AXPONA 2017 Official Show Report

Discussion in 'AV Expos and Get Togethers (GTG)' started by AudiocRaver, Apr 21, 2017.

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  1. AudiocRaver

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    From the beautiful Westin O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois... AV NIRVANA, with the reporting team of Sonnie Parker, Dennis Young, Leonard Caillouet, and Wayne Myers, and remote assistance by Todd Anderson on the east coast, brings you live coverage from AXPONA 2017!

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    This thread will be closed until after the show, pending final additions and edits. Please join the discussion HERE.
     
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  2. AudiocRaver

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    clearaudio

    The Sonus Faber Lillian, at $80,000 - or $100,000 with gold plating - gave us a super clean presentation with a crisp, tight, high end, spare but accurate. Powered by Quintessence Audio. Overall sound: you hear nothing that does not belong there.

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    Quintessence Audio's display of amps and preamps was also beautiful, impressive... and HEAVY. A lot of iron goes into their products. And a lot of serious engineering.
     
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  3. tesseract

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    The HSU Research room features the new CCB-8 coincident driver loudspeaker. Listening to Xerxes Largo Handel (Exerpt) with bass support from the $400 VTF-1 MK3, the sound stage was simply enormous. Performers, panned across left from right, filled the acoustic stage with multiple sonic images. The fill was so complete I was forced to rise from my listening chair and put my ear to center channel. Dr. Hsu smiled and shook his head at me, saying "No, it is two channel!".

    Amazing sound, the 2.1 package totals only $1100. One of the budget leaders among the uber showings here at the 2017 AXPONA.

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    Sonnie's thought: Another impressive showing from HSU Research. The CCB-8 is Dr. Hsu's new constant directivity coaxial speaker design that offers excellent off-axis listening while retaining precise center imaging. We all really enjoyed his room and are glad that Jim and Todd both have samples of the CCB-8 for review. We want to get a full surround system in hand for a review as well, which we may be able to accommodate during one of our speaker evaluation sessions.
     
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  4. AudiocRaver

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    avantgarde

    Speakers by anantgarde, model 0TA, $15,000 per pair. They did a nice job with symphonic horns and strings, although not my favorite high end. A very clean vinyl setup.


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  5. tesseract

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    The Bob Carver Corporation Amazing Line Source gave an incredibly relaxed sound. A line array goes from floor to ceiling, which is not usually practical unless custom built for the room. The ALS uses a sideways mounted leaf tweeter to help complete the room coupling that occurs with an array.

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    Sonnie's thoughts: This was easily one of my favorite rooms... I had to go back for seconds. Jordan was kind enough to find Cassandra Wilson's Strange Fruit and Come Into My Kitchen for my listening pleasure and it confirmed the sound stage, imaging and depth acuity that I am accustomed to hearing in my own system at home. To accomplish this sound in such a small room without any treatments or equalization is truly remarkable. Check out those Raven 350 tube amps sporting 350wpc of super clean power... the current feedback loop technology that Bob Carver has implemented, along with a design that allows for cool tubes and extremely low distortion and clean sound, creates a pair of tube amps that are among the best I have ever heard. I left wanting a pair of these amps. I really hope to have a pair of these by the time we have our speaker evaluation session in June or July... and not one of the speakers we evaluate will have any kind of excuse as a result of the power amp. :bigsmile:
     
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  6. AudiocRaver

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    Destination Audio

    Destination Audio makes their own horn-loaded speakers, tube power amps, tube preamps, and tube phono preamps. The speakers could really deliver a clean sound with a dense, complex vocal mix. Priced at $95,000 per pair for the speakers, the whole setup looked and sounded quite impressive.


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    Imaging was excellent, even when I pulled up a little closer than the seating was arranged for.

    I was wondering how they would sound with a nice pair of solid-state monoblocks.
     
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  7. tesseract

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    Parts Express is a DIY'er staple. Showing raw drivers, plate amps and more, the stand out CBR 24K loudspeaker pair were displayed front and center, literally. As shown in the second picture, I was standing waaaay off center to a ridiculous degree. The central image, while not as detailed as when the ears are normally placed equidistant between the two CBT 24K, was still quite centrally located in the middle right where it belonged. Truly amazing.

