Placement Trumps Everything
Information travels by jungle telegram at these shows, so by Sunday, I'd heard that I had to hear Nagra's set-up about 50 times. As a result, when I walked into the Nagra/Verity Audio/Silversmith/Audion/Sonic Euphoria room, I was startled to see, not one, but two systems—and the pricier of the two was off in the room's corner with its back to a curved bank of windows, leaving the $35,000/pair Verity Sarastros firing into the room at a more acute angle than I'd ever attempt. It sounded good, though. In fact, it sounded fantastic!
The system consisted of Nagra's new CDT transport (price tbd) and DAC ($12,000), the Audion Quattro two-box preamplifier, and Nagra MPA stereo amplifier ($16,000), all connected with Silversmith's Palladium interconnect and speaker cable. (BTW, the box on top of the CDT is the Nagra V two-channel hard-drive recorder ($8800).)
But the sound, the sound—it was relaxed and huge, with tight center fill and depth that went to the horizon. It didn't sound big—it was big. It was powerful and effortless at the same time.
All I could keep saying to myself was, "All this in a room that shouldn't work." Good show!