Aurender's Prototype AP 20 and Estelon's new Aura Go to Carnegie Hall

The billboard below the Aurender marquee announced for different musically themed listening sessions during the show. Hoping for a classical music interlude, I opted for Sunday's 11AM Live from Carnegie Hall. As much as the hour began with classical, I hadn't taken into account that many pop and jazz artists have also performed in Carnegie Hall.

Aurender's Ari Margolis (above) happily surprised me with his diverse repertoire choices. First up, a 24/192 remastering, streamed from Qobuz, of Vladimir Horowitz's rehearsal before his triumphant return to Carnegie Hall. Beautiful delicacy, marvelous depth, and a believable ring to the piano greatly enhanced the system's slightly dry sound. By contrast, Ryan Adams' Live at Carnegie Hall 2014 was a mite hot on top but otherwise thoroughly engaging. And I fell in love with the outstanding sound of electric guitar on Bill Withers's 1973 recording, "I Can't Write Left-Handed."

The equipment array was notable for an advance listen to Aurender's AP20 streaming amp server all-in-one ($22,000) that includes AKM 4497 DACs in dual-mono configuration and a stepped attenuator. It also contains Purifi class-D modules run by a linear power supply. The AP20 supplies 200Wpc into 8 ohms and 350Wpc into 4 ohms.

Equally exciting was the North American debut of Estelon's Aura floorstanding loudspeaker ($19,900/pair), which excelled at depth and imaging. Margolis noted that system also included Synergistic Research power cabling, a PowerCell SX, and Synergistic accoutrements whose cumulative effect amounted to a "significant improvement. The rack, which many exhibitors praised, was the new HRS-EXR.