LSAF 2017 Show Report - Positive Feedback

https://positive-feedback.com/show-reports/lone-star-audio-fest-2017/

Audio Thesis

Derek Skipworth's Audio Thesis is both a dealership in Fort Worth Texas and a national distributor for select lines. He brought enough goodies to setup systems in two rooms. Jessica Hazewinkel the VP of sales for North Star Designs came over from Italy to help Skip introduce North Star Designs' product line.

Skip was very excited by the Rosso Fiorentino Fiesole 2-way plus super tweeter stand mount monitor anchoring his first system. I was to learn his excitement is well founded.

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Rosso Fiorentino Fiesole

North Star Design's Supremo DAC and Magnifico CD Transport remained a constant while various amplifiers were cycled through listening for the perfect match. The Triode TRV-88SER was settled on to marvelous effect.

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North Star Design digital source components

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Triode TRV-88SER

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Audio Thesis North Star, Triode, Rosso Fiorentino system

Joining Skip for a late night listen he DJ'ed showing how the Fiesole anchored system was basically able to do it all. Loud, deep, transparent, 3D imaging pull out your favorite audiophile adjectives and this system delivered. Then he played Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock". It is a cliché to claim a HiFi takes us back to the event while Elvis and his buddies rocked out. What I really think we are getting at claiming such time travel is describing those sought after moments when a piece of music we have known for decades becomes totally present in our consciousness and you are acutely aware of the music making by the artists involved. The beat remains but time slows as we become hyperaware. That song made me a believer that the Rosso Fiorentino Fiesole belongs on any short list of A-class monitors. The Fiesole's impeccable Italian styling, fit, and finish are a tasty bonus.

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Lovely bit of serendipity, color matched amp from Japan and speakers from Italy.

In Audio Thesis' second room North Star Design Blue Diamond CD Player and DAC equipped Blue Diamond Integrated Amplifier drove Rosso Fiorentino Elba 2.5-way tower speakers. The highly refined music pouring out of this elegantly simple system calls into question just why do we need more complex systems? The North Star Design Blue Diamond electronics with Rosso Fiorentino Elba speakers is a great example of what can be had in four décor friendly boxes that leverage technology to deliver 90th percentile sound in an obtainable and presentable HiFi.

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Rosso Fiorentino Elba

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North Star Design Blue Diamond

HiFi shows provide the opportunity to talk with the individuals driving the companies producing the gear on display. At LSAF 2017 my discussions with Jessica Hazewinkel of North Star Design were very enlightening. My decades in HiFi as both a hobbyist consumer and professional designer manufacturer have led me to value customer service as a top criteria by which to judge a company. It does not matter if a component resets the state of the art in how it performs if you cannot get it serviced or have questions answered, or in 2017 drivers updated. Too often the customers who support the high end audio industry are left with expensive orphaned devices or discover the garage shop company who burst on the scene thanks to rave reviews is now overwhelmed by success. In discussions with Jessica it seemed no matter the topic we eventually circled back to what North Star Design does to support its customers. The core value that emerged is valuing and appreciating their customers regardless of if they are buying the latest top model or own one of the first products the company sold. Listening between the lines as she talked it was obvious this value was enabled by loyal repeat customers. Prior to the show I was vaguely aware of North Star Design, after hearing the gear and talking with Jessica Hazewinkel I came away a big fan.

Comments

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,177
    edited September 2017
    Douglas Connection

    Doug Ashworth is Douglas Connection based out of Austin one of several Texas based companies who are loyal LSAF exhibitors. As the name states Douglas Connection specializes in audio connection cables plus select components like the HRT DACs and accessories from Craig, Furutech, and VTI. Given Doug's close working relationship with Raven Audio it is no surprise that the room's demo system featured the Raven Audio Reflection MK2 Integrated 68-watts per channel amplifier powering Legacy Audio Calibre monitor sourced from HRT DAC. Cables for the demo system included Douglas Connection Alpha Balanced Interconnect cables from source to amp and Alpha Bi-Wire speaker cables. For the amp's power cable listening trials compared the new Alpha 10 NANO AuAg, Alpha 10 Reference, and for this system finally settling on the Alpha 11.

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    A well-known school of thought states it is better to own a select few really exquisite things as opposed to more nice or average things, more succinctly quality over quantity. Doug's demo system certainly made that case. With the laptop and HRT DAC out of sight the amp and speakers take center stage. Exquisite is the correct adjective to describe the sound, industrial design, fit and finish of both the Raven Audio Reflection Mk II, Legacy Audio Calibre.

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    Legacy Audio Calibre

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    Raven Audio Reflection MkII

    The same adjective exquisite also describes the sound of the system. The Reflection MkII is part of Raven Audio's top Elite series benefitting from both the larger component parts budget and fully machined casework. In a world full of 2-way monitors with 5" woofers Legacy Audio's Calibre monitor's 3-way plus dual passive radiator configuration represents fresh thinking. With a dedicated woofer and dual passive radiators the Calibre requires none of the typical caveats marched out for compact monitor bass. The dedicated midrange driver brings the sonic goods benefiting from being relieved of bass duty. The Dr. Heil AMT style folded ribbon serves up state of the art highs. It was a real treat to hear this recently introduced speaker perform at such a high level made possible by the Reflection MkII and Douglas Connection Alpha cables.

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  • voltzvoltz Posts: 5,268
    I like the way Norm does his Reviews, a great person to get to know also and a true asset for the LSAF!
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD
  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 5,093
    Seriously considering bringing a small system with me next year to demo in my room...
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • Wish I could have been there now!
    Sounds like a good time.
    Studio 2 equipment;
    Yamaha a-s2100 Amp, CD-2100 CD player, T-S500 tuner
    Loudspeakers: Harbeth p3esr, Polk RT7
    Cables: Aural Harmony Sonnet Interconnect II, WireWorld Equinox 7 speaker,
    Black Cat silverstar 75 ohm digital, Signal Digital Power Cord, PS Audio Perfect Wave AC-3,
    Pangea SE14, Voltz supplied interconnects
    Optional: Arcam DV88 DVD/CD (HDCD) player, Polk SDS-400 speakers
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 10,610
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    Seriously considering bringing a small system with me next year to demo in my room...

    Well glad to hear of your probable return
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC
  • voltzvoltz Posts: 5,268
    Wish I could have been there now!
    Sounds like a good time.

    after going to LSAF my 1st time I was going every year as my health would allow me :)
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD
  • health or financial health? :p
    Studio 2 equipment;
    Yamaha a-s2100 Amp, CD-2100 CD player, T-S500 tuner
    Loudspeakers: Harbeth p3esr, Polk RT7
    Cables: Aural Harmony Sonnet Interconnect II, WireWorld Equinox 7 speaker,
    Black Cat silverstar 75 ohm digital, Signal Digital Power Cord, PS Audio Perfect Wave AC-3,
    Pangea SE14, Voltz supplied interconnects
    Optional: Arcam DV88 DVD/CD (HDCD) player, Polk SDS-400 speakers
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 5,067
    Awesome Skip and Doug!!!
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,

    Living Room:,T+A PA 1530R, Tyler Highland H2, Aries Mini, High Fidelity Reveal RCA, Grant Fidelity Tube Dac 11, W4S recovery, Wireworld Platinum Starlight, PS Audio Direct Stream JR.

    Have but haven't used in a while: LH Labs VI Dac, Cayin SCD50T

  • lightman1lightman1 Posts: 10,492
    True words! I'm in every year from here on out. It's not just about the audio.....it's about hanging out with your audio family.
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