CES 2008… music, music, more music!
Since music is what we are all about, I figured an intro to my very own and special CES show mix is in order. While most exhibitors typically enlist the help of modern day audiophile recordings, camp DK always tries out something else. For this year, I compiled a demo disc with a whopping 19 tracks, totaling a 79:14 on the clock. Wherever time permitted, I’d play my disc to get a better grasp of the sound quality and general vibe of the system. Hey, it’s all about the music and since most non ‘philes haven’t heard of anything beyond our friends at Best Buy, you have to start with music they are familiar with.
Sound wise, this show was an improvement over last year; it would appear that many exhibitors figured out a way to overcome the room challenges presented by the Venetian suites. In general, sound was quite good, although as always, some rooms sounded better then others. Standouts? There were a couple; though you’ll have to be more patient and read the overall show coverage.
Tracks ranged from classic rock, Born To Be Wild, to live Fleetwood Mac, Nat King Cole, Reference Recordings, Scissor Sisters and my all time fave, Yello. Of the 19 tracks, the most requested were these fine examples of DK’s lounge:
James Taylor’s Fire and Rain is a great example of a 70’s recording that was left almost pure and pristine. I listen for JT’s voice and in particular for the tremendous bass thwack of the kick drum which was recorded exceptionally well (there’s just a hint of tape compression, which ads nicely to the fullness of the sound). My recommendation is to get the Hoffman/Grey Warner reissue – A+++
Just Jack’s Life Stories, off his follow-up album Overtones is a fantastic, lyrically stimulating track. A modern day recording, the producers and engineers did an outstanding job capturing the overall feel of Just Jack’s melodies, harmonies and Overtones. The track kicks up with a nice drum track, that has that phat, thick luscious analog sound of nice tape compression. A super demo track, requested rather frequently.
Audiophiles LOVE female vocals. Ok, so here you go: Audrey Morris – Bistro Ballads. An early 50’s full track mono recording off RCA’s budget “X” label, this is as good as it gets. No overdub, reverb or other artifacts to cover Audrey’s absolutely outstanding voice, this track – Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry - was one of the most requested!
Of course, no DK lounge mix would be complete without a little schmalz and swagger, in this case, Nat King Cole’s Love Is The Thing is a wonderful disc, although you have to spring for the DCC / Hoffman reissue ‘cause the commercial disc plain ol’ sucks. Absolutely stunning “you are there” vocals!
The most requested track off my disc was of course none other then Yello’s Planet Dada Mix. This track is always a major challenge for many systems: you can judge speed, bass extension, dynamic resolution and spatial cues off this single track unlike any other. This is also the track responsible for bringing down 2 ceiling mounted lights in the Luxman/Vivid room, cranked up to 115db peaks!!! You want this disc!
Scissor Sisters debut album is a nice, melodic synth pop disc, which has some pretty nice demo tracks. If you are into Yello and similar, you’ll love this disc! Must have in any serious audiophile collection!
Last, but not least, The Viking’s off Keith Johnson’s Pomps and Pipes demo disc. Wow, Wow, Wow! You want to check absolute dynamic resolution in your system, play none other then this (and Yello). Harry Pearson introduced me to Keith Johnson at the show, what a nice, welcoming gentleman! More to come, including full coverage of his new HRX format high-res discs!