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California Audio Show 2015
California Audio Show 2015 Show Report -- Part 1


Note: Click on any image for a slightly higher resolution version. My apologies for the low quality images as the new camera system was set for another project. Will re-photograph all other images taken today (and future photos) so they are extremely high resolution.


  Bobís Devices had two tonearms on the high-precision VPI Avenger turntable showcasing their VPI Integrated and Sky step-up transformers ($1650 and $1250 respectively). Phoenix Engineering makes the Raodrunner and Eagle power supply for turntables $234 and $525 to ensure a very stable, constant speed rotation of the VPI platter. 


VERO is a crowd funding effort for a new headphone performance interface ($299 for Universal to $899 for the Reference). There is a network of electronics within the center logo'ed black box that modifies the electrical system to "articulate the frequencies". Also available is a bass dongle for those who desire more bass than their unit's built-in equalizer can provide. I listened to the Universal with the Noble K10 with Double Helix Symbiote SP 8 IEM cable via the Astell&Kern AK120 MKII and it did sound fuller; with slightly less extended highs, a smidge more lower mids and mid bass. There was some slight loss of resolution and delicacy of the music via 24-bit/96kHz Beatles track "Blackbird". Signal reduction/loss is expected when you add in the insertion loss for the two additional connectors plus whatever parts are within the black box. Am sure even MIT would never argue about the effects of measurable loss due to their device. Still, if you prefer to pay for a passive EQ box versus using the portable media player's free internal equalizer this could be a solution for you.


Audio Note Kits new ANK DAC5.1 Signature ($5500) is a just-released upgrade to their DAC4.1. The 4.1, as with the 5.1 Signature, has Audio Note's tradition of zero oversampling resistor ladder architecture (R-2R) with "pure digital to analog conversion". The 4.1 hardwires digital information directly to output voltage and also features triple C-Core transformers. 


HeadAmp Audio Electronics is an online store that started life building their own vacuum tube amps. Their Blue Hawaii amp is a fully balanced design hybrid for electrostatic phones $5500 to $6500 depending on configuration. The Blue Hawaii SE hybrid amplifier uses EL34 output tubes to powering electrostatic headphones. It looks solidly built and easily powered these electrostatic headphones to good output. After Heather and i listened to this setup, with each of us hearing both headphones, we both preferred our Noble K10 CIEMs with Astell&Kern AK240 or Sony NW-ZX2 over this setup.


AIX Records is here with their true high resolution recordings. Mark Waldrep is also giving a great seminar about what is labeled as hi-res versus what truly is high resolution. With so many companies saying Hi-Res Audio yet it not sounding like true 24-bit/96kHz recordings, perhaps the labeling system needs some clarification? Are you confused? Hopefully the consumer won't be once there is a big commercial push for whatever is labeled high resolution music. My article about how to properly label high resolution digital audio, plus free logos for the industry to use, can be read at this link.


Speaking of true high resolution music, here we have Marcia of Reference Recordings with their new Saint-SaŽn's Symphony No3 and Doug MacLeodís Exactly Like This. If you want to hear the true potential of the best with hi-res audio, then Reference Recordings (or AIX Records) is an excellent choice.


OPPOs booth was packed with people! I had to nearly fight my was through just to hear the 105 with PM-3 headphones ($1300 for D version and $399 respectively). Heather said they sounded really great! OPPO delivers great sound and you can read my review of the PM-3 planar magnetic headphones here. Also note that the HA-2 won our Special 20/20 Award within the August 2015 Review Magazine.


The crowd's getting pretty thick here at the California Audio Show (CAS) 2015. This was about an hour after CAS 2015 began and still there were lines for tickets ad badges. If you're in the area, stop on by CAS here in San Francisco for great music, buy some music at a nice discount and the Pono music player is on sale for $325 too!


---> Back to main CAS 2015 page.













































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