Joseph–Bel Canto: A Winning Combination

I’ve come to expect three things from Jeff Joseph of Joseph Audio: great music, great sound, and great set-up. The music came first. With the new Joseph Audio Pearl3 loudspeakers (introductory price $28,500/pair) singing their hearts out, the timbres of Ben Webster and Gerry Mulligan’s saxophones were gorgeously conveyed. The same goes for the massed voices on Cantata Domine’s Scandinavian language version of “O Holy Night,” which was a favorite classical demo track at RMAF for exhibitors with analog rigs.

Sharing in the glory was the room’s iTunes–Channel D Pure Music–Bel Canto asynchronous USB link converter chain. Bel Canto's John Stronczer designed the company's three new 24/192 USB linksthe mLink ($375), uLink ($675), and REFLink ($1495)—and demonstrated all three during the show. I do not know which one was in use during my brief visit.

Also performing at their best were Bel Canto’s DAC3.5VB Mk.II with VBS1 and VBREF cable, VBS1 powered phono stage, and REF500M monoblock amplifiers; Cardas Clear cabling; a VPI Classic III Turntable with a SoundSmith Hyperion CL Cactus cartridge; and Shunyata Hydra power conditioning. The Harmonic Resolution Systems HRS LRX Rack system helped with optimal isolation, and carefully positioned ASC wall panels addressed slap echo. Joseph positioned the system on the diagonal to avoid some of the ugly treble resonances encountered in other rooms with speakers whose tweeter radiation patterns were not as ingeniously thought out as Joseph Audio’s.