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    Sonnie's thoughts: I was truly impressed with the EPIQUE CBT line array speakers that are offered for a mere $995 with the unfinished cabinet DIY kit. The finished version is $1495 and finished very nice. This is a constant beamwidth transducer system that touts a "no sweet-spot listening axis"... and both Dennis and myself can attest to this truth. This is a system I think we should consider purchasing for one of our speaker evaluations, although you would definitely need a subwoofer to get full range sound, as these are only good down to about 80-100Hz.
     
  8. AudiocRaver

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    Odyssey Audio

    Klaus of Odyssey Audio likes to differentiate his room and products from the others at the show. This year he went with the “hippie hangout” motif, seen below.

    His products differentiate themselves. His $6,900 show special system, easily the best sounding system I remember hearing under the $20k barrier, includes a pair of Khartago monoblocks and his Kismet speaker pair. If value is even a small item on your priority list, they will surely impress you.

    Imaging was sharp, REALLY sharp, soundstage was pushing at the walls for more space to breathe, and overall tonality sparkles while staying clear and even.

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    Sonnie's thoughts: Klaus never ceases to amaze us with his presentations at all the various shows. He did it again with a mere $6900 system that was smokin' hot! When you look at the Kismet speakers and sit down and listen, you get up looking for a subwoofer hidden in the room somewhere, but you won't find one. It's really remarkable what these speakers can do... particularly when they are placed so close to the side wall... it defies speaker placement reasoning altogether. I applaud Klaus for his ability to work magic in these rooms. I just can't believe he cut his hair off... what was he thinking?
     
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  9. AudiocRaver

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    Bang & Olufsen

    Bang and Olufsen has been making speakers since 1928, and has made powered speakers for over 30 years. Their BeoLab 90 floor standing model, introduced November of 2015, is a tour de force of the technologies they have been mastering for almost 90 years.

    The omnidirectional design houses, per handsome unit, 18 channels of digital amplification with DSP, for the 1 front woofer, the 3 woofers, the 7 mid drivers, and - yes - even for the 7 tweeters. The total available power is 8200 W per speaker, all built in.

    The active room compensation design sends correction signals to needed drivers to make the one-person sweet spot experience nothing short of perfect. B&O designer Frackenpohi Pouiheim believes all 2-channel should primarily serve that listening mode, but added 2 additional modes, wide and omni, that optimize for other experiences. Custom EQ modes are also possible.

    “Hotel California” (Eagles) and a drum solo track by Jim Kelpner (from a special B&O CD) were mesmerizing. The imaging is extremely crisp and precise. Wonderfully Clean Power was the prime impression that I received at that sweet spot, along with Precise Control.

    “Killer” (Adamski) was played in Omni mode and threatened to peel wallpaper for a few choice seconds. Bombastic was the term used by the B&O rep.

    The price tag? You can take them home for only $85,000 per pair. If that seems steep, just remember that all amplification is included.


    Dennis' impressions - Such dynamic capability, Adamski "Killer" could actually kill somone, heh. Chris Jones "No Sanctuary Here" was jumping, loud and distortion free, but had me jumping up and out of the room to preserve my hearing.

    The B&O will play as loud as anyone needs, with great SS&I, as well. All anyone could need in a speaker for sure and the best product I've ever heard from this company.

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    #9 AudiocRaver, Apr 22, 2017
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  10. tesseract

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    The Wells Audio Headtrip Reference Amplifier prototype ($15,000) with the Abyss Phi headphones ($5000) played Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" like I never enjoyed before. Such a relaxing sound, what a great way to compress after a hard day at work. I walked around the show and listened to many earphone manufacturer offerings up to the $50k level and nothing compared, to my ears.

    The hot-rodded Milo ($2250) with Vishay Naked Z Foil and Khozmo step attenuator from Poland and HIFIMAN HE1000 ($3000) gave 90% of that relaxation for 10% of the cost, within reach for the serious enthusiast. I would love to have this particular system in my home.

    Good showing by Wells Audio.

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  11. AudiocRaver

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    Paragon Sight and Sound

    Introducing a new line of tube gear by Doshi, their v3.0 Preamp ($16,995), Mono Amps ($29,995/pair), a Stereo Amp model ($15,995), Phono Preamp ($16,995), and Tape Preamp ($16,995), Paragon has a very nice room and a pair of Wilson Doshi speakers. Cables and interconnects plus a new Transparent Power Isolator 8 by Transparent Audio complete the setup. The slide guitar and vocals by Muddy Waters, from reel-to-reel tape, with drums and bass backing, sounds smooth, clean, and clear. Not a speck of mud in that Doshi sound.

