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Discussion Starter #21
Ryan Loudspeakers

Room 5018

I thought I had heard all the great imaging loudspeakers that were at the show, and then walked into the Ryan Loudspeaker room. Supported by Cardas power, network, interconnect, and speaker cables, a PS Audio Directstream DAC ($5999), a PS Audio BHK Signature Preamplifier ($5999), PS Audio BHK Stereo 250 Amplifier ($7499), and PS Audio P10 AC Power Regenerator ($4999), this system has a natural width and depth of field that you can tell from the doorway of the room is something you need to hear.

Todd Ryan, designer, told me they design all the drivers in the 4-way unit. They buy the dome for their beryllium dome tweeter from Materion, their True Extent line. Materion is the beryllium dome source used by most high-end speaker component and systems companies these days, according to Ryan. Each tower boasts dual-opposing 8" woofers low on the sides, a 6-inch midrange, 4-inch upper midrange, and a beryllium dome tweeter. Todd has found that beryllium's distortions are easier to control and eliminate than those of other dome tweeter material types.

The presentation is very natural and easy to relax into, yet has a liveliness that will not let you ignore it. Deep bass from the dual woofers was impressive. At $16,000 per pair, the flagship model is certainly one to consider in the price range.

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One of the biggest audio stories to tell this year is the advent of MQA.

Listening first to XTC "Senses Working Overtime", I was reminded of recent Blu-ray recordings I have heard, the noise floor vanishing low.

Dave Brubeck "Take Five" starts off softly, then the altogether saxophone enters the mix with startling volume, the swing between low and high dynamics painted in sharp relief. Two totally disparate types of sounds and volume levels, the piano plays softly to the right as the snare rim shots pop loudly to the right, without overpowering the pianissimo keys.

Meridian owned Sooloos, (of course) as source, Brinkmann Nyquist DAC, Marconi line stage and a pair of The Monos for amplification and Vandersteen Model 5A Carbon supplied an outlet for these high resolution digits.



Jumping over to the next MQA room, I got a demonstration of PCM vs. MQA, via Tsuyoshi Yamamoto "Midnight Sugar". The difference between the two to my ears was a "quicker" sound with MQA. Transients were louder, with less overhang. Dynamics seemed to have more swing with the higher resolution medium, too.

Sighted, it seemed easy to call out the differences. It would be interesting to conduct this audition with controls, blinded.

Pay no attention to the MQA and USB bit depth readings displayed by the MSB Technology Select II DAC ($89,950), there is a softwate glitch (to be fixed) that does not read it our correctly. The zero negative feedback M204 monoblocks supply the grunt, to the YG Acsoustic Sonja 1.2 loudspeakers.



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Discussion Starter #24
GIK Acoustics provided room treatment for a number of the rooms we visited. I was particularly interested in the new DIY frames that they offer. They are CNC routed and prepared, screw starter holes are drilled, and the user screws them together, finishes them. and adds batting and grille cloth. The cloth is also optionally supplied by GIK.

I will be receiving 4 DIY frames and cloth for them from GIK, and will do a review and writeup of the process of putting them together.

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Sony Hi-Res Magic Bus!



Sony GTI Hi-Res car!



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Discussion Starter #26
I met Dan Clark, president of MrSpeakers, a San Diego based headphone company, several RMAF shows ago, and have enjoyed the firm's phones immensely at shows since then. But I have not yet had the opportunity to review a pair.

At AXPONA last April I got to sample an early prototype of an electrostatic model being designed and, at the time, still being voiced. The early design actually shocked my ears from time to time if I was not careful how I handled them.

The design is almost complete now, and free from such minor discomforts, and sounds phenomenal. I love they way they are voiced, with a touch more midrange than most 'phones in the range where it is hard to control. A lot of designs have a dip in the frequency response at that point, rather than undertake the challenge of flattening it in a way that can be delivered consistently, but the MrSpeakers design intent is to push that critical band right out there and make sure it is right on every time. In April I told Dan it seemed like a bold decision, but I loved it. He agreed that it just had to be that way to satisfy his stringent goal for the new electrostats. My guess is that it has caused a few sleepless nights since then, as the design was finalized.

Going into production early next year, I hope to get a pair for a review. They will require a headphone amp with built-in bias for the electrostatic transducers, a requirement which could be a challenge for some hopeful owners. From what I have heard so far, being able to listen with the new electrostats will be worth that small amount of trouble and expense.

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Discussion Starter #27
BeyerDynamic, a German company, has been producing top headphone and microphone designs for many years, and once they have a good working model, it tends to be around for a long time.

Four new models were available for listening at RMAF, and I had time to listen to three of them.

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The DT 1770 Pro (nearest), $799, the DT 1990 Pro (2nd from right), $599, and the flagship T 1 (2nd from left) using Tesla technology to get high output even with its 600 Ohm impedance., $1199.
 
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