Before I go any farther down the High End show rabbit hole, I left out one turntable.
This one was perhaps the most over the top of all.
The reason why I didn’t mention it at first is because I didn’t see it. I came a little late to the unveiling and by the time I got to the room it was shrouded once again.
The table was the TechDAS Air Force Zero.
Apparently the Hideaki Nishikawa (he of the once “super table” Micro Seiki company) designed TechDAS Air Force One Premium weighing in at nearly 100 pounds and costing about $100K just…. wasn’t enough.
He had to design something that just did everything better.
Deeper depth, better blacks, quieter… eh…quiet…
There were improvements to be made and he made them.
The new table is called The TechDAS Air Force Zero.
It comes in at 771 lbs. (not including power supply and air pumps) and costs approximately……….. $420,000.00!
It comes in 13 shipping crates.
There are 5 platters weighing in at 260 lbs. total.
Yes, but most would just buy a house! You read that right.
Don’t ask me how it sounded because I didn’t hear it.
Don’t ask me if it’s worth it.
Does it matter?
I suppose it does but any sane person would just buy a vacation home…but then again…if you have to ask…
Michael Fremer told me it was the best analog he ever heard. It damn well better be….lol.
Now, moving on I heard some great systems.
Big horns in a big system from Cessaro.
The giant Tune Audio Avaton horns from Greece.
I was pleasantly surprised by how good the audio showrooms sounded as I’ve been to many shows in hotels and the sound was really not good. On the super hi-end side, these rooms sounded very good.
Electronics companies D’Agostino and Audio Research shared a room.
The D’Agostino gear is about as over the top as the TechDAS gear.
Dan’s super mono blocks are 300k for the pair and look like what a Harley Davidson as audio gear would look like.
Big horns from Avantgarde—but not their biggest!
Audio Research looked great and people were talking about them very highly, but sharing a room with the monster D’Agostino seemed a little unfair.
The speakers in the D’Ag room were huge Magico’s.
It just made for a very testosterone-driven performance.
D’Agostino wasn’t playing nice with classical of even Miles, they were playing Daft Punk techno and pumping it!
Another room that was beautiful but was just showing their gear was McIntosh.
Say what you want about Mac, I will just tell you that people who want Mac, buy Mac, and Mac knows exactly who wants it and how to present it.
Even if you own the craziest expensive gear from D’Agostino, Burmester, Simaudio-Moon, Chord, Gryphon, Pass, Absolare, Air Tight & Audio Note, there is just something about that blue light and green glass of Mac gear that just screams luxury.
Kind of like your dad telling you about a Rolex or Patek watch.
Been around forever and always a coveted brand…
In the more affordable category I saw some great turntables from EAT and Pro-ject and heard some great music in the Elac suite. Elac has a $500 speaker that is a world beater. VPI was on display in various rooms with Harry and Mat Weisfeld in attendance at the show.
Jozefina Lichtenegger of EAT and Pro-ject w/ the Pro-ject Yellow Submarine turntable.
Josh Bizar from Music Direct was at the show and I was able to talk to him about the Mobile Fidelity 35th Anniversary vinyl release of my 6 million selling Twisted Sister album, Stay Hungry.
Thanks for the lunch Josh!
All through this experience I was with Ken Kessler who knows, well, everybody and he made the trip very special for me.
KK, Tim de Paravicini smiling (!?!), the author.
I saw Bill Leebens on the first day but this show is so big that you just have to be lucky and run into people you know.
Besides all of the usual hardware, there were tons of ancillary items such as record cleaning machines, super plugs, isolation devices, an incredible record weight that picks your arm up at the end of the record (I bought one!), cartridges, prototypes of gear of every description, audio and record stands, headphones, tape decks and reel to reel tapes, and lots of vinyl for sale as well.
Every room seemingly had a turntable and at least one streaming device. I did see CD players but not a lot of them.
On the super expensive side of digital, both Esoteric and dCS were on display, as was the ROON system.
There were some cable companies but not as many as I thought I would see.
There was a lot of Nordost, Audioquest & Transparent in use, and Wireworld was present as well.
I went to dinner one night with Ricardo [Franassovici, of Absolute Sounds, a UK distributor—Ed.], the biggest name in importers who is up there with Mike Kay and Harry Pearson as that small group of movers and shakers in the industry.
And….more photos coming!