I had thought things were pretty fancy over in Musical Surroundings’ Crestone Peak room, but nothing could have prepared me for what Apex Audio had set up in the Blanca Peak:
Focal Stella Utopia EM loudspeakers ($95,000/pair); Soulution 700 monoblocks ($130,000/pair), 720 preamplifier ($45,000), 745 CD/SACD player ($80,000), 750 phono preamp ($32,500); Transrotor Tourbillon turntable ($55,000) with a Graham Phantom Supreme tonearm ($5500) and Air Tight PC-1 Supreme phono cartridge ($9000); Critical Mass Systems MAXXUM rack system/filters, 12-level ($67,800) and 4-level ($22,600); Critical Mass Systems RiZE component footers ($185 each) and loudspeaker footers ($225 each); Running Springs Audio Nikolai Reference power conditioner ($8000) and Maxim Statement power conditioner ($6100); TARA Labs Zero Gold interconnects ($15,900/pair), Omega Gold speaker cables ($24,000/pair), and Cobalt power cords ($5000 each).
I cried a little bit while typing that paragraph.
Here was one of those times when I was so overwhelmed by the price of the components in the room that I couldn’t even hear the music being played. I wish I could give you more, but I can’t. My listening notes are a joke: “With seemingly unlimited dynamics and a broad, detailed stage, the system sounded august, sophisticated, refined, dignified, expensive.”
I remind myself that this stuff exists for good reasons: It appeals to (and satisfies) some in a very serious and meaningful way; allows some to dream, others to scoff; and may even pave the way for high-performance, affordable products through trickle-down engineering.