Laufer Teknik Wows
Both at and post-show, Buffer (aka L. Langdon Ergmann, Jr.) was charmingly apologetic. Having read my "As We See It," "There's No Business without Show Business," in the April issue of Stereophile just hours before I walked into his Laufer Teknik room, he knew that his inability to supply a list of components and prices, add a track to his Memory Player from one of my six USB sticks, or even tell me what music was playing on his own music server (as in "We don't have an internet connection, so we can't identify the track") had left him a prime candidate for the Duncecap Dealer of the Day award.
In the end, however, the music's the thing. When it came to sound, whatever was playing had such a beautiful midrange, wonderful soundstage, admirably neutral tonality, and overall superior presentation of guitar and voices that it became a prime candidate for the Extremely Music Award Du Jour. And, Lord knows, it sure looked fabulous.
Doing the honors were Audio Power Labs' 50TNT 50W, class-A monoblock tube amplifiers ($47,500/pair); Laufer Teknik's The Memory Player 64 music server/recorder w/analog DAC ($17,500 base price); the Leonardo Model 8 ribbon-planar loudspeaker ($65,000 complete with flight cases and Stillpoint Ultra 5 feet); High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate interconnect ($4950/1.5m RCA pair), Ultimate speaker cable ($9300 2m pair), and Wave Guide AC conditioner ($10,000 w/8 receptacles), and, to cut things short before my fingers start to ache, five Kaplan Cable power cables, an Audio Magic Oracle 24 EMI/RFI attenuator, 13 Stillpoints Ultra 5 and 9 Ultra 5 bases ($9727 total), and 4 Music Direct Solidsteel amp stand Bs. I wish there had been time to listen some more.