Distinctive Stereo/Genesis/Element/Merrill/VPI/Aurender/AudioQuest

The Distinctive Stereo/Genesis Advanced Technologies/Merrill Audio Advanced Technology room celebrated Genesis's 30th anniversary with the debut of the Genesis Tribute Loudspeakers ($125,000/pair), in honor of Genesis founder, the late Arnie Nudell, "advanced with the latest innovations in materials and technology by current designer, Gary Leonard Koh," stated a press release.

The "by commission only" Tribute recalls the design of the original IRS model with its wide "wings," servo-controlled subwoofer, dipole line-source, 48" planar-magnetic midrange unit, and nine proprietary 1" ring tweeters.

Distinctive Stereo's Larry Borden bought me up to speed before playing some old school vinyl that this large-scale system expressed beautifully: Claude Bolling's Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio, and at the other soul spectrum, Big Maybelle's "Gabbin' Blues" And Other Big Hits.

The nearly larger-than-life Tributes reproduced the Bolling with nothing left to the imagination, every brush-on-snare-drum strike, whisper through flute, and piano hammer strike distinctly resolved with crackerjack speed and immaculate detail. Someone pressed a remote that briefly and abruptly inserted The Eagles' "Hotel California" into the signal chain, before Borden quickly corrected that egregious audio mistake with the graceful blues belting of Big Maybelle—thank God for small miracles.

As well as the Tributes, the room included a VPI Avenger Direct turntable ($36,000; review sample incoming!), The Wand Tonearm ($4250), Hyper Sonic X4 cartridge ($18,000), Aurender N20 music server/streamer ($12,500) and EMM Labs DA2 DAC ($30,000). Amplification included Genesis Premium Platium phono stage ($24,000), VPI-Genesis Avenger phono stage ($6000), Merrill Audio Christine MX preamplifier ($28,500), and Element 116MX monoblock amplifiers ($30,000/pair). Cabling was by Genesis, power conditioning by AudioQuest and Puritan Audio Labs.

Allen Fant's picture

Beautiful speakers- KM.
The finish and fit is Infinity DNA.

JD85's picture

The prices are a stark indication of the dollar devaluation (inflation).

The VPI Avenger Direct at $36k? Not long ago the anniversary table came out at $15k (now $22k a $7000 increase!). What justifies the $14,000 price difference over the higher priced HW-40? Same motor, same tonearm? Fewer materials?