Evolution Acoustics-DarTZeel-Playback Designs Sing Again
Given that the DarTZeel-Evolution Acoustics-Playback Designs room at T.H.E. Show 2010 blew both me and John Atkinson away, and earned my "Best of CES 2010," I was extremely eager to take another listen.
To say that, in an even smaller room, Jonathan Tinn of Portland's Blue Light Audio had set up a more modest reference system will have some readers guffawing at the prices. The cost of the Evolution Acoustics MMMiniOne loudspeakers ($15,000/pair), plus integrated stand system ($7000) and integrated subwoofer ($5000), is no small hunka change. Throw in the darTZeel CTH-8550 Reference 250Wpc integrated stereo amplifier with photo stage ($20,300), Playback Designs MPS-5 reference SACD/CD player with 24/192 input ($15,000), Wave Kinetics A10-U8 ($700/set of 4) and 2NS loudspeaker interface ($1600/set of 8), Audience Adept Response aR12-T power conditioner ($8600), Music Servers Direct MSD-1 Reference music server control by the Apple iTouch ($2500), a Vintage Studer A810 open-reel (NFS), and hi-rez files from Puget Sound Studios, The Mastering Labs, Mobile Fidelity, Reference Recordings, and the Super Audio Center, and we're way above $75,000.
There was, however, one major bargain in the set-up. The $20 Home Depot racks that Jonathan had chosen in order to dem how the Wavegate Footers obviate the need for expensive racks. If only footers could sing, the system would be a steal . . .
Surprisingly, when I played John Atkinson's recording of Robert Silverman performing Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, this system failed to capture all the weight of his instrument's bottom end. No such problem was encountered on baritone Matthias Goerne's voice, whose beauty and perfectly conveyed communicative abilities impelled more than one person to immediately ask, "Who was that?" In addition to reaching to the heart of the music, the system's ability to capture the acoustic space around Goerne and his accompanist's piano was second to none. That's something to cheer about.