• CES Random Note III

    Favorite system at CES. It's time to talk about sound & music, no not The Sound of Music. CES was full of great sounding equipment. Walking suite to suite in the Venetian was really a treat. I'm not aligned with some of the other writers who hated CES because of elevator lines or the distance between halls etc... There is arguably nowhere else on Earth an audiophile can experience all of this sound and music. Back to the great sounding equipment. Countless manufacturers put on demonstrations that that really showcased their equipment. My only problem is they were showcasing their equipment. I know that sounds funny. Let me explain. One manufacturer said to me that he was playing Joni Mitchell because her voice hit the crossover point of his speakers perfectly. I'm cool with people who like to listen to equipment as opposed to the music. It just doesn't work for me. I can only hear Patricia Barber and DIana Krall so many times in one week. These artists do have some really good music, but it was too often used to showcase equipment. Some might also say that the manufacturers are there to showcase equipment. OK, point taken. But, the end product of all of this is listening to music, not sound, and selling more of your products to the end consumers. Let's face it people make decisions based on emotion. Does the sound of a female voice hitting right at the crossover point bring out emotion in you? Does listening to a great reissue of James Taylor's Sweet Baby James bring out emotion in you? For me, the James Taylor scenario wins hands down. I wasn't even a big fan of James Taylor before CES. Now I am looking all over for the CD version of what I heard in the McIntosh suite at the Venetian.
    This brings me to my favorite system at CES. This system surely wasn't the most expensive, or the most talked about. It didn't even have a music server or computer connected to it. In my opinion this system was the most musical a CES. In fact I went back to listen to this system a couple times per day for three days. Alright enough what is it? The McIntosh suite at CES had me lost in the music. I was temporarily swept away from the chaos of CES as I relaxed on the couch. To me it doesn't get any more musical than this. I don't listen to test tones or crossovers, I listen to music that moves me. The McIntosh system stepped out of the way and allowed me to do just that. Listening to James Taylor's Sweet Baby James was literally my favorite part of the whole show. At the end of the third day I was sitting in the McIntosh room talking to Dick McCarthy of Richard Gray's Power Company, who had itheir equipment in this system. I asked him to put the James Taylor record on since he was "manning" the room. After a few songs we were both talking about the musicality of this system. Dick mentioned that he used McIntosh amps at home, but with different speakers. Dick's speakers are often highly recommended as very accurate reproducers of sound. But, he said the McIntosh system was so musical that he may take another look at his system. Now that CES has been over for a couple weeks and I've had time to really think about the McIntosh / RGPC system, I've decided to take a serious look at making McIntosh a major part of my system.

    System:

    McIntosh XRT1K loudspeakers
    McIntosh MC275 amps
    McIntosh MT10 turntable
    McIntosh MCD201 CD / SACD player
    McIntosh C2300 preamp
    Richard Gray's Power Company RGPS 1200



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    Comments 3 Comments
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      The 'sonic memories' are now flooding in. - I was lucky enough to grow up around McIntosh tube equipment. My uncle would "upgrade" his equipment almost every year. I never could understand why he would move from his McIntosh equipment to other brands. ..........until he bought Mark Levinson that is. SWEET. <br />
      <br />
      <br />
      markr<br />
      SIGH
    1. bluedy1's Avatar
      bluedy1 -
      Chris,<br />
      I just saw your piece on MacIntosh at CES in January.<br />
      I heard in Paris last year the big system with the huge amps and the huge speakers and it just did not work.<br />
      The guy in charge probably pushed the volume too high (as unlikely as it seems with amps producing thousands of watts), it was aggressive, very powerful but no music, what a pity.<br />
      I dont want to say anything negative about Macintosh as I have a wonderful memory of listening to a friend system in the 80ies based upon mac amps: we were listening to Always the sun from the Stranglers: the dynamics were incredible, the drums sounded like real, I have never this song played as realistically since.<br />
      Apparently you now use MacIntosh as your primary amplifiers: are these the MC275s?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi bluedy - I sure do use MC275!