Advance Listens from LTA (Linear Tube Audio) and Daedalus

The relationship between Linear Tube Audio (LTA) and Daedalus Audio loudspeakers is so close that the special pair of LTA 20Wpc Ultralinear+ power amplifier monoblocks ($6800/each) on display in room 2106 at PAF—the second of these companies' two joint rooms—boasted a custom faceplate designed specifically for their owner, Daedalus founder Lou Hinkley.

The system was also distinguished by Daedalus Audio Argos v.3 loudspeakers (above, $15,850+/pair), a pre-production prototype of the forthcoming LTA R2R + ZOTL DAC ($TBD), LTA flagship MicroZOTL preamplifier Level 2 ($5750), three LTA power supplies for digital components ($750 each), Small Green Computer Sonic Transporter i5 (Gen.3) music server ($1095+), Sonore OpticalRendu Lite ($1895), WyWires and Daedalus/WyWires cabling, and WyWires/Daedalus Power Broker ($2495).

Beyond the list was the sound. Lou Reed's ever delicious "Walk on the Wild Side" sounded extremely fresh, with a very lovely, predominant, seductive, and slightly mellow midrange. Though treble grew noisy in a narrow frequency band, and the bottom octave was rather faint, the system scored for its depth, illumination, and musicality. It made me want to listen.

I learned a bit about the forthcoming R2R DAC with its tubed output stage. Tentatively named the Aero, it will be LTA's first DAC, and will handle PCM files up to 24/192. DSD processing has yet to be determined, and MQA playback is not under consideration.

My time concluded with my very first listen to Hailely Tuck's hilarious alcoholic lament, "That Don't Make it Junk," conveyed in 24/44.1. Again, this system made me want to listen deeply to every word. Trust me when I say that is not usually the case.