Dynaudio, Octave, Moon, Grimm, Brinkmann, and Torus

It was great to hear monoblocks I'd just reviewed—the new, German-made Octave MRE 220 SE mono amplifiers ($28,500/pair) with their Super Black Box PSU upgrade modules ($7000/pair)—in the context of a different system. In partnership with the Octave HP 700 SE preamplifier with RIAA phono, tone controls, and MC step-up transformer ($24,500 as configured); Moon North 791 streaming preamp ($16,000); Grimm Audio MU-1 Roon server ($12,500); and Dynaudio Confidence 60 loudspeakers ($50,000/pair), the system sounded top-rate.

The Beatles' "Come Together" excelled in bass, and Fred Hersch's piano sounded gorgeous on a hi-rez files of "A Wish," his duet with Esperanza Spalding. I'm not convinced of Spalding’s stylistic chops, but the sound was marvelous. The midrange was equally fabulous on D’Angelo's "Unshaken"; the carefully measured warmth was superb.

The demo didn't end there. John Quick wouldn't let me go before playing dramatic soprano Lise Davidsen’s vocally scaled-down take on Richard Strauss's "Morgen." Voice and violin sounded full, warm, and complete on an interpretation obviously influenced by Elisabeth Schumann’s definitive 1927 recording.

I'm not sure I heard the Brinkmann Taurus turntable with 12.1 tonearmn, TraNt PSU, and Brinkmann Pi MC cartridge ($28,450 as configured), but I was so satisfied with what I did hear that it seemed presumptuous to ask for more.