Your Final System and Then Some
Pause for breath as you take a look at the line-up below, then grab a calculator and add it all together. I would, but my hands are too shaky from typing everything up.
Here we go: Your Final System HD Ref 3 Limited Edition Music Server System ($14,500), EMM Labs DAC 2X ($15,000), Purity Audio Ultra GT preamplifier ($53,000), bi-amplification of upper frequencies by KR Amplifiers SXi Mk.II integrated ($21,000) and lower frequencies by Channel Island Audio D200 Mk.II monoblocks ($3500/pair), Von Schweikert Audio VR-100XS "Universe" System with towers and two EX V15 subwoofers ($140,000), four additional EX V15 subwoofers ($10,000 each), MasterBuilt Signature Series speaker cables ($7500/pair), MasterBuilt Signature Series interconnects ($3600/pair) and power cables ($6200 each) and dual-headed powered USB cables ($4000), GIK Diffusers ($350 each), ASC Tube Traps ($450 each), ATS Acoustic Bass Traps ($150 each), ATS Acoustic Studio Stackers ($200 each), and a mere $37,000 worth of Critical Mass Systems equipment racks and stands.
The sound? It was Albert Von Schweikert himself who appeared on the scene to tell me about the 10' air space above the room and the semi-solid walls that echoed like nobody's business. That helped explain what I heard.
On the first track of "female vocals," whose provenance I never learnedthere was so much excessively loud talking in the room, both on the sides and in the back, that I didn't want to add to the din by inquiringthere was a lovely edge to the voice and a beautiful tube liquidity, but the guitar sounded far too muddy. Worse was the sound on one of the finest recordings that Jared Sacks of Channel Classics has yet produced, the new DSD-native hybrid SACD of Mahler Symphony 1 with the Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by Ivan Fischer. The highs in the demanding last movement were harsh, the bass more emphatic than in focus, and the violins devoid of sweetness.
The system did sound better on less demanding music sourced from its music server, for which the Meitner DAC was specifically tweaked. As for the rest, sadly the room did it in.