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CAS

2011 CAS Coverage, Part III

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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.

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Audioengine

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.

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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!

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Eficion

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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