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2007 Home Entertainment Show Report: Part 1

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May 11 – 13, 2007
Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York, NY

What was the most fun thing about the show? Well three things for me. Seeing old friends, making new friends, and the ballroom where there was lots of Vinyl to buy.

John DeVore and Michael Lavorgna Michael this time with Jules Coleman

Art Dudley and Jules again A ballroom full of new vinyl

As far as the equipment goes, let me start with three disappointments. First, Quad, Audio Note, Shindo, Lowther of America, Art, and a few notable others weren’t there. Second, while there were lots of great looking turntables at the show, most people were spinning CDs and I heard nothing I would call a breakthrough there, not the new $66,000 three-piece set up or the “Memory Player”. Yes, both of these sounded very good, but digital seems to improve in little steps to me. Third, I was disappointed in the general sound from room to room. In both the previous shows at Los Angeles and San Francisco, I was shocked at the general quality for a show; but at the Grand Hyatt in New York, the rooms were small and the sound I generally heard was smooth, but lacking in nuances.

There were exceptions though. The May Audio room with all the Harmonix Reimyo equipment is always like an oasis of beautiful sound in a desert of noise. The new CDT-777 transport with the DAP-777 combo produced the best digital sound I heard at the show. Though I did hear some people who are “quite in the know” complaining that it was way too much to spend to drive a pair of tiny mini monitors. Well, maybe but the system let you hear what the products could really do, and perhaps even showed if the speakers honestly fit the small room better than most.

The Rethm and RedPoint audio design room was another place I just wanted to sit and listen to music. At past shows, Rethm has seemed to have some trouble getting their speakers setup in a hotel room, but they were very successful in New York. Their new speaker, I was told would cost around $7,000, is not quite as huge and sounded more full range than the older bigger speakers. The RedPoint table was a work of art and the sound of Vinyl to SET to well-done single-driver speakers done right sure produces a sound that makes me smile and tap my toes.

A room that was coming close and showing great potential was Jeff Catalano’s High Water Sound. I think it’s harder to get big horns to work right in these rooms, but they were still putting a smile on my face with vinyl and tubes, this time with horns. By the way, he had some very fine-looking turntables that were making beautiful music.

The only sound from solid-state and, for sure, the only sound from digital amps that made me want some to review was in the Red Wine room. In the pictures below you see the beautiful mono amps and then there is the amazing picture of Vinnie holding the stereo thirty and the Imod in one hand. There’s no power cords or anything else and it’s producing all this beautiful music.

The MBL room fell into a category I’ll call “better than before”. I think they finally got a room the size that would work with their big speakers. Normally, they seem to put far too much loudspeaker in whatever room they exhibit in. I still don’t think they have gotten the bass to match the wonderful midrange and top-end, but it was much more coherent than I had ever head before.

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