Home Entertainment 2002
Hi-Fi and Home Theater Event
Zenith had a press conference where they confirmed them focusing on digital products including LCD televisions. They are aggressively driving HDTV direct view (tube) TVs. Rear projection (CRT) is being slimmed down while LCD rear projection models are being pushed harder to increase sales by reaching attractive price points.
Sony press conference...
Dave McDowell of Sony had their SACD conference that began by sounding like a canned advertorial. Fortunately Dave admitted at the onset that we would be experiencing demonstrations by their marketing department. In fact it sounded so canned that i could not help but record some audio for you to hear this for yourself. Have a listen to the
mp3 sound bite and decide for yourself by clicking here
(RealAudio file). In any event, there was some news announced including the plans by Kenwood, Onkyo and others who will soon be offering SACD compatible players in the marketplace.
Director of the SACD project, David Kawakami (pictured here). After years of production, there are now 650 titles available on the SACD format. SACD plans on beefing up their multi-channel offerings. Universal plans on releasing thirteen new titles in the near future. Upcoming titles by Sony include one from Ozzy Osbourn and others. Sugar Hill and Vanguard labels plan on releasing hybrid SACD discs (CD and SACD layers). SonoPress is opening up a second SACD production line while Crest National plans on opening up their first SACD production line.
Jody Klein, Senior V.P. of Abkco Music plans on re-releasing older titles by the Rolling Stones titles, 22 in all, transferred by Steve Rosenthal and mastered by Bob Ludwig. These titles should begin release
by this summer.
Reaching consumers is an all in one Sony ADV-S50ES ($800) integrated amplifier. With five channels (100 watts each), this unit also includes Dolby Digital,
dts, Pro Logic II, CD, DVD-Video and SACD playback.
Also attended a wonderful listening session in the Sony SACD room with five Manley 250 watt amplifiers, Eggleston loudspeakers, Transparent Audio cables and Grand Prix Audio stands.
Three Stones songs including
"Honkey Tonk Woman". Ok, this may have put me over the edge to finally try this SACD format in my own home. They also played a new choral piece recoded by Tom Jung in the DSD format.
i have to admit it sounded great! In fact this alone may be the cornerstone to
having me give in and formally review a SACD player. Yes, it was that
good... even against my original British pressed Decca vinyl!
New Wilson Audio 7 ($22,400). For the first time a new closure material used while the Puppy's new drivers 3Hz lower to reach 20Hz. The
tweeter and midrange divers are the same as the Wilson 6.
While we were the first worldwide to cover the Dynaudio Confidence C4 ($16,000) during
our Frankfurt show coverage, this is the first time these loudspeakers have made a showing in the USA. During the conference,
a 100% Naim front-end was used.
From Vintage Vending out of Salem, NH come a mix or real USA history and art.
The cigar cabinet was especially attractive for those of us who enjoy some of
the world's finest smokes :-)
From Audio Advancements comes Morch tonearm and many other products including this special edition Earmax (seen here in wood for $795) for those with headphones and tubes. Ooh la la!
Ali and Janice of AIX Records/Hi-Res Music are offering very high-resolution music in the DVD-Audio format at special show prices. AIX has 100% original recording while Hi-Res remaster jazz favorites.
Jackie Augustine of PRIMEDIA introduced...
Dr. Joe Flaherty of CBS TV gave a wonderful speech at the press conference concerning HDTV and other topics. Three phases of
the public accepting new technology are:
1. Immoral and against the Bible
2, OK, but it will never catch on
3. You know, i thought of it myself five years ago
In the Gallo Acoustics room was their new Due ($599 each, seen left) that have two mids and a central tweeter. Also seen
(right) are their famous balls.
In the Viola room was DCS front end with their Sririto pre-amplifier ($18,000), Bravo 350 watt stereo amplifier ($17,990 bridgeable), and as seen here is their Allegro ($18,000/pr) and Basso subwoofer ($12,000/pr) all wires with Viola cabling.
Music Hall had not just the usual single malt scotch, their mmf-5 turntable
($499). Note, our very own hard core Matt Tulini enjoyed some very fine single
malt Scotch in this room.
Also in the room was the Shandling CDT-100 tubed CD player ($1,999). Tubes used are the 6N3 plus it has a
24-bit/96kHz upsampling, HDCD, and four Burr-Brown DAC chip. Very impressive!
Lastly, the new Creek P53 pre-amplifier (approximately $2,500) and is a fully balanced design. Both unbalanced and balanced inputs and outputs. An optional phono board covers both MM and MC. Switched attenuator volume control in
North Acoustics has their smaller Passion ($5,200) and Tempest ($8,800) loudspeakers. The soft-dome Revelator tweeter is
used in both designs.
Balanced Audio Technology had their new VK-31SE ($4,999) and VK-51SE ($8,500, pictured here) pre-amplifier. The VK-51SE has, for the first time in a BAT product, oil capacitors as power supply bypass. SUPER-PAK power supply and paper-in-oil power supply bypass capacitors.
In the Sakura Systems room was the Shigaraki system including their 4716 CD player ($1,750). The entire system can be seen only days ago in
our Frankfurt Germany show report.
Von Gaylord Audio (formerly called Legend Audio) had new The Legend II monitor loudspeakers ($3,995). A reinforced cabinet and upgraded internal wire and crossover augment their 7" Kevlar midrange/woofer and inverted dome 1" Kevlar tweeter.
Coolest amplifier of the day goes to Art Audio for their Adagio monoblock amplifier($20,000/pr). Using the new KR Audio 52BX tube, it produced 44 watts in pure "Class A" single-ended triode power.
Here is a room photo of the Art Audio room that included the Ensemble's Figura loudspeakers ($8,900), Ensemble's Dichrono DAC/pre-amplifier ($5,900), and
the Ensemble wire.
VTL's new TL 7.5 ($10,000) is a two chassis unit so the fully differential/balanced analog circuitry is separated from the power supply to insure as little noise as
possible reaches the critical analog section. It took VTL five people and five years to
achieve the final production of this design. The gain stage uses a 12AX7 tube while the output stage is MOSFET. Both balanced (XLR) and RCA inputs and outputs. Frequency response is 1Hz-100kHz with a maximum of an amazing 45 Volts output. This hefty setup weighs in at 90 lbs.
Von Schweikert's new VR-5 Special Edition five-pack ($3,000 to $5,000) is a complete line for both the audiophile and videophile. Common to these loudspeakers is that they use the most expensive as the customer desires (at custom pricing).
Click here for Friday's coverage.