T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 Part 2

 

One thing that sets The Home Entertainment (T.H.E.) Show Newport apart from other High-end Audio shows was Richard Beers’ inclusion of an exotic car show and live musical entertainment (showing a welcome understanding of what audio is all about). Though my show coverage schedule did not permit me to partake, this year’s lineup included perennial favorites such as Dean Peer, Larry Mitchell, Audra Lee and Mike Garson. I did catch a heart wrenching David Bowie tribute performed by former Bowie pianist Mike Garson, who performed solo to a vocal only video of David singing “Space Oddity” which was simply magnificent.

Saturday morning I moved on to the Tower of Terror (there were only four elevators serving 14 floors so I spent most of my time on the stairs). Though the rooms were mostly dedicated to two channel exhibits, there were still a few gems to be found as I moved down the hallways, especially since a few personal audio manufacturers opted for private rooms this year.

One such company was King Sound, providing inexpensive Electrostatic Headphones and Amplifiers including their premier model the KS-04 Electrostatic Headphone ($900) which boasts a frequency response of 6 Hz to 42 kHz (wider than their amplifiers). To complement the KS-04 they have the M-20 Vacuum Tube Amplifier ($1,500) and the M-03 Portable Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier ($450).

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King Sound M-10 Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier in travel case, King Sound M-03 Portable Electrostatic Headphone Amplifiers, King Sound KS-04 Electrostatic Headphone/M-03 Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier travel kits

DSCN3149King Sound KS-H04 Electrostatic Headphone with M-03 Portable Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier, KS-H3 Electrostatic Headphone with M-03 Portable Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier, M-10 Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier with KS-H3 Electrostatic Headphone, KS-H04 Electrostatic Headphone with M-20 Vacuum Tube Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier

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King Sound M-20 Vacuum Tube Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier with KS-H2 Electrostatic Headphone, M-10 Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier, KS-H2 Electrostatic Headphone with M-03 Portable Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier, KS-H04 Electrostatic Headphone with M-03 Portable Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier

One two channel company that has successfully expanded into the personal audio field is Ampsandsound, and the crowning achievement of their headphone amplifier lineup is the Agartha ($3,600), a single ended Class A triode design employing the legendary 300B tube for a spectacular 1.5 watts output from the 32Ω Tapp. Boasting all domestic parts, Ampsandsound complements their flagship with the versatile Mogwai ($1,850), another single ended Class A amplifier that can support 6L6GC, EL34, KT66, KT77, KT88, 6550 or KT90 tubes to create a sound that matches perfectly with your headphone of choice.

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Ampsandsound Kenzie Headphone Amplifier shown with MrSpeakers Ether C headphones, Audioquest Nighthawk headphones and a Mytek Brooklyn DAC.

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Ampsandsound Mogwai Headphone Amplifier

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Ampsandsound Argatha Headphone Amplifier driving Ampsandsound Hudson loudspeakers.

In a bit of a twist, Viva were driving a pair of  Genesis G7.2f Loudspeakers ($12,000) directly from the headphone output of their Egoista 2A3 ($7,500) Zero Negative Feedback Pure Class A Tube Headphone Amplifier showing just how impressive the output of a headphone amplifier can be.

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Basis Signature Turntable with Superarm 9 Tonearm, Viva Egoista 2A3 Headphone Amplifier, Viva Numerico CD transport, HiFiMAN HE-1000 Headphones, Viva Fono (foreground) phono preamp

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Basis Signature Turntable with Superarm 9 Tonearm, Viva Egoista 2A3 Headphone Amplifier, Viva Numerico CD transport, HiFiMAN HE-1000 Headphones, Viva Fono phono preamp, Genesis G7.2f Loudspeakers

Astell&Kern opens new horizons in personal audio by introducing the AK Recorder ($799). Designed to be used with any of the AK300 Series DAPs, the AK Recorder is the first portable recorder to offer DSD 5.6 MHz recording giving Astell&Kern a doorway into the Pro Audio world. Also showcased was the new AK300 ($899), a single DAC version of the AK320 ($1,799).

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Ripping vinyl with the Astell&Kern AK Recorder, Astell&Kern’s Katie Springer

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The Astell&Kern AK Recorder with an AK380

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The full Astell&Kern lineup of DAPs and Headphones, the AK Jr with AK T8iE earphones, the AK100 II with AK T1P headphones, the AK120 II with AK T8iE Mk II earphones, the AK240 with AK T1P headphones, the AK300 with AK T1P headphones and the AK320 with AK T5P headphones

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The full Astell&Kern lineup of DAPs and Headphones, the AK Jr with AK T8iE earphones, the AK100 II with AK T1P headphones, the AK120 II with AK T8iE Mk II earphones, the AK240 with AK T1P headphones, the AK300 with AK T1P headphones and the AK320 with AK T5P headphones

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The Astell&Kern AK500 Series Ultimate MQS Network Audio System driving Focal SOPRA Nº2 Loudspeakers

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Astell&Kern AK T1 Sound System

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Astell&Kern AK T1 Sound System

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Astell&Kern AK 300 with Jerry Harvey Audio Rosie IEMs and Astell&Kern AK 320 with Jerry Harvey Audio AngieII IEMs

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Astell&Kern AK 380 with Jerry Harvey Audio RoxanneII IEMs and Astell&Kern AK 380 with Jerry Harvey Audio LaylaII IEMs

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Astell&Kern PAF11 Amplifiers and AK CD-RIPPER (PEM14)

In a bold move SCHIIT chose not to show their personal audio gear at all opting for a two channel display using the Yggdrasil ($2,299) DAC and Ragnarok ($1,699) amplifier to drive SALK Song 3 ($2,895) loudspeakers.

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SCHIIT Yggdrasil DAC and SCHIIT Ragnarok amplifier with SALK Song 3 loudspeakers

DSCN3183Jason Stoddard of SCHIIT

ModWright Instruments and WyWires teamed up to show off the exemplary ModWright Tryst Headphone Amplifier ($3,000) a 3 watt Class A push-pull (balanced) Damon Coffman design, featuring new old stock tubes and hand wound output transformers by Jack Elliano of Electra-Print. WyWires was demonstrating their Platinum series of Custom Made headphone cables which employ a low capacitance architecture using four separate Teflon tubes. So what’s on the horizon for Alex Sventitsky? He hinted at IEM cables in the near future.

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Dan Wright the man behind ModWright Instruments

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ModWright Tryst Headphone Amplifier, ModWright Elyse Tube DAC, WyWires Platinum Custom Headphone Cables, MrSpeakers Ether C headphones and Audeze LCD-X headphones

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ModWright Tryst Headphone Amplifier, ModWright Elyse Tube DAC, ModWright TPS power supply, WyWires Platinum Custom Headphone Cables, MrSpeakers Ether headphones and Audeze LCD-X headphones

DSCN3202Alex and Nina Sventitsky of WyWires

My last stop before returning to the lobby was Purist Audio Design another well established high-end audio cable manufacture who is entering into the realm of personal audio with high performance product specific headphone cables. Purist Audio Design Impresa Headphone cables are six nines OFC (oxygen free copper) with Teflon dielectric and undergoes a Triple Cryomag process. Sharing space with Purist Audio Design was Hammertone Audio who were highlighting their HPA-3000 Tube Headphone Amplifier ($3,900) which vaunts Nickel Core Transformers.

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Purist Audio Design cable display

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Hammertone Audio HPA-3000 Tube Headphone Amplifier, Audeze LCD-XC headphones with Purist Audio Design cables and HiFiMAN HE-500 headphones with Purist Audio Design cables.

To be continued in Part 3.

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