If you happened to mosey on down to the first floor at T.H.E. Show in Long Beach last weekend, you may have caught the Brooks Berdan Gallerie 2 room tucked back in the far corner. Not out of the way, so to speak, but rather a pronounced location at a pivotal point between the main lecture hall and a fast track to the food trucks in the back parking lot.
The room itself was large, but also filled with big sound from a combination of Magico (M2, $63k) and Burmester (088 Pre, $33k & 909 MK5 Power, $80k). The rest of the front end rotated between the Chord DAVE, M Scaler and Aurender N10 Music Server and a SME 20/3 Turntable with Lyra Etan cart. My time was spent on the analog side of things, with Roadhouses and Automobiles from Chris Jones as the sonic guide to the journey. The title track was able to pull rich detail and a firm image from the leading vocals of the frontman. In similar fashion. guitar string plucks and big dynamics filled the room with authority and purpose.
In a bit of departure from the usual audiophile room treatment, the walls were lined with the modular Air Hush Silence Panels which were featured throughout the show. The inflatable blocking material can also be used to create a portable sound booth, but offers some visual transparency to reduce any claustrophobia caused by the usual eggshell-foam-and-solid-walls.
It would be fair to call the room large by anyone’s measuring stick, so the ample body of the music did have a lot to contend with. Overall the room treatment and Magicos rang true, bringing along with them plenty of life and energy to the tracks I heard.
Brooks Berdan has a brick-and-mortar location in Monrovia, just east of Los Angeles. The retail store has been at that location for over 30 years, headed by CEO/President Sheila Berdan. The company puts on a good show, and has plenty of classic brands to back up the hype including McIntosh, VPI, Rogue Audio and a large cache of audiophile favorites. This room, at this show turned out to be one of my favorite all weekend, stringing together a beautiful chain of gear as deftly as they strung together musical notes in harmony from pulsating transducers.