As I’ve stated in the previous posts from Schiit Audio and Emotiva, the Schiit Emotiva Texas Audio Roundup last weekend turned out to be much more than just a new product showing from these two brands. Nearly 3 floors of audio gear made their way into the Double Tree Suites in Austin, packed with both headphone and two channel gear, sometimes working in parallel with each other.
Starting on the second floor, amplifier designer Eddie Current had his Studio B amplifier ($3.5k) lashed to both a pair of Grado RS1x headphones and a pair of custom-build, full-range speakers. The cabinet of the floorstanders had a unique shape to them, and the unfinished wood finish gave off a pretty cool DIY vibe as well. According to the website “The current lead time for a Studio B amp, available in either a 300B or 2a3 version, is approximately 4 weeks.” and is rumored to be one of the last amplifiers from designer Craig who has casually made appearances over the years at audio shows touting his popular tube-based Balancing Act amplifiers, among others.
More from the website:
The Studio B brings back the popular design of Eddie Current’s Balancing Act but with the exquisite balance of the BA’s deep rich sound stage and the lively presentation of the top-of-the-line Studio. Studio 300B features custom output transformers, rare earth magnetic core with tertiary feedback standard of 1.75 dB (as with Studio).
OC-based Audeze headphones had a whole host of planar magnetic headphones on active display on the 3rd floor. In addition to the audiophile-oriented LCD lineup, there was the new pro-facing MM-500 ($1,699) available to listen to as well. The company website shows the MM-500 as gearing up for an August run, and even shares some of the new design elements from the latest LCD-5 flagship we reviewed.
Dan Clark of DCA headphones was also at the show, in the flesh. Dan’s a great headphone designer and has a great pair of ears on his head. He consistently produces outstanding sound quality, especially when it comes to his closed-back headphones. His latest flagship planar magnetic closed back offering is no exception. Attendees got a chance to hear the new Stealth model at the show, and you can read our full impressions of the headphone that implements Dan’s first integration of meta materials in our review. Not familiar with meta materials use in audio? Check out The Occasional Podcast S6E2.
Tucked away in the far corner of room 301 was a demo room touting a pair of Magnepan speakers connected to Schiit Audio’s Freya+ & Vidar amplification. It was a fairly uncluttered setup that drew a sizable crowd to the room. There was barely any available space to get in an any point in the weekend. Overall, the show offered a great reprieve for audiophiles to get together and enjoy some good music. The fans of both Schiit and Emotiva aren’t necessarily the biggest spenders in the hobby, but often are some of the most relaxed and easygoing of the bunch, and this was reflected in the conversations and listening rooms over the weekend. Happy stop and chats, new connections and just good vibes could be found around every corner. If Schiit and Emotiva decide to do another in the near future, I would highly recommend it, if for no other reason than the free T-shirts.