The Voice That Is Speaks Beauty
As much as I enjoyed many of the systems I auditioned on the first day of the show, the one that seduced me the most was assembled by Doug White's The Voice That Is of Newtown Square, PA. Powered by Vitus (pronounced VEE-toos) Audio SM-010 25W class-A monoblocks ($49,500/pair), and connected by Argento Audio FLOW power cords ($3100/2m), interconnects ($4100/m with RCAs), Master Reference interconnects ($8900/1m RCA), and Master Reference speaker cable ($24,500/2m), the dCS Puccini SACD/CD player ($17,999) with U-Clock ($4999) and Tidal Audio Piano Cera speakers ($28,400/pair in midnight black lacquer, or $36,3000 in Ebony Macassar) were producing the warmest and most beautiful midrange I had heard so far. In fact, as it turned out, it was the warmest and most seductive midrange I heard on the first two days of the show.
If you want to hear a piano warm your heart, take a listen to this system. Not only is the midrange gorgeous, but the images are also maximally transparent and surrounded by air.
Exactly what is responsible for what, I have no way of knowing. Argento cabling, for example, features a carbon-reinforced dielectric and injected vibration damping material. Does that lower the noise floor and make the system far more transparent than most others I heard? Do the Vitus monoblocks create such a lush midrange, or is it the Tidal speakers, or both in tandem? All I know is that the combo had all of the high frequency extension and much of the low-frequency reach (down to 35Hz) I crave, as well as a midrange to die for. Was it a tad over-emphasized? Perhaps. But it was so musical, and so enrapturing, that I hated to say goodbye. If I have time on the final day of the show, this is one system I will definitely revisit.
Shown in the photo are Doug White (left), Ricardo Reyes of Musical Artisans of IL and Argento Audio, and Brian Ackerman of AAudio Imports (Tidal, right).