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Had a great time with the folks who make the affordable but excellent sounding Clarity Cables from Wichita Kansas. Designers Chris and Melissa Owen had a very well-balanced sounding setup compliments of AMR electronics and the Legacy Audio Signature SE 4-way loudspeakers. Bravo!




The Gradient Revolution open-baffle Active loudspeaker  ($12k), sports a dipole woofer section that sounded as exquisite as they looked flanked beside the Apple iPad controlled Bladelius Embla Media player $11,500).   


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Vinyl was in great abundance at this year's CES event. Above is Perpetual Technology TT-1 'table ($2500), replete with an inverted bearing, two-speed Swiss DC motor and magnetically isolated feet, Consonance12" uni-pivot carbon 'arm ($700) and Kubotech ultra-low inductance MC cartridge ($3800). Tash Goka's Reference 3A suite which featured his Grand Veena loudspeaker ($8k), Episode ($5500), Mm de Capo ($2900), Dulcet ($1790.00) and his most recent Veena Mk II ($3900). Sound was dynamic, coherent and musically engaging via the Grand Veenas allowing me a greater understanding as to why these speakers are held in such high regard.




Ran into Tom Maker, formally of Edge Acoustics, smiling broadly over his new company and loudspeaker. Maker Audio X's Model 10 ($35k) is quite a unique looking loudspeaker that incorporates three independent and horizontal spherical tube enclosures melded from aluminum, carbon fiber and fiber glass. From a brief listen, I could tell this loudspeaker was clean and fast with nary a hint of bass hump or thud. I was really impressed when Maker started streaming music directly to the Model 10s wirelessly via an Apple iPad.

Perusing their website, I found this information rather interesting: "The M Audio Model 10 Loudspeaker incorporates new technology that enhances the audio experience. The M Audio Model 10 Loudspeaker uses a Digital Sound Processing (DSP) module and four separate amplifiers, one for each channel, one for the sub woofer, one for the mid bass units and one for the high frequency driver. By having separate amplifiers for each driver section the parameters for each driver can be adjusted independently by use of the DSP. The functions include: gain, crossover point, crossover slope (6,12, 24, 48 dB etc) parametric EQ, phase, delay and overall gain just to name a few. The M Audio Model 10 Loudspeaker also incorporates wireless music streaming. This feature allows the speaker to be paired with many different devices very easily and expands the use of the product to more than just a dedicated Hi-Fi System. This is accomplished in several ways, by use of frequency-hopping spread spectrum or Bluetooth, 2.4ghz wireless and PLAN WiFi networks. The use of a optional built-in Bluetooth connection the M Audio Model 10 Loudspeaker can receive streaming music up
to 2.1 Mbits/sec via any Bluetooth enabled device. All that is required is the pairing of
the speakers to the device. This is only done once and does not need to be repeated
once paired. This is the most simplistic way to connect devices and the most user friendly.
By using Secure Simple Pairing (SSP) the user does not need to enter a passcode
to pair the devices, they do this automatically. Once paired music can be streamed wirelessly to the loudspeakers from device's which include Bluetooth enabled devices, PDAs, Tablets, Smart Phones, Book Readers, Laptops, and TVs. Allowing for playback of Computer Playlists, Internet Radio, Podcasts, etc. to be streamed directly to the speakers."

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Always seem to enjoy the quality sound that comes from this trio of audio newbies: Fritz loudspeakers and their Carbon 7 monitors, Zesto Audio's fantastic looking PS1 tube phono stage ($3900), and Wywires cables (amplifiers were new to me from a company called Electra-Fidelity). This marks like the third time I've heard them under different situations and in each case it results in a very engaging listen.



In another setup that featured Zesto and Wywires along with German brand of Lindemann electronics. This 1956 LP recording of 'Vegas Blues (how appropriate) from Illinois Jacquet's Swing's the Thing, features the legendary trumpeter Roy Eldridge in rare form. The music poured forth with a surprising amount of scale and dynamics compliments of an Avid Volvere 'table ($5500) - equipped with an Origin Live Illustrious arm Dynavector cartridge - Hey, I'd be the first to admit, I'd expect nothing less from a rig with this level of sophistication and financial consequence but honestly didn't think believe they would sound this good. The tubed (Zesto) Andros PS1, appears just as capable driving solid state gear as it does tubes. It had the mighty expensive TAD Compact Reference monitors ($40k) singing to such high notes, it made their price almost palatable. Always a fan of German engineered componentry, I was very impressed with the performance of the Lindemann combo which included their 830S model pre and 855 Dual Mono power amp ($12,500 and $16k respectively). Alex Sventitsky of Wywires is a very smart and talented designer if you ask me. His newest creation of cables features Bybee Nano technology through and through and has our own Russell Lichter singing its praises already. Stay tuned for his upcoming review.



I didn't get a chance to listen to Jonathan Tinn's remarkably affordable and excellent sounding Evolution MM Micro One mini-monitors ($2500) driven by a dartZeel NHB-108 and pre, plus a Playback digital front-end. A special someone was in the room and the folks in charge didn't want him disturbed....but I did anyway. Actually, Stereophile's publisher John Atkinson didn't mind as we always share pleasantries when bumping into one another at events such as these.