The AudioKinesis/James Romeyn room was a whole can of aural whoop-ass that I had no idea I was opening.
First up? Let's start with the Dream Maker LCS. The LCS stands for "late ceiling splash", and yes, that's pretty much what it sounds like. This system is designed to work with your room -- just not quite the way that, say, an Audio Note or corner-horn system will. Those latter approaches attempt to convert the short-wall in your listening room into an impromptu horn in order to achieve better/deeper bass, if at the expense of a time-smeared, slow and/or bloated excuse for same. Yes, yes, some implementations are better than others -- case in point is the Dream Maker LCS. There are four speakers here [I thought they were identical, but see Duke's note in the comments, below] with two laid out flat (yes, flat) on the floor behind the loudspeakers in a just-so positioning. That speaker "shoots" up at the ceiling, and given proper placement, can send "late sound" into the listening room. For those of you still following along, there's this time-delay issue that first-order reflection damping is attempting to solve -- any "information" that arrives at the listening position within 5ms of the original signal will be "smeared" with that signal, resulting in ... well ... less than perfect "signal reception", but that can be frequency abnormalities at one extreme and loss of fine detail on the other. Either way you slice it, it's bad. With the Dream Maker LCS, the "second wave" will arrive ten milliseconds after the first (or, too late to interfere), with the result being ... awesome. James did the live demo, first with (very good) and then without the second set of speakers, and it was like blowing the walls down in the listening space. Whoa. Dude. The LCS is set to head out at $8,800 for the four-piece ensemble. And that was just the first system.
For their next trick, the team had us swivel stage-right for the new Event Horizon 210, a “patent pending Manipulated Vortex Waveguide” system ($TBD). This speaker, hatched by Duke Lejeune [again, see Duke’s note in the comments below], was finished (that is, these prototypes were finished) on the day before the show opened, and I got the feeling that Duke was entirely unsure how the whole thing was going to come off.
I can’t explain how this works. Duke tried, but I’m borderline moronic, so that went nowhere fast. Here’s what I managed to grasp with my feeble excuse of an intellect. The speakers are rated at 96dB, but based on the way they interact with the air, they experience expansion, not compression. Said another way, the sensitivity increases with volume. Yeah, I don’t get it, but the point is that these may well be the ideal PA-speaker.
Listening to these guys in wildly suboptimal positioning was exhilarating. The sound stage was huge, I mean really wide, with good detail and killer dynamics.
I thought the finish, a kind of rough distressed antique aesthetic, was refreshingly attractive and very much at (pleasant!) odds with the overdone crap you see in the boutique window.
All in all, the room had nothing but great sound and lots for the audio junkie to sink their teeth into. Nice room, nice group, and quite frankly, a must-see stop on the circuit.
Other gear? Some very expensive gear from NBS Cables, with lots of heavy and eye-catching copper chassis work. The lineup:
- Universal Format Audio CD Player: $50k
- Universal Power Conditioner: $18k
- Universal Phono: $35k
- Universal Tone Control: $25k
- Universal Pre: $25k
Also in the rack was an Atma-Sphere S30 ($5k) stereo OTL tube amp and an MP3 ($5k) preamplifier.