This is the first audio trade show I have attended since the 1997 CES in Las Vegas where I wore my Clan Mc Tannoy Kilt. It has taken me five years to recover.


When I received an invitation to the Home Entertainment Show Press Luncheon and previewed the menu I knew that the current audio revolution was moving to a much higher ground. The combination of Emeril, Paul Bocuse, Wolfgang Puck, The Iron Chef and Julia Child’s cooking for the audio press…well what can say? It was about time we were treated with the respect we deserve.

The menu reminded me of the conversations I had with Nobu Shishido, one of the few Japanese audio masters who was fluent in English, who often described subtle difference in circuits in terms of their aroma and flavors. Clearly a state of the art ears are attached to state of the art palettes.

Let’s chow down. The first course was aspic of Hawaiian eels in a tangerine and mango sauce, served on a bed of pickled Segosa Sea grasses. This mysterious first course shimmered with a glowing inner fluorescent white light because these eels live at 1,000 fathoms. As this dish was served the home entertainment editor from Greenpeace panicked and thought he was being served "gourmet atomic waste". I thought this was a brilliant beginning course, celebrating the light that is sorely needed in the digital darkness that envelops the music industry.

The second course excited the editor from Rolling Stone, who looked like a very young Bob Marley. A "fandango" mixed green salad of radichio, hearts of palm, hemp flowers, and spiced bamboo slivers, was covered with Neapolitan pesto/garlic/olive oil dressing. The aroma of this dish was an amalgam of a New York Pizzeria and a Philmore East rock concert. According to this editor the Egyptians, were in direct contact with ETs, who taught them how to build pyramids, and introduced them to rock and roll music…. because the Egyptian culture was based on the hemp plant. Makes sense? This course was obviously a celebration of rock and roll’s contribution the advancement of the audio arts.

The main course consisted of poached loin of Greek "Samos" mermaid á la Homer, in an anchovy/goat cheese sauce, surrounded by sautéed Belon oysters, on a bed of Beluga caviar. Every editor was extremely impressed by this level of extravagance..and then we noticed that on each plate were a pair of ear plugs..with a note to put them in before we enjoyed this fishy dish. The editor from National Enquirer ignored the instructions and soon after his first bite acted like a horny dog in heat, fell out of his seat, got up and ran into the wall, and knocked himself out. Have you ever heard the Siren’s song in your living room? Can you imagine the combined flavor of lobster, and Western Electric 300Bs?

Dessert was the most sophisticated course: situated in the middle of a while plate, in a Zen glory, was a single brand new chocolate centered Oreo cookie. The aroma of this cookie was as intoxicating as the interior of a new Aston Martin. The editor of Bombay’s Audio Times quickly pointed out that this cookie was an ancient mandala of unity…reminding us that we are all connected in our passion for music quality.

During this gourmet feast, Gary Shapiro, President, Consumer Electronics Association, delivered a speech that got many of the male editors at my table very upset. He announced that it was goal of his trade organization to make the home entertainment center the "nerve center" of the home. What arrogance to think that the "potty throne room" can be overthrown.


Before I make my comments I need to remind you all that I have had both a bat ear transplant and Tennessee coon hound nose transplant. What does that mean?

It means that I can tell, from a mile away, when something is worthy of the Guildmeister’s attention, and not much does. In fact most audio exhibits are so aurally painful I can’t go near them. The excuse you hear that "the room is the problem" is bullshit. If the three-midrange octaves aren’t right, and that has nothing to do with the room, then nothing is right…and most weren’t.

It was once again demonstrated for me that most big complicated audio systems sound like big complicated audio systems. I arrived at the show by 9AM and by noon I was ready to leave..but hung around to five PM for schmoozing.


Tenor Audio’s OTLs designed by Michel Vanden Broeck. As far as I can tell, right now…and remember I haven’t yet auditioned these amps…but have only briefly heard them and talked to Michel…there are now two masters of output transformerless amplifiers: Berning and Broeck…and they are completely different, completely unique and both totally insane and right. My report about these 15 watt per channel OTLs will happen ASAP. These could be $15K rockets to the edge of rock and roll hyperspace. www.tenoraudio.com

VAIC SET amps: I have been describing the unique aural matrix of an all DHT signal path, and VAIC has finally exploited his completely unique vision of DHT mystery by creating an amp that combines his DHT voltage amplifiers and driver tubes with his high powered DHT output tube with his own brand of tube rectifier. This is, as far as I can tell the most refined implication of the SET art form that is available. I only heard for a minute. But I know the taste of a watermelon’s clitoris, and demanding a pair for review. Look for my comments in July. Not cheap, but less than $20 million for a trip into outerspace. www.acousticdreams.net

LAMHORN 1.8: If you are into the One Way Way this is the Way you should sway. www.rlacoustique.com

Roman Audio Systems’ Speakers: Exploiting the Kimber Diaural crossover network confirmed for me the rumors that "Ray Kimber Must Die"…because if this crossover is right, then most others are wrong…but you know my feelings about passive crossover design turdosity. This speaker is a major achievement at $5.5K. Take it seriously. I heard them with sand amps and they sounded great. Can you imagine what they would sound like with good tube amps? Who knows? www.romanaudio.com



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