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2011 CAS Coverage, Part II: The Rooms

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The Rooms

At the Blue Coast Records’ portion of the Blue Coast Records/Tim Marutani Consulting exhibit, you were greeted by the smiling face of Cookie Marenco who is surely excited about what they are doing. Blue Coast Records was founded by producer/engineer Cookie Marenco and French engineer Jean Claude Reynaud in 2007. They are known for recording live performances at the 1st CAS and making them available hours later for 96k hi-resolution downloads. They make most of their recordings on 2″ analog tape, and use their proprietary recording technique that they call “Extended Sound Environment” or E.S.E. for short.

As before, their recording sessions and then playback of the recording were both enjoyable and impressive. What a great room!

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The people at Audio UK took a very simple approach. They set out to show how much music they could give you in a system for under $25,000 and it worked well. At an informal gathering of the five Dagogo writers who were at the show, three of us thought this room was the most bang for the buck at the show.

They debuted the Signature version of their long lived OTO integrated amp. The Signature OTO is a 10-watt Class A single-ended EL84 integrated amp. It was driving a pair of AN-E/SPe speakers with hemp high-efficiency woofers. The source was their wonderful sounding CDT-3 CD player.

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VooDoo Cables has to at least be praised for having a great sense of humor. How else can you explain their name. Well, despite their name they make cables in a big way. Their website list 12 power cords, 9 interconnects, 6 speaker cables, 5 digital cables as well as 4 power-product accessories.

VooDoo Cable says their cables are not made from a bulk spool of wire. All the wire, shielding and connectors used to build VooDoo Cable are cryogenically treated in what they call a cold fusion liquid nitrogen.

Their show system sounded very good and consisted of a Belles Reference 150A power amplifier, a ModWright 36.5 preamp with dual-mono power supply, a Sony XA-5400ES SACD player with ModWright Truth modifications, and a PS Audio P600 multi-wave AC power regenerator. The cables, of course, were all VooDoo: Stradivarius Cremona interconnects with high-purity copper and silver conductors. They ran $1,500 for a 1m pair, Stradivarius Cremona speaker cables ran $2,000 for a four-foot pair, single-wired. The power cords were the Super Tesla SE at $1,500 for a three-foot cable and the Crystal Vajr,a $1,050 for a three footer.

They were debuting the prototype of their own speakers, which should be available in about a year. The system and speakers sounded very nice.

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Show after show since at least 2004 Von Gaylord Audio has consistently had some of the best sound at any show I have attended. Their speakers and beautiful tube amps and preamps are simply beautiful to look at and listen to. Again at this show I found their room to be one I kept going back by to just for precious few minutes of music listening.

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Brodmann Acoustics was playing their very attractive Festival Series speakers. The Austrian company that first brought us the Bosendofer speaker is back with the Brodmann Acoustic line of speakers. The little FS speakers are only $3,990/pair. Like the Bosendorer they are still using layered piano lacquer works to stiffen the wood enclosures and solid wood sound rods in front of the speaker’s side-firing drivers. To my ears this gave the speakers a very alive sound.

They paired their speakers with an Electrocompaniet ECI-5 integrated amplifier that cost $4,990 and an Electrocompniet EMP-1/S SACD player that goes for $8,250. Cables were MIT CVT Terminator 1 Proline interconnects, Shotgun ZIII power cords and a Z Powerbar. I found the sound alive and quite balanced.

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WideaLab Inc. is an audio development company from Korea. The primary product is the Aurender S30 Music Storage and Playback Solution. They showed three versions of the Aurender Music Systems that employ playback from solid-state drives. They claim this provides performance unmatchable by CD players and hard disk drives. They use OCXO oscillators in Aurender S30 that are 10,000 to 100,000 times more accurate than ordinary crystal oscillators used in most music servers. The sound was quite good.

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Linn and Tannoy! A Linn room without a turntable or even a CD player, what is the world coming to? They used all Linn electronics playing the Tannoy Definition DC8 loudspeakers or Linn’s floor stander. The cables were MIT: CVT Terminator 2 Speaker Interfaces, CVT Terminator 2 Interconnects and Shotgun AC1 power cords. The sound was quite nice. I thought the Tannoy speakers were a little more alive and to my taste.

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Napa Acoustics had a system approach. They had complete systems starting for under $1,000 and going up. All of their systems were easy on the ears.

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The Bob Hodas Acoustic Analysis exhibit was directly across from the room I was staying in so I had plenty of opportunities to step in and listen. I did, for who could resist the great music and sound from those tunes from “The Tape Project” tapes. The jazz sampler I like the most had music from masters like Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane.

They had put together quite a system consisting of Focal Diablo Utopia 2-way monitors with a 1.25” inverted-dome beryllium tweeter and a 6.5” woofer at $14,000 a pair, with matching stands. That wasn’t enough though, there were also two Focal SW1000 Be subwoofers that cost another $4,495 each. The preamp was the VTL TL-6.5 Signature line stage at $11,500. This was pared with the 400W 450 Signature III fully balanced monoblock power amplifiers at $18,000 a pair. All of this was connected with Siltech Classic Anniversary cables. The digital source was the outstanding sounding Zanden M2500 CD player costing $25,000. Those beautiful tapes were played on a ½” Otari tape machine with Bottlehead electronics.

This was one of the most musically rewarding sounds at the show, but I don’t know if it was the equipment or just those glorious tapes.

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