Wes Bender Studio
Because I know Wes Bender and E.A.R.’s Dan Meinwald are always open to new sounds, I took the opportunity in the Wes Bender Studio room to play the title cut from Aidan Baker’s latest release, Already Drowning.
As always, the duo put together a system that was beautiful to both the eyes and ears: Making its NYC debut, Redpoint Audio Design’s Model D turntable ($29,000) was equipped with Helius Omega Silver Ruby ($5225) and Tri-Planar Ultimate ($9800) tonearms and Dynavector DRT XV-1t ($9250) and Transfiguration Proteus ($6000) cartridges. The signal went to the gorgeous Hagerman Trumpet phono preamp ($6600) and then to E.A.R.’s 868 preamplifier ($7595) and 890 power amplifier ($8295) whose 70Wpc had no problem driving Marten Design’s Form Floor loudspeakers ($6500/pair). Speaker cables, interconnects, and power cords were all from Kaplan Cable. Accessories included Redpoint Audio’s Blakhole isolation feet and Quadraspire’s Q4 Evo equipment rack.
My review of Aidan Baker’s Already Drowning will appear in our June issue. I’ve been listening to the album a lot, but I was thrilled to hear it sound so intensely physical, vibrant, and emotionally compelling. The system did a fine job of communicating the violence in track’s thick, abrasive distortion while never losing sight of the underlying melody: As the song grew in volume, complexity, and intensity, I only heard deeper and deeper into the music.