As familiar as I may be with the Playback Designs/Evolution Acoustics set-ups that Blue Light Audio's Jonathan Tinn brings to showsone of these, with darTZeel electronics and much bigger Evolution Acoustics loudspeakers, received my Best of Show at T.H.E. Show Las Vegas a few years backI constantly find myself amazed by the quality of the sound. This time, with Playback Design's MPS-3 DSD-capable high-resolution CD player with USB input ($8500); an Ampex ATR-102 open-reel recorder, restored by ATR Services, Inc of York, PA, playing 15ips master tapes sourced from ATR and Puget Sound Studios; and B.M.C. Audio's AMP CS2 integrated stereo amplifier ($8400) driving Evolution Acoustics' MMMicroOne 2-way monitor loudspeakers with stands ($2500/pair), the sound of a Shelby Lynne demo safety copy of her new album, provided by ATR Services, blew me away with its solid bass, powerful slam, and great depth. True, there was a bit of an edge on Lynne's voice, but it may have been room-induced, and sure didn't stop me from writing "OMG" in my notes.
Then again, we were listening to a master tape, and comparing its sound to a double DSD copy played through the Playback Designs CD player. I didn't have time to linger, but I thought the DSD version sounded a bit warmer and smoother, which sure is a good thing.
I've learned over the years how important component supports and cables are. Here, the system benefitted from Wave Kinetics' A10-U8 Component Control System ($700/set of 4) and 2NS Loudspeaker Interface System ($1600/set of 8), and, from a company new to me, AFSC cabling. The latter included AFSC-S(pades) speaker cables ($1250), AFIC-X(LR) balanced XLR interconnects ($1250), AFSC-S(ource) power cord ($1250), and AFSC-A(mplifier) power cord ($1250).