Newport 2014: Analysis and Arion


hiresnewportlogoforwebFeaturing both a planar panel and a ribbon tweeter running the length of the speaker, the Analysis Audio Epsilon loudspeakers ($16,000) gave this room a hefty dose of expansive sound. These speakers offer treble precision and impact that many other planar speakers would struggle to match.

The Analysis planars were mated with Arion Audio‘s HS-500 monoblock amps ($6,295), which make use of a hybrid design, pairing vacuum tubes with a Class-D output stage.

During the brief time I was able to listen, I was left with the impression that the tubes help mitigate some of the Class-D sound signature. Preamplification was provided by the prototype LS-100 dual mono preamp ($4,000), which also utilize a similar hybrid vacuum tube/solid state technology.

The amps nestled comfortably on Pon-Tunes vibration control devices ($179 per set). Chang Lightspeed provided power filtration ($3,850), and the cables were from JPS Labs‘ Aluminata line.

If memory serves, while I was in the room, I was listening to an EMM Labs CD/SACD player, but analog from VPI‘s Classic 3 with a SoundSmith Strain Gauge was also available.


The whole shabang was just fantastic on voices: the speed, resolution, and vocal texture were superb. This was room-filling sound, and a real pleasure.

T.H.E. Show at Newport 2014 Show Sponsor


  1. And while reviewing the room, you didn’t ask to listen to the analog on this great rig because……???????????

    • “Reviewing a room” … well, I can’t speak for Mal or Kirsten, but I’m really not “reviewing” any room at any audio show. I’m just attempting to capture what’s going on while I’m there and perhaps highlight a few things I find interesting. If the demo currently underway doesn’t include a particular piece of gear, I may ask to change directions, but only if I’m alone in the room. Which I’m usually not. Change ups can take a while, too, and since there’s usually 100 or so rooms to visit, sitting idle for 3-5 minutes makes me keenly aware of the rooms I’m not visiting — or won’t be able to visit because I’m sitting there, waiting for them to warm something up, reachable something, or move something around. Generally speaking, spending 15-20 minutes per room isn’t possible. Instead, I’ll drop in and just sit, dig into whatever’s happening, take my pics, ask a few questions and then it’s off to the next one. Some rooms, especially run by old friends, I’ll budget extra time for — but that means short changing everyone else. Scheduled demo times are avoided. Protracted/scripted demos are avoided. If the room is crowded, something isn’t working, or the door is locked, I’m off to the next room. If I get through everything else on my list, then I might swing back by. Maybe. If there’s something of particular interest to me — and I happen to know it’s in there — I’ll make an effort to get in on the swing-back. Maybe. But when I have a big show to cover, and only a 16-20 hours to cover it, “I’ll be back” usually means “I’m really sorry you weren’t ready for me; I’ll see you at the next show.”

    • Scot can indeed speak for us here. He covered the general case perfectly. I can only add a few specifics about our decision making in this particular room.

      Kirsten and I have heard most of the components here before. I hadn’t heard anything from Analysis in a room that small in eight years. I was far more concerned with getting a handle on the sound of the the speakers in that venue (they work well) and with getting acquainted with the signature of the unfamiliar preamp. Either the analog front end or the digital front end would have been more than sufficient for the few minutes we could spare for listening. At this show, though, the EMM digital was so much more common that its familiar sound signature was probably significantly more useful for a short listen than the analog front end would have been. It turned out to be good enough that Kirsten called dibs on writing up the room.

      Bothering people to make unnecessary changes in their program isn’t something Kirsten or I do casually. We certainly don’t do it when the demonstration they’re already providing can serve all of our minimal needs at least as well as the full dog’n’pony routine.

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