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  12. tesseract

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    Ducking into the Salk room, I was treated to the new Song3 Encore ($5895) pair, the Salk StreamPlayer Gen III ($1695) and Exogal Comet DAC ($2500) source driving the Wells Audio Majestic preamplifier ($3599) and Innamorata Signature amplifier ($15,000) and tethered together by Dana Cable.

    Playing Dave's True Story "Misery", the female vocalist was etched into the space before me, with accompanying players spread around her with a shockingly realistic rendition of space and depth. There is something to be said for a smaller midrange driver's ability to paint pinpoint images onto the hifi canvas.


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  13. AudiocRaver

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    AURALiC

    AURALiC has packaged several exciting products for music lovers. Their Altair Wireless Streaming DAC, which can handle 384k samples/second at 32 bits, and can move your music stream across the air with no loss in fidelity, goes for $1,899. A pair of their new Polaris amp will only set you back $5,000, while setting our music appreciation level forward several giant steps forward without having to string wires or interconnects to the nether regions of the house. The compact Polaris is capable of delivering 120 W into 8 Ohms, 180 W into 4 Ohms continuously.


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  14. AudiocRaver

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    Volya Audio

    The Volya company, from across the pond in Germany, makes these little gems, about 5 feet in diameter. A cross between a novelty and a seriously serious pair of sharp-imaging speakers that can reach down into the near-20 Hz region for deep bass, they are dynamic and surprisingly well controlled. I had a good discussions with the designer, Yevhen Kozhushko, designer and Volya’s technical director, and got a good appreciation for his design priorities. They might be a little trickier to place, but seemed very capable of great sound.

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  15. AudiocRaver

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    Goldmund

    The Goldmund Logos Sukha, right in the middle of the Goldmund speaker product lineup, is a $95,000 per pair speaker with lossless streaming build in. That means fewer wires, less work, and less mess involved in putting them wherever they will sound best. The days of running and hiding wires might just be coming to a close.

    Lossless Wi-Fi, with no limit as to bit depth or bit rate, is the way of the future. And experiencing the future is what the Goldmund company is all about. "High tech performance that makes your life simple."

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  16. tesseract

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    The Seaton Sound room featured one of the biggest A/V show displays made available to the general public. Room dimensions were 81' long, 47' wide, 22' tall, and the system chosen to fill this room was completely up to the task. An intense 30 minute loop of movie clips and music showed off the system and I sat down and enjoyed the whole thing. I was kind of sad when it started over, so I sat a bit longer and watched the beginning again. Here are a few impressions:

    In The Fifth Element Diva Plavalaguna scene - The singer was portrayed softly, sweetly, then with enormous power when later called for, the accompanying orchestral instruments all around like one is sitting in the middle of them.

    Tron Legacy Light Cycle Sequence - Digital fireworks popped all around my head in surround, giving quite an audio sense of immersion, suspending belief and sounding much as it would in life. The echo from the MC saying "User, user, user..." was uttered in from of me, then echoed back and forth behind me, left, then right. The thrum of the bikes as they cruise around the gamescape thundered throughout the room, shaking the viewer with excitement and anticipation.

    Interstellar Wormhole - As the Endurance approaches the wormhole, pinpoint sounds were emitted, front and center from the instrument cluster, as the crew attempts an emergency extraterrestrial landing. As he craft enters the space-time distortion, from the silence comes the sound of creaking and groaning from the stressed spaceship.Silence resumes when the line is crossed and calming incidental orchestral music plays softly across a 14 ft.+ soundstage.

    U571 Depth Charged - As the depth charges searched for the submarine, the distant explosions grow in intensity, the impact real and oppressive, growing hauntingly closer and closer, until the charges meet their mark and are rocking the sub from all around. As the crew looked around nervously, my head turned involuntarily with theirs, tracking the blasts panning overhead and around the listening room. Scary stuff, you are brought into the submarine as the pressure cracks pipes and electrical equipment sparks in protest.

    With music only audio from The Weeknd - Male tenor vocalist, Tesfaye, the Catalyst 12C nailed it! Reproduction of the highs were ethereal, reproduction seemingly limitless in tonal scale and dynamic capabilities. The Catalyst series continues to impress this music lover. Home theater performance was out of this world, but it was the musicality that really drew me in, making a huge impression on me. This is not the first time a Seaton Sound Catalyst loudspeaker has kept me riveted and I do have to say that I want to bring this experience home with me, one day.

