D'Agostino, dCS, Wilson, Transparent, HRS Excel
With the monoblock/preamp combo, I loved the full range neutrality of an outtake of Louis Armstrong's "I'm Just a Lucky So and So," and the absolutely gorgeous presentation of Frank Sinatra singing "Blues in the Night." The next day, when I returned to hear the new integrated, I was blown away by the gorgeous midrange that transmitted mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's irreplaceable voice in the best possible light. Highs were a bit subdued until, at the suggestion of John R. Quick, who knows the recording, the grilles were removed from the Alexias, and light shone through. Voila!
Steve Davis may hate to read another discussion of the sonic challenges in the 12' high ceilinged rooms on the Westin O'Hare's 12th floor, but Paragon's Larry Marcus and I had a chat about how he had coped so successfully with the huge echo that was readily apparent when he clapped his hands together. Rather than utilizing heavy drapes, which can flatten the soundstage, Marcus hid Real Traps behind the window curtains, and took advantage of Wilsons' set-up flexibility to take the top of the room out of play. It worked. Boy, did it work. Fabulous sound.