Alma Music/On a Higher Note/Bergman/Graham Audio/Moonriver/Kubala-Sosna/Artesania

Alma Music's Fabio Storelli and On A Higher Note's Philip O'Hanlon tempted me with promises of serious sound, female entertainment, and triple-distilled whiskey. I fell into their room and almost spent the night.

O'Hanlon had the brand spanking new Graham Audio LS8/1 Limited Edition standmount loudspeakers ($9700/pair, with stands). When I told him I owned a pair of the Spendor BC1s, upon which the Grahams are based, O'Hanlon fiendishly poured more whisky down my throat, wrestled me to the carpeted hotel floor, and introduced me to golden Montreal harpist, Isabeau Corriveau (bottom photo), and her new album, A Leap of Faith. Corriveau's lush, resonant Celtic music, played on a Bergmann Modi + Thor turntable ($17,000), enchanted my brain and filled my senses. As the music played, Corriveau sat next to me, her lovely accent spinning my head silly.

Further equipment (above) included the new Moonriver 505 phono stage, Moonriver 404 Reference integrated amplifier ($4995), Kubala-Sosna cabling, Artesania Prestige three-level rack ($5,800) and Artesania Krion turntable platform ($4850).

As the room seemed to fill with mist, Hanlon played vinyl from bassist Pino Palladino, irresistible rocker Imelda May, and finally, Count Basie's "Me and You," Hanlon's "finale," which woke me up.

This petite system played Corriveau's acoustic reveries and Basie's blowout sonorities with equal energy, grace, and power. Color me satisfied.

On A Higher Note's Philip O'Hanlon (left) with harpist Isabeau Corriveau