Viola Gets Small—and Big
Jayson's modular speaker was also on display. The Allegro Reference Monitor ($32,000/pair) contains a 2" Eton ribbon tweeter, a 2" Dynaudio dome, and an isobarically mounted pair of 6"Skanning midbass drivers in a time-aligned, tapered baffle. The Basso Passive subwoofer sports a pair of isobarically mounted 12" Skanning woofers in a rigid 1" MDF enclosure.
I listened to Tuatara's "Afterburner"—no that's not quite right, I experienced "Afterburner" as though I was in the front row of a jazz club. The rhythm was visceral and the saxes had a ragged bite that saxes have in real life but seldom through hi-fis. The xylophone shimmered and floated between the speakers—again, with that disembodied palpability that it has in real life (the overtones sound solid, but not at all connected to those metal keys that actually produced them). It was special. As in many hotel room demos, the bass wasn't quite as vivid or present as the lower mids through the highest highs, but I can't say whether that was genetics or environment. I'd sure like to find out, though.