Despite Stacked Odds, New York Audio Show Was a Great Success

The naysayers were wrong, the show organizers were correct: Brooklyn was a good borough in which to hold a hi-fi show, the holiday weekend didn't greatly (if at all) suppress attendance and even the glorious weather proved not to be factor. The above photo was snapped Sunday afternoon in the VAC/Focal room.

Yes, the show was relatively small in terms of manufacturer and dealer participation and many of the big names were absent but there was enough on display to make a veteran's visit worthwhile and more than enough to dazzle the eyes and ears of first-timers, of which there were many.

Friday's attendance was strong, Saturday's stronger and against typical show trends Sunday's appeared to be as strong as Saturday's and the halls and rooms appeared crowded until show closing time. The photo accompanying this story was taken Sunday afternoon, after which I ran to the Roebling Room for the 2PM-3PM turntable set-up seminar, expecting to find a nearly empty room. Why? I have found that by late Sunday the stragglers left shows are more eager to see and hear what they'd missed than they are to sat for an hour at a seminar.

I told show organizers that I thought the scheduling wasn't good but that even if only one person showed up I'd do the seminar. Instead, I walked into a nearly full house. True, the room was relatively small and didn't hold that many people but still it was the best attended late Sunday seminar I've had.

As for what stood out at the show: Vandersteen Audio's new liquid cooled amplifiers driving the Model 7s, the Nola Metro Grands produced among the show's best sound, and for sound on a large scale the Naim system driving Focal's second from the top speakers was the kind of presentation I like though others preferred the big Utopias driven by VAC tube gear sourced by a Bergmann turntable and Lyra Etna cartridge (and vice-versa!).

The Klipsch Horn-like Volti Audio Vittora speakers produced another outstanding large scale presentation that kept me in the room for a long time. The always reliably great sound in the MBL room didn't disappoint. I was also impressed by the sound produced by the Gershman Acoustics Grande Avante Garde speakers and the positive effects of the DSPeaker Anti-Mode 20 Dual Core USB DAC with room correction box, though of course in the digital domain. Also notable was the Devialet/Totem combo and the lineup in the Wes Bender Studio room that included: Townshend Audio Rock 7 turntable with Excalibur II tone arm, Zesto electronics, Marten Getz 2 speakers and Stillpoints racks.

Brooklyn based Oswaldsmill Audio demoed its smallest two-way hybrid horn/moving coil woofer speaker, the MINI that gave show goers a taste of the company's outstanding industrial design and well-integrated sonics. Bright Audio's room also sounded great with Acoustic Zen speakers driven by PrimaLuna tube electronics.

The Canadian company Muraudio had a large room in which they made a powerful case for their full range Domain Omni ESL speakers ($58,000) consisting of an enclosure containing three aluminum coned moving coil woofers topped by an omni-direction electrostatic array. Analog playback was via a restored Lenco turntable fitted with an Ikeda tone arm and cartridge driving a Wyetech Labs Ruby P-1 phono preamplifier. Surprisingly, I thought the digital presentation smoother and the analog too bright for my tastes.

At the other end of the size spectrum was the surprisingly large and deep presentation of the tiny Vanatoo powered speakers. These $500 a pair tiny tots would make a great dorm room or computer speaker. The presentation was memorable given their size.

I thought the Brooklyn Marriott was an outstanding show venue. The 3rd floor was well suited for audio displays, as was the second floor, the rooms were decently sized, the construction solid (important for good sound) and the ceilings relatively high. No hotel room is ideal of an audio show but this hotel's rooms were among the best sounding I've heard and I've been to shows around the world.

Here's a quick show "walk around":

COMMENTS's picture

Mikey, I attended Sunday with friend Ed and friend and brother in-law John and had a splendid time....No problem driving in from Jersey and parking in Marriott's garage was easier then loving the Bealtes Mono Box Set. Many show hilites to note but standouts IMO were Peter Liberman's room where he played DJ tracking LPs old and new that were out of this world, as was his system. VPI's room hosted by Matt, also steller with Matt turning us on to incredible tunes tracked on his new PRIME turntable using both Mono and Stereo eguiped tonearms and last but not least your Turntable Set-Up Seminar, informative and funny. You even had the one women in the room, that I noticed, cracking up. We were there all day and it went too quickly. It was great seeing you again and as always keep on rocking. Tony

Trace's picture

What is a Model 8? I thought he had only gone to 7.

Michael Fremer's picture
Duh! Slip of the finga! I reviewed them too so no excuse! I'll fiks it know!
RnRmf's picture

It was a Vandersteen 7 - and I've never heard a speaker that good. From wherever I sat or stood in that room, the sound was glorious. Although the MBL room was amazing, too. Both rooms produced sound that seemed to materialize out of thin air into fully formed music.
I arrived to the show on Sunday, and It was my first ever audio show. I was pleased to be able to see the last turntable set up seminar, as well. I definitely picked up useful tips. Thanks!

AOmegaX's picture

The VAC/Focal Room picture was taken on Saturday.
I could see your confusion as both days were surprisingly well attended. However, I am captured in the picture and remember you sitting next to us in the back as we listened to your Vinyl.