NY Audio Show 2018: The Rooms (Part 2)

I’m presenting my NY Audio Show coverage in the order I moved around the show—namely, I started at the top, Floor 9, and worked my way down. See Part 1 for the beginning. Enjoy!

Luxman makes some tasty gear to my ears and ears. Covetous. While an LP was spinning when I was in-room, I snapped a pic of the Melco N100-H20 DLNA/UPnP media server ($1,999 w/2TB storage) and the matching D-100 Optical Disc Drive and CD ripper ($1,295) which are new to me. I reviewed the Melco N1A was back in 2015 and was impressed. I’d be even more impressed if the N100-100 added Roon Core to the mix. YMMV.

I saw this peeking out at me in the Luxman and requested “Used Cars” and my wish was granted. While the LP was getting seated on the ‘table, a guy next to me said, “Oh no, not Nebraska. We don’t want to get depressed.” He was joking. I apologized anyway.

I really wish I’d taken a more exciting picture of the Golden Ear Triton Reference speakers ($4,249/each) in the Value Electronics room but I didn’t. This sparse system included the Peachtree Nova 300 ($2,299) and a Marantz Reference SA10 SACD/CD Player ($6,999). This little room was packed when I arrived so I never got the sweet spot and an attendee’s CD was playing Harry Connick Jr. which made me think of Hari-kiri.

I’d love to be able to say that the Vitlais Audio room was the best-sounding room at the show. It was, by a very wide margin, the most interested visual display feeling like a peek into a personal world filled with wonder.


I’m pretty certain that the Orinda Acoustics 12 Inch 2-Way speakers ($22,000/pair) can sound better than they did at the NY Show. My guess is they can even sound much better than this room and this setup allowed.


The Laufer Teknik room sported a pair of Grandinote Mach 4 speakers ($25,950/pair) with The Memory Player 64-16 full player ($25,000) handling digital duties.

Ruel – “The first modular full-range one way line0source.” One way because there’s no crossover and modular because the Reul speakers are meant to reach from floor to ceiling as they use the room, they are also meant to be placed against the rear wall, to augment the speaker’s output. This is a system, the R+ ($70,000), which includes everything you need to make music. I encourage you go to their website and read more about this interesting and tantalizing approach. The sound? Open, airy, big and in this room a bit diffuse down low.

NY-based speaker maker Bache Audio was offering their Tribeca speakers for $5,000/pair, a $600 savings from their regular price.

Wolf Audio Systems and New Jersey’s Distinctive Stereo teamed up and made some lovely-sounding music. The system included the Wold Audio Alpha 3 server ($7,800), Merrill Audio Christine preamp ($12,400), Merrill Audio Element 116 monoblock amplifiers ($22,000/pair), the EMM labs  DAC 2x ($15,00o), and the visually and aurally striking Muraudio SP1 speakers ($14,700 standard finish, +$650 for high gloss black). I don;t know about you, but when I hear a system I’ve never heard playing unfamiliar music in a an unfamiliar room, I think power conditioning. Kidding. IN this instance, in this room, my attention was grabbed by the Murausio speakers since their presentation was a-typical, as you can imagine based on their composition. I’m intrigued.

Robin Wyatt of Robyatt Audio know how to a) put on a show, and b) put together a system.

I’ll also go out on a (short) limb and say that the “fully restored” Quad 57s from Electrostatic Solutions are a screaming good deal at $6,000/pair (in black, add $1500 for copper grills). These aren’t your granmother’s Quad 57s. Also pictured is the OMA Hypoeutectic Iron Plinth ($9,450) housing a Technics SP10R Turntable ($10,000), and the Butler Audio Monad Mono Bloc Amplifiers ($19,000/pair).

Cambridge Audio had their Edge Series on (a very attractive) display. This included the 100W RMS into 8 Ohms Edge W Power Amplifier ($3,000) and Edge NQ Preamplifier with Network Player ($4,000). I neglected to note the speakers but if I figure them out, I’ll update.

The Convergent Audio Technology (CAT) JL-3 “Statement” monoblock amplifiers with Magico speakers. I didn’t get prices but if you have to ask….

Audio Note. I like Audio Note’s approach to hifi and their rooms always sound warm, lush and inviting. Pictured are the AN-E LX Signatures ($15,237/pair), Meishu 300B-based INtegrated Amplifier ($8,264), and the TT3 turntable ($6,445 w/Level-1 external power supply), Arm 3 tonearm ($1,688), IO 1 phono cartridge ($1,443).

The Perfect8 Technologies Cube-S loudspeakers ($20,000/pair) offer an interesting approach to reproduction, as you can see, through and through. Big and diffuse were my mental notes.

Those are big horns. The ESD Acoustics Dragon five-way horn system ($if you have to ask…) is a sight to see. While the room was large, it had to be, I felt I couldn’t get far enough away from these Dragons to hear them gel. My friend Herb Reichert over on Stereophile had a different experience.

Cover image from the ESD room.