Clap Your Hands: Wilson–ARC–Spiral Groove–Sunny’s

Oh, did I love the sound in this room. When I initially entered, Sunil Merchant, aka Sunny of Sunny Components—one of three Sunny's displaying at the show, but the only one with four rooms—was playing a so-called jazz LP that, for worse rather than better, whisked me back to the time that my very nuclear and highly combustible family of three joined my Uncle Herman and Auntie Anna at a resort in the Catskills. The music was so late 1950s that I could almost hear the women at the card table as they commenced yet one more round of canasta.

Realizing that I was about to jump out of my skin, I asked if we might switch selections. As Sunny went through his pile of LPs, I spied Ella Fitzgerald's Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie. Now some Ella may be late '50s as well, but she is in a whole other league than Mr. Schmalz on a shtick.

Once Sunny put on "Cry Me a River," I was transfixed. God, was Ella brilliant! God, was this system wonderful. Every single nuance, every slight change of dynamics came through. But more important than the detail was the feel. This system enabled me to feel Ella's every intention and inspiration transformed into song. She may not have sounded like she was suffering, let alone crying a river, but then again, neither was I. Not when Ella was singing this gloriously, and the system was delivering the great gifts of vinyl so flawlessly.

Room 335's component list deserves to be framed. It was: Wilson Audio Sophia 3 loudspeakers ($17,700/pair), Spiral Groove SG1.1 turntable ($25,000) and Spiral Groove Centroid arm ($5000) with a Dynavector Te Kaitora cartridge ($3350), a new Audio Research Reference 75 stereo amp ($9000), Audio Research Ref 5 preamp ($12,995), and Boulder 1021 Phono Stage ($12,000), all arrayed on Finite Elemente Pagode Edition Signature racks ($14,995) and empowered to sound their best with Shunyata Etron cables ($1000 each). Saved for the next time I'm lucky enough to encounter a room by Sunny, an Audio Research DAC 8 DAC ($4995) with Sunny's Master Cube ($4995), and a T+A SACD 1260 R SACD player ($6000).

Sunny's final room included components from Peachtree and Dynaudio. John Atkinson shall do the honors on that one elsewhere in this blog.