Audioarts: Voxativ—Lector—Don Garber for Audioarts

In a third Audioarts room, the company’s Gideon Schwartz selected “Burning” from Wild Beasts’ Smother, one of my favorite albums of the year.

The speakers were Voxativ’s Ampeggio, using a new AC-3x driver, said to go lower and smoother with greater efficiency. The source was a laptop running iTunes without the benefit of any aftermarket software such as Amarra, Pure Music, or Decibel: “I just downloaded music from iTunes,” explained Schwartz. “I like to keep it simple. It sounds good!”

Indeed. I heard a smoothness and richness in the lead vocal that was completely new to me.

Digital conversion was handled by a Lector Docet DAC ($750). Also in the room was a beautiful Holborne Analog 2 turntable ($5275) with a carbon-fiber tonearm ($2475) and high-output MC cartridge ($1975).

Later, Schwartz selected a track from Peter Gabriel’s New Blood, released just last week. (John Atkinson’s going to love this album.) Another basic iTunes download, the track nevertheless sounded engaging, showcasing the system’s combination of speed and musicality. It was easy (and nearly painful) to sense the fragility in Ane Brun’s exquisite vocal.

The big news in this room was a prototype version of a 7Wpc 300B integrated amplifier, designed for Audioarts by Don Garber. “We want to bring something new to the table,” explained Schwartz. “This amplifier means a lot to me and it means a lot to Don. Time will tell if it’s folly, but I’m really excited about it.” The price hasn’t been determined yet, but the amplifier should be available by February of next year.