Home Theater Expo 2004 (east)
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gloco

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Home Theater 2004 Expo@Hilton NY

Introduction:

I had the luxury (once again) of attending this excellent expo to audition various speakers rigs. Unlike
the 2002 Expo (the first time i went to a HE show) where i felt so overwhelmed with all the rigs that i didn't
know where to begin, this time was quite different. I'm in the market to build a Home Theater system for my
living room and was really looking forward to hearing some moderately priced speakers and i have to say, i
was very determined to make the most of the expo. I lugged a small stash of cds with me, mostly popular rock
(such as Peter Gabriel, Sarah MClachlan, Athaneaum, Dave Matthews, etc etc). I wanted to lug some death metal
with me, but i had serious doubts based on the particular tastes of your average audiophile.

Friday, May 21:

Got to the show around 1pm and did a quick walk-through of the third floor (where audiophile vinyl, xrcd, sacd, dvd-a were being sold). Prices were priced through the roof. I quickly went up to the 4th floor to check out some rigs. Now, the rigs were setup in hotel rooms, which meant here was very limited space and sound leaked in and out from other setups across the hall and next door (depending on how loud any particular rig was being run).

I can't recall the specific companies i came across on every floor, but some of the speakers that really impressed me were from WEGG3 (stelar line-$5600/pr), Odyssey (Epiphony line). The Epos line (particularly the ELS 3 mini monitor), Living Voice's Avatar OBX-R ($5600/pr) and even the speaker rig in the Divergent room was quite solid. The ELS-3 mini monitor's were the cheapest of the bunch, retailing for $329/pr. The Epiphony line by Odyssey was being sold as a package, one pair with the preamp and amp for $1500. The OBX-R's to my ears sounded the best out of all the rigs i heard (i didn't try every rig however), the punchy bass, forward midrange and crystal clear highs sold me (as well as excellent imaging), i was sitting not farther than 6 feet away and was blown away, they also didn't appear to be as critical as the Stelar 1's. Although, the Stelar 1's seem to exceed with well recorded music, i tried out the Dave Matthews solo outing, "Some Devil," and even the host was extremely pleased by what he heard, he couldn't believe a popular artist released an album that had such incredible "imaging and clarity." He even wrote down the artist and album so he could pickup the cd for himself. I also spent some time in the Divergent room where they showcased
some hefty speakers (unfortunately, i didn't jot down the model#, but they we're quite impressive in the short time i auditioned them. The host in the room was very accomadating, allowing me to try out a few cds.

After five hours of bliss, i headed home.


Sunday, May 23rd:

I decided to wake up early and hit the show at 10am sharp, once i got in i went straight up to the 7th floor and work my way down to the 6th floor and then the 4th. I went straight to the WEGG3 room and had some extra cds to try out, i promptly whipped out "Crash" by Dave Matthews Band...ugh, this doesn't sound right is what i thought. The host also
agreed, stating that the recording sounded a bit compressed, i agreed. I then decided to try out the next studio album, "Before these crowded streets," ah...much better i thought. Tried out Track 10, "pig," which sounded very "airy" and the vocals didn't sound buried in the mix as they did on "Crash." I then spent some time listening to various tracks the host
had stored on his laptop (that's right, he was feeding wav files from his Toshiba via a toslink to the dac/preamp)...sounded quite good
if you don't me saying so. He played various classical and jazz vocalists, one in particular, Chie Ayado, sounded a hell of a lot like Cassandra Wilson..except she was Japanese!

I then headed off to some other rooms, i stumbled upon the Music Hall/Creek/Epos room where i heard...ROCK MUSIC! Yes, after hours of enduring Norah Jones, Elton John, Billy Joel, jazz and classical pieces that sounded a like muzak, this was a neat surprise. The host from Music hall was a young guy who was literally jumping up and down to some Modest Mouse.
A older lady was representing Epos. I decided to grab a seat and start listening to some cds that were auditioned and also snapped
some pics of the various speakers. I got to listen to some Peter Gabriel, Sarah Mclachlan, Johnny Cash, DMB and other discs, all sounded fantastic out of the ELS-3's, these little suckers can really hold their own against their larger brethern, the M5's, the speakers were quite forgiving, so even poorly recorded cds should sound great on these bad boys.

I also decided to check out the AKG room, trying out the K1000's and K501's. The K501's were being driven by the OTL32, which sound excellent, some bass (lol) with very smooth midrange the top end was quite clean. The k1000's were driven by the another amp which i didn't catch the model, the K1000's sounded pretty solid but now i truly understand why some people mate them with a sub.

Afterwards, i headed down to the third floor to pickup some music, i grabbed the Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms" xrcd2 for $30 and found that popular and rock titles were sorely lacking from just about every vendor.


Wrap up:

This year's expo was a great journey through room upon room of auditioning, not once did i feel overwhelmed and i felt right at home with the hosts who were very accomadating and even some should great interest in the titles people brought in to audition on their rigs. My only complaint is the overuse of audiophile discs which, imho, do nothing to reflect how well a rig
can sound, listening to a solo violin, banjo or cello isn't exactly pushing the rig to see whether or not it will crack under the stress of said music. Even some hosts were sick and tired of such music being brought in for auditioning and even a few people in some rooms were happy to hear something other than a jazz or classical cd.

After attending this year's expo, i was very impressed and admittedly, more comfortable with asking questions and requesting to have some of my cds played back. The key to these expo's is to go as if you are a customer in search of buying a new rig. I also noticed that the San Franciso show is being held later this year, hopefully we'll see the expo pay
us a visit again next May.
 
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gloco

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gloco

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eyeteeth

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Nice shots.
I'm just baffled by the 47 Labs 'Flatfish'.
 
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utep10

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Thanks for sharing the pictures. Are those Thiel speakers in the last picture?
Also , what tube amp is that with the red cage, I think it was picture 29?
 
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