Command Performance AV/Gryphon/Marten/J.Sikora/Lyra/Doshi/Aurender/Berkeley Audio Design

Jeff Fox and Jessie Bentley of Falls Church, Virginia's Command Performance AV graciously opened their room to me, pre-showtime. I chose their vinyl copy of trumpeter Erik Truffaz's 2000 album, The Mask, for play on their J. Sikora Reference turntable, ($47,000; gloss finish with Reference power supply) the co-winner of our Product of the Year Award in the analog category, and its new J. Sikora KV Max Zirconium Series 9" tonearm (TBA), a CAF world premiere, running a Lyra Atlas Lambda SL cartridge ($11,995).

Comprised of a reduced-weight aramid fiber (think Kevlar) armtube, zirconia unipivot bearing housing, and two different types of bronze for the counterweight, the KV Max Zirconium features bronze in most of the places that previously were aluminum. Cables are of the highest purity copper covered in 24-carat gold, made especially for J. Sikora.

This system played The Mask as smooth but punchy, tart but refined. The system flowed, with excellent detail, imaging, and depth, but zero aggression or tonal cheapness.

Also featured, Doshi Audio Evolution phono preamplifier 1MC ($19,995), a Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series 3 ($28,000) which made the most out of Cassandra Wilson's spicy "Dance to the Drummer," Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB ($1995), Aurender W20SE music server ($22,000), Gryphon Audio Essence Preamplifier ($16,900), and Gryphon Audio Antileon EVO stereo amplifier ($38,350) driving a beautiful pair of floorstanding Marten Design Parker Trio loudspeakers ($23,995/pair). Cabling was by Gryphon; power conditioning via an IsoTek Nova power conditioner ($9995).

On static display, the Gryphon Commander preamplifier ($70,000 with power supply, above), which was one of the finalists for Stereophile's Amplification Product of 2022 award.