NY Audio Show 2014: Saturday Morning
The Vittoras sounded as engaging as ever in a system with a Raven Audio Silhouette Reference preamp ($9995, including phono stage), Raven Spirit 300B Reference Stereo amp ($7295), and all Triode Wire wiring, with Meitner transport and D/A converter. Readers will remember the Raven amp as a product that sounded good but gave me a bit of trouble when I reviewed it for Stereophile some time back; as it turns out, the one under demonstration was the very same sample, and it worked just fine. There you go.
MMy exclamation-point-filled listening notes suggest I was very impressed by the equipment being demonstrated by Edison, New Jersey dealer CARE Audio: an inviting and satisfyingly full-range system in which a Kronzilla VA-6801 "CARE edition" integrated amplifier ($27,500), Allnic D5000 DHT D/A converter ($11,900), British MAD Baron loudspeakers ($13,000/pair), and Speaker Maximizer hybrid subwoofers ($9000/pair with amps) from Scaenawhose Sunny Umrao is seen hereworked together extremely well. Cabling by Wywires and room-acoustic treatments by Vicoustics were also in the mix.
One thing I can say is that the CARE Audio system used power filtering by K Works, whose Super Station power strip ($1800) offers silver-plated, cryogenically treated contacts, with individual polypropylene-based capacitors for every outlet.
Kevin Hayes of VAC spoke with characteristically understated pride of his new Master preamplifier, which is available in a line-only version for $26,000, or with a phono stage for $40,000. Other VAC electronicsincluding their 450 IQ amplifiers, in which the condition of all vacuum tubes is continuously monitoredsounded fine in a system built around the imposing Focal Grand Utopia EM loudspeakers.
At virtually every show I attend, I'm reminded of the not-unpleasant cognitive disconnect between the decidedly monochromatic appearance of MBL's electronics and loudspeakers and the remarkably lushly colorful and well-textured manner in which they play music. This show was no exception, and I luxuriated in the sounds of their "Combination D" Reference-line system ($259,700 for the whole shebang), which includes the 101 E Mk.II loudspeaker and a pair of the 9011 power amps seen here.