T.H.E. Show Newport Beach Show Report 2012

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T.H.E. Show Newport Beach Show Report 2012

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Rockport Speakers and Nordost
Rockport speakers are a quiet alternative to the Bowers & Wilkins, Wilsons and Magicos of the world. They were making a fine sound at T.H.E. Show, using Nordost cables. The room was jam-packed with people with big smiles on their faces. That's a good sign.

Magico needed a bigger room, as they have a lot of buzz for their high-end speakers. Their small room was literally packed with people listening to their new S5 speakers, which sounded fantastic as they always do, dynamic, crisp and tight. They showed more speakers in flat black paint, but they can paint them in car colors if you like.

THE_Show_Newport_2012_Wyred_4_Sound.jpgWyred 4 Sound
W4S had a few prototypes on static display, most of which were variations on the small DAC headphone amp craze. All will be affordably priced, sold direct and should be available very, very soon. The mINT integrated amp was also on static display, which we'll be getting in for review very soon. T.H.E Show offers a chance for people to hear a brand like Wyred 4 Sound in ways that an Internet direct brand (mostly) can't provide.

Are You Kidding Me Audio
Obviously not the real name of the company in question, but I was so floored by their seemingly complete disregard for today's economic climate that I couldn't write anything down except, "Are you kidding me?" The company, who has no dealers, nor any sales channel at present, online or otherwise, was attempting to sell a pair of electrostatic loudspeakers connected to a pair of Definitive Technology Super Towers (as bass backfill drivers?), a four-pack of mono amplifiers, two-channel preamp and, of course, a reel to reel player. Total system price, minus the reel to reel player and Def Tech speakers? $100,000 to start - no Def Techs, no amps, preamps, cables, etc. The reel to reel player was an additional $30,000 if memory serves me, which lead me to proclaim, again, "Are you kidding me?"

Brooks Berdan LTD
While the late, great Brooks Berdan wasn't in attendance this year, his reputation for excellence was, as carried on by his dedicated staff and loving son, with their two rooms possessing some of the sweetest sound of the show. Like Legacy Audio's demo on the main floor, Brooks Berdan LTD's rooms were also standing room only. Brooks would be proud and Wilson fans were drooling at the excellent sound that was being made.

Focal broke out the big guns, bringing along a pair of Stella Utopia EMs being driven by a pair of Devialet integrated amps, configured in mono, with the source duties falling to an iPad and AirPlay. The combo sounded wonderful and made a really strong case for a speaker-first approach to system building, provided you have enough money to put a pair of Stella Utopia EMs on the shopping list. Regardless, the system sounded good and those with the best seats weren't giving them up readily.

THE_Show_Newport_2012_Vinyl.jpgVinyl, Vinyl, Vinyl ...
If you like LPs, T.H.E. Show is the place for you. There was many a room loaded with $50 new pressings of 180-gram records, as well as SACDs, DVD-Audio discs and more. Used vinyl was on sale from all sorts of companies, including Amoeba Music, which was bringing new batches every day. Some people were selling 45 RPM records. If you collect vinyl, this was a good place to hunt for goodies.

Additional Resources
• Read more original commentary in our Feature News Stories section.
• See more industry trade news from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Check out our CES 2012 Show Coverage.
• Explore our show coverage of CEDIA 2011.
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