Woo had the most concentrated showing,
with a variety of headphone makes including the state-of-the-art contenders, the Abyss from JPS labs and the flagshipFocal. There were tubes and enclosures in all sizes on display for listening enjoyment, from desktop to portable although Woo's bigger eye and ear candy were absent this year.




Oppo had a good variety of phones and playback hardware on display as well as some interesting single-box wireless lifestyle speakers which were making some serious music. Their top-line Sonica Grand goes for aluminium unibody construction with a 3-way design housing 7 active drivers with 7 dedicated amps and planar ribbon tweeters. Lest you fret that it will be held back by Bluetooth limitations, worry not. A dedicated app will do your files via Wi-Fi out to 192/24 resolution. At $699, it's aimed at the audiophile crowd looking at a single box small solution without major compromises. It was quite impressive.




There were a host of names new to me like Master and Dynamic, located both on the floor in a room with Teac sporting a fresh turntable with an Arcam headphone solution. 1More was another fresh brand of reasonably priced in-ear phones which have garnered some positive press in both wired and Bluetooth varieties, and my trusted audiophile friend picked up some of their product.



If music, art and fashion were all embodied as one, singer Anne Bisson would be a good example. When she wasn't at her booth, she was gracing the packed audience with her talents in the intimate room of PMC/ Audio Alchemy/XLO Electric. She has proven a popular fixture at the audio shows and her new vinyl album could be seen dotting the landscape of a lot of exhibitor rooms.



And speaking of vinyl, it definitely emerged the hard source medium of choice. The resurgence of reissues and new material keeps winning new converts to the medium of the victrola and vendors were doing brisk business. CDs on the other hand were in scarce sight.



The vinyl end of the spectrum segues nicely into two fascinating pieces of electronic hardware being demonstrated by Dan Eakins in the Sweet Vinyl room from a company called Sugarcube. The base model SC-1 removes clicks and pops in real time via an ingenious process of sophisticated software and quality 192/24 AD/DA conversion controllable by front panel or mobile app. The SC-2 adds record capability with automatic LP metadata identification, complete with artwork nto USB or network file storage. Track splitting and tagging from vinyl with smart phone or tablet access is quite the ability, especially at the real world prices of $1'500 and $'2500 US. Sugarcube seems like a better mousetrap well orth looking into.