Amarra:: Sonic Studio
My favorite wake-up call at the show was Amarra:: Sonic Studio. Early (way too early) Friday morning, their room across the hall from mine was blasting Cat Stevens. The guys from Sonic Studio were enthusiastically showing their new feature-rich Amarra software accompanied by a pair of Focal speakers, Parasound Halo power amplifier, and Wireworld cables. Capabilities for playback of a wide variety of formats including native DSD are said to give it true analog-like sound.
Audioengine was showing a wide variety of cool lifestyle products. The line of speakers is available in both active and passive form and I perceive them to offer great value. The diminutive powered A2 at $199 per pair sounded quite a bit better than their size and price would indicate, as did the very handsome powered A5 in a Bamboo cabinet that top out at $449 per pair.
A desktop audio amplifier, wireless audio adaptor, wireless iPod adaptor, and subwoofer round out the line.
Fritz/ Wywires/ Zesto Audio
The Fritz/WyWires/Zesto Audio Room was producing some fine analog sound. The very well-constructed system consisted of the Fritz Carbon 7 speakers, Modwright KWA 100SE power amplifier, Modwright LS100 preamplifier, Zesto Audio Andros PS-1 Tube phonostage, Thorens TD 309 turntable with a Dynavector cartridge, an Esoteric Universal player, and a full complement of WyWires cables.
The analog playback was especially fine. George and Carolyn Counnas of Zesto Audio were excellent hosts and graciously agreed to a review of their Andros PS-1 phono.
By the way, The Andros PS-1 was also doing analog duty in the JIB/One World Audio room where it was making great sound paired with a Lyra cartridge, Graham tonearm, and a vintage Luxman turntable. You will hear more about this vacuum tube beauty later in the year!
This magnificent sounding room featured the Eficion F300 speakers, Plinius power amplifier, BAT preamplifier, and digital playback courtesy of Amarra:: Sonic Studio.
The Eficion F300’s air motion transformer sounded sweet, relaxed, detailed, and transparent. The speaker as a whole delivered a deep and convincing soundstage, prodigous (if not over-ripe due to the room) bass. Indeed, in my opinion, this was one of the top 3 sounds at the show.
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