Totem was showing their new Element Series of loudspeakers. Both the stand-mounted Fire ($6000/pair) and floorstanding Earth ($9000/pair) use Totem’s 7-inch Torrent hand-assembled driver and employ no crossover parts in the woofer section.
In the room presented by Audio Physic, Acoustic Signature, and Trigon, music was sweet and nuanced, played at low volumes, but nevertheless involving and deeply enjoyable. I admired the subtlety of touch, richness of texture, and ease of flow. We listened to a few minutes of One Foot in the Gutter, a live, 1960s recording by the Dave Bailey Sextet, and I swear I could hear the joy and humor in the band’s playing.
There was a lot of buzz over the new high-performance, highly versatile Invicta DAC/preamp ($3395) from Resonessence Labs. The Invicta handles all resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz from all of its inputs, including asynchronous USB 2.0.
It was around this point of the show that I started to feel weak and dizzy, overwhelmed by the size of RMAF and disappointed by the lack of truly affordable gear. Thank goodness for Gold Sound. The Colorado dealer had pieced together not one, not two, but five affordable, audiophile systems priced under $5000.
Angel City Audio built a system comprising their Trinity loudspeaker ($6999/pair), Melody Pure Black 101 preamplifier ($4499), and Melody M835 monoblock power amplifiers ($5899/pair), along with an Onix XCD50 CD player and Melody cables and interconnects.
I’ve grown used to hearing good sound in rooms occupied by Joseph Audio loudspeakers and this was no exception. We had a toe-tapping, hip-shaking, good time in here. The system was locked in a deep and heavy groove, sounding dynamic, fun, lively, and totally listenable.
Yes, listenable. You’d think that everything at a hi-fi show would be listenable, but you'd be surprised.
April Music presented the new Eximus DP1 DAC-preamplifier ($2995), which offers six digital inputs, including USB 2.0; two analog inputs, including a front-panel Aux; three analog outputs, including a front-panel headphone jack; and supports resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz.
In addition to the Long Valley Pub & Brewery and Valley Shepherd Creamery, here’s one more reason to visit Long Valley, NJ: GTT Audio & Video, carrying YG Acoustics, Tenor Audio, Soulution, Kubala-Sosna, Bryston, and many other respected brands.
In a much smaller room next door to GTT Audio's main suite, YG Acoustics’ Carmel loudspeakers ($18,000/pair) were driven by a Devialet D-Premier integrated amplifier/DAC ($16,999). Source components were Bryston’s BDP-1 digital media player ($2250) and PS Audio’s Perfect Wave Transport ($3000). Cables were Kubala-Sosna’s Emotion.
My kind of style in the Music Hall room, where the featured system came in at under $4000: Music Hall’s new a70.2 integrated amplifier ($1499), MMF-2.2 turntable ($449) with Cruise Control 2.0 power supply and speed control ($299) and cork record mat ($50), a15.2 CD player ($499), the new DAC15.2 ($299), and Epos Epic 2 loudspeakers ($799/pair; see our reviews in the November and December issues).