LA Audio Show #2 – Jaw-Dropping Sound at the LA Audio Show

As I continue to look at audio products from both ends of the price spectrum in my show reports, the first room in this post had more expensive components and the speakers in the second room are more moderately priced.

The Audio Federation Room

When I walked into the Audio Federation room Neli Davis of Audio Federation was being both a gracious host and an audio guru along with Mike Davis, the owner of Audio Federation, which has moved to  Palo Alto, California. It was no surprised that I loved the system they had put together for the show as it consisted of some of my favorite components. Looking around the room, it didn’t take me long to decide that I need to go visit them in their new location since we also live in the Bay area. I’ll make plans to go soon, and we will have an article up about the new location sometime this summer.

Now, back to the show report. Another reason I thought the Audio Federation room would be good was because of how simple it was compared to most of the rooms at the show. The source was an Audio Note UK CDT Five transport at $48,350. It was feeding plain Redbook CDs to an Audio Note UK DAC Five Signature that cost $87,825. The amplifier was an Acapella LaMusika integrated amplifier costing a cool $100,000. The speakers were the Acapella High Cellini speakers at $55,200. The rack and isolation bases were by HRS costing $13,880.

I was familiar with every piece of gear in this system, and have had the Audio Note pieces in my home at one time. I had never heard this combination, but I was not surprised that it was one of the most emotionally involving rooms at the show. I don’t know how they did it, but not only were the midrange and treble right, but  also there was no one-note bass or boominess that I heard in many of the hotel rooms. I listened to jazz and vocals, and it moved me to my core. By the way, this old-time Redbook digital was the only digital source that I thought competed with the best analog rooms. Congratulations to the Neli and Mike for such great music!

NEAT Acoustics Iota Alpha Loudspeaker

The NEAT Acoustics Iota Alpha loudspeakers were one of the few jaw-dropping experiences at the show for me and for others in the room when I was there. Believe it or not, the picture makes them look bigger than they actually are. The Iota Alpha at $1,995 is 19 inches tall with their spikes. They are only 8-inches wide and a little over 6-inches deep. They use heavy-duty spikes to lift the speaker 1.5 inches off the floor. The sloped front panel has a 2-inch planar magnetic tweeter and a 4-inch midrange drive-unit. Midway on the rear panel, there’s a 1.5-inch port and two heavy-duty binding posts are near the bottom. The speaker also has a 5.5-inch down-firing woofer. This is one of the most complex designs I’ve seen in such a small floorstanding speaker.

So, what was so jaw-dropping? It was the sheer physicality and power of their sound along with a refinement and low-level detail that was amazing. The guy from NEAT Acoustics said that normally they were paired with a Naim integrated amp or some other British amp. This combo would certainly give a great sound for those who live in a smaller space.

Stay tuned for more reports from the LA Audio Show!

Additional Coverage of the LA Audio Show:

Getting Ready for the Los Angeles Audio Show
LA Audio Show Day 1, Part 1
LA Audio Show Day 1, Part 2
Pictures from the LA Audio Show, Day 1, Part 3
LA Audio Show Day Two, Part 1
LA Audio Show Day Two, Part 2
LA Audio Show Day Two, Part 3
LA Audio Show, Headphones and Other Stuff
LA Audio Show Report #1 – Both Ends of the Price Spectrum
Turntable Eye Candy from LA Audio Show, Part 1
Turntable Eye Candy from LA Audio Show, Part 2
LA Audio Show Report #3 – Rooms That Impressed
LA Audio Show, #4, Best Speaker Under $20,000
LA Audio Show Report #5, The British Sound Still Sounds Like Music
LA Audio Show Report #6, Is $100,000 the New Normal? – System 1
LA Audio Show Report #7, High Water Sound wins Beatnik Bongo Award for Best Room Under $100K
LA Audio Show Report #8, Optimal Enchantment and MBL; Two $100K Plus Rooms that Impressed
LA Audio Show Report #9, Audio Vista Points You Have to See
LA Audio Show Report #10, Systems from $14,000 Down to $400
LA Audio Show Report #11, The Vinnie Rossi/Spatial Audio/Anticables Room Wins the Beatnik Bongo Award for Best Room Under $50,000
LA Audio Show Report #12, VAC/Von Schweikert Audio Wins the Beatnik Bongo Award for Best Room Over $100,000