Wow X Two
Both examples of the Verity Sarastro IIs ($40,000/pair) that I heard at FSI sounded amazing. I say this with some surprise, since I was never entirely comfortable with the original Sarastro. Go figure, new and improved.
I went in to hear the Ayre K-XR preamp and M-XR monoblock power amplifiers and maybe catch a glimpse of the new dCS Puccini SACD player, but was immediately stopped by how darn good the system was sounding. A hot jazz organ combo was simply cooking and the Sarastro IIs had captured that Hammond growl with startling physicality.
I turned to Verity's John Quick and said, "I have got to get this disc!"*
"Quick smiled. "You can't. It's a Nagra master tape of Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, Larry Goldings, and Bill Stewart, recorded at Montreux on a Nagra-D. He moved to reveal a Nagra-D playing a open-reel digital master.
* This is what audiophiles do when they hear a great system: They buy the record.