The combo of Einstein NK60, 60W OTL monoblocks, Einstein The Tube preamp, Electric CDP7T Mk.II CD player, Adept Response power conditioning, A Cappella High Violin Mk.III horn speakers and cabling mated mellow, warm, nurturing sound with a lovely, sweet presentation. Playing the Ebony Wind Band’s take on the music of Silvestre Revueltas, the sound was especially beautiful and airy. Although not the greatest in the slam department, this system was not afraid of open, high extension. It also presented the midrange in correct proportion, which is no mean feat.
Nearly 500 audiophiles descended upon Definitive Audio's Seattle location on Thursday, February 26 for the 10th Music Matters event in the Pacific Northwest. The "mother" of all Music Matters, and inspiration for all the other similarly named events that happen around the country, Definitive Audio's definitive four-hour gathering was so large in scope that it qualified as a mini-audio show. With major industry presenters including Stereophile's Michael Fremer (above) and John Atkinson, the evening also offered sufficient food and drink to satiate the most ravenous, and enough interesting music to ensure that even an inveterate show attender named Serinus never once experienced that "if I hear this cut one more time" feeling.
The demo seemed simple enough. A distributor proposed a session for the Bay Area Audiophile Society (BAAS) that would pit his relatively low-cost speaker cable against an ultra-expensive competing model named for a Norse god. We would listen to the music first with the high-priced spread, then with his cable, then discuss the differences. As far as the distributor was concerned, everyone would hear that the Nordic Emperor had no clothes.
I ended Saturday's incredibly packed tour of the 15 rooms on the Marriott Tower's 10th floor with a stop in Musical Fidelity's room. It was a good choice. This was the first room at the show where I pulled out Channel Classics' superbly recorded hybrid SACD of the Ebony Band Amsterdam performing a unique arrangement of Revueltas' elemental, gutsy, phantasmagorical Sensemaya. The sense of air was immense, with amazing soundstaging that belied the small size of the room. I also loved the height of the soundstage, and the deep reaches of the bass. But as much as I savored the presentations' air and depth, this hardly laid-back system sounded a bit tipped-up in the highs, a common factor in many of the smaller rooms at the Marriott.
Given the number of loudspeakers in the relatively small room, I was amazed that two corner traps, combined with intelligent speaker placement that began at 8am, could result in such well-controlled bass. But on the Channel Classics native DSD/hybrid SACD of the Budapest Festival Orchestra performing Mahler's Symphony 2, the opening movement exhibited ideal control on the low end as well as natural warmth. I kept waiting for the booming, but it never came. What a great end to my first long day at AXPONA Chicago, 2013.
Musical Surroundings' Jesse Luna (left) and Garth Leerer (right) flank Nuts About HiFi's Jim Lee.
If that title hasn't gotten your attention, nothing will . . . except, perhaps, the Northwest preview of: 1) the forthcoming Aesthetix Metis linestage preamplifier (est. price $20,000$25,000), which is expected by the second quarter of 2015; 2) Clearaudio Concept Wood turntable with tonearm ($2200); and 3) DS Audio DS-W1 "Nightrider" Optical phono cartridge with dedicated phono equalizer ($8500). This tempting trio of coming outs, arranged by Garth Leerer and Jesse Luna of Oakland, CA-based distributor Musical Surroundings, took place at Nuts About HiFi, a Seattle-area high-end emporium that celebrated its Silver Anniversary in Silverdale, WA on November 30, 2014.
Nothing convinces more than a fabulous recording wonderfully reproduced. Wilson Audio scored big time when it engaged recording engineer Peter McGrath as its marketing VP. McGrath's recordings are legendary. When sourced from master hi-res computer files, played back using the superior Amarra Music Server software, they're pretty riveting.
Directly across the hall from the PrimaLuna exhibit, I discovered its somewhat more expensive big brother line, Mystère. While PrimaLuna amps operate in triode mode, Mystère gives you the sound of tetrode. These aren't high power babiesthe ia11 integrated amp ($1995) puts out 40Wpc watts and the ia21 integrated amp ($2995) gives you 50Wpc. The electronics are manufactured with a different partner in China, and are the dream project of their designer.
Exciting news greeted the posse of press who headed to the Marriott Denver Tech Center's Atrium Saturday October 3 for a press conference entitled "MQA and Mytek Present: From Studio to Home." Both Bob Stuart of MQA, Ltd. (above right) and Michal Jurewicz of Mytek Digital (above center) were present, as well as Pål Bråtelund, Strategic Partnership Manager for Tidal (above left), and, for MQA partner AudioQuest, AQ VP Steve Silberman.