Don't Let the Small Size Fool You

The first time I encountered the Napa Acoustic display at a show, I thought these little babies so adorable that I wanted to take all of them home so that our canine daughter, Daisy Mae Doven, would have a system of her own. But then I remembered that Daisy plays only one tune—"Get Da Bone"—and came to my senses.

Okay. I know what you're thinking. I'm an audiophile. I've never come to my senses. Touché.

Here Napa Acoustics went with their bigger stuff, a so-called under-$2500 system that included the NA-208C CD player ($399), MM-6 100Wpc amplifier ($999), BOW-3 two-way loudspeaker ($999/pair), SN-801 subwoofer ($399), NA-3900 noise filter ($239), Napa speaker cable (9' for $149), and Napa power cords ($125/each). I know, that's not under $2500. This was not the only room in which exhibitors seemed incapable of correctly totaling the price of components.

It was also one of many, many, many rooms that lacked a sheet of equipment and prices. Here's hoping I've deciphered all the model names correctly from the exhibitor's handwritten notes.

Playing a cut from Patricia Barber's Café Blue—yes, you'll encounter the same music in many rooms if you ask exhibitors to play something that they feel shows their system off to good advantage—I was struck with the system's nice three-dimensionality and fairly neutral tonal balance. The sound was much bigger than you might expect. So, alas, was the booming bass, perhaps caused by the subwoofer.