Analog Smooth Cruise
In the aptly titled Navigator Room, Fernando Cruze of cruzeFIRST Audio of Miami had quite a stunning display of gear imported by Chris Sommovigo of Atlanta. At its head was the fabled Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn LP system ($150,000), equipped with a Lyra Titian I cartridge ($5800) and Chris' own tonearm cable. Sending its signal via the two-chassis Audio Premier Quattro preamp ($15,000) and Belles SA-500 stereo amplifier ($9000) to the Lansche 4.1 loudspeakers ($55,595/pair) with their plasma tweeter, 25Hzצ150kHz capability and extreme 99dB sensitivity, the system also benefited from two Tri-Point power conditioners, the Troy ($12,000) and Spartan ($35,000) and a full complement of Stereolab cables (loudspeaker, $3750/2.5m, interconnect, $3500/1m). If you can say that all in one breath, and pay for it without blinking your eyes, more power to you.
Needless to say, playing the Cisco RCA Living Stereo reissue of Emil Gilels and Fritz Reiner drawing poetry from Brahms' Second Piano Concerto, the system conveyed all the seduction that vinyl has to offer. (If you don't know what that is, it's time to read Michael Fremer's monthly column in Stereophile, and to take a listen for yourself). The soundstage was huge and set back, everything clear as can be. If you want to hear a magical musical landscape, take a listen to this system play Analogue Productions' RCA Living Stereo take of Liebowitz conducting Pictures at an Exhibition. Not all was perfect in a room assaulted by subwoofers through the flimsy, sometimes vibrating walls that we had all hoped did not exist, but what did survive the onslaught was mighty beautiful.