After two full weeks away from the officeHurricane Sandy followed us from Puerto Rico to New Jerseyit was especially nice to get back in here and be greeted by the Stereophile Recommended Components Collector’s Edition.
Isn’t it beautiful?
For me, every one of its 180 pages represents blinding pain and seemingly endless suffering. But, for you, dear reader, we hope the Recommended Components Collector’s Edition will represent nothing but pure pleasure and joy.
On May 21, 2008, five months after purchasing my very first turntable (a Rega Research P3-24), I decided that my obsession with LPs had grown to the extent that I could no longer function without a good record-cleaning machine. I'd done some research and found that the device best suited to my life and wallet was VPI's time-honored HW-16.5. I was certain, anxious, determined. But that morning, when I gave VPI a call, the line was busy. When I called again in the afternoon, the line was busy. When I called again in the evening, the line was busy.
I walked into the big Peachtree Audio room to find listening chairs scattered about in every direction, seemingly without purpose. Indeed, some listeners stood while some listeners sat and even others danced.
Every time I see High Water Sounds’ Jeffrey Catalano, he introduces me to another outstanding piece of music (or three) that I need to own immediately. During RMAF 2012, one of those pieces was The Architecture of Loss, by Icelandic composer and founder of the excellent Bedroom Community label, Valgeir Sigurdsson.
Art Dudley’s already mentioned the many delights in the Audio Feast room, so I’ll just add that I was particularly delighted to chat with Audio Feast’s Kenji Furukawa, pictured here with his Feastrex NF9ex F90 field-coil loudspeaker ($19,118/pair).
In the Nordost/Raidho suite, I was very impressed by the spacious, delicate, detailed sound made from a system comprising Raidho C1.1 standmounted speakers ($20,000/pair, including dedicated stand), a Simaudio CD player, Hegel amplification, Quantum Resonant Technology (QRT) power conditioning, and, of course, Nordost cabling.
It’s no surprise that Sam Tellig likes Harbeth’s Monitor 30.1 loudspeaker ($6490/pair in rosewood; seen here on Resonant Woods stands) as much as he does. (You can read about that in our November issue.) The speaker is handsome, understated, and it just looks right. Driven by Bret D’Agostino’s Bully Sound Company BSC-60s, a 60Wpc power amp built around a 1300VA toroidal transformer, the Harbeths sounded right, too. Bricasti’s M1 DAC ($8495; a favorite of both John Atkinson and John Marks) accepted signals from a Music Vault Music Streamer ($2495). Tellurium Q cables tied everything together.
What else was in the system?
Oh, yes: The Stein Music Harmonizers. And, I almost hate to tell you this, but:
In a second Audio Alternative room, I was again treated to that old, familiar Boz Scaggs classic, “Thanks to You.” I had just come from the Fidelis AV room, where I had heard the song presented with impressive speed, precision, and clarity, the sound still fresh in my mind. So, I was surprised to hear something different.
“For a speaker manufacturer to not recognize the importance of room interaction is either disingenuous or willfully naïve,” said Wisdom Audio’s Jon Herron, during his demonstration of the tall, slim L75 loudspeaker ($18,700/pair) and its outboard SC-1 crossover ($6500).
At the time, I was marveling over the system’s full-range, large-scale, dramatic sound. I found myself looking up in the air, feeling as though I was seated in a concert hall or movie theater, surrounded by sound.