PranaFidelity: Non-Defensive Listening
I wanted to better understand what I was hearing in the PranaFidelity/Musical Concepts room, so I asked PranaFidelity’s Steven Norber to tell me about his design philosophy.
Norber said something very interesting: He thinks in terms of “friendliness.” He feels an urge to build “responsible” loudspeakers. To that end, he places an emphasis on those aspects of speaker design that influence impedance. He strives for a very flat 8 ohms, with the object of building a speaker that will present a very stable load for either a tube or solid-state amplifier.
Further, Norber believes in “non-defensive listening.” A listener shouldn’t have to do anything other than be a recipient of the information presented by the system, he explained. In this way, the listener can feel free to drop any guards, and simply listen.
To me, this seemed to be a fascinating and excellent way of thinking about speaker design. Equally fascinating was the system’s sound, which was decidedly different from every other I’d heard at RMAF: It was as though the system drew a spotlight on midrange and textural elements, especially magnifying voices, stringed instruments, the sound of fingers across a fretboard, and hand percussion, making these aspects seem larger than life. It was a spectacular sound, in the most literal sense.
The source was a Kuzma Stabi Reference turntable with a 4Point tonearm and Denon DL-103R phono cartridge; the PranaFidelity Model Fifty90 loudspeakers ($3495/pair) were being driven by Musical Design Chameleon preamp and T-100 hybrid power amp combo; cables were by Belden. When digital was called for, a Wyred4Sound DAC-2 ($1495) accepted signals from a PC running JRiver software.