Finishing Up With Evolution and darTZeel

As John Atkinson and I entered the room at THE Show in which darTZeel electronics partnered Evolution Acoustics loudspeakers, I was immediately struck by the fullness of the midrange. It was as though the system was opening its heart and welcoming us in. That's how warm and nurturing the sound was.

What was especially wonderful was that this system was about far more than midrange. From a very open, clear and realistic top all way down, the darTZeel/Evolution Acoustics system sang true. And beautifully. Very, very beautifully.

First we listened to a favorite audiophile demo, tenor José Carreras singing an excerpt from Ariel Ramirez's Misa Criolla. The air around voices and instruments was as wondrous as the clarity of playback.

Then came something very, very special. But first, a description of the system.

This not exactly bargain-priced system consisted of darTZeel’s new NHB-458 monoblocks, whose 1000Wpc will set you back a mere $135,000/pair, and the darTZeel NHB-18 NS reference preamplifier with MC phono section ($29,000). Speakers were the brand-new, just introduced Evolution Acoustics MMtwo loudspeakers ($35,000/pair). Weighing 375 lbs each, these gorgeous babies claim a frequency response of 10Hz–40kHz ±3dB, and a sensitivity of 93dB. They also sound marvelous.

The rest of the system comprised Evolution Acoustics' DRSC speaker cables ($5000/pair), the LINK-Reference 50 ohm BNC–BNC interconnect ($6000), and PC2One power conditioning power cord ($2000). Playback was from either a Playback Systems MPS-5 Reference SACD/CD player with 24/192 input ($15,000), or the world-premiered Music Servers Direct MSD-1 Reference Music Server ($1995) controlled by an Apple iPod Touch. Other goodies included the Audience Adept Response aR6-T power conditioner ($4600).

Yes, it was an expensive room, filled with equipment I cannot possibly afford. But it's not about me, John, or Stereophile; it's about the music that gives us joy, and the equipment that brings it to us in all its glory.

After the Carreras track, Jonathan Tinn of Evolution Acoustics began telling John how much he loved listening to a track from one of John's recordings, Cantus' While You Are Alive. (Stereophile's newest reviewer, long-time audiophile Erick Lichte, was Music Director of Cantus at the time of the recording and produced the CD). As the conversation grew more animated, I quietly mentioned that I just happened to have the CD with me.

I cannot begin to tell you how it felt to enjoy John's energy as he immersed himself in two tracks from one his finest recordings. What I can tell you was that the sound was little short of heavenly.

On that high, I bid adieu to THE Show and CES 2010. If John, in his talk earlier in the afternoon, both acknowledged the bad year that has past and the good year that he expects to unfold, the Evolution Acoustics/darTZeel demo confirmed that 2011 has the potential to launch a very full, rewarding, and musical decade. With sound like theirs, the admittedly struggling high end gives indications that it is indeed alive and well.

The Show is now so large that it is impossible for any one writer to visit every exhibit. While it was our goal, with six people covering CES and THE Show, for someone to at least make an appearance in each room, (Our apologies if that was not the case.) I regret that I left unable to visit a host of rooms at the top of my list: PrimaLuna, Bel Canto, Peachtree Audio, Kimber, XLO, Pass Labs, PS Audio, Parasound, Simaudio, The Lars, Harbeth, Furutech, Scot Markwell of, Immedia. . . Then there were all the companies I'd never heard of whose products I wanted to hear. CES had at least 274 high-end audio exhibitors in 206 suites and air-walled conference rooms and THE Show offered another 110 exhibitors; the list of missed opportunities is huge. I never even had the opportunity to hug Marjorie Baumert, who continues to maintain and build the increasingly successful Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in honor of her late husband, Al Stiefel. But we can only do what we can do.

Thanks to all the designers, engineers, manufacturers, reps, and retailers who make CES and THE Show possible. Above all, thanks for giving us the opportunity to enjoy the best that recorded music has to offer.

Kris's picture

Are the 458 monoblocks made of solid gold at 135K/pair?

