In the first of MIT’s two adjacent rooms, Steven Holt, in his last appearance with the company before moving on to Light Harmonic, showed off MIT’s newest Z-Plug 3 ($199) and Z-Plug 6 ($399) AC noise traps. Demonstrated with Audio Prism’s noise-sniffing device, these parallel power filters seemed to do a fine job of quieting things down. Also new are two power cables, the SL-Z-Cord3Fp AC Noise trap ($349) and SL-Matrix Z-Cord 6 AC Filter power cord ($699), both of which incorporate Z-series power filtration. Don’t you love these ridiculously long names that make you feel like you’ve bought something special, which, despite the name, it may very well be?
Next door, Tony Weber, who came to MIT by way of Cary, managed to fit a very impressive system into a very small space. I’m talking about an AMG V12 turntable with Benz Micro slr Gullwing cartridge ($18,000), Sutherland Engineering Phono Blocks ($9000), Spectral’s SDR-400SL CD transport ($19,000), DMC-30SS preamplifier ($15,000), and DMA-260 stereo amplifier ($12,000); Magico Q1 loudspeakers ($27,000/pair); and, with apologies for not writing it all out, a total of $65,000 worth of MIT Oracle MA-X interconnects, $50,000 worth of Oracle MA-X speaker interface, a Z-Powerbar ($3000) and numerous Oracle Z-cords for power ($4000/each).
It sounded great. The tonalities of soprano Renée Fleming’s recording, “Touch the Hand of Love” were gorgeous, and the spacious acoustic around soprano Elly Ameling’s voice was extremely special. I continue to find a certain dryness to Spectral’s sound that is not my favorite, but with it comes a depiction of voice and acoustic, including a natural-sounding die-off of acoustic reverberation, that are truly superb.