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The Beatnik’s 2014 California Audio Show Reports The Two Best Modern Sounding Rooms

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As I said this year I want to cover the show a little differently. I‘ve posted some pictures of turntable eye candy and a thought piece, I called the blessings and curses of Audio Shows. Now it’s time to get to my six favorite rooms starting with the two best modern sounding rooms. Then in the next two reports I’ll sahre the two best vintage sounding rooms, and the two best rooms that bridged the gap.

As it turns out both of these rooms were provided by retailer Audio Vision SF’s Room. Let’s start with the big room on the first floor.

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The sound of this room was amazing. It was a huge room, really it was designed to be as many as three large conference rooms or one auditorium. I don’t know how in such a room you get sound so powerful, bold and incredibly dynamic. That’s what I would have expected from Dynaudio speaker that were well over six feet tall, but maybe not in such a large room.

What I hadn’t really expected was how size and scale appropriate they played music. In the room on the other side of the first floor the huge Sound Lab were playing and tonally sounding wonderful, but I felt like I was sitting on the first row of the cinema looking up at a huge screen. None of this with the big Dynaudios, they played a beautiful and correct soundstage. I would love to hear this system set up in a well treated listening room, I bet it would be wonderful.

By the way it’s worth noting that the Dynaudios were being played by the Octave tube electronics and sounded better than I have ever heard them sound with big transistor amps. The Simaudo Moon gear was sounding very good on this system.

The system consisted of Dynaudio Evidence Platinum Speakers ($85,000) being driven by Octave MRE 220 tube monoblocks that used KT 120 tubes ($23,000 per pair). They were also using Octave’s Super Black Box power supply capacitance upgrade modules ($7000 per pair). The preamp was the North American show debut for the Octave HP 700 tube linestage ($16,000). The source was the Simaudio MOON 750 D DAC/transport and MOON 820S power supply ($14,000 and $8000 ). All the cabling was Nordost with Valhalla V2 speaker cables.

The other best sounding modern system was in Audio Vision SF’s smaller room on the second floor.

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Brian Ackerman of Aaudio Imports was there with a BMC system using cabling from Thales, power cords were the incredible Stage III Krakens and the power conditioner was the equally incredible HB Cable Design PowerSlave Marble.

It was the North American debut for the BMC PUREVOX full-range bi-polar loudspeakers ($6,490/pair). They were being driven by the BMC AMP CS2 stereo integrated amplifier ($8,390). The source was the BMC DAC1 PRE HR True 24-bit/192kHz DAC+Preamp ($6,290). All of this was sitting on the new Finite Elemente Pagode APS HiFi Rack.

This system was very nice looking in an industrial design kind of way. I’m sure when most people came in and saw the medium to small speakers they never expected the big sound they heard. The sound was very natural and very full ranged. The frequency extremes were played beautiful and the midrange was very open with great micro-dynamics. The soundstage was also as holographic as any at the show. Congrats to Brian and the people at Audio Vision SF for such a nice system that that would work in rooms most people have in their homes.

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One Response to The Beatnik’s 2014 California Audio Show Reports The Two Best Modern Sounding Rooms


  1. MichealK says:

    First, I’d like to thank Constantine for putting on a great show. I really enjoyed myself.
    Second, brightness was very common, compounded by the music being too loud. I’ve worked with bands that have the same problem of sounding to bright, and I’ve often wondered if the musicians have high frequency hearing loss. Possibly there is some of the same in the high end world.
    Third, I thought the best rooms were the Teresonic and Audio note rooms. The Teresonic room really showed that server based digital can challenge vinyl, if done right. Really impressive!
    The Audio Note room had a system that was about one sixth of the cost, and more in line with my budget, and still sounded great. Probably helped that Dave Cope played very interesting music, including that Ella F. movie record that you reviewed. Perhaps it’s telling that the rooms I got the most new music ideas from, were the rooms I spent the most time in.

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