The California Audio Show Part 2

In the last issue of Copper, we started our walk around the recent California Audio Show. We began with a look at the venue, the show’s programming, and we looked at a few of the exhibitors. We’ll finish up by going through the rest of the exhibit rooms.

Dealer Eigen Audio presented Von Schweikert speakers, Ypsilon amps, an Aurender streamer and EMM DACs.

The Studio Electric M4 standmounts were outstanding, as were the bigger FSX, powered by Wyred 4 Sound.

Tweak Studio showed T+A speakers and electronics, all with MIT cabling.

The 3-way Pure Audio Project with Pass Labs amp and Exogal DAC was stragely bass-less while playing SRV—but the sound otherwise was punchy and dynamic.

A second Pure Audio room had 2-way speakers with a new version of the Whammerdyne 2a3 amp. Sound was cohesive and strong–a similar set-up sounded underpowered last year.

This appeared to be an older Whammerdyne amp—still impressive.

An all-Bricasti system with Tidal speakers sounded the way a six-figure system should: powerful when needed, sweet and detailed at low volumes.

I’ve never known Zesto electronics and Marten speakers to have a bad room.

The small Eficion speakers coupled with Plinius electronics sounded fine—but the cover version of “The Look of Love” hastened my departure.

MarkAudio-SOTA showed nearly their whole line, coupled with PS Audio electronics. Sound was detailed and rhythmic.

I’m not usually a fan of omnis, but the big Muraudio ‘stats were detailed,smooth, and dynamic. I can’t say that country cover of “Ring of Fire” did anything for them, though.

Cable and accessory maker A.R.T. got top billing on their room, which featured Krell and Pass electronics (that glowing blue eye again!) with Dynaudio speakers.

MartinLogan showed a simple system with a Parasound amp and Aurender player, connected with MIT cabling. I’m not a fan of MLs in general, and I found this rather thin-sounding.

The Sierra Nevada Audio Society had a wide range of gear driving the beautifully-made Bernhagen Porter 10/12 speakers. Sound was tuneful and solid, but a $50k speaker from a new company might be a tough sell.

I have heard Audio Note systems sound wonderful. Here, demoed with a ’60s prerecorded Peter Paul & Mary tape and a variety of rather sleepy classical programming—the system did not impress.

Sean Casey of Zu always brings a wide variety of LPs, and spins them expertly. We spent an enjoyable hour as Sean pulled out gem after gem. The Druid Mk. VI were clear and punchy, possibly the most-listenable Zu speaker yet.

That’s every room at CAS—except Joseph Audio. Jeff did his usual wonderful demos—so enjoyable I forgot to photograph the system! Jeff sent me this pic of his show set-up:

Full details on the gear in every room can be found here. 

Promoter Constantine Soo has already announced the ninth California Audio Show for July 26-28, 2019. Maybe I’ll see you there!