YG Speakers Big and Small
In two adjacent rooms, GTT Audio & Video showcased systems dominated by much-admired YG Acoustics loudspeakers. In the smaller set-up, the diminutive YG Acoustics Carmel ($18,000) joined the excellent PS Audio PWT Memory transport ($3500), Devialet D-Premier all-in-one DAC/Phono Stage/Integrated amp ($16,000), and Kubala-Sosna Research Emotion interconnects and speaker cable ($3000/first meter) and power cables ($1100/first meter). The chosen material, Jascha Heifetz’s classic recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, sounded excellent, but the system’s clarity drove home to me that he was playing so fast that much of the soul of the music was lost.
Frustrated, not by the system, but by the ego-driven performance of the violin concerto that surrounded me in my youth, I moved on to the big room. In a space where it could strut its stuff without constraint, the mighty YG Acoustics Anat III Studio Signature ($68,000/pair) kept company the Accuphase DP-600 SA-CD player ($21,000), Veloce Audio LS1 Mk.II battery-powered linestage ($18,000), Tenor Audio 175S stereo amplifier ($55,000), and Kubala-Sosna Research Elation! Interconnects & speaker cables ($6000/first meter) and power cables ($1800/first meter).
This system delivered the kind of end-of-the-show lift, punch, and wow that sends you home smiling. When I entered, raucous rock sounded just as gut-shaking and raucous as one might wish. But when we switched to my SACD of Ivan Fischer conducting Mahler’s Symphony 2, the sound was equally big, effortless, remarkably full-range, and supremely controlled. I need to emphasize the latter point, because when the orchestra’s timpanist launched into a rapid timpani roll, the blur that I am accustomed to hearing was instead rendered as distinct, even, and extremely rapid thwacks. Combined with the presentation’s great height, width, and depth, this was a major wow.
There was just one thing. As superb and neutral as the sound was, it all seemed just a little bit unyielding, just a tad removed. It felt as though the system had not fully let down its guard. Since, to my mind, that suggested that something wasn’t performing to its full capacity, I emailed Bill Parish of GTT Audio after the show to ask if everything in the room had been fully broken-in before show time. Thus I learned that while the speakers were fully broken in, all the rest of the components, including the cabling, came fresh out of factory-sealed boxes on Thursday, three days before I visited the room.
“We feel that the components that we represent sound good out of the box and get more refined with usage,” Bill wrote. While I certainly cannot disagree, I wonder how many people who visited this room and heard what I heard left with the impression that the system was to some extent cold and unfeeling. If so, that’s a shame, because the room’s components, individually and collectively, are some of the most musically expressive components the high-end has to offer.