There were a few other general things that really impressed me at the CES
show. The first was confirmation of something Dave Elledge told me.
Dave told me that I would be surprised at how bad some of the really expensive
stuff sounds. Dave was right. For this reason, I will not convey my
thoughts about this specific system or that system. I will only convey my
remarks in a very general fashion. I will also refrain from any subjective
commentary. This will keep the lawyers away.
1. There is something really special about larger
woofers. Some of the speakers with 12" woofers really made it
happen. There was just more punch and dynamics with the larger woofers
than with the smaller woofers. The smaller woofers sounded good, but the
bigger ones really sounded better IMO. This was somewhat dependent on the
type of music.
2. Some of the very best drivers didn't produce the very
best sound. Some very mediocre low tech drivers produced a very nice
3. There is something special about the a smaller midrange
crossed at 1000hz. I heard a few of these in four-way systems using a dome.
The female vocals seemed much better with the smaller midrange.
4. Some very good stuff is made in China. There is
also much more stuff made in China than I initially figured.
5. Richard Marsh's preamp used the Audio Cap PPMF. I
read one of his papers concerning the advantages of the MultiCap. The
Multi-Cap article reads like subtle marketing to my eyes. However, I guess
all of that theoretical discussion about the multi-sectional advantages gave way
to the cap conveying the best sound for the $ - the PPMF. It was very
refreshing to see that the capacitor wizard (Richard Marsh) chose the same
capacitor for his electronics that I choose for mine - the PPMF.
6. Dennis Murphy's crossover design talent equals/betters the
products displayed at CES. Dennis is significantly better
than some of the commercial folks that are getting paid for their
7. I saw a Plexiglas cutout of a speaker using SEAS Excel
drivers in a four-way setup. The Excel drivers were used for the midrange and the
mid-woofer. The Plexiglas cutout revealed 18-22 gauge inductors and some
electrolytic capacitors. This speaker retailed for $225,000.00 (that is
the correct number of zeroes)
8. I will remain faithful to the W18 and the OW1.
9. There were some high tech gizmos present at the
show. Some of them sounded pretty decent, until my ears found the flaws.
They served as brilliant displays of technology that failed to sonically
outperform domes and cones.
10. There is often much adieu about what sounded "the
best" at CES. In my humble opinion "the best" is largely
dependent upon source material and music preference. "The best"
speaker for orchestral recordings will not be the "best" speaker for
rock-n-roll. "The best" speaker for a 7wpc SET tube amp will not
be the "best" speaker for a 120wpc SS amp. One of my subjective
favorites was a $3500 2-way speaker with the Focal 7k and yellow Kevlar tweeter.
The speaker was hooked to a push pull tube amp. It sounded darn good
regardless of its relatively diminutive $3500 price tag.