Smooth and Forgiving: Neko Audio, Chapman Audio Systems, Cary Audio, Parasound, MIT Cables

I’d never heard of Chapman Loudspeakers, but they’ve been around for 40 years, designing and manufacturing a range of compression-line floorstanders, right here in the USA, on Vashon Island, Washington. The company’s T-8 ($8995/pair) uses a new Scan-Speak tweeter, revised Scan-Speak side-firing woofer, and has a sand-dampened internal chamber.

Chapman’s Jesse Jones explained that they wanted the tweeter to be smoother and more forgiving to more types of music while retaining the music’s essential energy.

The system included Cary Audio’s CD 306 SACD player, Cary’s SLP 05 preamplifier, Parasound JC 1 power amplifiers, MIT cables and power cords, and Neko Audio’s D100 Mk2 Stereo DAC. In the Neko, digital audio is processed by a Wolfson WM8804 then fed to a pair of Burr-Brown PCM1794A chips operating in mono configuration.

“Do you have anything you’d like to listen to?” Chapman’s Jesse Jones asked.

“I do,” I said. As I explained a bit about Amon Tobin’s music and methodology, attempting to explain the recording’s sometimes harsh sound, Positive Feedback’s Dave Clark walked into the room. He must have heard me utter five or six words before guessing out loud: “Amon Tobin?”

"Yes!"

We listened to Tobin’s “One Last Look,” and the sound was surprisingly relaxed, full-bodied, and appropriately compelling and fun, with impressive bass extension.

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