In his Avatar Acoustics room, Darren Censullo put together a system featuring a Feickert Analogue Blackbird turntable ($7495) with Feickert’s DFA 10.5 tonearm ($1000) and Lyra Kleos cartridge (review to come from Michael Fremer), Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) CD-77.1 CD player ($10,995), AMR PH-77 phono preamp ($11,995, recently reviewed by Michael Fremer and John Atkinson), and AMR AM-77.1 integrated amplifier ($9995). Speaker cables, interconnects, and power cords were Acoustic System International’s LiveLine ($995/1m interconnect; $2100/2.4m cable; $1195/1.8m power cord). The gear was supported by an Acoustic System 3-shelf rack ($3500) and Acoustic System International Top Line feet ($750). Power distribution came from an Avatar Acoustics Mach 4 ($1995) and Avatar Acoustics Afterburner 8 wall outlet ($80). Acoustic System International Resonators were carefully placed around the perimeter of the room, near where the walls met the ceiling.
Censullo seemed most excited, however, to introduce the attractive Rosso Fiorentino Volterra loudspeaker from Italy, a compact floorstander utilizing 6.5” and 8” Nomex woofers held in place by a vibration-damping system; 1.125” soft dome tweeter; and an interesting crossover circuit housed in a isolated and damped box at the center of it all, effectively separating the cabinet in two halves. In addition, the speaker’s front panel is designed to allow the user to insert a Murata supertweerer, responsible for frequencies up to 100Hz.
Censullo explained that he had an extraordinarily easy time setting up the Volterras because their acoustically suspended woofer meant he didn’t have to worry about positioning for clean bass response. Of course, he added, the Acoustic Resonators also helped in that regard.
We listened to some sweet soul courtesy The Staple Singers and some driving rock and roll from ZZ TopCensullo couldn’t contain his smile or his dancing feetand I was most impressed by the system’s outstanding spatial effectsit was almost as if I was listening through headphonesand the clarity and speed of the attack. Good stuff.