LA Audio Show Report #3 – Rooms That Impressed

At any audio show, there are always  several rooms that impress me enough to include them in my show reports. Here are the first five that made the cut to be included in my LA Audio Show report. I think you will enjoy hearing about them.

Constellation Audio

Irv Gross the VP of Sales of Constellation Audio is always a gracious host and usually, plays some music that’s new to me and that I always enjoy. The sources were the Constellation Cygnus Media Player/DAC ($38,000) and  the  Continuum Audio Labs’ Obsidian Turntable ($35,00) with the Viper Tonearm ($10,000) and an Ortofon A-95 cartridge. The phono preamp was the Constellation Audio Revelation Series Andromeda ($18,000) with their DC Filter ($5,000). The preamp was their Revelation Pictor ($18,000) with their DC Filter ($5,000). The power amp was their Revelation Taurus Stere Amplifier, 250 watts per channel into 8 ohms, 500 into 4 ohms ($19,599). The speakers were the Yvette ($25,500) from Wilson. The racks and amp stand were from Critical Mass and the cables were from Transparent Audio.

I don’t know why I prefer the smaller Wilson Speakers, but I do. This was one of two rooms with Wilson Speakers that I really liked. The sound had lifelike scale and dynamics. The refinement of the system was very nice, and I could not believe how quite the system was considering the problems people were having with the hotel’s electricity.

German Physiks and Merrill Audio

It was great to see Larry Borden at the show and in the German Physiks and Merrill Audio room. This was one room that surprised me. I had heard German Physiks speakers before but never like this. The amount of air they moved and the space they created made for a really lifelike experience. While no system is perfect, especially at an audio show, this was the most emotionally involving room I heard at the show.

The sources were a VPI Avenger Reference turntable ($20,000) with VPI Kevlar-wrapped 12″ 3D-printed arm ($1,500) and Lyra Delos cartridge ($1,995). For digital, they used an Aurender N10 music server ($8,500) and EMM Labs DAC2X ($15,500). The amplification was from Merrill Audio, a pair of Veritas monoblocks ($12,000/pair), Christine line-stage preamp ($12,400), and the Jens phono-stage preamp ($15,449). The speakers were German Physiks’ Borderland Speakers ($36,500/pair).

Volti Audio

Greg Roberts should be very proud of his new speakers. The Volti Audio Rival speakers, starting at $7,900, are something very special. I’ve only heard The Volti Audio speakers at shows. I hope sometime in the future to remedy this. As I sat and listen to this system, I couldn’t believe getting this kind of sound from a speaker that can be had for a little less than $8,000. The sound was full, and the music flowed out into the room without effort. I could have listened to it for hours and would have loved to.

Besides the Volti Audio Rival speakers (starting at $7,900; $11,900/pair for the rosewood finish in my picture. The source was an Acoustic Signature Triple X turntable ($5,995) with an Acoustic Signature TA-2000 tonearm ($2,399) and a Dynavector 20X2 HOMC cartridge ($995). The phono stage was a Perla Audio Motif ($5,500) and the amp was a class-AB 100W per channel Perla Audio Signature 50 integrated amplifier ($9,500). All the cabling was from Triode Wire.

Audio Element

Brian Berdan of Audio Element in Pasadena had two rooms and one of those was the second room at the show that with the Wilson Audio Speakers that I really enjoyed. And, if you look at this picture, you can tell I’m not the only one. Guess what, the speakers are the Wilson Audio Yvette loudspeakers ($22,500) again. The worse thing about this system was that it was unlucky enough to be next to the main air conditioners, and the fan noise was distracting. Still the sound in this room was beautiful.

Besides the speakers, the system consisted of an AMG Giro special edition 5th anniversary turntable ($17,000) with AMG 9 inch Turnbo tonearm and Benz LPS cartridge ($6,000). There was also a DCS Rossini digital player/DAC ($28,499) with the DCS Rossini clock ($7,499). These were connected to a VTL TL-6.5 Series II linestage preamp ($15,000. There was also a prototype VTL TP-2.5i phono stage, price not set yet. The amps were the VTL MB-450 Series III monoblocks ($22,500/pair). All cabling was by Cardas.

Rethm Speakers

Jacob George of Rethm Speakers was showing his entry level speaker the Rethm Bhaava speakers. It was the first time I had seen the little Rethm. It uses a full-range driver with a built in powered sub for only $3,500. The rest of the system consisted of a Qualiton A20i integrated amplifier ($4,500), an Aqua La Scala Mk II Optologic DAC ($7,000), and an Innuos Zenith Mk II server ($3,400) everything was connected with Anticables.

This wasn’t the best I’ve ever heard a pair of Rethm Speakers sound, but it was amazing for $3,500. By the way there will be another room that I will report on that used Anticalbes that was on of my very favorites at the show.

Watch for my next installment from the LA Audio Show. There’s still a lot more to cover!

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
LA Audio Show #2 – Jaw-Dropping Sound at the LA Audio Show
Turntable Eye Candy from LA Audio Show, Part 2
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