THE Show Newport Beach 2014 • Best of Show

As usual, the EAR room sounded splendid, as well it should with the remarkable $85,000/pair Marten Coltrane Tenor speakers, which pack a lot of great sound into a relatively small package. Source components included the $28,000 EAR Discmaster turntable sporting a Helius Omega Silver Ruby 10" tonearm -- actually two of them ($5225 each) with Dynavector XV-1s stereo ($5450) and mono ($5950) cartridges. Digital was supplied by the EAR Acute 4/DACute 4 CD/SACD player ($13,000). The 100-watt EAR 509 monoblocks ($15,700 each) supplied the power, with an EAR 912 preamplifier ($13,000) in front. Everything was tied together by Jorma Design interconnects and speaker cables, and Waveform Fidelity power cords.

Dan Meinwald of EAR and Wes Bender did their usual impeccable setup, and the system sang sweetly on a test pressing of a new Groove Note LP -- Vanessa Fernandez's Use Me -- carried around the show by Ying Tan from the label. Dan can always be counted on to have a newly discovered jazz LP on hand, and he did not fail in that department, playing Don Ellis's Essence on Pacific Jazz. He also queued up a private recording of Prince that had a serious groove on.

Again as usual, the EAR room provided an oasis of great sound in the cacophony of noises that greet attendees traveling from room to room at any audio show.

The Audio Beat • Nothing on this site may be reprinted or reused without permission.