Ray of Sound's European Imports
Ray Lombardi's international set-up was getting much better sound from JBL's 1400 Array ($11,500/pair) than at the first California Audio Show (CAS) a few months back. In fact, Diana Krall's semi-lethargic rendition of "Let's Face the Music and Dance" sounded much less doped-up than it did when I last heard it at the Aurum Cantus factory in China. The presentation featured crisp and sweet highs, and a natural midrange. Neither Sound Applications power treatment (model not specified) nor ASC Tube Traps could totally tighten up the speaker's soft bottom, but I don't recall it sounding very tight at CAS either.
Doing the honors were the Audio Valve Assistant 50Wpc integrated amp ($6499), Blacknote DAC 30 tube ($4495) from Germany and Italy, respectively, as well as a MacBook Pro from the US and China. Also on display were Italian electronics from Lector.