Evolution Acoustics-DarTZeel-Playback Designs Sing Again

Given that the DarTZeel-Evolution Acoustics-Playback Designs room at T.H.E. Show 2010 blew both me and John Atkinson away, and earned my "Best of CES 2010," I was extremely eager to take another listen.

To say that, in an even smaller room, Jonathan Tinn of Portland's Blue Light Audio had set up a more modest reference system will have some readers guffawing at the prices. The cost of the Evolution Acoustics MMMiniOne loudspeakers ($15,000/pair), plus integrated stand system ($7000) and integrated subwoofer ($5000), is no small hunka change. Throw in the darTZeel CTH-8550 Reference 250Wpc integrated stereo amplifier with photo stage ($20,300), Playback Designs MPS-5 reference SACD/CD player with 24/192 input ($15,000), Wave Kinetics A10-U8 ($700/set of 4) and 2NS loudspeaker interface ($1600/set of 8), Audience Adept Response aR12-T power conditioner ($8600), Music Servers Direct MSD-1 Reference music server control by the Apple iTouch ($2500), a Vintage Studer A810 open-reel (NFS), and hi-rez files from Puget Sound Studios, The Mastering Labs, Mobile Fidelity, Reference Recordings, and the Super Audio Center, and we're way above $75,000.

There was, however, one major bargain in the set-up. The $20 Home Depot racks that Jonathan had chosen in order to dem how the Wavegate Footers obviate the need for expensive racks. If only footers could sing, the system would be a steal . . .

Surprisingly, when I played John Atkinson's recording of Robert Silverman performing Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, this system failed to capture all the weight of his instrument's bottom end. No such problem was encountered on baritone Matthias Goerne's voice, whose beauty and perfectly conveyed communicative abilities impelled more than one person to immediately ask, "Who was that?" In addition to reaching to the heart of the music, the system's ability to capture the acoustic space around Goerne and his accompanist's piano was second to none. That's something to cheer about.

Stephen Scharf's picture

I thought this was probably the best sounding room of the show. I went back on Sunday when Johathan Tinn put on the Studer with some Stevie Ray Vaughan, and it was just ridiculously good. Amongst the best sound I've ever heard, next to the Dynaudio/Octave room at RMAF last year. Jason, it's possible that the bass in was over-pressuring that little room with respect to the full weight of the bottom end. 4

Edward Hunt's picture

Where can we get additional information regarding the Wavegate Footers?

Hank's picture

Love the Dartzeel stuff!!!

Jpnathan Tinn's picture

Jason,Thanks for coming by and spending the time you did in our room. I absolutely loved the music you played. It would be great if you could post the name of the Schubert piece with Matthew Goerne. It was a revelation! Just to clarify a bit, I had the woofers turned off when you were in the room and we were only playing the MMMiniOnes. By adding the bottom woofer module, the loudspeaker will actually go down below 10 Hz flat. I was very pleased with the show and hope to do it again next year!Best Regards, Jonathan TinnPS. There is a typo in the third paragraph. I think you meant to write "Wave Kinetics" rather than "Wavegate".

Jonathan Tinn's picture

Edward: Please visit http://wavekinetics.com for information on the footers.

Jonathan Tinn's picture

Stephen, thanks so much!

thomas's picture

I thought the system sounded good but not great. There was bass but it sounded loose. I found things to be a little to diffused sounding and not focused ( like a wall of noise ). It did have very very power tweeter levels though.

Marcus Thompson's picture

I thought this system was amazing. Certainly the best at the show and maybe the best I have ever heard. The bass out of just the monitors was so surprisingly good that I had no idea the woofers were turned off. When they turned on the woofers, I was really impressed at how easily it all integrated. The bass was deep, tight, detailed and textured. As far as imaging and focus, it was remarkable. The level of clarity was truly a shocker. It was like seeing HDTV for the first time. Thomas is WRONG! I am not sure what room he was in, but it could not have been the Evolution room.