Vimberg, Kalista, Karan, Entrec, and Fono Acoustica

It was a mixed show for Wynn Wong, mastermind of Canadian-based Wynn Audio importers. Soundwise he did very well, with Ayama Witter-Johnson’s take on Hoagy Carmichael / Ned Washington’s “The Nearness of You” so satisfying on every level, from solidity of bass to clarity of voice.

The other half of the experience was learning of the very recent death of Milan Karan, owner and chief designer of Karan Acoustics, at age 59. I reviewed the Karan Acoustics POWERa mono amplifier ($106,000/pair), which I heard in this room in spring, 2023, and found it a “phenomenal achievement.”

Here, the POWERa monos joined forces with the Karan Acoustics LINEa preamplifier ($41,000) and PHONOa phonostage ($38,000). In retrospect, I wish I’d auditioned vinyl, because then I would have also heard the Thiele TT01 turntable with tonearm ($28,000), active suspension platform ($18,000), and other goodies. Instead, I heard the Kalista Dreamplay X CD Transport ($66,500) and US debut of the Kalista Mantax DAC ($64,300) with switchable tube and solid-state output stage.

Speakers were the Vimberg Mino ($40,000/pair or $54,000/air with diamond tweeters). Throw in Entreq ground boxes, Critical Mass Systems MAXXUM racks and amp stands, and Fono Acustica cabling from Spain, and you had one excellent system.