Essential Audio & the Massive Sound Labs

Not one to think small, Brian Walsh of Essential Audio in Barrington, IL needed a very big room to house the Sound Lab Majestic 845 electrostatic loudspeakers ($35,840/pair), Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk.III.2 preamplifier ($16,940) and MA-2 Mk III.2 output transformer-less amplifiers ($41,600/pair), Aurender W20 reference music server ($16,800), Bricasti M1 DAC ($8995), Kuzma Stabi XL 2-motor turntable with all the trimmings ($32,280 total), Teo Audio equipment racks, and cabling from Teo Audio, Clarity Cable, and Creative Cable Concepts. Try saying that on one breath.

Listening to a DSD64 version of a piano recording from 2L, and a 16/44.1 rip from an early digital-era transfer of Solti's recording of Mahler Symphony 1, it was clear that nothing short of an entire team of engineers or a huge truck filled with room tuning devices and DSP equipment could have tamed the echo in the room. Despite some whiteness, room-associated noise, and far more noise from industry reps who wouldn't shut up, the system did a great job on depth and bass.

bpw's picture

Thank you for visiting our room. While we faced some acoustic issues, most including you were able to listen through them. Hearing such a system properly demonstrated in a dealer showroom can be much more meaningful. Incidentally, the room was much larger than necessary for the speakers.

Brian Walsh

Essential Audio

Pro-Audio-Tech's picture

I have to agree about the CHATTER in some of the rooms, (not that i had chatter in this room when I was there) some guys just talk louder than the music in total disregard for those who are trying to listen!!


In this room I did enjoy the huge sound from these huge speakers.

Too big for me but certainly nice sound.

EscritorJuan's picture

Hi Brian,

I wanted to say that I enjoyed your display at AXPONA a great deal. The AMR CD-777 was amazing sounding, especially in that setup!

I was making observations slated for "The Hub" at under "Member Reviews" and have submitted my report to them. However, my contact there is no longer working for them, so we'll see if it goes up or not.



bpw's picture

Actually it was an AMR CD-77.1 ($10,995), fully tweaked by distributor Avatar Acoustics and fitted with a Philips TDA1541A Double Crown (S2) DAC chip which elevates the performance further. It's strictly redbook (16/44.1) but does it exceedingly well and matches the system very well.

Brian Walsh
Essential Audio

Pro-Audio-Tech's picture

After looking at my notes (truth in posting)I confused this room with another...

This room had issues, I will be kind and post nothing else.

Sorry guys better luck next time and I must in truth retract my previous positive comment as it was for another room.

amudhen's picture

Once again, for attendees and reps, if you want to chat or bs, do it in the halls not in the LISTENING rooms. I continue to find this rude behavior the worst thing at audio shows Wise up and stop spoiling it for others.