    The 14' wide, 2.35:1 Stewart screen and Sony's VW5000ES 4k/HDR laser projector ($60,000!!!) brought cutting edge video to the eyes. The 8' tall subwoofer stacks consists of 4 F18 modules each, with a single F18+ ($2195) and 3 F18-Slave units ($995/each), the fabric wall concealing 3 newly updated Catalyst 12C powered loudspeakers ($3,895/each), the new Spark passive loudspeaker ($1295/each) on surround duty in fabric columns out of picture. Ken Whitcomb of Calibrations Inc. was responsible for setting up and calibrating the video and Jeremy Feigen of Accurate Construction for the fabric track work and assembling the screen wall.


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  17. tesseract

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    Hearing good things from others about this room, I auditioned the Paradigm Persona B monitor ($7000) first. Latest developments include a new beryllium tweeter dome and midrange cone. A short demo with Pink Floyd "Speak To Me", the heartbeat filled the large room with weight, the following scream rose, hitting crescendo without strain. A really nice sounding medium sized monitor.

    Paradigm Persona 9H ($35,000) uses the same berry tweeter dome and squawker cone as the Persona B, adding aluminum woofers utilizing Differential Driver motors, with coils and spiders in front of and behind the magnets. Anthem Room Correction is built into the 9H, working on the response from 500 Hz on down. I was given a convincing A/B demonstration of it's effectiveness, the heavy bass content of Boz Scagg's "Thanks To You" tamed nicely.

    Lots of discussion going on in the room, so listening impressions were a bit compromised. What I was able to hear left me with the impression that Paradigm has taken a large step forward with these latest technologies. Worthy flagships for this well known company.


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  18. AudiocRaver

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    JTR Speakers

    JTR’s products have a way of making you feel small. The Noesis 215RT three-way monster - standing six feet tall (1.83 m) and weighing 215 pounds (97.5 kg) - boasts 95 dB sensitivity and delivers SPLs up to 128 dB. Two 15-inch LF drivers and a high-end 2-way horn-loaded compression driver make one think of big pro-sound systems, which JTR also produces. The 7.0 cinema system will wake up the neighbors in the next county if unleashed. Lacking separate subwoofers does not mean sacrificing strong bass, the 18 Hz LF -3 dB point for the design can reach those deep notes and shake the seats during a good action flick. The $3299 price tag seems relatively small, almost compact, when considering the big-boy theater and music possibilities.

    With the introduction of the RT series, Jeff pushed his product line into the minds and onto the wish lists of the very particular listener types who place two-channel listening at the same priority level as bone-crushing home cinema sound. I have been pleasantly surprised by his two-channel demos involving the 215RT at recent audio shows. The choice of efficient drivers with high-end refinement designed in means home theater and surround-music mixes heard without sacrifice or compromise.

    Complemented by jRiver and a well-executed setup and calibration by Michael Boeker, the system had an imaging focus to die for. Michael Buble in concert on the very-big screen, a surround mix, was fun and prompted me to dig out a 5.1 mix of Porcupine Tree’s “Shallow.” High volumes are not a challenge for the 215RT system with its Lab Gruppen FP1002 power amps. They can push 2500 W x 4 channels. Sharp imaging of the type I heard on the whimsical “Shallow” mix, and on Midlake’s “Roscoe,” with a chorus featuring an evenly-spaced lineup of voices and guitars across the soundstage, showed what the big system could do. The clear space between those sound images was as well defined as I have heard it. Low-frequency room modes being what they are, they can be tough to tame in a theater-sized room with lots of bass and low drums exciting the air, and ringy nature of the room caught my attention while auditioning the big surround setup. The vertical spread of LF drivers in the 215RT will tend to lessen this effect in most rooms. The 13 ft x 39 ft x 50 ft room insisted on imposing its sonic will on our low frequencies, and we simply had to put up with it.

    After “Shallow,” in the mood for more good music from the system, “Perfect World,” by Broken Bells, is a favorite for 2-channel auditions, with a very focused kick drum at mix’s front-center. That focus was a little mushy, but the rest of the mix was very sharply focused. Soundstage width and clarity through the midrange and highs was downright exemplary. Todd Rundgren’s “Compassion” has bells and glockenspiel that each own their little points in space as though they were solid objects. Scott Davies, playing Rachmaninoff’s “Lilacs” on the Overs piano, coaxed forth the piano’s very delicate characteristic tinkle, which was preserved by the 215RT. The voice separation on “Roscos” was perfection. Muse gave us a strong finish with ”Supermassive Black Hole.”

