Welcome back to my coverage of T.H.E. Show 2023 and I just wanted to give a shout-out to Emiko and Maurice for putting on such a great show.
Acora Acoustics / Boulder Amplifiers / Innuos / TW-Acustic
Of the big ballrooms of which there were quite a few, Acora Acoustics dominated sonically with the impressive sound of their beautiful Blue Pearl Granite Acora Acoustics VRC Loudspeakers ($218,000/pr) to which the Boulder 2150 Monoblock Amplifiers ($64,000/ea) and Boulder 2110 Line Stage ($76,000) along with the TW-Acustic Raven LS-3 Turntable ($24,000), TW-Acustic Raven 10.5 Tonearm ($6,000), Lyra Etna Lambda SL Cartridge ($9,995) through a Lyra Erodian EVOO step up ($6,000) and Nagra Classic Phono Package ($42,950 w/PSU) played no little part. For digital source, there was also an Innuos Statement 2TB with Next-Gen PSU ($22,100) through a Nagra HD DAC X ($70,875). And let’s not forget the Cardas Audio Clear Beyond cabling.
Cake Audio was demonstrating a pair of Lansche 5.2 Loudspeakers ($51,250) with a Vitus SIA-030 Integrated Amplifier, Vitus SCD-025 CD Transport ($30,000), Vitus SP-103 Phono Preamplifier ($45,000), Kuzma Stabi R Turntable ($8,670), Kuzma Stogi Reference 313 VTA Tonearm ($5,825), CAD DAC ($12,000), CAD Server ($15,000), and Albedo cables.
PBN Audio / Kimber Kable
If it weren’t for the imposing stature of the PBN Audio MR!777 Loudspeakers ($97,750) the PBN Audio GrooveMaster Vintage Direct P10 Exclusive Turntable ($29,500) with two tonearms, an Origin Live Enterprise MK4 Tonearm ($5,990.00) with a Lyra Kleos Cartridge ($3,695) and an Acoustic Signature TA‑7000 NEO Tonearm ($15,995) with a DS Audio 003 Optical Cartridge ($2,500) would be the first thing to catch your eye in the PBN room, it is stunning in both finish and mass. To support the table and speakers PBN employed their PBN Olympia PXis Phono Stage with CPSiO Power Supply ($25,300), a PBN Olympia OCE Optical Cartridge Equalizer with CPSiO Power Supply ($25,300), a PBN Olympia DX DAC with CPSiO Power Supply ($20,125), a PBN Olympia LXis Line Level Preamp with CPSiO Power Supply ($25,300), and a PBN Olympia EB-SA2 Power Amplifier ($40,250).
Shelley’s Stereo / Linn
Another surprise from the dark annals of my history was Shelley’s Stereo the surviving member of an L.A.-based audio retailer with roots back to 1959. They dedicated one of the large ballrooms to Linn’s Klimax System ($126,000) a fully digital playback system from a company who ironically earned their reputation in the analog world claiming that the turntable was the most important component in the audio chain. Of course that doesn’t stop them from including a beautiful $30,970 Linn Klimax LP12 Turntable that once digitized will not sound as good as pure digital sources.
On a Higher Note / Artesania / Bergmann Audio / British Audio Guys / Moonriver Audio
My good friend Philip O’Hanlon of On a Higher Note paired up with local L.A.-based retailer British Audio Guys to create his usual larger-than-life presentation. This time he was debuting the new Graham Audio LS8/1f Floorstanding Loudspeakers (TBA) driven by a Moon River Audio Model 404 Reference Stereo Integrated Amplifier ($4,995) with a Moon River Audio Model 505 phono stage ($5995), fed by a luscious Danish-made Bergmann Modi turntable ($17,000). Interestingly British Audio Guys were also displaying Linn Klimax products.
MC Audiotech / David Berning / Hi-Fi One / SMc Audio
MC Audiotech teamed up with Carlsbad dealer Hi-Fi One to show off their MC Audiotech TL-12 Loudspeaker ($25,000). For amplification, they used the 4-chassis David Berning / Hi Fi One SET Reference 20w ZOTL ($215,000/pr) fronted by a Steven McCormack SMc Audio VRE 2 “Silver Edition” Preamplifier (TBA) and an EMM Labs DA 2 v2 Reference (DAC $30,000).
VK Music / AER Loudspeakers / Elekit / Sparkler Audio / SunValley
DIY king VK Music stunned audiences with their Acryglass AER Loudspeakers Custom Open Baffle Loudspeaker and smattering of Elekit and SunValley tube amps with Sparkler Audio digital front-end products.
Audio Limits / Antipodes Audio / Circle Labs / Egglestonworks / Hemingway Audio / Tom Evans Audio Design / Weiss Engineering
Laughlin, Nevada retailer Audio Limits was showing a pair of Egglestonworks Viginti Limited Edition Loudspeakers ($64,995/pr) with a Circle Labs P300 Preamplifier ($7,495), Circle Labs M200 Amplifier ($9,995), Tom Evans Audio Design MasterGroove STD Mk3 Phono Stage (29,335), Thrax Audio Yatrus Turntable ($15,500), and Weiss Engineering Medus DAC ($27,000).
High End by OZ / Albedo Silver Cables / HIFISTAY / Lansche Audio / Sin Audio / Thrax Audio / United Home Audio
What captured my attention in the High End by Oz room was the United Home Audio’s R2R Ultima5 tape deck with outboard power supply ($38,000). Of course, the Lansche Audio 7.2 Loudspeakers ($110,000/pr in Macassar Ebony finish), Thrax Heros MkII class-A hybrid monoblocks ($47,000/pr), and other Thrax components, along with Albedo Silver Metamorphosis Signature monocrystal cabling was nothing to sneeze at.
Scott Walker Audio / Aurender / Estelon / Harmonic Resolution Systems / Magico / McIntosh / MSB Technology / Sonorus Audio / Soulution / Synergistic Research / Von Schweikert Audio
Booking five of the large ballrooms, Scott Walker Audio had without doubt the largest presence at the show. For me, the Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 55 Loudspeakers ($110,000) stole the show which they had in red running with a pair of Soulution 511 Amplifiers ($32,000/ea) and a Soulution 725 Preamplifier (not listed) with an Aurender N20 Music Streamer/Server ($12,500) and Aurender MC20 Master Clock ($30,000) running through a Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series 3 DAC ($28,000). The Estelon XB MKII Loudspeakers ($49,000) also wowed me.
That winds it up for today, stay tuned for the conclusion of my T.H.E. Show 2023 coverage.