Focal Naim America teams up with Seattle's Hawthorne Stereo

With the support of Seattle's 76-year-old Hawthorne Stereo, Focal Naim America presented a system described by the company's Tom Graham as "The best of the best of what Focal and Naim have to offer." The sound in the large room was extremely open and spacious on a 16/44.1 wireless stream of a very naïve sounding soprano singing the "Pie Jesu" from John Rutter's Requiem. (For a very different take on the solo, check out the Reference Recordings classic.)

Another show favorite, Lyle Lovett's "North Dakota," displayed a very clean, round sound with a glowing illumined core. Cymbals were subtle, the soft highs just lovely. This was a sound that was easy to love. As if to assure showgoers that nothing has changed over the decades, the next two tracks were from live albums by, you guessed it, Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd. The sound was warm, generous, and a lot of fun when turned up all the way.

Doing the honors: Focal Maestro Utopia EVO Noyer naturel (light walnut) loudspeakers ($75,998/pair, above), Naim Statement preamplifier ($99,999), Naim Statement left amplifier ($99,999) and Naim Statement right amplifier ($99,999), Naim ND555 Reference Network Player ($22,999) with 555PS DR power supply ($13,499), and Naim Solstice turntable ($20,000) with Solstice Series power supply, Solstice Series phono preamp, Aro tonearm, and Equinox MC cartridge. Cabling included Naim 5pin to 5pin cable 180º from ND555 to Statement preamp, and Naim Super Lumina speaker cables.