Bruce B's picture

Gold at $1100/oz. would make the amps over 1 million $$$.

Willis's picture

Wow, the snake oil still flies at these events.

Getabetterjob's picture

What u talkin' about Willis?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

From all I am told, snake oil is incapable of making music. This equipment does. Beautifully.BTW, has anyone checked the excellent Wikipedia discussion of snake oil? As it turns out, snake oil is a bonafide traditional medicine in China. Some of the put down came out of competition from makers of patent medicines. Others came from the lack of understanding that not all snakes, and hence not all snake oils, are equally potent. My God, the analogy to the sound of different cables is apt after all!!!

Ricardo's picture

While this kind of products sells (and they do), they will continue to exists. In this times of recession, more than ever, this target are the most profitable and does not show decreases in sales (in contrary). Therefor ...

GEORGE's picture

Why only $135,000 why not $157,000 since they just make up numbers. Even people who have this kind of dough, to buy anything like this, they would still be better to think and buy stuff that ain't being sold at the absurdity levels. No audio amplifier can possibly justify this. $5,000 wires, yeah, really push the stick in harder and twist! Would love to be at the meetings of these companies as they laugh it up, when they sell one of these setups, and they drive home in a car that costs less, with much more technology in it, and does more. It's like teh price of a diamond, all made up contrived. Isn't this th ecompany that handed out teh miswired CD only player, that had a sticker of $27K? Guess the factory where it's made didn't get teh message of teh sale price, they figured they where making a $500 Cd player? What was even more disturbing, that MF and his hearing, didn't know it was out of phase! JA MEASURED and showed the $27K CD player was defective! Wonder what defects are in $135,000 speakers

GEORGE's picture

Why only $135,000 why not $157,000 since they just make up numbers. Even people who have this kind of dough, to buy anything like this, they would still be better to think and buy stuff that ain't being sold at the absurdity levels. No audio amplifier can possibly justify this. $5,000 wires, yeah, really push the stick in harder and twist! Would love to be at the meetings of these companies as they laugh it up, when they sell one of these setups, and they drive home in a car that costs less, with much more technology in it, and does more. It's like the price of a diamond, all made up contrived. Isn't this the company that handed out the miswired CD only player, that had a sticker of $27K? Guess the factory where it's made didn't get the message of the sale price, they figured they where making a $500 Cd player? What was even more disturbing, that MF and his hearing, didn't know it was out of phase! JA MEASURED and showed the $27K CD player was defective! Wonder what defects are in $135,000 amps

The Groove's picture

The verbal diarrhea coming out of some folks is astounding...But has anyone heard the NHB-458 in this room and has an honest opinion about its sound? Could this room compete with the best sound of the show? Hats off to Herve and his team in pushing the envelope towards the ultimate and for that they may be awarded a handsome return. That's the way our world works...but that's too difficult for some people to comprehend.

Get-back-to-reality's picture

Verbal diarrhea perhaps, but please observe the following:Krell Evo One: 60.000 $/pairMark Levinson 53: 50.000 $/pairVTL Siegfried: 40.000 $/pairMaybe I just don't have enough $, however, I would chose any of the above any time and save the rest for new speakers. An absolutely absurd price on those 458 monos!

John Atkinson's picture

George asked "Isn't this the company that handed out the miswired CD only player, that had a sticker of $27K?" No, that was a Zanden. This Playback, darTZeel, and Evolution components feature some serious (and yes, expensive) audio engineering. And as expensive as the darTZeel amplifiers admittedly are, this room was perhaps the best-sounding I heard in Las Vegas, though the much less expensive EAR/Marten Getz system got close for much less money.

jmsent's picture

Jason writes: "It's about the music that gives us joy, and the equipment that brings it to us in all its glory."Actually, it's pretty much all about the equipment. Even this fancy getup will not bring us the music in ALL its glory. That still remains the sole domain of live music, and the quarter mil or so that this system costs is more than enough to pay for live concerts everyday for the rest of your life. Such systems-and I'm not singling this one out as CES was full of them-are so far out of the realm of "value for dollar" that the whole thing has turned into a tiny niche of a tiny niche. Yet for all its expense, you're still looking at a 7" 2 way WTW design + sub with a passive Xover. Hardly SOTA in technical terms, and certainly not the ultimate in dynamic range. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. Make something expensive enough and few people will buy it. And when so few customers are available, the only option for making money is to charge a fortune for it. Such is the "High End" of today.

