Gradient Earned Its Cover Story
Tim G. Ryan of SimpliFi Audio was making sure no one entered his room without awareness that the Gradient Helsinki 1.5 loudspeaker ($6500/pair) is on the cover of this month's Stereophile. Sounding far better than it did at T.H.E. Show last January, this little baby was throwing a mesmerizingly large, spacious soundstage that I found quite exciting. Irresistible, in fact.
It certainly helped that the rest of this $16,600 system consisted of Resolution Audio's Cantata Music Center ($6000), C50 DNM-based 50W integrated amplifier ($4000), and DNM stereo speaker cable (is there a mono version?$300). Oh wait. There was one more little secret. Amarra 2.0, the latest version of what I believe to be the finest computer music player for the Mac ($695, with a $75 discount certificate for Reference Recordings' hi-rez recordings). Amarra Version 2.0 now converts FLAC to AIFF, and also flawlessly plays CDs inserted into your computer's disc drive.
High-powered Tim was also showing the DSI Audio/ Studer A25 power monitor ($10,000/pair). I'm afraid too much was being thrown at me too fast for me to get a handle on their sound. I was still floating from the Gradients, and wishing there has been more music and less talk.