    The cinema room included a JVC RS4500 projector ($35,000) and a Seymour Enlightener 4k screen ($5,500).

    The smaller demo of JTR’s Noesis 210RT is the one of the speaker setups I enjoyed most at AXPONA this year. Sporting a beautiful red cherry finish. Driven by a Yamaha 801 with 100 W / channel, the 210RT was a knockout performer. The soundstage was not as wide because of the setup, and was not quite as precise as that in the cinema room, but for overall clean, relaxed, natural, accurate sound, the 210RT was easily my pick in the JTR room, and over many other models at the show.

    The focused bass I was looking for on “Perfect World” was all I could want it to be. Instrumental clarity and detail on “The House Of Tom Bombadil” by Nickel Creek were right on, the wide soundstage was not quite as dramatic as from the 215RT, but seemed cleaner and more balanced. There was nothing to get fatigued by. Vocals by Mindy Smith and by The Civil Wars were dreamy and drew you into the intimacy of their recordings. The clarity and almost-materialized precision of the imaging was also not quite like the cinema setup, but did not fall far short of the mark. I wager that many a high-standard 2-channel listener would blind-test pick a Noesis over ¾ of the speaker models at the show.

    A brief visit to JTR after AXPONA yielded the second photo.

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    Sonnie's thoughts: Wow! I listened to quite a bit in this room with literal amazement that there were no dedicated subwoofers in the room. Jeff and his gang did a masterful job of setting up their room and it was really rockin'! Speaking of subwoofers... I believe we have a Captivator 118HT in our hands for review and giveaway!!!

    Leonards' thoughts: The theater was astoundingly powerful. When the fireworks started after the National Anthem I could feel my shirt moving there was so much air being moved. The degree to which they achieve such power with extremely low distortion is really something to experience.
     
    #18 AudiocRaver, Apr 26, 2017
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  19. AudiocRaver

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    Isoacoustics

    The modular aluminum speaker isolation stands made by Isoacoustics are designed to help eliminate extraneous vibrations that can interfere with accurate soundstage and imaging results. I have listened to the Isoacoustics demo several times over the last two years, and it always seems to give impressive results, yet has left me scratching my head to understand the who, what, where, why, when, and how of the design.

    After an extended discussion of the engineering particulars with the Isoacoustics team, some of those questions were answered, while others were not. My personal hesitation about these products is that there can be conditions under which they might be the perfect solution and others under which they might not be.

    That said, I will report that the demo setup, two identical sets of speakers, one with Isoacoustics isolators and the other without, showed a dramatic improvement in their imaging and soundstage performance. The “before” speaker pair delivered a vague, spread-out wash of a soundstage. This was transformed with the “after” pair of speakers, using the Isoacoustics isolator, delivering solid image clarity and a pleasant soundstage. Will all situations be equally served? Doubtful, and the Isoacoustics team would probably not argue the point, their wares being an honestly- and rigorously-engineered products.

    Some speakers almost set themselves up. With minimal setup effort and a symmetrical arrangement, a great soundstage emanates almost as a given. Such speakers will probably receive little benefit from the Isoacoustics isolators. Other models require that you coax them to their best position, and it can take a good while to find the position and treatment that will sound best. These models will probably benefit from the appropriate Isoacoustics isolators. This is my assessment based on personal experience and theory.

    The isolators make use of materials which flex more at low frequencies and are quite stiff at mid-range audio frequencies, providing isolation that can eliminate disruptive vibrations from a speaker cabinet. This is an oversimplification, of course, but gives a general idea how the isolators work. Another way of looking at the Isoacoustics products is that if they help you get to a great imaging result quickly and easily rather than by the long, slow reposition-again-and-again pulling-teeth method, then they just might be a worthwhile investment for your speakers.

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    Sonnie's thoughts: There is no doubt they were doing what the designer intended them to do with the setup we heard. Very convincing. Like Wayne, will they work for everyone in every situation? I don't really know. I can tell you that I am willing to purchase a couple of sets to find out if they will work for me... however, it won't be near as easy to tell in my situation... I don't have two pairs of MartinLogan 13A's to experiment with. We'll give the Gaia's the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps when we have our evaluation session we can do some more in-depth investigating and report back on our findings. In the meantime... I will recommend them.
     
