CAD 1543 DAC Mk II, Audio Transport, Ground Controls, & Cabling; Aesthetix Mimas Integrated, Boenicke W8 SE speakers, Bibacord Interconnects, HRX SXR Rack

After trying more than once to get into the CAD room at Munich High End, I ended up hearing a significantly smaller version of their system in Long Beach. This time, the hybrid integrated amplifier was the excellent Aesthetix Mimas ($7000 without optional modules), which I’ve reviewed for the August issue of Stereophile, and the speakers the diminutive Swiss Boenicke W8 SE ($12,500).

When I entered, the voice of the great, irreplaceable mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli singing Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum” was hard to distinguish. (Yes, two rooms in a row playing Bartoli: life is good.) Perhaps a faulty rip resulted in a presentation where beauty vied with distortion, for the next track, by Leonard Cohen, was distortion-free and exceptional in its midrange beauty. Despite a bit of wiriness and the occasional cupped vowel, colors were gorgeous and the presentation had a gratifying openness, a quality many high end systems don't achieve.

Computer Audio Design—CAD—of London, is fascinating in combining old with new: Their 1543 DAC Mk II Resistor Ladder NOS USB DAC ($12,000) uses a vintage DAC chip, and their CAD Audio Transport (aka CAT) is a $14,000 server with streaming, SSD storage, and automated CD ripping. Also from CAD: the GC1 ($1995) and GC3 ($4500) passive EMI/RFI absorption devices and I and II USB cables. From other manufacturers: Bibacord Interconnects and a HRX SXR Rack.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

There are couple of reviews posted online for the Boenicke W8 ........ Those speaker cabinets are supposed to be made with all wood ....... not just wood veneer ....... If those speakers worked well with the Aesthetix integrated, they may also work well with Mark Levinson 5805 and the new Krell 300i integrates :-) ..........