Gershman Acoustics and VAC
In adjacent rooms, Gershman Acoustics from north of the border was showcasing the US show debut of its Idol loudspeakers ($2995/pair) and their flagship Black Swans ($45,000/pair). In both cases, Esoteric and Clearaudio sources, VAC electronics, Gershman Acoustics Hybrid speaker cable and unidentified interconnects, and Critical Mass Systems’ PXK racks ($1650/level) and Black Sapphire Filter System ($995/level) did the honors.
In the first room, the Idol (above), with an impedance of 6 ohms, frequency range of 34Hz20kHz, and most attractive grill, hung with the VAC Sigma 160i integrated amplifier ($9900), Clearaudio Ovation with Clarify tonearm ($5500) and Stradivari v2 MC phono cartridge ($3750), HRS Analog Disk record clamp ($200), and Esoteric K03 CD player ($10,900). Here, Yarlung’s excellent recording of Antonio Lysy’s cello sounded hard and wiry. The midrange was well balanced and warm, but bass was weaker and not entirely in control. Far more successful was a recording of Jennifer Warnes singing, “Somewhere, Somebody,” which sounded very fine if not ultimately transparent.
The larger and considerably more expensive Black Swan (pictured above), in turn, kept company with VAC’s Signature Mk IIa preamplifier with phono ($19,500) and Statement 4505 Stereobloc ($39,000); Clearaudio’s Innovation Wood table with Universal 9” tonearm ($15,000), OuterLimit peripheral ring clamp ($1350) and Goldinger Statement moving-coil cartridge ($15,000); and Esoteric’s P02 ($23,500), D02 ($23,500), and GOrB clock ($17,800). Highs were beautiful on voices, but bass control issues arose on the organ that accompanies the Cantate Domino LP’s “O Holy Night,” sung in either Swedish or Norwegian. Highs? Less successful was a recording of the Holly Cole Trio which, when played too loud, became bright and wiry with a hard edge. I can only surmise that the Black Swan needs a larger space in which to show its best.