In the recesses of the Alexis Park Hotel, I heard perhaps the best sound at either CES or T.H.E. Show . Keith Herron was featuring his wonderful Herron Audio electronics, including his new SP-4 hybrid line stage, VTPH-2 tube phono stage, M1 monoblocks, as well as Herron interconnects and DiMarzio Super M-Path speaker cables. The front end was a VPI HR-X turntable with Rim Drive, JMW 12.7 tonearm, and an OC-9 cartridge. The good news is that you can purchase any of these components and all represent outstanding values.
The bad news is that Keith was using his Herron Audio 2104A Speakers, which are not in production. These are the same speakers he used last year to produce a gloriously musical sound, but he has made some minor improvements on them over the past year, particularly in the top end, and they’re even better.
What made this full-range system so special was its completely natural musical timbre with exceptional tonal balance and coherency, holographic imaging, precise focus, transient speed, and explosive dynamics. Keith focused on “getting the timing” right, using mathematics, his ear, and recording expertise. “If you get the timing right, everything else falls into place,” Keith said modestly. I was stunned at how close this system came to capturing the sound of the recording venue, in a completely relaxed, yet engaging way. While I heard many terrific systems at CES 2009 and T.H.E Show, this is the one I found myself dreaming about.