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CES 2013: Perfect8 and BAlabo

I have to be honest here. I really wasn't expecting much from the all-glass $115,000/pair The Point Mk II from Perfect8. But here paired with the $88,500 BAlabo BP-1 stereo amplifier, the sound was actually quite fine. Better than that, actually -- the AMT tweeter was detailed and the DSP-controlled, Hypex-driven bass was articulate. Not on par with the best on offer at the show, but definitely way better than average. That said, I'm still not precisely sure where the cost for the loudspeakers comes from, exactly, but any sense of outrage wasn't quite as ... sharp ... as some.

[edited 1/21]

Looking back over this post, I realized that about half of it simply vanished between writing and publishing. Apologies — the joys of online publishing are filled with many unexpected delights. Anyway, let me try again.

I thought this room was extremely good — it was also one of the first I wandered into. A friend and I managed to transect the show on slightly different orbits, and on our periodic collisions, we swapped notes — the Perfect8 stayed with him as a Best in Show. I found the room integration to be exemplary and the overall “punch” to be very satisfactory, but this was seating-dependent in the way that side-firing woofers tend to be. Detail, speed, and tone were very “on” — this was a great way to start CES!

The thing that didn’t make any sense, at least to my baggage of audiophile preconceptions, was the construction. Glass? Really? That can’t work, can it? Okay … so it did. Fine. So … why does it cost that much, then? I simply can’t make that math work.

The BAlabo gear is very bling. What looks like gold inserts set into Corian trim adds a fun touch. I think the total price of the set (amp, pre, and player) was ~$200k.

Get your Occasional now

6 Comments on CES 2013: Perfect8 and BAlabo

  1. It was to me the purest sound at the show and for that matter one of the purest sounds I have ever heard. I really enjoyed the music no matter what song was playing. Just fantastic. Only the MBL room could compare although there were issues with the sound of the X-tremes at the show.

  2. They just sounded a bit better, than quite fine !? They do certainly appeal to the eye! I wonder if they include cotton gloves and special audiophile glass cleaner in the price? Must be a bear to ship and hope they arrive undamaged. I’d love to hear the blabo amp though. My first impression would be to determine whether they tend to sound somewhat dark, as Jonathan ???? of TAS postulates in a review of that companies products.

    • Part-Time Audiophile // January 21, 2013 at 10:35 AM //

      I thought they sounded really nice — but it’s just slabs of glass. A friend of mine thought this was definitely Best in Show, FWIW.

  3. A well-deserved sense of outrage I say. I’m glad the author engaged in some plain talk– very rare that. Products like this make us all look like weirdos (Ok, some of us are weirdos, but this makes it worse).

  4. I guess they know what ‘their’ market will bear.

  5. A sense of outrage? Regarding the price of “exotic” audio equipment? I didn’t know one still existed..

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