A Surfeit of Riches
On Saturday night, Bay Area Audiophile Society coordinator Bob Walters gave me a list of rooms he urged me to visit. Since two were on the 10th floor of the Marriott Tower, on which I had not yet set foot, I resolved to check both out. I'm glad I did. The tenth floor of the Marriott was like a gold mine. All I had to do was walk down the hall to the next room, and more glorious sound awaited me.
That was certainly the case when I reached the Immedia room. The Berkeley-based outfit, spearheaded by Allen Perkins, distributes such gems as Sonics speakers by Joachim Gerhard, Cerapuc equipment supports, Finite Elemente racks, and a growing line of Spiral Groove turntables, tone arms, and electronics. Music is spoken here, not tie-die.
Ella was speaking like I've never heard her before. I own an audiophile gold pressing of her soundtrack to Let No Man Write My Epitaph, which certainly smokes the original commercial CD release. But the Classics Records LP version was something else. Heard on the Spiral Groove SG-1 turntable ($20,000), just debuted Spiral Groove tone arm ($6000), Lehmann audio "Decade" phono stage ($2400), forthcoming Spiral Groove Line Stage DP-1 (approx. $12,000$15,000), Spiral Groove solid-state 60Wpc class-A amplifier (approx. $12,000$15,000), and Sonics Amerigo loudspeaker ($5500/pairan absolute bargain speaker boasting 7 ohms impedance, 87dB sensitivity, and a wide frequency response), Ella seemed right there in the room, singing with all her glory. Not a sound was covered, darkened, or glossed over. I didn't want to take any notes. I didn't want to listen to anything else. I just wanted to sit there and smile.
Perkins' SG-1 has apparently been wowing the audiophile press in Japan. It doesn't look like a spaceship or an ice cream Sunday. There are no flashing lights or Lucite panels. It just makes glorious music.