In my first UK Hi-Fi Show Live report, about electronics, I mentioned that show organizer Paul Miller moved this annual event from a hotel to the upscale Ascot Racecourse. I think that this was the smartest decision Miller could’ve made. If you’re going to showcase high-priced hi-fi gear -- and let’s face it: even entry-level hi-fi is priced way beyond what most people are willing to spend on sound equipment -- you’d better do so in a fitting location rather than a bunch of makeshift bedrooms-turned-soundrooms.
Gloomy, rainy, shitty. That, to me, sums up the weather in Ascot, England, on October 26 -- maybe all of England, for all I know. On the brighter side, Paul Miller, who presides over the annual UK Hi-Fi Show Live, and is also the editor of Hi-Fi News and Record Review, has taken his event out of the hotel where it’s been held until now, and moved it to the Ascot Racecourse -- a seriously attractive, upscale venue that’s home to thoroughbred horseracing.
At the 2019 Toronto Audio Fest, to be held October 18 to 20, Simaudio will publicly display for the first time its new Moon 680D DAC-streamer, which is priced at $9000 (all prices are USD). On October 2, however, I visited product manager Dominique Poupart at the company’s factory in Boucherville, Quebec, Canada, to see the first 680D that came off the production line and learn more about it. I felt it important to go there because Simaudio has long been known for producing some of the best-sounding digital-playback products in the world.
In August of this year, the New York and Long Island audiophile societies, respectively known as The Audiophile Society and The Audio Syndrome, hosted Andrew Jones, vice president of engineering for Elac. Each audio society’s events are typically well-attended; however, this meeting, held at a member’s home, was packed to the proverbial rafters. This was due not only to the attendance of members from both clubs, but the opportunity to witness Jones demonstrate Elac’s newest active speaker, the three-way, floorstanding Navis ARF-51 ($3999.96/pair, all prices USD), and provide insights concerning its design.
On September 17, the audio world sucked in its collective breath after Amazon announced a new streaming service offering lossless CD-resolution and high-resolution music. Amazon Music HD has over 50 million CD-resolution tracks, plus “millions” of “Ultra HD” tracks with higher-than-CD resolution, up to 24-bit/192kHz.
A recent business trip took me to Canada’s national capital, Ottawa. In addition to being the political center of Canada, it’s the home of the National Research Council, where SoundStage! performs its loudspeaker measurements. It’s also the location of electrostatic loudspeaker manufacturer Muraudio.
Here’s the final segment of my three-part coverage of new speakers from last week’s CEDIA Expo, which took place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. While conventional freestanding speakers aren’t the focus at the CEDIA Expo, I explore several new models below -- as well as one of the weirdest in-wall speakers I’ve ever seen. All prices in USD.
Unlike most consumer hi-fi shows, the 2019 CEDIA Expo tradeshow, which took place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver last week, always features lots of new soundbars and subwoofers. Few audiophiles consider these components essential for music listening, but most of them are designed to sound as good with music as they do with movies, so they’re worth consideration -- especially in rooms where you don’t want the audio gear to be the focus of your decor. All prices in USD.
Traditional stereo audio has never been a major category at the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) Expo, which ran for three days last week at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. But it’s the most important show of the year for makers of surround-sound receivers and processors, and they usually bring along a stereo piece or two, too -- as well as cutting-edge home-theater electronics that may interest many audiophiles.
Here’s the second part of my coverage of new speakers I saw at the 2019 CEDIA Expo, which took over the Colorado Convention Center in Denver last week. In this part, we’ll look at some of the more exotic designs often seen at the Expo but almost never seen at other North American shows, including some in-wall and on-wall models. All prices in USD.
The Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) Expo took over the Colorado Convention Center in Denver last week, showcasing a lot of new audio products in addition to countless smart-home devices. Many of the new audio products were so-called “architectural” models -- in-wall, in-ceiling, and outdoor speakers -- and many others were targeted at high-end, custom-installed home theaters. But there were plenty of products of interest to enthusiasts of traditional two-channel audio, including notable new speaker introductions from many major brands.
Thirty years ago, audio manufacturers often conducted product demonstrations at audio society meetings. At these demos, the manufacturers gained exposure for their products, had the time to discuss the products in some depth, and happily for all, offered the demo samples at a discount at the event’s conclusion. But at some point, it became harder and harder for many of the societies to find manufacturers who were willing to hold demos, and the number of them gradually decreased.
It was early in the morning of July 27, 2019, at New York City’s PlayStation Theater, when Aub Driver, Discog’s public relations lead, told me that he and his team, readied for the Crate Diggers Record Fair and Concert, were there for the long run. The event occurred in two parts. First, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and running throughout the day, an almost countless number of retailers sold records, tapes, CDs, and assorted musical paraphernalia from tables stacked with crates, thus the event’s name. That part of the event, which featured several live DJs, was free.
Here’s the fourth and last segment of my coverage of the 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, which took place from September 5 to 8 at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, located near the Denver International Airport. This column finishes off my headphone-related coverage with headphone amps, accessories, and one more set of headphones, all of which I found in the large ballroom that hosted the HeadSpace headphone section of RMAF. All prices in USD.
Occupying several floors of the new Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center near Denver International Airport, the 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest hosted a decent number of new stereo components. Because I was able to attend the show for only a few hours, I know I missed several new product introductions, but here’s what I found in my brief RMAF tour, with all prices listed in USD.
The 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest kicked off with a press day on Thursday, September 6, and three days of general admission to follow. I was able to fly up from Los Angeles for only a very abbreviated, roughly six-hour visit, but I was able to see several notable product launches -- although I know I missed a couple of them, too.
The 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest took place from September 5 to 8 this year in its new home at the colossal Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, near Denver International Airport. For the last several years, there has been a CanJam headphone show held as part of RMAF, but CanJam pulled out this year. Still, the HeadSpace section of RMAF held a large variety of headphone companies -- not as many as the CanJam/RMAF did, but still quite respectable, and I found plenty to write about in the large, quiet ballroom that hosted HeadSpace.
In June of this year, I attended an interesting product pre-launch event at a unique venue. Let’s take the product first.
On the evening of August 20, 2019, I attended an event at Georgia Home Theater in Marietta, Georgia, at which MartinLogan previewed seven new loudspeakers in its Motion series. The revamped Motion series includes two stand-mount models, three floorstanders, and two center-channel speakers.
Audio retailer Larry Borden (Distinctive Stereo in River Vale, New Jersey) and I recently paid a visit to Ralph Glasgal at his large, ultra-modern New Jersey home. Ralph, the inventor of three-dimensional (3D) imaging digital signal processing technology Ambiophonics and founder of the Ambiophonics Institute, is generally not known for aiming low. In fact, he hopes that Ambiophonics will succeed the stereo and 5.1 surround-sound formats. Before proceeding, though, I should address Ralph’s interesting background.
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