Audible Images' Two A's
Headlined by Aerial Acoustics' Model 7T loudspeaker ($10,000/pair, to be reviewed in the May 2012 issue of Stereophile) and Audio Research's Ref 5 SE preamp ($12,900), Ref 150 amplifier ($12,900), and DAC 8 ($5000), the system from Audible Images of Melbourne, FL delivered very clear, warm (rather than neutral), and crisp sound from a Japanese compilation Three Blind Mice. "Excellent," I wrote in my notes. Undoubtedly the Krell Model 505 CD player ($10,000), and Transparent Audio's Reference XL speaker wire, Reference interconnects, Power Ix, and Power link power cords had something to do with it.
The system also did a fine job of handling highs wonderfully, without edge, and surrounding Jennifer Warnes' voice with air on "Say a Prayer for a Cowgirl." (Must I?) But when I played Revueltas' Sensemaya, a fabulous percussive track performed by Ebony Band Amsterdam, bass was surprisingly weak for speakers that, so I was told, extend down to 28Hz. When I inquired further, I was told that the speakers only had 250 hours of break-in on them. Not a good idea.