Graaf, Rosso Fiorentino, and More

Darren Censullo's Avatar Acoustics did itself proud with a system that, on one of John Atkinson's recordings of male vocal ensemble Cantus, delivered totally natural and clear sound with beautiful layering and air, and natural timbres to boot. And as much as Shelby Lynne's "Little Lovin'" is getting less and less lovin' from me each time I discover multiple rooms playing it at shows—aren't there any other good tracks on her very well-recorded album?—Lynne's bass accompaniment was very profound, and the heart-warming beauty of the sound most impressive.

At one end of the system's heart was the new Graaf GM 400 amplifier ($24,995), introduced to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Giovanni Mariani's company. Whereas the original Graaf amplifiers were OTL tubed designs, this solid-state beauty outputs 210Wpc into 8 ohms, 360W into 4, with the first 10W in class-A. There is no global feedback, only local feedback in the driver stage. At the other end of the system were the stunning new Rosso Fiorentino Florentia loudspeakers ($99,995/pair). Darren picked up this line after I fell in love with Rosso Fiorentino's first, much smaller model at, perhaps, Axpona 1 in Jacksonville, saw Darren evaluating them, and urged him to secure distribution. They should make many an audiophile happy.

Mention should also be made of the MainFrame Music Server and the new AMR (Abbingdon Music Research) DP-777 DAC/preamp SE that Jon Iverson discusses elsewhere in this report. As can be seen from the photo above, however, Darren Censullo, however, was occupied with Sarah Tremblay (left) and Carolyn St-Louis (right) from Montreal's SSI show.