Something happened in the middle of the tenth floor. In the remaining rooms I visited to the right of the elevator—with apologies to all those systems I unintentionally missed due to the pathetic human limitation of being unable to be in three rooms at once—the sound was darker, less illumined, but nonetheless quite involving. This is actually a sound that large numbers of audiophiles prefer. It's a more seasoned and mellow sound, less apt to sound bright and edgy in live rooms, and closer to the sound in acoustically dampened environments. It's truly a case of different strokes for different folks.

Gilbert Yeung's more affordably priced Blue Circle system did a marvelous job bringing out the rich midrange and zip of baroque instruments on the fabulous Channel Classics Bolivian Baroque hybrid SACD. This is a joyous recording, and Blue Circle's set-up delivered a smaller scaled presentation distinguished by its speedy response and lovely, clearly delineated depiction of instruments and voices. The source was an Alesis Masterlink 9600 ($1995) equipped with an SBC USB to DAC interface ($169–$189). Preamp was a non-AC, capacitor-powered BC109 CP1 preamp ($6690) that can be charged by either solar or wind. (Thank you, Gilbert!) Blue Circle's SB100S 100W solid-state power amp ($3295) and other components made use of the BC6000 power conditioner ($1795), while the DAC used the BL86 PC ($180). Speaker was the surprisingly full-range, 6 ohm Penny ($4700–$6500/pair depending upon finish), whose sensitivity is 88 dB. Cables? Again Blue Circle, including the BC62 power cord ($300/6'), BC99 interconnects ($275/m), and BC92 speaker cable ($475/8').

Coming next year: the Blue Circle phono stage and DAC. With us until the end of time (I hope): the irreplaceable Gilbert Yeung and his fine sonic achievements.

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