The Venetian Hotel is huge and walking
through it is a task unto itself. The sites
and sounds are eye-opening particularly when
you see partially-dressed Adult Video Awards
attendees walking about with all their
private parts all out in the open. Sigh.
Before attempting to go to the towers we (CP
and I) ventured to level two to the Laufer
Teknik room. We were greeted by Sam Laufer
who, over the past few years, has become
recognized as the importer of superior
high-end German electronics Behold. Laufer
asked us to sit and give the Boenicke W20 SE
loudspeaker ($40k), the newest addition to
his arsenal, our undivided attention. The
W20 SE's a true transmission line and its
build quality (CNC milled from two solid
wood blocks I'm told), look, fit n' finish
unusual is one of the W20 SE's full-range
driver is located atop its cabinet. Designer
Sven Boenicke says this adds a
dimensionality not often found in
front-firing designs. Matched with the most
Behold electronics and the exalted Nova
Physics Memory Player, the sound was larger
and wider than the physical location the
Boenicke was in a testimony to Boenicke's
unique top driver. Here's a loudspeaker that
paints a large sonic landscape which was
also very detailed and musical. Mr. Sam
Laufer, you've done it again!
The Amphion room was showing their Prio
loudspeaker ($6,000) with the beautiful Lars
300B complimented tube amplifier ($100,000).
The Lars is of Swedish design and is
referred to as “The Stradivarius of
Amplifiers” I don’t know about that quote
but the sound was rather impressive. $100k
or Stradivarius good? Now, I wouldn't go
On to the towers.
In the Escalante room Terri Budge was
showing the $20,000. Fremont loudspeakers
Electrocompaniet electronics. At first blush
I thought, for the large size of these
monitors, the sound was rather too relaxed
and demur sounding. That is, until he turned
up the volume. I heard Escalante Fremonts
transform from Tinker bells to the
Incredible Hulk. The utter dynamics, musical
heft and soft transients make this an
intriguing loudspeaker and another of my
most impressive "Best Sounds".
money, the Von Schweikert Audio Unifield 3
($15k), has to be among the best sounding
loudspeakers I heard at this year's CES.
George Kaye's Moscode electronics are no
slouches either in the wonderful sonics they
The Perfect 8 loudspeaker in conjunction
with Bridge Audio Labratory and Zanden Audio
was a showstopper. I am in total agreement
with CP on this setup and think I returned
to this room at least three times just to
double and triple-check. The concept of
using glass as an enclosure - even on subs
so devoid of vibrations that when a full 16
Oz bottled water was placed on them you
don't even get a ripple - serves as a
contradiction to everything I was taught.
The sound was simply fabulous and
ultra-quiet. The system weaved a sonic
tapestry with such a great sense of ease, I
could digest all the musicians at once. Not
an easy feat. Easily my vote for "Best Sound
The Focus Audio setup featured its Prestige
Series FP90 loudspeaker: an 87db, 8 ohm
beauty, displayed in a beautiful Ebony
finish. The guys responsible for this room
put together a sound that truly represented
"Focus Audio" because I was easily able
focus in on the music and nothing else.
It, of course, didn't hurt all electronics
were by way of Oracle Audio that featured
their model 2000 transport, model 1000 DAC
and model P1000 mono amplifiers.
The Genesis Audio room showed their new
Genesis 7.if loudspeaker, which comes with
its own self-powered woofer section complete
for $8k. The sound rivaled loudspeakers
costing many times more. I was impressed by
the ease and dynamic flow, especially bass,
which they delivered in spades.
The Avatar Acoustics room featured Acoustic
System International Tango Platinum
loudspeaker ($27k), in addition to Karan
Acoustics electronics and cabling by Franck Tchang
(photo). The synergistic sound emanating from
this system produced an easy to listen get
lost into: detailed, dynamic and truly
The Rogue Audio room was showing off its
Hera Tube Line Stage ($7500) and Apollo Mono
Block electronics ($10k) powering an egg
colored pair of Eggleston Ref 9
loudspeakers. If its the glorious glow of
tubes you like, these babies will warm the
cockles of your heart.
In conclusion although I only reported on a
few rooms the Stereo Times staff was well
represented here and redundancy was
something I tried to avoid and after all is
said and done this years CES was a better
event than I had anticipated it to be.
The turn out for the CES was a boost the Las
Vegas economy and over all it was a good
time was had by all.
Hope to see you next year!