MSB Technology, Vivid

This system offered a bold, vibrant sound when the music called for it, a gentle, subtle sound when the music called for it, and always exhibited a good sense of momentum and flow.

MSB’s Vince Galbo explained that the company’s Data CD IV transport ($3995) was “intensely designed to read CDs like they’ve never been read before.” That means it sends jitter-free digital audio data from its solid-state memory to any D/A converter, with resolutions up to 32-bit/384kHz. It uses an optical ROM reader to read the disc over and over until the file is read perfectly, then stores the information and plays it back to the DAC with claimed perfect timing and exceptionally low jitter. Wild.

In this case, the Data CD IV was mated to MSB’s own Signature DAC IV ($19,500), which utilizes the company’s 32x digital filter. Amplification was provided by MSB’s awesome-looking, heatsink-heavy, class-A 200W M202 monoblock power amplifiers ($17,500/pair). (Also: They’re blue!) Loudspeakers were Vivid’s V-1.5 ($7650/pair).

We listened to Peter Gabriel’s version of Paul Simon’s “Boy in the Bubble.” Gabriel sang slowly, “Don’t cry, baby, don’t cry,” and it was kinda hard not to cry. I loved the look of this system just as much as I loved its transparent, relaxed, captivating sound. Really good stuff.