    #19 AudiocRaver, Apr 28, 2017
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  20. AudiocRaver

    AudiocRaver Senior Admin
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    Smyth Research

    The Smyth Research Realizer A16 is a truly innovative product for modeling and realizing a speaker and room acoustic combination for delivery through a pair of headphones and into YOUR ears. That’s right, your ears become part of the model.

    Speaker / room sets are measured and stored in the A16 Virtualizer. The listener goes through a brief calibration process with an ATMOS system, with tiny microphones placed in his ears, and sweep measurements tune the system to the subject’s ears. This process has been completed for many professional sound rooms and speakers. Headphone modeling takes place as part of the listener calibration.

    With the user’s ear and headphone modeling added to the system’s base programming for rooms and speakers, the listener may now play a mix through the system and hear it through headphones as though through the selected speaker system in the designated room. This can allow one to hear with reasonable accuracy how well a set of speakers would sound in a target room. It can also allow mixing or mastering engineer to test a mix on a known sound mixing stage or in a favorite mixing studio across town, an excellent resource for “checks and balances” simulated comparison.

    The result creates a very accurate 3D rendering of a speaker / room combination. Directional vectors are preserved faithfully. During the demo, one could remove the headphones used by the system and compare the headphone sound directly with the speakers and room being simulated.


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    Sonnie's thoughts: Amazing accomplishment... and get your order in before June 30, 2017 to save 15%. I was truly impressed. This will be really nice for someone who just doesn't have a room for home theater. If you can find a room to model, or I suppose purchase modeled rooms at some point in time, you can sit in your less than optimal room (up to two people at the same time)... perhaps even at your computer, watch a movie with your headphones and it will sound like you are in that modeled theater... no matter WHERE you are seated. Cool as grits!
     
    #20 AudiocRaver, Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2017
  21. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    Wanting to give adequate time to the Synergistic Research room, I arrived a little early in time for the very last demo.The room was filled with a seemingly and almost assuredly decent system (I did not pay close attention to the components, being there for an SR demo) and many SR goodies. HFT attached to the Magico speakers, Acoustic Dots placed strategically around the room, Acoustic Panels and Acoustic Art were also present, along with the Atmosphere XL between the equipment racks, gear placed on Tranquility Bases and a couple of Black Boxes on the floor.

    I asked that the Black Boxes, which reportedly use resonance to deal with room issues, starting with low frequencies, be demonstrated. At my request, the Black Boxes were removed from the room for A/B purposes and the music played, a highly detailed song, "Dead Already" by Thomas Newman. I wanted to hear a difference, but was unsure if I did or not. The music was paused and the modules were brought back into in the room. The midbass seemed to improve ever so slightly, but sighted A/B comparisons are inherently flawed and I do not trust that expectation bias and/or the power of suggestion did not come into play, guiding my perception. I asked that the demo be performed a second time, this time feeling there was no difference.

    Next up was the PowerCell 12 UEF SE power conditioner ($5995, comes with a $3k power cable) demo, playing "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' by Ennio Morricone, a fun and also well recorded song with lots of detail, which was great for the purpose. The PowerCell was switched off, the music played and stopped, then the PowerCell kicked back on. I thought at first that the sound had degraded just bit, the midrange losing a bit of detail, instruments losing clarity and becoming just a tad more distant from me. To ensure my mind was not playing tricks on me, I asked that the music be allowed to play as the power conditioner was immediately switched on without pausing the song. The demonstrator told me that immediate switching was "not good for demo purposes".

    The first demonstrator left the room when owner, Ted Denney, showed up, and we resumed the demo with, "Dead Already" again. This second power conditioner demo gave me the perception of an ever so slight improvement, mostly in a seemingly increased dynamic range. Still unsure of myself and frustrated with the length of time between A and B switching, I again asked for immediate switching, There was a bit of confusion where it was thought that I wanted the conditioner turned OFF while the music played and I was chastised for not realizing that the capacitors needed time to drain, which of course I do understand. Once it was clear that I was asking for an immediate power ON without pause in the music, my request was accommodated. This time, I heard no difference going from A to B. Three power conditioner auditions, no clear difference heard and time was up. We had to go.

    It has been said that these types of differences are hard to hear if the system is not up to it, but these differences are also claimed to be quite audible. If the differences are as large as often claimed, they should not take massive concentration or attention to minutiae to discern. I do have to say that, in my opinion, the SR room was one of the best systems at the show, one of my top 5 favorites. Despite this advantage, I was unable to reliably discern these alleged differences while A/B testing the products.

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