CES 2003 ta Fiesta, part 2
by Steve Lefkowicz


Before getting into more photos, I'll mention a few items I found noteworthy, but for whatever didn't get photographed. Mike Pranka of Toffco, current importer of Dynavector cartridges (and arms) and Neat Acoustics speakers, was showing the new Dynavector electronics. These come as a joint venture from Dynavector Australia and Dynavector New Zealand, and though small and fairly plain looking, sounded like they have great potential playing through Neat Ultimatum MF7 speakers. www.dynavector.co.jp and www.neat.co.uk

George Stanwick (Stanalog Audio Imports) was once again showing the little Sugden system. Though very small in size, the sound was thoroughly enjoyable, and not just for a "little bedroom system." www.audioinflux.com

Dr. Per Soh Hsu was, as usual, demonstrating his Hsu Research subwoofers in what was probably the lowest priced system at either the Alexis Park or the San Remo. Cheap multichannel receiver, zip cord connecting everything, and these little bitty BIC speakers that use a tiny full range driver in a cabinet about the size of the old Radio Shack Minimum-7. Yet, well what can I say, anyone demonstrating a super expensive system at the show and getting bad sound should go sit in on one of Dr. Hsu's demo's. They'd learn a thing or two. www.hsuresearch.com

Tash Goka of Divergent Technologies, importer of Antique Sound Labs, Reference 3A, JJ Electronics, Audiostatic, Copland, and Chang Lightspeed, was showing off numerous exciting products. I make no bones about being a fan of ASL, as they make very affordable products that generally sound great, my favorite kind! Some Reference 3A speakers are promised for review too. www.divertech.com

VBT Technologies was showing off their amazing little subwoofers again this year (using Galante Rhapsodies as the main speakers). Their line has expanded to include passive subs from $600 and now powered units as well. And of course, you'll read about them here (just give us a little time). www.vbtbass.com

Now, on to more photos!

Carol Dave Nizar AJ and Danny.jpg (34310 bytes)

Here's the happy Positive Feedback Online family of Dave and Carol (on left), with PFO's Danny Kaey on the right. In between are Nizar Akhrass of May Audio Marketing and A. J. Van Den Hul. Check out their website for the wide range of products they import and distribute. www.mayaudio.com


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Albert von Schweikert has been known over the years for both very expensive high-end speakers (like the VR-7, VR-6, and VR-10) and also for moderately priced speakers that sounded bigger and better than their price (like the VR-4). This year he surprised all with small and affordable speakers. Seen here are the floor-standing VR-2 ($2495) and the stand mounted VR-1 ($995).


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Element E50 speaker

You have to have a lot of confidence to launch a new speaker line with models selling for $50,000 and $100,000, but that's what Demian Martin (Entec, Spectral, and Monster) and Ric Mancuso (Monster and Spica) are doing. Here is the E50 ($50,000) that packed a lot of technology into a very revealing system (at least I didn't say "transparent"). www.element.us.com


Ron Welborne and Maya Horns.jpg (41056 bytes)

I know horns and low powered tube amps aren't everyone's idea of the way things ought to be, but Ron Welborne (Welborne Labs and Moondog Audio), seen here with the Maya speaker system ($17,000 using AER Mk. II drivers) will certainly help to convince people with open minds and ears. www.moondogaudio.com, www.welbornelabs.com


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Sophie Electric SET-Music Baby

There were several companies showing low priced tube gear. We already mentioned Antique Sound Labs, but two more are GW-Labs, whose Cyclops tube integrated amp sells for $895 (sorry, no picture) and Sophia Electric. Their Music SET Baby integrated sells for just $800 and sounded beautiful driving Galante speakers. Both amps are due in for review. GW-Labs $2450 model 270 (70 wpc stereo amp) was once again driving Bruce Thigpen's Eminent Technology planer magnetic speakers. www.gw-labs.com, www.sophiaelectric.com


Electron Luv.jpg (39943 bytes)

Winner of the coolest looking electronics at the show goes to Electron Luv for these mono block amps and matching line amp. Yes, they cost as much (or more) than you would expect from how they look! The 2A3 tubed amps go for $17,000 a pair, while the preamp is only $7000. These were making highly musical sounds through the very affordable $1500 Cain & Cain Abbey speakers. www.electronluv.com


Steve Lauerman and Castle Compact speakers.jpg (37081 bytes)

Steve Lauerman (Lauerman Audio Imports) poses with Castle Acoustic's brand new Compact speaker system. Popular in England and Europe for many years, Steve plans on making Castle Acoustics a well known brand in the US of A too. From what I've heard from Castle speakers in the past, this shouldn't be too hard. www.castle.uk.com


Dave Carol and Seimans 1960 speakers.jpg (45286 bytes)

And we wrap up the show for this year with Dave and Carol posing with a set of Seimans speakers that, if I have the story straight, were made in 1960. A slightly smaller, home version of speakers that was made for movie theaters. Only heard them briefly in the Lamm Industries suite. Now, if I knock the wall out and expand my living room by 20 or 30 feet.... www.lammindustries.com

And there you have it. Just two days, lots of running around and not enough time to listen to very much. But then again, not enough time to develop a real nasty headache either! For all the exhibitors whose pictures and names didn't get mentioned here, nothing intentional or personal intended. I only had so much time. Hopefully someone else from PFO put you in their show report.

See you all next year!

(all photographs copyright Steve Lefkowicz 2003)