The indispensible remainder of the chain included the dCS Scarlatti, the battery-powered Veloce Audio LS-1 linestage ($18,000) that also helped distinguish sound in YG Acoustics' room, and Conrad-Johnson ART monoblock amplifiers ($35,000/pair). Cabling was totally fabulous, super high-speed, remarkably neutral and full-range Nordost Odin ($$$$$). In this company, the Silver Circle 5.0 SE power conditioner ($7500) seemed like a bargain product.
Sonics, as you may well expect, were anything but bargain basement. Instruments sounded remarkably neutral in timbre, with a lively yet naturally non-fatiguing top, an abundance of believable (as opposed to over-hyped) color, and superb bass. Not only did I enjoy the music of the Hadouk Trio on Live at FIP, but the applause at the end of the track Alan played was the most believable I've ever heard from a recording. In another vein, the voice of Patty Larkin sounded extremely mellow and inviting. If there was anything to criticize in this system, it was its very slightly tempered top end. But compared to just about every other system I've heard in the past year, it was heaven.