tomcollins's picture

why do some of you guys indulge in this self-torture and then torture the rest of us with your "verbal diarrhea". please go read someone else's blogs and torture them with your whining. yes, its expensive, its a hobby, get over it. i have heard this exact setup with the exception that it is the stereo amp, not the monos, but with the addition of the top subs (same as the bottoms)and using a very fine turntable, in a custom room many times. it never fails to thrill and excite. counting the room and the treatments, it is probably the cost of a very decent house. my friend can afford it, it makes him happy, its how he chooses to spend his money, so what. i do the best i can with my system and enjoy it too. some would say i have spent crazy money too. again, so what. its my money, its what i like. don't whine to the rest of us who enjoy reading about such things. if i never own any of the items in that room, so what. guys, take a pill or better yet, get a life.

JackF's picture

tomcollins is right. If you want to spend the money, go for it!If you dont have the cash buy a NAD. It is so simple.

Kevin C's picture

You may count me in with the whining guys, but I had really hoped for a more "fair" price on the 458. I have listened to the NHB 108 on several occasions and I really like the sound. I do, however, need more power, which is why I was looking forward to the introduction of the 458. Now I will probably look elsewhere i.e. Gryphon or Pass Labs. I wonder if the r&d on the 458 can justify the price of this golden piece of esoteric hi-fi jewelry. I guess some people just don’t ask themselves these questions.

Bubba in SF's picture

An amplifiers that cost more than a Porche Carrera or a ZR-1 Corvette. It's not about the music. It's creating an exclusive product that will make a lot of money for the company selling the prestige. It isn't going to sound any different than a Krell or Audio Research or a Levinson. The difference is the price tag and the look on the faces at the party the rich guy tells them the price. The targeted customers are the corporate execs from AIG or B of A or Morgan Stanley. If the editors of Stereophile think this is worthy then hey, we should think they haven't been paying attention to the last 3 years. Over consumption and greed has made our country a 3 world nation and catering to it just prolongs the myth. The people who say don't whine need to smell the coffee. The folks who call it snake oil have it about right.

Jonathan Tinn's picture

Thank you Jason and John for visiting our room and for all your kind words. I too was incredibly moved when Cantus was played.I do understand why many feel, at first glance, that the darTZeel NHB-458 is too expensive. I was disappointed when Hervé Deletraz told me what the price would be. I think he was as well. We realize that it will appeal to a very small market and for him it is a statement product that is incredibly expensive to produce.When I first saw the amplifiers I was surprised at how much better they looked in person. Upon inspection I saw what went into building them. Every part that goes into these amplifiers down to the screws is manufactured specifically for darTZeel at an economy of scale that makes it incredibly expensive to produce. I started understanding the cost. Sonically, I could not be happier with them, I just wish they were more affordable.I also want to thank Steve Dobbins for providing his wonderful turntables as well as Wave Kinetics for their vibration control systems!

Lobespierre's picture

No "whining" here. I'd love to own a very, very costly system, say, priced dearer than a black market kidney, but the plain truth is I haven't robbed enough American taxpayers, bought enough politicians, humiliated enough employees, crashed enough currencies or created sufficient hordes of hopeless debtors to do so yet. Trust me, I'm working on it. On all fronts. You DarTZeel guys: as Walt Whitman once spake to his prostitute, "I charge you that you be patient and perfect till I come."

