Emerald Physics and ModWright Define High Value

The sound was special in Michael Gliksman's High Value AV room. "Really smooth, midrange rich," I wrote in my notes as Rosa Passos and Ron Carter created bossa nova heaven on their great Chesky CD. The soundstaging was quite lovely, with great height. Yes, the sound was a bit dark (which many audiophiles prefer), but it was also extremely mellow and inviting.

Most prominent was the Emerald Physics CS2.3 point-source dipole loudspeaker ($4450/pair, and due for a price increase very soon). Since there aren't many places to audition this baby, Gliksman offers a free dinner to anyone who journeys to the only new audio dealership in Santa Cruz, CA to hear it. Equally responsible for the beauty were ModWright Instruments' LS 36.5 "DM" prototype preamplifier/digital source, a balanced tube linestage complete with internal DAC ($11,995, but discounted by $300 at the show), and MWI KWA 150 solid-state amp $5995). Also shown was the MWI KWA ($3295), also available at a demo price, and SOTA turntables and Record Cleaning Machine. A deal I tell you, a deal.