dCS Dances with Trusted Friends in Munich

There was a "the only way to appreciate this book is to ditch its cover" discovery to be had in the dCS room, but it required reading between the lines. For me, the system was akin to revisiting close and trusted friends: the superb dCS Vivaldi Apex digital playback system ($91,500 without the transport), which has graced the cover of Stereophile and, in my educated opinion, deserves a Product of the Year award; the Wilson Audio Alexia V loudspeaker ($69,500/pair base price), another cover story product that continues to bless me with its riches; Dan D'Agostino Master Systems Momentum M400 MxV amplifiers ($79,500/pair), which I praise in the current, June 2023 issue; and what I believe was Nordost Valhalla 2 cabling connected to Nordost's upgraded QBase (QB8) Mark III.

In short, save for the choice of Nordost Valhalla 2 rather than Odin 2 and the absence of a D'Agostino Momentum HD preamp, separate music server, and power treatment, I was listening to a variation of my trusted reference system.

The track I heard was also familiar: Patricia Barber's "This Town" from Clique. Bass was excellent in both size and strength, albeit with a bit of booming around the edges. Barber's piano sounded superb, with accurate timbres and overtones. But the breathtaking range of colors and arrestingly open sound I usually experience from this stellar component configuration was MIA. And there you have an object lesson about the cover, ie, the frequently intention-defeating acoustics of the most challenging rooms in the MOC Atrium— the rooms whose front and rear walls are mostly composed of glass, and whose angled ceiling has a diabolical divider cutting across it maybe 1/3 of the way up.