Just a brief word or two about some speakers I heard on the last day of the show. The B&W 804 Diamond, set up with some electronics in a suite at the Mirage, sounded very similar to the 805 Diamond I had reviewed in Issue 210 (February, 2011) but with more bottom end. Very promising.
The stand out speaker of the show in my category was Aerial's brand new 7T at exactly $10k. The fit and finish of the cabinet (several thin layers of veneer-like wood sandwiched between thin layers of MDF and then pressed into gentle curves for the sides and back) was just fantastic. The technique and materials used to create the curved walls, lots of internal bracing, and the drivers (all Scanspeak, I believe) together with the cross-over really delivered the goods as a complete loudspeaker system. The sound was completely full range -- as in deep, tuneful, powerful bass on up to beyond human hearing -- and it was wonderfully integrated and musically engaging, even under the typical, noisy show conditions. It also had lots of musical details without any glare or grain in the upper frequencies. The speaker was powered by a the Peachtree iNova, a tube/SS hybrid 80-watt integrated with a built-in iPod dock. Aerial wanted to make the point that their new speakers do not require mega power amps to drive them properly. The demo proved it. Michael Kelly at Aerial did a knock out job on the new 7T! And...of course, in my exhaustion, I forgot to take a photo! More about the 7T in my full show report.