Ray Kimber has blown minds at previous shows with his IsoMike surround-sound exhibits. I recall, in fact, one at RMAF with huge Sound Labs electrostats that had everyone shaking their heads in disbelief at how amazing it sounded. But in this case, despite the excellence of four Sony SSAR-1 loudspeakers, Pass Labs X350.5 amplification, an extremely expensive array of EMM Labs equipment connected to a Sonoma32 super audio center, and excellent Kimber Kabling, something was not right.
An unidentifiable piano recording, for example, did not sound real; its highs were wiry, and the overall sound rather tinkly. On a recording of Mendelssohn’s Octet, the midrange was emphasized, and the highs lacked vibrancy. Nor, I must confess, was the surround experience, from either the first or second row, analogous to the real thing.