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 CES 2016 Report

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PostSubject: CES 2016 Report   Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:35 am



2 miles from the Convention Center in Las Vegas are our private listening rooms where some of the shows greatest music is done. Do we get crowded? No. Do we have fun? You bet. While Harold and the Tune Girls (our show family) fight the masses I stay at TuneLand Vegas conducting private listening sessions during the day and on till well after the doors are locked at the world's largest technical electronic show.  For the CES visitors it's that fast stop by the show rooms, for us it's more of a listeners camp meeting. We usually start our CES right after New Years through a couple of days after the show has folded the tents. This of course depends on how long the music spins or until the gang gets called back to work or their better halves. Can't stay in Vegas forever, even though I'm sure it must be hard to leave. You can't beat Vegas for picking up great vinyl and live music. TuneLand has been located here since 2004, one of our 3 locations.



In October 2015 I found out I would be getting the chance to preview and review some of Audolici's components. Immediately I made my way to my local equipment closet and began referencing every thing I could get my ears on in order to see how the Portugal products stacked up against the rest of the world. I treated my ears to ARC, Levinson, vintage Mac & Marantz, Krell, Classe', a Sumo amp believe it or not and a few other new and vintage gems. All of these wonderful products brought back memories and introduced me to a few new ones. You see my job has always been to find the best in any product and try to get inside of the mind of the designer so I know where he or she is going and how they ended up with their particular sound. Some designs come up short unfortunately either from being too stuck on one sound or unable to mate with other components speakers and most of all rooms. Lucky for me I had Harold Cooper (USA distributor) guide me through the Q&A's fairly quickly. This is great for me cause I'm a get down to the listening kind of guy as you can probably tell. Reviewers & reviews are fine, but we all know that with high end audio's revolving door of next month's recommendations many things get past over and getting that typical audiophile soundstage between the speakers is about as far as it gets. Nope for me listening starts outside of the speakers and music is real size and real space. None of this black hole in the soundstage crap. The audiophile has made his own rules based on being boxed in. Growing up in the music creating biz I know better and so do the serious participants of this business and hobby. I have no problem with those choosing to live in a box, but I sure wish they could experience the recording for it's strengths not a systems limitations.

Harold (Coop) asks "your choice black or silver"



the black one please, these are gorgeous units

I almost always prefer tops off on my amps and this amp is one beautiful beast inside. Nice transformers guys! Love how the circuit boards are mounted too, smart! Folks can see I like this amp up on the LTR Blocks and Sonata Platform. Mechanically the A25-M for the sake of tuning the vibrations is nicely done. I hate those over done amps that make the instruments sound like miniature players. This layout is easy to work with and around.

lights out lets get this baby going

Never, and I mean never, have I ever plugged in a tube amp and "cold" had it take me outside the room that I can remember. The Audolici A25-M shocked the heck out of me the first time I hit play on my remote. Did I get lucky? Am I hearing what I think I am? LOL. I'm not one of those guys who gets tricked by that first listen to the perfect music for the system. In-fact I probably more than anyone I know talks about the differences in each recorded code made and how a system needs to be flexible enough to adapt to and adopt the signal. The Audolici from go played harmonics. I played Paul Simon's "still crazy" all the way through so you know something was happening. The stage was big, bold, insightful and entertaining.



You know what I'm saying, this is one of those recordings that jumps around from mix to mix and some of the songs are fine and others...well....weird. Use to hate guys coming in the studio saying they wanted a greatest hits made. However the A25-M played every note and recreated every space in believable fashion. Yes, I listened the whole way through on a tube amp not warmed up. Even though the amp had not reached it's sweet range yet it was certainly sweet. Second hour into your listening is going to be the magic hour. The "ON" window of listening on the A25 seems to be between 45 minutes-5hrs which is just about perfect for a serious night of listening. I even left the amp on over night a couple of times and all was fine.

Let me get back to the show before this turns into a full blown review.



During the extended CES I used 3 different room acoustic setups, 3 different speakers, 2 different power cords and 3 different Tuning Platforms. The Audolici also proves to be able to respond well in different conditions of listening, which is rare these days in our hobby being so one sound driven. Many of the amps I used earlier to get my recording referencing cues, put up fights, but the A25-M is fairly easy going and just wants to be played. Another important test for me is to separate the upper and lower harmonic structures. Meaning I will run an amp through satellite speakers as well as subs. Many of the best systems today use subwoofers.  This amp is an excellent mid and up amp with tons of control, space and dynamics. What surprised though was playing the A25 on the bottom end. The texture was rich and tight. Keep in mind I'm not playing in the biggest room and the room is well voiced with my acoustical toys.

Playing Roger Water's Amused To Death was another treat.



The thunder storm went all the way around the room, behind my head and back to the front stage again, very nice! Listening to this Q-sound recording didn't miss a beat with the Audolici. I threw into the system one of the test amps (will remain nameless) and the same recording stayed in the front stage not able to break loose from it's box. Back in the Audolici and without warm up again the recording easily did it's dance. You must listen to this amp with ATD, a treat for sure. I listened to quite a few recordings during the show surprisingly for me and enjoyed the amps' ability to harmonize each recording in some what short order. Even though I prefer whole LP's over playlist there were hardly any hiccups while song jumping. A big plus with todays DJ mentality. I could see this being a good amp for those streaming music.

well lets see

My report wouldn't be complete without playing The Atlanta Symphony (my classical engineering home). One advantage in previewing components is being an audio engineer myself. On goes Pines of Rome...



...and the first word that comes to mind is "emotional". I was there, and the goose pimples raise as much today thinking about it as the day I listened or even engineering the sound for these pieces. In my listening room with the Chameleons & Audolici it's hard to explain the sense in audiophile language. I think if I was talking to the late great Harry Pearson who I enjoyed tuning his systems together with him, words like headphonish or expanded would surface. This is without a doubt Harry's flavor, or at least one I have heard him talking about getting to. "the sense of being"

This report for me is far from over as I have decided to keep the Audolici as one of my own personal references.

In closing do I recommend the A25-M?

If your hunting for those magic moments that make you forget your listening to stereo equipment, and yet that touch of classic tubes, the Audolici could be one of your favorite explorations into this hobby of listening to music. Yup, I highly recommend the Audolici A25-M!

Feel free to revisit this thread from time to time as I will be giving  my Audolici system updates. But for now I need to get back to the music.

sharing the platform with an old school CDP, pretty good sounding too, now used on two separate custom platforms



playing the Chameleon 102 BP


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