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T.H.E. Newport Beach 2013 Audio Show Report

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Electra-Fidelity/Fritz speakers/Atma-Sphere/Resolution Audio/Wywires


Electra-Fidelity/Fritz speakers/Atma-Sphere/Resolution Audio/Wywires – When I was in the room early on Friday the sound seemed a little rough and edgy.  By the time I returned the next day the sound had taken a giant step forward.  In fact the modified Atma-Sphere preamp and Electra-Fidelity GM-70 mono block amps, driving the new Fritz Speakers REV 7 towers were a joy to listen.  The system produced a nice tonally rich and full bodied sound with my Noah and the Whale demo track.  There was very good transparency and mid-range presence on several other musical selections.  Bass impact was very good with nice detail.  No doubt the Resolution Audio Cantata music center, Wywire cables and GIK acoustic panels also contributed to the overall system synergy.

Zesto Audio/TAD/Wywires


Zesto Audio/TAD/Wywires – George Counnas of Zesto did a terrific job assembling the pieces to produce musical gestalt in a small hotel room.  Included in the show system was a Zesto Andros tube phono stage (which I have heard in several friends’ systems), Zesto Leto tube line preamp, VAC stereo amp, Merrill-Williams turntable (with Triplanar arm/Dynavector cartridge combo) and TAD Evolution One loudspeakers.   All cabling were supplied by Wywires.  Tonal accuracy and perfect transparency, coupled with tube harmonic richness create a sense of organic realism that I always strive for in audio, and this system hit the spot.  Bull’s eye!



Chapman Audio Systems/MIT cables – Chapman makes some fine sounding speakers, evidenced by my desire to visit their room at past Rocky Mountain shows.  It was no exception at this show with Chapman T7 loudspeakers, Cary 211 amps, Audible Illusions LC2 preamp, MSB CD player and MIT cables providing a smooth, warm and organic sound.  It didn’t hurt that an attractive spokesperson was handing out “I love Chapman loudspeakers” buttons at the door.  Strings sounded silky smooth with clear delineation of each instrument playing on my Noah and the Whale demo track.  Sound stage cues were strongly evident, with good lateral width and adequate depth in the small room.

So what do my favorite sounding rooms at this show have in common?  That each cost less than a million dollars?  No, that’s not it though it’s a fact.  The answer I’m looking for is every system has some tube component contributing to my overall enjoyment of musical reproduction.  That’s not to say solid state, hybrid, class D or some other circuit design can’t provide the same enjoyment.  I have heard some great sounding rooms with the likes of Pass Labs, Rowland, Merrill Audio, April Music etc at other audio shows, just not this time.  That’s all folks; until next time, I wish you happy listening.

Photo credit: Tom Dagostino

7 Responses to T.H.E. Newport Beach 2013 Audio Show Report

  1. Ron says:

    A congratulations on your Paul Mah New Port show coverage, good stuff.

  2. David Kellogg says:

    Paul’s savory writing and crisp similies give his review the texture of a tasty taco; audio prose taken to another level of transparency. Equipment is not the only path to ‘lifting the veil’ from the listening experience. Smart move, Dagogo: you’ve got a live one online!

  3. Ian Currie says:

    Thanks for the well written, down to earth coverage for us folks who couldn’t be there!

  4. Peter Ayer says:

    Thanks Paul for the interesting and informative show report. It is refreshing that you tended to like the less-than-over-the-top expensive systems. Though I’m a vinyl/SS/aluminum baffle guy, I enjoyed your comments about tube based electronics and cone-in-wooden-box speakers. Nice report.

  5. Jeff Cantor says:

    Concise. Nice job, Paul.

  6. Fred Kohlhoff says:

    Fun read Paul, very entertaining.

    • Paul Mah says:

      Thanks Fred. Which reminds me to make preparations for this year’s show since it’s almost around the corner.

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