Notes from the New York Audio Show 2013

The Chester Group held its second high-end audio show in New York City from April 12-14 at the Palace Hotel, which was in the midst of a major remodeling effort. After the jack hammers and other distractions were brought under control, visitors enjoyed over 40 exhibit room and a variety of trade vendors gathered in the registration hall.

The arrangement of the rooms and the limited access to the main floor elevator caused some problems navigating the space but once you figured out where you were going, it wasn’t too bad. There were the usual demonstrations of high-end audio in 2 channels. However, at the end of the hall on the 4th floor Sony had set up on of their 4K televisions. This one must have been 85″ or so and people gathered around to watch material being delivered by a hard drive. At the present time there is very little native 4K or “Ultra HD” content and no way to play it back other than using a dedicated digital server. Sadly, Blu-ray cannot deal with 4K content.

I watched some of the footage and was generally very impressed. I did notice on some of the material a great deal of “jutter” or video stuttering. When asked about these artifacts, the person wearing the Sony shirt explained that it was something to do with the frame rate of the source material. He said the 24 FPS source was causing the jumping. If true, that’s going to be a big problem because most, if not all movies, are shot and delivered at that frame rate.

Peter McGrath was demoing his very fine recordings in the Wilson room. His approach to capturing a live musical event delivers stunning results. Others were playing analog tape and vinyl but by far the newest trend in source platforms are music servers and the software to organize large libraries of music that has been ripped from discs of all sorts. This was certainly evident at the LessLoss room on the 5th floor. Their Laminar Streamer direct drive SD card player. No moving parts and a single high quality clock makes this unit capable of playing .WAV and.AIFF files at a variety of sample rates.

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