GEORGE's picture

When STEREOPHILE decides to become about AUDIO again, all this glitz and shelf ornaments won't be looked at. Right...every SCREW was made just for this amplifier. Are you guys ASSuming everyone is an idiot? If that is the reason it's such an inefficient mfg' operation, they need to hire better people that know how to produce and purchase supplies. Because these companies are so bad at mfg' they want to profit from it? A new business plan for the next decade, brilliant. the speakers have miniature drivers, useless to produce lifelike reproduction. Smarter people, know how to get better sound for much less. Professional systems, cost far less, and work better. Stereophile magazine needs to stop pushing this stuff as high end audio. This is not about audio, it's about insanity, glitzy case work, and savy marketing to people with money, but no knowledge of AUDIO. JA and crew are the Martha Stewart of audio products lately, no substance, all glitz. Dried flower baskets for $10,000.

Fred Falcone's picture

Wow, the whining continues. For all the whiners out there, can you please describe "your" systems so that the rest of us can have a taste of "your" sonic nirvana? I think this high end audio gear is fantastic. Not everyone's cup of tea but a hobby none the less. And don't diss the Stereophile crew. They only report on gear just like the writers over at Road & Track covering Ferrari's to Chevy's.

zead's picture

MR TINN of AA - why don't you take the challenge of having your next showing with some more lower-priced american gear showing that your speakers can get it done with less..given the reasonably pricing approach that your company appears to follow

HudSonic's picture

Disgusting and vulgar!There is obviously no relationship whatsoever between price and quality. I am disgusted by these cock enlarger toys.

John Atkinson's picture

There are 2 things puzzling me about all those who are complaining about the high prices of some of the products we have reported on in this year's CES coverage. First, there are many stories on affordable products in this report, but no-one is thanking us for mentioning them or even posting comments. Second, I just don't get the atmosphere of entitlement that those complaining project. It has always been the case that very best-performing audio components are expensive. If you can't afford those components, so what? There are many, many components available for less that get close to the ultimate in sound quality. Or is it that your own sense of self-worth demands that you have the best but as you can't afford the best, you spend your days in a cloud of anger and resentment?

Rui Duarte's picture

Hevé, go-back to Swiss to finish the my Dartzeel 458 # 000. Some people, only know about all but don't have nothing.

Matt's picture

JA wrote: "there are many stories on affordable products in this report, but no-one is thanking us for mentioning them or even posting comments."Not quite true. While I neglected to explicitly thank JVS and Stereophile for the report on the Dynaudio room, I think you will see some "positive" comments regarding the "real world" Dynaudio system that a middle class person can aspire to own: "problem" (if there is one) is that the manufacturers are only showing mega $$ systems, perhaps to garner attention for having the "best sound". Even Vandersteen was showing their $45K speaker in the context of top shelf Aesthetix or Ayre electronics rather than their better known and more affordable models (I was hoping they'd show the new, middle-class accessible Trio). Stereophile might modify this trend by including more accolades for real world systems - as was done by JVS in his Dynaudio report.

bwright's picture

I visited this room in person, and can verify that this was one of the best of the show. I requested that they demo my DCC Gold disc of "Venus and Mars," and the sound was nothing short of astounding. The staff and designer couldn't have been more gracious. Frankly, I don't mind the reporting on the high end, as it shows where the state of the art is headed. Eventually it trickles down to more affordable designs over time. And heck, if I could afford it, I'd take that system home in a heartbeat.As for mid-price systems, the Mystere pre and power amp were superb, and the Usher Mini-One Diamonds were incredible for clarity and detail. The Soundsmith components were warm and well-sorted - their system had a certain magic, and made us all stay and enjoy the music. All were great values for the money.

Jonathan Tinn's picture

Zead: What would you like to hear the Evolution Acoustics with? Frankly speaking, most gear is less expensive than the new darTZeel NHB-458s :) Last year we showed with a reference darTZeel integated amplifier and had wonderful sound as well. That amplifier with built in preamplifier and phonostage was a fraction of the price of the monoblocks. Wes Phillips called it "jaw-droppingly real". Please realize that I chose darTZeel because I proudly import their products and they are the best I have heard. As a manufacturer, you try to put your products with the best you know. If an American amplifier manufacturer would like to use a pair of Evolution Acoustics for CES, all they have to do is ask. I have heard ARC, BAT, Rowland, LAMM, Manley, VAC, VTL and many others with our loudspeakers and they all sounded wonderful. But, there really is a lot of politics that go into putting a group of manufacturers together for an exhibition. I happen to really enjoy the people I exhibit with. That means a lot to me.

