The Highwater Sound room at the Atlanta Axpona had been one of Stephen Mejias's favorites: "I felt as though I were in a concert hall, gripped by the music, by the space around me, by the physical motions of musicians striking, plucking, and bowing their gorgeous instruments. There was a certain sacredness to the scene, a sense that what was taking place should not and could not be disturbed," he wrote. Unfortunately, by the time I got to that room on Sunday, Highwater's Jeffrey Catalano was already striking the system, so I made sure I had plenty of time to visit the Highwater room at Capital AudioFest.
The system was the same as what it had been in Atlanta: TW-Acustic Black Knight turntable ($40,000), two TW-Acustic 10.5 tonearms ($5500 each), Ortofon Winfeld cartridge ($3800), Dynavector XV1-S mono cartridge ($5950), Tron Electric Seven Ultimate Stereo ($12,500) and Tron Electric Seven Mono ($12,000) phono preamplifier, and Horning Hybrid Eufrodite Ultimate Zigma Plus loudspeakers ($22,000/pair0, but this time with Thöress preamplifier ($8000) and zero-feedback, 20W Thöress 845 single-ended triode amplifiers ($14,000/pair). I am not familiar with the German Thöress brand, but I am told that Reinhard Thöress makes his own capacitors and winds his own transformersthat's doing things the hard way!
Jeffrey played me "Rondo à' la Turk" from a mono "6-Eye" pressing of Dave Brubeck's Take Five that he had picked up in a Park Slope, Brooklyn outdoor market "for a couple of bucks." (That's Jeffrey thumbing though his LP stash looking for it.) Oh my. . . once you got used to the presentation, there was something very right about the sound in this room.