Nothing can beat starting off a morning in a state of grace. That's how it felt when Garth Leerer of Musical Surroundings warmed up the new Clearaudio Concept turntable ($1400) with Borodin's Quartet No.2, appropriately performed by the Borodin Quartet and reproduced on an immaculate Decca pressing. The sound was warm, liquid, and eminently pleasing - everything I would want from good vinyl reproduction.
The table was equipped with the Benz Ace S Class cartridge ($700), fed through the new Fosgate Signature phono stage ($2500 and finally shipping). The amp was the same Aesthetix Atlas ($8000) that Wes Phillips reviewed in January, and speakers the handsome Sonus Faber Cremona M.
Garth's interesting switch of source material to French bass player Michel Portal's Turbulence, a precious collectable issued by Harmonia Mundi that he had snared in Paris, demonstrated how beautifully this lovely system can reproduce the sound of the saxophone, triangle, bass clarinet, and other instruments. Clear, bell-like, warm, roundit was the kind of sound that fills you so full that you don't feel like eating breakfast. (Disclaimer: This is sheer hyperbole. I had already eaten breakfast. So let's just say I felt no need for seconds.)