Tom Collins's picture

Mr. Tinn: I enjoyed your response. I have the pleasure of listening to the system of a friend of mine with a similar setup to the show as he kindly ivites me over every few weeks to share some music. I can say that it is magnificent. I second the earlier poster who said that he would take it home if he could. I do not see any disconnect between my enjoyment of such a system and my inability to afford same. Look at cars. In the mid 80s, the only cars with airbags and ABS were expensive Europeans. Today, this is old news. Remember the engines of the 80s, didn't think so, who would want to. Again, the Europeans were the only ones with any performance (Corvette excluded). Now we have 300 HP 6 cylinder family sedans. Like it or not, we must have makers such as DZ and EA pushing the envelope and showing us what is possible. In 20 years, this system will be old news too (but still sound great I am sure). These products even used will never be cheap, but some of use will be able to have them.

Kevin C's picture

bwright: I hope you are right that the design of the 458 trickles down to a more affordable one. As stated above, I have listened to the NHB-108 several times and absolutely love the sound. However, the power of the 108 is slightly insufficient for my needs. What we need is an 108 redesigned as a monoblock or perhaps a downscaled 458, as when Levinson came out with the no. 33H as a downscaled version of the no. 33.

zead's picture

Thanks Jonathann Tinn for your reply

michaelavorgna's picture

I don't know what's more infuriating - stuff that costs more than I can spend or stuff that costs less than I've spent.

KBK's picture

Yes mike! Walking out of the audio shop should feel like a near completed act of deep perversion. The kind where you sandwich multiple emotions in a space meant for one. Fear that the wife will find out. Loss, for the money spent. Anguish over possibly not having the right piece of gear. Joy that you have a new toy. Shame that you could not afford the bigger one than the one you bought. Anticipation of opening the box and having fun with the new piece. Angst over the coming tube rolling choices. Depression that you will not be able to do this again, soon. Your heart should be beating like a jackhammer as you walk out with your new toy.

zead's picture

KBK, i love should be writing for TAS

Perturbed's picture

JA asks:"Or is it that your own sense of self-worth demands that you have the best but as you can't afford the best, you spend your days in a cloud of anger and resentment?"No. I'm contemplating setting up a music server, which involves the purchase of a computer, an interface, etc. Taken together these will cost a small fraction of the darTZeel. What my self-worth is wondering is how I justify this expenditure in a world I share with a Haitian woman whose sole possessions are the clothes she's wearing and an empty grain sack. If I knew this I'd think myself smart.

The Groove's picture

Wow, easily the liveliest blog on stereophile website! I am perplexed at the whining show above. I didn't think it was in the Amercian spirit to do so. I think the American spirit is to applaud excellence when we see it, reward it, encourage it. This is the spirit that keeps us getting better, at everything we do. It should be a global spirit. Ofcourse there should be healthy scepticism over design choices, cost, looks etc. but never in a meanspirited way, rather contsructively. What I see above are mostly people that are disappointed with themselves not being able to afford something they'd like to afford. That doesn't make we want to shout rudely at the manufacturer or marketer. It's their choice to set the price and live with the consequences. If they make the wrong choice in their value proposition, they will go bankrupt!I will happily live with my 108 for however long it takes, because I'm focused more on the music I enjoy with it...

rudolf's picture

Congratulations to Jonathan Tinn and Herve Delatraz with such a great achievement!I know from experience how disastrous it can be to set up great gear in lousy acoustical hotelrooms. and get hundreds of critical audiophiles in front.yes the 458's are truly expensive and I may never afford them too, but Herve can expect my check for a NHB108 / NHB18 eventually.. i'm just lucky to own 96dB speakers so 100 watt is mucho enoughthe whiners:those who know it all, but with empty pockets

Golden ears's picture

The bottom line is that there is lots of expensive gear out there that is sonically inferior to some lower priced gear, but "The Best' is always expensive. The Dartzeel monos are obviously Herve's statement product, and he is to be applauded for contuining to push the envelope. Fact is that some of the technology in the monos have already been trickeled down to their 108 stereo amp yielding spectacular results. Other than the Dartzeel mono masterpieces, the Evolution speakers appear to be a steal at 35K (compared to the competition of course). Same goes for the playback player. Congratulatons to Jonathan and Herve for putting on such a glorous show.

