Excited About New Music: Wilson Audio, D’Agostino, ASC, dCS, Transparent Audio

When the hell did Wilson Audio’s Peter McGrath become so hip? Has the old dude been subscribing to The Wire, hanging out in Greenpoint, going to noise-rock shows in abandoned warehouses?

McGrath used a system comprising Wilson Audio Sasha loudspeakers, gorgeous D’Agostino Momentum monoblock amplifiers, Sooloos Control 15, dCS Debussy DAC, Transparent Audio cables, and ASC Tube Traps to demo music from Pan Sonic to James Blake to Nicolas Jaar.

Nicolas Jaar? Peter McGrath? What the hell? Where am I?

First the room: It was small. Very small. I almost didn’t even see it. It was more of a closet than a room. “The challenge for us,” Peter McGrath explained, “was to make you forget that you’re in this closet. And now we’re going to the now-defunct Lincoln Theater in South Beach…”

(Because, of course, when Peter McGrath’s not hanging out in Brooklyn, he’s clubbing in South Beach.)

And we did go there. Like only a few others can manage, Peter McGrath’s recordings transport the listener to the performance hall. In an upcoming issue, Sam Tellig will talk about some room acoustics products that can remove the listening room from the sonic equation, free the music from the boundaries of ceilings and walls and floors. Good hi-fi has this ability, too, and Peter McGrath demonstrated that for us. The small room expanded into an entire world, and that world was filled with the most beautiful, creative music.

The overall sound was extremely fluid and natural with an enormous soundstage and an absolutely lovely sense of touch and momentum. The system matched subtlety and grace with seemingly limitless dynamic range and impact. Listening to this system was simultaneously thrilling and relaxing: I could feel stress and tension leaving my body as I listened to the music and sound.

In Pan Sonic, we heard profoundly deep, surprisingly well-controlled low-bass energy matched with a strong sense of rhythm. In James Blake, we heard pinpoint imaging and a wonderfully wide soundstage. In Nicolas Jaar, a 21-year old electronic composer, we heard texture, tone, and humor: “Space is only noise if you can see, space is only noise if you can see, space is only noise if you can see…”

I was all like, “What the fuck, Peter? When did you become so hip, dude?”

Peter talked about his son, who often pushes new music (and new ideas) on him, as well as a few of his colleagues: Stylus’ Ludwig Swanberg, Audiac’s Michael Huigen, and Innovative Audio’s Scott Haggart.

“I’m really excited,” McGrath explained. “There’s so much depth in this music. The great majority of their listeners won’t even realize it, but these young composers have the faith to create this music. And it’ll always be out there for people to grow to it.”

And people like Ludwig Swanberg, Michael Huigen, Scott Haggart, and Peter McGrath are bringing this creative, new music to more audiophiles.

Explore Nicolas Jaar's music here.

atomicAdam's picture

Agreed - the room was small but they did a great job making that a non issue.

I too enjoyed the sound from this room - though I still thought that the James Blake albums sounded like retarded electronic masturbation material.

Dan sure is a nice guy.

What did you think about the Wilson off the Pass Labs and Da Vinci DAC? That is a hell of a sound...

crazzell's picture

It was a small room, and yet people (myself included) wanted to stay for a long time. Peter McGrath's recordings were ideal for showing off the Wilson Audio Sashas and the D’Agostino monoblocks. His enthusiasm and passion for the music were infectious too!