Kat Ourlian Brings PrimaLuna, Tannoy (and Cabasse) from Upscale Audio

While audiophiles kvetch over the future of this thing we love, rest assured, young audiophiles are growing in number, evidenced by AXPONA halls streaming with under-30 types. Upscale Audio's Kevin Deal, one of the savviest of distributors, introduced me to his young Analog Manager, Kat Ourlian, who discussed specs and brought two terrific-sounding LPs to play on a tricked-out PrimaLuna/Tannoy system.

While a US debut pair of Tannoy Sterling III LZ loudspeakers ($12,500/pair) sat statically in another Upscale Audio room, Kat spun vinyl on a system that included a Dr. Feickert Trio SE turntable ($8000), Triplanar U2 black tonearm and Soundsmith Hyperion MKII cartridge ($7999), into another US debut, a PrimaLuna Evolution phono stage ($3695, below). A PrimaLuna EVO 100 DAC ($3395) and Lumin U2 Transport/Streamer ($2400) sung digital tunes, all into a PrimaLuna Evo 300 Hybrid integrated amplifier ($7295), which drove a pair of Tannoy Kensington GR loudspeakers ($20,000/pair). An AudioQuest Niagara power conditioner and Cardas Audio cabling completed the system.

And the records! Kat played Morphine's Cure For Pain and Tool's Fear Inoculum, two sonically impressive records with zippy performances, which I added to my iPhone want-list on the spot. Morphine throbbed and thumped, a rock trio of the old school kicking within a dense, gruff, widespan soundfield. Then Kat placed Tool on the Feickert platter; it greeted me with sticky synths and oozing womb tones, soon invaded by drummer Danny Carey's artistic, wraparound tom rolls, turning into a full blown drum circus that soared around the room like a punch-drunk tornado. The Tannoys rocked harder than I thought possible, abetted by the extremely low noise floor of the PrimaLuna Evolution phono stage. Magical power-metal synth rock!

In another Upscale room, Cabasse global sales director Jean-Michel Polit debuted what is essentially a scaled-down version of the company's popular The Pearl Pelegrina Wireless Active Loudspeaker, which sells for a hot $35k/pair.

Cabasse's Rialto Powered Wireless Bookshelf Hi-fi System ($3995/pair) very nearly matched the performance of its larger beady-eyed siblings, seen at last year's AXPONA. An all-in-one class-D powered speaker with internal DAC and streamer, the Rialto boasts a reported frequency range of 30HZ–27kHz for its three- way driver system, consisting of a 5" coaxial mid-tweeter, and on its butt end, a high-excursion 6.7" woofer. Its meager dimensions, 10.2" by 7.9" by 9.4," belied its 43lb and powerhouse presentation.

The Rialto uses a separate class-D amp for each driver: treble: 300W, 600W peak; midrange: 300W/600W peak; bass: 450W/900W peak. Its noise floor as dead as a mortuary, the Rialto presented stomping sounds that seemed to suck every bit of air out of the room. There was an odd alien quality to these amazing speakers, which included a mad scientist-like touch-screen dial on top of the right mother speaker to control Cabasse's cool-headed internal DEAP technology.

JRT's picture

Pedantic rantings:

Multiply RMS voltage by square root of 2 (approximately 1.414) to convert RMS to peak voltage. Likewise to convert RMS current to peak current.

Power is the product of voltage and current, so multiply RMS power by 2 to convert RMS to peak power. Peak power is always double the RMS power, not just for those three amplifiers in that powered loudspeaker.

End of pedantic rantings.

Thank you for the show report.

kai's picture

I assume the specs don’t refer to RMS vs. Peak-, but long vs. short term RMS-Power.

These specs would be typical for class D power amplifiers.
They are often built with limited cooling capacity, because they don’t need it for music reproduction.
This, at the same time, limits their capability to deliver continuous full power over an extended period of time.

Although seeming like a lot, the difference between 300 and 600 Watts of power actually is just 3 dB.

For a speaker, on the other hand, it can be the difference between life or death:
Doubling the power means doubling of the voice coil’s heating up.
So it might even be better if there is a time limit for full power delivery.

JRT's picture

kai wrote, "I assume the specs don’t refer to RMS vs. Peak-, but long vs. short term RMS-Power."

No, Your assumption is wrong, and Ken Micallef was correct in his reporting. It took less than one minute to find it on Cabasse's website including the time required for a very cursory websearch for Cabasse Rialto. To confirm for yourself, use the link included below this. Scroll down to the section labeled "FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS". Expand the tab labeled "SOUND", and you will find the information excerpted into the blockquote included below the link.



Stereo system
Max volume 121 dB peak stereo
Frequency range 30 – 27 000 Hz
Speakers drivers: 13 cm BCI coaxial midrange x 2
17 cm HELD woofer x 2

Amplification per speaker
Treble: 300 W RMS / 600 W peak
Midrange : 300 W RMS / 600 W peak
Bass : 450 W RMS / 900 W peak

Amplification system
Treble: 600 W RMS / 1200 W peak
Midrange : 600 W RMS / 1200 W peak
Bass : 900 W RMS / 1800 W peak

Amplification performance
Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise : THD+N = 0,005% – (1W, 4Ohm)
Saturation: 0
Background Noise 0 dB at 50m (-15,5 dB SPL at 3m)

FredisDead's picture

there are so many things to say here. Those records are not unknown. Kevin Deal using sex to market gear is so old. That photo of Kat is so unflattering. She is the real deal but the approach is insulting. Awww geez.

ken mac's picture

I wrote nothing about these recordings being "unknown."
Kevin is not using sex to sell, which speaks to your gender bias. Kat is a very knowledgeable woman, that is all that matters.
Kat was very happy with the report.
Aww Geez trolls make my day.

marconiNL's picture

...to spell a name correctly?
My better half attended the show for me and complained that the PrimaLuna booth was waaaay too loud on Saturday, not allowing the music and the brilliance of the audio system to speak for itself. Does anyone share this experience?

marconiNL's picture

with increased power output, so Kai's comment on temperature related limiting does not represent Class D reality. But there may be exceptions, sure.
The whole peak power vs rms power is a moving target, first of all are we talking instantaneous peak power or sustained peak power, the latter one definitely may have the temperature element as its major limiter; and in basic linear power amplifiers the ratio between the two are very dependent on the sag of the power supply voltage.
However since most Class D amps tend to be coupled to a switch mode power supply which are notoriously stiff the math is simple, and for the majority of cases JRT's formula will hold up.

Glotz's picture

And very knowledgeable. I'd let her set up my turntable any day!

George S's picture

I found Kat knowledgeable and pleasant while totally rocking out to Morphine. It was one of my favorite rooms. I seriously never knew Tannoy's could rock until that point. Thank god it wasn't Stevie Ray Vaughn playing "Tin Pan Alley." Got to the point I walked out of every room the second one damned chord of that song started playing.

ken mac's picture

Indeed, that room sounded great.

Tom Gibbs's picture

Anyone doubting Kat's brilliance should Google one of her time-lapse turntable setup videos. 'Nuff said!