Publisher Profile

2006 Home Entertainment Show Report: Part 2

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Nagra, Audion, Verity Audio

Dagogoan Jack Roberts listens to the Verity Audio Sarastro loudspeaker via a Nagra system with
the Audion Premier Quattro monoblock PREAMPLIFIERS ($10,995/pair, see below)

John Quick, Nagra USA and Verity Audio’s mutual U.S. sales and marketing manager, exhibited two Nagra / Audion / Verity systems at opposite ends of the over-sized room.

The USD$100k+ Nagra / Audion / Verity -based system was put in one end of the huge room against a corner arc of windows. A quartet of strategically placed diffusing panels behind and to the right of the listening chairs equalized the acoustics of the room to allow listeners distinguish instrument placements on stage.

Nagra introduced its prototype CD player, a machine of such compactness and precision craftsmanship that was as alluring to behold visually as it was sonically.

Verity’s Sarastro is the 2nd to the top of the line loudspeaker design in the company’s product line, and it was coupled very auspiciously by Nagra’s solid-state stereo MPA, producing colossal dimensionality and picturesque tonalities. Jack Roberts as shown in the picture managed to remain seated despite my unceasing walking-around and in-between.

Verity Audio Sarastro loudspeaker ($34,995/pair) Nagra VPA 845 monoblock amplifiers ($19,295/pair)

Top to bottom:
Nagra V professional portable battery powered 2-channel
digital audio recorder using removable Hard Disk drive,
Nagra CD player prototype,
Nagra “Twin Drive” DAC ($11,995) Audion Quattro Premier (top),
Nagra MPA stereo solid-state power amplifier
(bottom, $15,995)

A second Nagra / Audion / Verity Audio system at the other side of the room

Top to bottom:
Ayre C5-XE universal player ($6,500)
Nagra PL-L line preamplifier ($8,495)
Sonic Euphoria PLC ($1,295)
Nagra PSA solid-state stereo power amplifier ($6,595)
Audion PX-25SE MKII ($5,495, center,
in front of Nagra PSA)
Audion Silver Night MKII 300B ($9,300/pair) Verity Tamino Encore ($11,995/pair)

Sonic Euphoria PLC “Passive Linestage Controller”,
Nagra PL-L solid-state line preamplifier

Ascendo, Karan Acoustics, Luminance Audio, Virtual Dynamics

A relaxing Rick Schultz of Virtual Dynamics wonders who’s taking the picture,
as Darren Censullo of Avator Acoustics, the U.S. Distributor of Ascendo speakers and Karan electronics,
begins to load a disc.

As soon as I stepped out of the elevator onto the 3rd Floor, two big exhibits attracted my attention, and with one of them bearing the names of Virtual Dynamics, Ascendo, Luminance Audio, etc,, in I went.

Rick Schultz of Virtual Dynamics, Luminance Audio, and Mike Tseng have been my resources in reviewing their KST-150 power amplifier, and I met Mike a few years ago, so I was looking forward to introduce myself to Rick. Pictures of him in his e-newsletters do him no justice. This guy is so easy to get along with, I found having conversations with him is as easy and pleasant as demanding review samples from him.

And all this time when Darren Censullo of Avatar Acoustics, whom I have known from the days when he was still the national sales manager for Harmonix’s U.S. distributor, was busying entertaining attendees with their music demands.

The Santa Monica room is one of the larger rooms on the floor, and although it is not the biggest, it is the most accessible straight from the elevator. Five rows of folding chairs with alternating prints of “Virtual Dynamics” and “Luminance Audio” on their backs added spaciousness and orderliness to the room.

Having used the Luminance Audio KST-150 for quite some time, I was perplexed at the obvious overload from the Ascendo E loudspeakers. The distortion was so prominent that even though I am not familiar with Ascendo speakers, I couldn’t imagine speakers from a reputable name such as Ascendo could sound like this.

I returned time and again to bear witness of the same phenomena, despite Darren’s daily regimen of continuous fine-tuning of the room each morning with his Acoustic Systems devices. Then it happened on the last day, Sunday, in the late afternoon, when I sat down again and played the same disc and found the distortions all but gone. Darren: “The CD player has an adjustable output voltage knob that fine-tunes its interaction with the preamplifier.” It turned out that the CD player’s output was see at such a high level that it overloaded the Karan preamplifier. But now it has been corrected, and for the first time at the Show, I got to listened to some of the most serene and tonally evocative music.

John Schaffer of Wadia was rumored to be going in and out of this room; but we never came across each other despite my repeated visits — until the very last day. I finally got a chance to have a good chat with him. What an exciting room!

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