    And then the final rooms and favorite 5 budget rooms (under $10k based on speakers) and favorite 5 rooms (>$10k based on speaker price).

  18. #18
    RGA
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    We're nearing the end - this section had some absolutely great gear. Not really affordable gear but anyway. And one of the top five speakers I have ever auditioned - the RA box.

    http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=721

    Next Up

    MSB
    Harbeth
    Spender
    Exposure
    Scaena Loudspeakers
    McIntosh
    Kronzilla
    Peak Consultant

    Coming Soon - final rooms

    EMM Labs
    Sony Loudspeakers
    Kimber Cable
    Pass Labs
    Boulder
    Focal (JM Labs) Loudspeakers
    Audio Note (The half million dollar+ system)
    Cary Audio
    Marten Loudspeakers

  19. #19
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Hi Richard-
    Awesome report on CES. Your impressions were detailed and give prospective buyers something to go on.
    I am close to a speaker purchase. It's between the Usher BE-10 and Acoustic Zen Crescendo. I heard the Crescendo in Denver and liked it very much. I heard the Usher at another time and place and liked it a lot as well. They both appear to be in same ballpark in price.
    Based on what you heard in Vegas, which one would you go with if you were me?
    Also, would you mind saying how they differ and what strengths they offer?

  20. #20
    RGA
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    Choosing between the two really comes down to personal preference and based on just a show coverage I would not take it TOO seriously because the front end plays a huge role here. That's the diplomatic cover the ass comment.

    I preferred the Acoustic Zen room and it the speakers almost made my top 5 (it was the runner up). To be fair to Usher they were still not quite set-up with their desired source but I liked the sound immensely. I personally just prefer the 3 dimensionality offered by tube front ends and the Acoustic Zen speakers are easier to accommodate lower powered front ends. They were close it should be said and I really liked the female vocals of the Ushers and I liked that they sounded cohesive (generally the bigger multi-ways don't). The Acoustic Zens may not have quite the impact the Ushers would be able to muster - not absolute but that's the impression I get.

    It's not like either speaker outclasses the other - both were some of the best at the show IMO and far from being the priciest. I think the Usher has a higher impact sound while the Zen is a little more organic and perhaps lusher - but remember that the Zen had a tube front end while the Usher was using big SS and running state of the art recordings.

  21. #21
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    Thanks Richard!
    I actually have the Tri 845 amp that was being paired with the Crescendo. I like it a lot.
    So I guess it makes sense to go with the AZ.
    Is the AZ resolving enough?
    I'm sure I missed it here, but what were your Top 5 speakers at the show?

  22. #22
    RGA
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    Yeah I really liked the Tri gear - it also looks sexy and the prices are actually sane.

    I don't want to give away my top five at this time because Dagogo is posting a couple of more of my reports where I divulge.

    Though it is not a stretch to say that one of them is the Audio Note AN E/Spe HE at $7,600. I liked it more than either the Usher or Acoustic Zen - but people find me incredibly biased - I find me biased because of the sound. :-)

    It should be noted that the US Audio Note importer apparently has also picked up Acoustic Zen - I find Mike and I agree on most things audio.

    http://audiofederation.com/blog/cate.../acoustic-zen/

    The AN E/Spe HE with Jinro amp - had just as much bass and volume capability as anything I heard at CES - they actually played them at serious levels. At the end of the day I desire cohesiveness is first priority - larger speakers have larger problems to overcome. The speakers in my top five just sound a little more cohesive and less like a loudspeaker is in the room. The single drivers and two ways typically have the advantage and you will see those in my top five than the larger loudspeakers which may have deeper bass or play louder but which sound more "speaker like" than life like. I also like the AN E/Spe HE because it's about half the price of the Usher or Acoustic Zen and even if they were all the same price I buy the AN E. But I also have a system that was designed for the AN E so it plays a major factor.

    Another one to look at between the price points are the Teresonic Ingeniums - one of my fellow writers purchased them. But the bass of the Usher, Acoutcic Zen dig deeper but the midrange up on the Teresonic is better IMO. And 100db sensitive is pretty nice. They also look pretty cool which is somewhat of a consideration to some. The RA Box is absolutely awesome here as well but it costs $25k damn it.

    I don't want my preferences to persuade you - There are piles of great loudspeakers and ultimately we all have a preference at the end of the day. The great Tannoy Prestige line was not at CES and the Kensington SE is a terrific loudspeaker for about $8,500 and they have upper models to consider as well.

  23. #23
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    Thanks again Richard.
    I have heard a couple of older Tannoy drivers. A friend of mine has the Gold driver in a Cornetta curved back enclosure. It was quite nice, but could have used a bit more bass.
    Another friend wrote a review of the Cornetta corner cabinet with the Red driver. http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/tannoy/cornetta.html
    I didn't get a chance to hear this, but he said the bass was incredible, while the rest of the frequency response was also great. I guess they are unobtanium now however.
    I guess with the cabinet plans and the cost of two drivers and the cost of either having someone make the cabinet or do it yourself, you have an outstanding speaker at a fraction of the cost of most speakers in it's class.
    Another dual-concentric speaker is the WLM Diva. http://www.wlm-loudspeakers.com/indexengl.html
    Have you ever heard these? They are very efficient as well.

  24. #24
    RGA
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    Unit - the other thing is the size of the room which I should have noted - I suspect you have a larger room which is why you are looking at the Crescendo and Usher - the AN E is designed for medium or smaller large rooms - 200 square meters and you have to have them in corners.

    I have not heard products from WLM - but now I want to LOL. No matter how many companies you hear there are always a lot more out there.

    I generally prefer the "simple" solution. There is less to advertise but they tend to get to the point. You are correct though in that getting the bass is somewhat of a challenge and it depends on how much you personally need.

  25. #25
    RGA
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    Report number 22 is up covering:

    MSB
    Harbeth
    Spender
    Exposure
    Scaena Loudspeakers
    McIntosh
    Kronzilla
    Peak Consultant

    http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=729


    Last rooms are coming soon:

    EMM Labs
    Sony Loudspeakers
    Kimber Cable
    Pass Labs
    Boulder
    Focal (JM Labs) Loudspeakers
    Cary Audio
    Marten Loudspeakers
    Audio Note (The half million dollar+ system)

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