Going on two years now, music lovers have been cooped up, all dressed up with nowhere to go when it comes to listening to live music. For them, the next best thing—or in some cases, the only thing—is listening to music reproduced over a great sound system. If, for instance, one is overcome by the urge to hear Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, about the only way to hear the 1,000-voice choral work is through a set of speakers or headphones.
But it’s been difficult to even audition audio gear of late, given the closure of storefronts, causing shoppers to order online and take their chances. Which is why the first post-pandemic audio show for the public, recently hosted by T.H.E. Show in Long Beach, Calif., was such a welcome event. There were many product highlights, including three loudspeaker systems that were particularly impressive. Each is an overachiever, painting a sonic landscape that renders reality with an immersive precision, and proving that one doesn’t necessarily need to hear it live to enjoy great sound.