Saturday at T.H.E. Show 2019 in Long Beach was a little more of a blur than Friday–more attendees, more energy and more rooms. Much of my day was dominated by two local Southern California dealers, Sunny Components and Scott Walker Audio. I once did two rooms as an exhibitor, and that was the limit of our abilities. I couldn’t imagine the time and energy it takes to prepare the four rooms for Sunny and eight, yes eight rooms for Scott Walker Audio. Dealers with this kind of ambition are encouraging to the high-end audio industry as a whole. They’re making things happen in this industry.
Sunny Components had outstanding sound in each room, but the one system that really moved me was a very steely-looking yet impressively realistic set-up featuring Stenheim loudspeakers, CH Precision and–finally–a new Technics SL1000R rig. I’ve been waiting to hear this ever since I started reviewing the Technics SL-1200G. All those gleaming metallic gray surfaces from manufacturers known for high-resolution sound, and I felt there was plenty of warmth and beauty in this presentation. I stayed in this room for a very long time.
The Scott Walker Audio rooms were dominated by the presence of Ted Denney of Synergistic Research, and I have to admit that this was the first time I’ve heard one of his demos. Scott Walker Audio did something quite ambitious for a show–Denney conducted an A/B comparison between two identical rooms containing two identical systems–one with his products and one without. I’m going to go back for a closer listen–these two rooms were so crowded all day so I couldn’t really evaluate the differences. Sunday should be quieter.
I’ve known Peter Noerbaek from PBN Audio for many years, but I’ve really only heard his turntables and his speakers. At T.H.E. Show 2019 I listened to a complete PBN system and a new line of horn loudspeakers that completely different from Peter’s usual massive towers. The M2!5s offered two 15″ woofers mated to a compression driver that handles both the tweeter and midrange. Aside from the fact that Peter makes some of the most beautiful turntables in the world, the entire system was extremely musical and rewarding.
Finally, this was my first time in an mbl room in years. Colleen and I loved visiting Jeremy Bryan from mbl North America because he always had unusual musical selections for us, and because we always dug the sound and the undeniable cool emanating from these sleek German machines. Jeremy’s still here, getting great sound from impressive systems, and the clearest moments of Saturday were spent here, in this room, remembering how much I like this brand.
I’m heading out for the last day of the show. I’m not sure why, but T.H.E. Show 2019 is flying by so quickly that I hope I get to see everyone and everything before it ends at 5pm. The sound of these rooms are so consistently good that it makes my job here a complete joy.