Innuos/ASONA/Synthesis/AperturA/Analysis Plus

You want organic, vinyl-like sound without the vinyl, without spending an arm and a leg for it? Then I have the system for you, found in the Innuos/ASONA room. It starts with an Innuos complement of a PULSEmini network player ($1600) and a PhoenixNET network switch ($4900)—those switches, they've upped the digital game—plugged into the preamp section of a Cen.Grand 9i-90SA fully balanced headphone amp ($2900). Amplification was assumed by the gorgeous (and gorgeous-sounding) KT-88-tubed, 80Wpc Synthesis Roma 510 AC amp ($6500) from Italy, which powered a pair of bass-reflex AperturA Sensa speakers (starting at $4300/pair). Analysis Plus cabled everything together.

Playing tracks by Miles Davis and Dominique Fils-Aimé, this system produced buttery mids (in a good way), sweet highs, authentic timbres, colorful tone, solid imaging, and sounded, darn it, analog-like. There, I said it again, and I'll say this again: digital reproduction has been killing it lately. More than ever, it's become an uncompromised audiophile-grade medium.

(All prices in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.)