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2015 California Audio Show, Part 2

The best sound in the huge rooms

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The rooms of the first floor and one on the second floor fall into this category. They are much bigger than any room you would find in a normal house. Then, there were five other rooms on the second floor and two on the third that would be considered large rooms in an average American home. The rest of the rooms, such as the ones on the third floor, would definitely fall into the category of small.

The size of a room has such great effect on the sound of a system that I don’t really know how to say which room was the best sounding room at the show. So, I’m going to break the rooms down into three categories: huge, big and small. This report will discuss the best sounding of the two huge rooms.

A.R.T. cables, tuning cones with Tannoy and Pass Labs in the CAS6 A.R.T. Room.

Without a doubt, the Audio Reference Technology room could easily be considered the best sound I hear at the show. I asked many attendees, and other reviewers about the rooms they had stood out to them and many said this room. Though nothing pleases everyone, I heard one guy who didn’t like how they had setup the Tannoys. To me, it was the by far the best I had ever heard the big Tannoys sound.

The system consisted of the big Tannoy Westminster Royal SE speakers, bi-amped with Pass Labs XA 200.8 for the top and XA100.5 amps for the bottom. The preamp was Pass Labs Xs linestage. The cable were all from A.R.T and the room was tuned with their tuning cones and a baby grand piano. They also used an A.R.T Low Frequency Effect unit. The source was the Esoteric K-03.

This system genuinely surprised me. I wasn’t surprised that it was good, but I was surprised at how outstanding it sounded. It was very emotionally involving. I have always loved the Tannoy Canterburys, but now I finally see what some of my friends see is so special about the Westminster Royal SE speakers.

In the AudioVision SF room (dealership), the YG Acoustics Hailey 1.2 were sounding very big, bold, dynamic and involving. They were being driven by a full system of the new Bel Canto Black electronics. The turntable was by Pear Audio and everything was hooked up with Nordost cables. I found this system to provide great music in this very big room.

Bel Canto Reference Black electronics, Pear Audio turntable, Nordost cables and YG Acoustics Hailey 1.2 in the AudioVision SF Room.

Gamut had their complete reference system in their room. Everything in the system was from Gamut, including the cables. This system truly demonstrated what a system built around great mini-monitors can do. No other system at the show disappeared like this one. The soundstaging and imaging were beyond magical. No, the system doesn’t break the laws of physics, but it surely made it clear to me why some people are willing to spend real money for a system built around stand-mounted monitors. I heard several people who thought this was the best sound on the first floor. It was a little speaker in a big room, but it filled completely.

Complete GamuT system as presented by importer Audio Skies.

Part three will be about the best sounding small rooms and will be coming soon.

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