AirTight, Reed, and Franco Serblin Make Joyful Music

What better way to start the first day of an audio show than with some light joyful music? In this case, it was with a 1974 LP, Heinz Holliger: Famous Oboe Concertos, on which the famous oboist joined players of the Dresden State Orchestra under Vittorio Negri for, among other works, Leclair’s Concerto in C for Oboe, Strings, and Continuo, Op. 7. In the first movement, the lively presentation complemented equally lively music, which cheerily zipped along. Holliger’s oboe sounded delightful, the instrument’s glowing timbres unmistakable. The balance may have tilted toward the top, but it served music and performance well.

What struck me the most about the next selection, the ending of Telarc’s Cleveland Orchestra recording of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, conducted by Lorin Maazel, was how different Maazel’s approach was from Ludovic Morlot’s with the Seattle Symphony. I know Seattle’s ending very well, and Maazel brought out orchestral lines that I never even heard on Morlot’s recording.

Though I can’t find the information online, I’d wager a bet that the two conductors used different versions of a score that Stravinsky kept changing over the span of 30 years. That the differences were as striking as they were speaks to the upper end resolution of a system dominated by AirTight electronics.

Heard were AirTight’s ATC-5s preamplifier with phono stage ($14,575) and ATM-2Plus power amplifier ($23,975) driving new Franco Serblin Accordo Goldberg standmount loudspeakers ($13,475/pair; review forthcoming). The just announced AirTight ATM-1E power amplifier ($13,975), which was fresh out of the box, is shown in the photo but was not in use.

For the front end, AirTight supplied the Opus One MC cartridge ($14,975) and ATH-3s step up transformer ($3975), both essential companions to a Reed Muse 3C turntable ($27,975 base price) with Reed 5A tangential tracking tonearm ($10,595).