CH Precision, Ideon, Magico, and more from Audio-Ultra

As much as I attempted to skip equipment we'd recently explored in Chicago, Munich, and/or Costa Mesa, my uncertainty about the intrinsic sound of CH Precision Series 1 equipment impelled me to check out their exhibit from greater Seattle dealer Audio-Ultra. While not everything in the system was from CH Precision—Ideon supplied the Absolute Epsilon DAC ($47,000), Absolute Epsilon Stream ($19,900), and Absolute Epsilon Time Signature V clock ($22,000), all of which complemented Aurender's N20 music server ($12,500)—there was sufficient CH Precision equipment in the chain to draw some conclusions.

Listening to Miles Davis's beautiful "Autumn Leaves," ripped from MQA CD and heard in DXD format, revealed sound far more illumined than I heard at T.H.E. Show. A Red Book stream of Dutch songstress Sevdaliza's "Human," sourced from Qobuz and streamed via an AT&T hotspot, sounded extremely clean and maximally alive. I'm not convinced by the percussion on Pierre Boulez's recording of Mahler Symphony No.3, heard in 24/88.2—so many other Mahler recordings capture the timpani's resonance, undertones, and decay far better—but the top sounded extremely alive and the midrange true. In addition, once the volume was turned up to levels sufficient to do a full symphony orchestra justice, depth, air, and soundstaging were excellent.

So, what was the major component difference that yielded sound far more alive, colorful, and engaging than in Costa Mesa? I'll point to the baby Magico monitors, aka the Magico AI two-ways ($9800/pair), here positioned on Sound Anchor A1 stands. The Magicos could only sketch out the bottom double basses in the Mahler, but everything above them sounded vital, alive, fully illumined, and true.

Heard from CH Precision: the D1.5 SACD/CD transport/player ($41,000), L1 line stage ($34,500), A1.5 amplifier in stereo mode ($39,500), and X1 dual power supply ($20,500). Front end power came clean courtesy of a Stromtank S-2500 Quantum MKII ($27,500). AudioQuest Dragon, Thunderbird, Pegasus, and Hurricane cabling worked with SOtM's sNH-10G with CLK-EX switch ($1910), sPS-500 power supply ($920), and sCLK-OCX10 master clock ($3620) to deliver sound that, together with Stillpoints Aperture room treatment and Magico QPod footers ($1450/three), showed off CH Precision electronics to best advantage.

Thanks to Audio-Ultra's Ed(ward) DeVito and CH Precision's Kevin Wolff for the excellent sound.

Ortofan's picture

... including a Magico ASUB subwoofer (or two) in this system?

Chick Korean's picture

If the A1s cannot perform adequately on their own without the support of a subwoofer, then they are vastly overpriced.