QuintessenceSonus FaberRELAudio Research
Chicagoland dealer Quintessence devoted a large ground-floor room to the Fine Sounds groups of companiesSonus Faber, Audio Research, Wadia, and Sumko/RELalong with the superb racks from Harmonic Resolution Systems and a Clearaudio/Benz Micro LP player. A pair of the Sonus Faber Amati Futura speakers that I reviewed in May 2012 ($36,000/pair) was being vertically bi-amped with two tubed Audio Research Ref250 monoblocks driving the midrange/tweeter sections and two solid-state Audio Research DS450M monoblocks for the woofers. No fewer than four REL powered subwoofers were handling the low bass. Preamp was the Audio Research Ref5 SE that Brian Damkroger and Bob Reina raved about in Stereophile, and cabling was all Kubala-Sosna Emotion series.
Source was a preproduction prototype of Audio Research's new CD9 Reference CD player. To be priced at $13,000, this uses technology derived from the Minnesota company's Reference DAC and offers upsampling, switchable reconstruction filters, an asynchronous USB port and AES/EBU and S/PDIF digital inputs.