Bending Wave Moves and Thrills with the Göbel Divin Noblesse speakers, Wadax Reference DAC, CH Precision electronics, and Nordost power products

Without doubt, of all the systems I evaluated at the 2022 Pacific Audio Fest, the imposing, hardly bargain-basement set-up assembled by Elliot Goldman, of Florida-based Bending Wave USA, was one of the Top Three Best Sounding. Only equipment capable of top-level sound reproduction could have worked together synergistically to deliver such convincing full-range sound.

When I entered the room, Elliot was playing a 1994 digital mastering of Peter Hurford's analog recording of J.S. Bach's Passacaglia & Fugue for Organ in C minor. Although I was still settling in and taking photos while the organ blew its pipes, it sounded quite good... especially for early digital.

As soon as I grounded myself, Elliot hypnotized me with Bruch's Kol Nidrei, performed by violinist Aaron Rosand and pianist John Covelli on Hebraic Legacies. A rare Audiofon CD (Audiofon 72033) recorded by Peter McGrath over three decades ago, the CD sounded exceptionally transparent. The body of the violin's sound was reproduced to perfection, with size and proportions of violin and piano ideal. Even more moving was the performance itself, which epitomizes old school Romantic expressionism. Every note was so clear and beautifully produced as to render me a wide-eyed puddle.

After the show, when I wrote Stereophile Editor Jim Austin about my experience, he shared a mind-blowing factoid: Aaron Rosand played violin on at least five tracks of John Lennon’s 1971 album, Imagine—more if you include outtakes and remixes. Ten years before he died, Rosand sold his precious Guarneri violin to a Russian businessman (I know, I know) for $10 million, and donated $1.5 million to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Before I’d recovered from Rosand and Covelli’s performance, Elliot shifted gears and knocked it out of the playground with Gustavo Dudamel's modern recording of the soundtrack to West Side Story. Having seen the movie in our little Dolby-equipped theater in Port Townsend, I had no idea how dynamic and colorful the recording was until I heard it on this system. WOW! To quote from another Broadway musical that premiered over a year before West Side Story, I could have danced all night.

I bow before the Göbel Divin Noblesse loudspeakers ($250,000/pair), CH Precision M10 amplifier ($104,000) and L10 preamplifier ($73,000), Wadax Reference DAC ($159,500) and Reference Server with AKASA optical ($80,000), Göbel Lacorde cabling, and Nordost QNet switch with QSource Linear Power supply (over $6000 with cabling)—review forthcoming in our October issue—QB8 power strip, QCore grounding system, and QX-4 power purifier.