In Hebrew, the number 18 is called "chai," which also means "life." As my final (and 18th) blog entry from Day One at RMAF, I was happy to report how thrilled Jeff Wilson and I were with the sound in the Gill/Art Audio/Daedalus room.
Talk about system synergy. The thankfully large space easily accommodated the Daedalus Audio Ulysses speakers ($8800/pair), as well as the DA-RMA monitor which I didn't hear ($4450/pair); Gill Audio Alana preamp ($5000) and Gill Elise DAC ($6000); Art Audio Quartet monoblock amps ($14,500/pair) and unheard Art Audio Adagio ($29,000); and Empirical Design cables. Playing the great mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's Avie hybrid SACD of Handel arias, I was transported by this system's ability to convey the soul of Lieberson's singing. Not only were dynamic contrasts breathtaking, but Hunt Lieberson's intentional softening of her voice in order to better transmit the love that lies at the core of her artistry also went straight to the heart. And that's in a hotel whose electrical outlets were not even grounded, which made for a lot of unwanted brightness in a lot of systems!
Joe Freitas of Art Audio is a musician; the man understands what it takes to transmit what music is all about. Although I have less experience with Gill and Daedalus, it is clear that Joe did not create such fine sound alone. My sincere thanks to everyone whose gifts contributed to the experience. Check it out, boys and girls, check it out.