Crescendo Hits Some Peaks
In 9014, Dynaudio’s Excite 34 floorstanders ($3400) and Excite 14 bookself speakers ($1500not auditioned) mated with Rogue’s 100Wpc Cronus Magnum tube integrated amplifier with phono input ($2300), Naim’s UnitiServe 2TB server ($3800), Bel Canto’s 24/192-capable DAC 3.5 VB Mk.II ($3495) and Phono 3 VB phono preamp ($1800). The analog source as a VIP Scout 1.1 ($2000) w/Sumiko Blue Point #2 cartridge ($400). The rack was Quadraspire’s Evo 2 ($175/shelf), cabling from Kimber Kable, and, for power distribution, Shunyata’s Venom PS8 ($695).
There was too much chatter to allow serious listening in the Aerial Acoustics/Ayre room, but the Dynaudio/Bel Canto etc. system was a winner. The equipment produced bright, clear, extremely enjoyable sound on both a Tracy Chapman recording and Tuck & Patti’s “Taking the Long Way Home.” The sound was so nice that I was tempted to chuck my schedule and spend an hour reveling in the sound.
That, of course, would have led to 35 other exhibitors calling for my execution. Hence, I asked to hear the Price/di Stefano/Gobbi recording of Tosca. Only cartridge-related brightness around voices detracted from the captivating presentation of space that fine analog affords. Despite a room-related bass control issue, the clarity, sense of space, and sheer loveliness of the midrange won out on Jacques Loussier’s jazz rendition of Ravel’s Bolero. I predict that next year, when Matt can build on his newfound knowledge of the Marriott’s acoustics, his demos will be an ear-opening success.