It was a good show, although it seemed to have lighter traffic this year, especially Saturday as we were able to find seats in almost every room with little or no wait. I was surprised by some products in a good way and then some in a less than good way. Overall, I had a really good time.
It was was fun show to attend, you could not ask for better company than Wayne or Dennis. As usual, I was left with that funny feeling that some of those six-figure systems could be beaten (in terms of performance) by spending what would be the sales tax on such systems on the right gear. But who cares! I don't want to deny rich people nice furniture. ;-)
First, it was good to meet you Mark and I was able to see Wayne and Dennis fluttering back and forth on occasion trying to get a handle on what is what is not and as Zepplin pointed out, what should never be.
This year I was actually rooting for the underdogs in most cases in that I know most of the big systems can hold their own at a show, as well as at someone's home and by someone I mean not me. Wilson Audio, Martin Logan, Sonus Faber, etc do a not need my love at this time.
I was able to experience the wonders of high-end with my theoretical budget of about $10,000 in many rooms with equipment that I would be happy to call my own is it wasn't for that money thing. Going from the top of my budget down I would have to say that the Vandersteen Trio with the REL Subwoofer was probably my favorite almost within reach system. It did everything right for me with...believe it or not doing nothing really wrong especially considering it was in a hotel room. I listened long and hard and it just kept making me smile getting the occasional goosebumps, it was brilliant.
I think one of the next true wonders for me in the upper mid range of this $10,000 budget would be the Dynaudio Confidence C1 Platinum monitors on stands. I was totally flummoxed by this little monitor system at how beautiful they could sound bordering on maybe the romantic but never quite going there. I adored having a lower octave authority and punch of speakers that are fitted with subwoofers while the little Dynaudios had no subs. They just worked.
Going away down in price I would have to point to the magnificent ELAC demonstration put on by Andrew Jones wherein he was able to display incredible sound that he coaxed out of a couple small monitors with again, no sub woofer. What made me smile ever so slightly more than the magnificent sound coming from these little guys was the crowds and long lines outside the door of the ELAC room. As crowded as is as it was I was able to speak to Andrew directly about some of his thoughts and designs and he just seemed to be a very very proud daddy.
I do have a few disappointments but there is no real reason to get into those at this time. Lastly I have a what were they thinking room in mind wherein they used five Magnepan 1.7's in surround mode to demo music in a room that was about the size of a moderate master bedroom. It was just wrong although even in this rather cool but weird configuration Magnepan's could just not sound wrong.