Percentage wise there weren’t that many rooms at the LA Audio Show with systems under $15,000. Still, there were some, and these six that caught my attention.
Elac and Audio Alchemy Room – System Price $13,395
So, let’s take a look starting with Andrew Jones’ new Elac Adante AF-61 speakers. Until Munich, it seems that Jones’ Elac speakers have been the hit of the show for their very low cost and high-quality. It’s interesting that when Jones moved to Elac from TAD he chose to work from budget speakers up. His Elac Debut B6 for only $250 was without a doubt a show stopper. Now, he has a new line of speakers for Elac, the Adante. These are a much more serious design than the Debut or Uni-Fi lines. They are also much more power-hungry.
At the LA show, their room had a pair of the Adante AF061 floorstanding speakers ($5,000/pair), each driven by an Audio Alchemy DPA-1M monoblock power amp ($1,999 each). The rest of the system from Audio Alchemy was a DMP-1 digital audio server ($1,799) feeding a DDP-1 DAC/preamp ($1,999) with a PS-5 power supply ($599).
No doubt about it, Andrew Jones is continuing to design speakers for Elac that sound better than one would expect at their price. I even heard a few people say the room was the best sound they heard at the show. Beware though, I heard that at earlier shows about the B6. It’s human nature to hope for and fall under the spell of a giant killer. Yes, the sound was superb, I felt the bass was a little heavy, but most people seemed blown away by the bass. The Adante speakers are more expensive than ELAC’s Debut or Uni-Fi speakers but in my mind, they are the more amazing speakers for the price. Still, this room had very musical sound for under $15,000.
Auralic has brought out several very interesting products lately. When I was in college, almost everyone had an AM/FM receiver, a turntable and a pair of speakers. Now there are some speakers, including one from Auralic, that will play music from your phone, tablet or computer. If you want something better, this is a great system from Auralic and Ryan Speakers. They were playing an Auralic Polaris, a wireless, streaming, integrated amplifier ($3,799) and Ryan R610 speakers ($2,000/pair). I was impressed with both of these companies products in more than one room, but this combo sounded really good for the money. In fact, the sound was more musical than many systems that had separates. By the way, think of all the money you could save on cables.
Cambridge Audio $2,347 or $3,047
The Cambridge Audio room showed how much sound you can get for around $3,000. The sound was warm and natural. There was just a bit of the upper bass warmth of the classic British sound. My college system in 1972 was a Kenwood receiver, KLH speakers and a Dual turntable, and that system would cost more than this Cambridge Audio system. My point is that sometimes we remember our hobby being more affordable than it ever was.
The Cambridge system consisted of a pair of Aeromax 2 bookshelves ($599/pair) or a pair of Aeromax 6 floor standing speakers ($1,299/pair), the source was a CXC dedicated transport ($449) or a CXN up sampling network player, and the amp was a CXA80 80Wpc integrated amplifier with DAC ($999). I also included Cambridge Audio in my LA Audio Show Report #5, The British Sound Still Sounds Like Music.
The Audioengine and U-Turn System $1,250
I really like the Audioengine HD-6 speakers, and I reviewed them a year ago. By the way, I have their subwoofer in now to review with a couple of their speakers. If you combine a U-Turn turntable with these speakers, you get a good system that has both a vinyl and a digital source for a little over $1,000, depending on how you configure the U-Turn turntable.
Vanatoo with Hour Computer, Tablet or Phone $360
I’ve already talked about this speaker in Show Report #1 so I want repeat myself, but what a buy!
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 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 #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