Red Wine Audio is one of my all-time favorite brands, and their battery-powered, hybrid tube electronics sound so sweet. The company recently started to use wood cabinetry, and now the amps look as good as they sound.
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Wilson Audio Alexia speakers
The Wilson Audio Alexia speakers in the Innovative Audio room knocked me out. The full-bodied sound, unlimited dynamic range, and precise imaging were the best I heard at the show.
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Dan D'Agostino Momentum preamplifier
The Dan D'Agostino Momentum preamp and power amps sound as good as they look. They're designed and made in Connecticut.
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Audioengine A2 speakers
The Audioengine A2 (shown here in the rear, between the Audioengine A5+ speakers) has been my go-to reference for $199 desktop speakers for years. Audioengine is readying the $249 per pair A2+, which adds a built-in USB digital converter and upgraded connectors.
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The Cable Company
That's Ethan Wood from the Cable Company holding just a few of the vast range of high-end headphones his company ships to customers to audition at home, with full return privileges. I will have a lot more to say about the Cable Company's services in a blog in the near future.
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I've used a VPI Classic turntable for a number of years, but their new Vanquish turntable, shown here in prototype form, produced the best analog sound at the show. The warmth, detail, clarity, and low, low groove noise lets the music speak for itself. VPI was playing records in three-channel stereo, with left, center, and right channel Joseph Audio Pearl speakers.
I've never seen anything like the double-decker Kronos turntable before; it's the world's first counter-rotating dual platter turntable. The lower platter spins in the opposite direction of the top platter to enhance stability. LPs sounded wonderful on the Kronos.
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Over at the Wes Bender Studio room, I checked out the sleek Marten FormFloor speakers, E.A.R. Electronics, and a Redpoint Audio Design turntable. Mr. Bender really knows how to put together great sounding systems, even in cramped hotel rooms!
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The Atocha Design Record Stand
That's Jennifer Levin Atocha standing next to her latest design, the Record Stand. I loved it -- the stand holds 300 LPs, and you can flip through your collection like you would in a shop. The made-in-New York design has solid walnut legs and a maple cabinet. It will be available in about a month.
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The Abyss AB-1266 headphones
These planar magnetic headphones are huge and extremely expensive, but they sound more dynamic and alive than any headphone on the planet. I'll have these in for review soon.
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Black Cat cables
Chris Sommovigo's hand-made Neo-Morpheus interconnect cables ($195) feature CuTube hollow, copper tube conductors (oxygen-free OFHC grade), which has walls only 0.008-inch thick, Aeron dielectric material, and a pure copper weave. Sommovigo sells his cables with a money-back guarantee.
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Cardas in-ear headphones
George Cardas has been working on these headphones for years, and they should be available in a month or so. I heard a pair and loved the sound -- I hope to get a pair in for a full review soon.