Felixs's picture

Any fool can make a bridge that doesn't fall down; only a good engineer an make a bridge that only just doesn't. (Tacoma Narrows excepted). I question whether just throwing money at a problem without a sense of proportion constitutes anything approaching good engineering practice. Audio has to be seen in some context, like cost/benefit - and at some point the law of diminishing returns starts to apply. A $30,000 system will probably sound better than a $3000 one - but once you get into six figures the incremental improvement is marginal to those who are honest. While it may be interesting to experience equipment like this, no doubt it still has coloration, distortion and at $164,000 I'd at least expect DZ to have decent typography. It so happens that the distortion is pleasant to experience, but it's what delivers the character of the sound. True accuracy can be achieved a lot cheaper (and with less tasteless colors) - but "warm and nurturing" don't sound like the accurate replay a studio engineer desires.

Jonathan Tinn's picture

Felixs: Maybe "warm and nuturing" was the character of the music playing at the time. That might very well have been the "sound like the accurate replay a studio engineer desires". To assume the negative out of that statement is really a mistake here.We had recording and mastering engineers that came to our room, and made statement of how accurate and real the music sounded through this system. One was Jim Merod, of Blue Port Jazz fame and another was Bruce Brown of Puget Sounds Studios. They both played their music and expressed their extreme satisfaction.

Felixs's picture

Jonathan: fair comment, and I note that the review says "very open, clear and realistic". I'm guilty (as are others in this thread) of combining a general point about cost/benefit within the extreme high end, and the motivations of owners, with a more direct and personal criticism of your particular system - which is unfair, at the very least because I wasn't at CES. Unfortunately DarTZeel's extremist philosophy inevitably makes them a target within this debate, which I expect is annoying and frustrating for you. However, I do think a general discussion about the extreme high end and its engineering criteria is necessary, because it does influence the wider industry. I can see parallels within high end watchmaking: Richard Mille watches are jewelery; he uses horology as a vehicle to express his art, he's not about easy or optimal time-telling. High end audio can be similar: the extremist tour-de-force that is artistic expression not science - yet they maintain functionality is all, when it patently isn't.

Bruce Brown's picture

I have this "fight" all the time with audiophile labels. I like the accuracy, transparency and pinpoint imaging. The audiophile labels want musicality, euphonic colorations and overtones. If I want to get paid, I have to make the music sound the way the client wants it, even if it's against my best wishes. Usually I can compromise and have a little of both. If what you heard was "warm and nurturing", it's probably the way the producer wanted it to sound. I can guarantee you one thing though...whatever goes into the Playback/DarTzeel/Evolution is what comes out... nothing added or subtracted!

bwright's picture

As this is a subjective science, there is no correct answer when it comes to the high end, as each offering reflects the singular point of view of the designer in relation to their love of music. Indeed, that is the same reason why we are taking the time to participate here. I truly enjoyed the darTZeel/Evolution room as I found the speakers and source chain sounded exactly like music in a live venue. There were no solid state or tube characteristics I could detect; it simply sounded like music, and beautifully rendered. The only other line I have heard that reflects a similar point of view is Spectral, but darTZeel does so with a gentle sense of humor (the "Pleasure Control" knob, for example) while serving the essence of the music. I also visited many of the other high end rooms there, and some of the related positive reviews and threads left me baffled. But in the end, it is simply a personal reaction to a point of view - nothing more. So I can safely say I agree with darTZeel's perspective.

