The Beginning of Love: Bob Hodas, The Tape Project, VTL, Focal, Siltech, Zanden

I had no idea that the very first room I’d enter would offer such exquisite sound and music. I was in Bob Hodas’s Acoustic Analysis room and The Tape Project was spinning the Bill Evans Trio, the Sonny Rollins Quartet, Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane, and so much soul.

It was a packed room of bobbing heads and tapping toes, unable to resist the smooth, smooth flow. Here was a lively sound, a vibrant sound, a sweet, flowing, blooming, effortless sound, marked by so much body and heart and an absolutely wonderful sense of timing.

The system: Focal Diablo Utopia 2-way monitors with a 1.25” inverted-dome beryllium tweeter and a 6.5” woofer ($14,000/pair, with matching stands); two Focal SW1000 Be subwoofers ($4495 each); 8-input VTL TL-6.5 Signature line preamplifier ($11,500); 400W MB-450 Signature III fully balanced monoblock power amplifiers ($18,000/pair); Siltech Classic Anniversary 330i XLR interconnect ($1000/1.5m), Siltech Classic Anniversary 330i XLR interconnect ($1840/2.5m), Siltech Classic Anniversary 330 L loudspeaker cable ($2360/3m).

We did not listen to the smart-looking Zanden M2500 CD player ($25,000) because we were too busy listening to the ½” Otari tape machine with Bottlehead electronics.

I felt sad when Nat King Cole sang, “This is the end of a beautiful friendship…”

This music really transformed the modest hotel room into some sort of venue. Something real was happening here. The chatter that came from the attendees behind me felt like it was coming from an audience in a club.

“This is the end of a beautiful friendship,” he sang, “and the beginning of love.” And I felt much better.