Wilsons to the MAXX
Okay, so the system in the big room from Montreal dealer Coup de Foudre was very expensive, and the room's acoustics I knew from the 2008 Show were excellent, but the sound was both my best at show and the best I heard in that room. Not only did Peter McGrath's high-resolution recordings, played back from his Sound Devices recorder feeding the very promising Playback Designs' D/A processor, reproduce with extraordinary dynamics and a superbly transparent window into the soundstage, my own recordings sounded the best I have experienced, with the audiophile attributes supporting/reinforcing rather than getting in the way of the music. And that was from CD!
Speakers were the Wilson Audio Specialties MAXX Series 3 (currently under review by Michael Fremer), reinforced below 32Hz with the humongous Wilson Thor subwoofer and driven by the Pathos Adrenaline monoblocks and a prototype tube preamplifier from Pathos, the Synapse. Cables were all Transparent Audio. Such was the musical communication ability of this system that Peter McGrath and I were doing some listening before dinner Friday night, with one recording leading to another, until it was too late to go out to eat!
Other news from SSI was that Audio Plus Services, the North American importer of Focal, YBA, and Cambridge Audio, has taken over US distribution of Pathos, as well as distribution of the revitalized Micromega brand from France.