Steve Schell and Richard Drysdale of Cogent Audio and the Dowdy Lama teamed up just across from the poor-sounding Jeff Rowland exhibit for the far-outest demonstration since Josh's first appearance at VSAC. We're talking about a two-way true field-coil battery-powered hornspeaker with a DS-1428 mid/hi compression driver based on the RCA MI-1428B originally designed in 1936 by Max Graham and John Volkmann for their large theater speaker systems. The new unit reportedly improves upon the original and sports a flux density of greater than 19 kiloGauss. Do me, baby! This driver is expected to be in full production by mid 2005. The Chiaroscuro speaker system on display mated this beast to the DS-1448 LF driver in a folded 60Hz exponential flare design to 500Hz where a conical flare with 50 degrees of horizontal dispersion loaded the 'beast'. Driven by Jim Dowdy's 2A3 SET on top and a 1.5-watt 45 SET on the bottom, the magic continued with an OTL-powered single 15" Altec woofer loaded into a gigantic horn tuned to 15Hz called the Big Ed true horn subwoofer. This monster proudly sports an 18-foot horn path but only suffers a foot print of 2.5' x 7'. Digital front end duties were handled by the VRS computer server system, again, while an all-woody Teres handled analogue.

In the DIYCable room, the affable Kevin Haskins [below] did such a good job of talking up his forthcoming GainClone projects (the basic National chip module is in his hand) that I completely missed the Well Tempered designer's new sub $1,000 turntable marvel that uses a golf ball bearing and, according to Stephaen, tracked the warptest-most record he'd ever seen without so much as a hiccup. By the time I realized my oversight, this table had been packed up hence no show'n'tell here - but if you check Steph's Audio Asylum photo report, I'm sure you'll catch it there. Seeing this veteran vinylphile go ape over this demonstration indicates it's no mere gimmick but a very serious attempt to shoehorn champagne performance into a beer can.

On the subject of GainClones, our man from Uruguay will ship me a commercial GainClone-with-tubes integrated in short order to gain informal feedback from yours truly. If this amp promises what it delivers, one of the other moonies will do the honors on a formal writeup, probably Candyman who is our resident opamp specialist.

Dodd Audio showed with the Mark Schifter-built GR-Research-designed line source arrays. Being a hustling newspaper hack attempting to cover it all, I did not spend time here and can't report on sonics.

But from past VSAC experience which teamed up Gary Dodd and Danny Richie as well, I recall this as exceptional value product and wish I'd had more time on my hands.

Bruce Edgar of EdgarHorn fame held court between his hornspeakers and giant subwoofer and was victim to the same speed-chasing antics on my part. Ditto for Epiphany Audio whose Bill Witherspoon and Ken Gates nevertheless found time to jump a few tracks on me at day's end while I was close to fading from sensory overload. Though I never cottoned to the PipeDreams of yore at any tradeshow where I encountered them, I was lucid enough here to realize that these line source arrays did not suffer the same shortcomings. In my admittedly slightly fogged-up mind at the time, they thus reside as potential PipeDreams-done-right designs. David Magnan of Magnan Cable fame certainly felt that way and his is a set of ears that's rather experienced.

Joe Ciulla of EquaRack didn't make the trek west but had his stand in the Horning/Wyetech/VRS exhibit and seeing that my review of his rack is merely pending delivery of his redesigned and upgraded Multi-Mount bearings, I took a big shot of it. The new bearings provide damping & isolation for components from 10 - 195 lbs by altering the number of viscoelastic pellets used in each mount and as dictated by total component weight and weight distribution.