Miguel's picture

You can go to the site , where you will find a short video of this system playing. It is possible to grasp the quality of the system through the computer speakers. I had the same thoughts as many here about extremely expensive equipment, I am thinking right now about the Hansen Master speaker, ridiculously expensive and grotesque, but it sounded really good through the glimpse I get when I see the video on my computer. The video reportage says much more than any words.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

It's a little late in the game, but I want to comment on several points that have been raised in this discussion. The first is that this is NOT a review; it is a snapshot impression garnered over the course of 15-18 minutes. No blog report should be taken as a review. Note as well that, when John listened to his Cantus recording, I ceded the sweet spot to him and sat in the corner of a small room. Having said that, that Jonathan and the manufacturers he represents managed to get such extraordinary sound out of a space that proved untamable to others says a lot. Secondly, "warm and nurturing" should be read as appropriately inviting, and not as a code word for colored and euphonic. In the end, few show systems invite me into the room, speak out through boxes and wires to my heart, and want me to forego my other assignments and just spend hours listening. This was one of them. Finally, we in the audiophile community tend to repeat adages as though they speak immutable truth. See my next post.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

We in the audiophile community tend to repeat adages as though they are immutable truth. One of many is the so-called "law of diminishing returns." Who wrote this law, and who proved it scientifically, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you get my drift? I heard HUGE differences between this and other similarly priced systems. Most of them couldn't hold a candle, at least to my ears. I also heard HUGE differences between this system and those that cost much, much less. Note as well that while the amps are astronomically priced, the speakers, by today's standards, are anything but. [paragraph] With no criticism intended of any single poster, I would urge us to use caution in repeating high-end platitudes rather than listening with open ears and heart, and discovering how a system, regardless of price, speaks and sings to us.

GEORGE's picture

Jason of course heard "huge" differences, in this system and others. He KNEW it was so expensive, so it had to sound "better". Law of human frailty, power of suggestion. But of course audio writers are immune from all things frailty of humans. Get back down to planet earth. Just like you pal Mickey Fremer who heard "huge" improvements when he demagnetized his plastic records! Huge, this word has lost it's proportions? Price yup, not sound differences. When does the BS end? You guys couldn't hear the difference between a high quality $3,000 amplifier from Crown, QSC, AVA,ElectroVoice,other p or several other hi quality, priced for people products. If you didn't wee it, or have been told it's priced in the stratosphere. Why don't you guys ADMIT it's mostly pure BS, and you guys go along with it all, in the hopes of garnering some ad space from these makers of jewelery, not audio products? There is no practical reason, or business sense that says these things are worth, or should be so over priced.

Best Sound At The Show's picture

I am so glad to read all over the various web blogs that so many people from different walks of life, professional and amature alike, who heard this system, came to the same conclusion ... best sound ever !!!And I am so priveledged to have had this system and that experience in my home for three years running now. No need to change. Congrats & well done Jonatahn, Herve, Andreas and Kevin. A very happy customer.

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Steve Dodds's picture

Since this has been brought back to the top, I'd like to ask the obvious.One of Stereophile's tenets has always been that it is impossible to judge the sound quality of any system except in the reviewer's room, against a known reference.Walking into a strange room for 15-18 minutes and then making the comments Jason has is surely a major violation of this tenet.I realize this is not a review, but it was also not qualified in the way I'd expect a brief listen under show conditions to be. The sound could have been merely average, but if the previous rooms were horrible it would stand out like a beacon.As for the speakers, I have no doubt they sound good. The Accuton mids are excellent, as is the Raven tweeter (or similar). No doubt the bass unit is of equally high quality.The frequency response on the site is obviously nonsense, but they should sound really good. BTW, why not just describe the crossover as a Linkwitz-Riley rather than 'constant voltage'. It makes your speakers seem tacky.

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Casandra's picture

Hm, quite an interesting review! Thanks for posting it)) I hope I got the necessary impression here! Cheers!

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glorybaker's picture

Congratulations to Jonathan Tinn and Herve Delatraz with such a great achievement!I know from experience how disastrous it can be to set up great gear in lousy acoustical hotelrooms. and get hundreds of critical audiophiles in front.

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