The Music First Room

The Music First room was playing some tasty music with eye-popping gear, including the Hungarian-made Bayz Audio Courante loudspeakers ($60,000/pair US with carbon fibre construction), a unique, patented, omnidirectional design. The main, 2" x 8" cylindrical dynamic driver radiates 360° sound, for a sweet spot that encompassed all of the chairs placed in front of them in this listening room.

The rest of the system comprised the Netherlands-made Pink Faun 2.16 Ultra streamer ($30,000 US) (see our review of the Pink Faun 2.16x in the December 2020 issue of Stereophile, two MUTEC MC3+ USB word clocks ($1649 each US), in series between the Pink Faun and a Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC ($13,500 US), which Herb Reichert waxed eloquent about in Gramophone Dreams #55. Each MC3+ USB unit was fed by a MUTEC REF10 120 SE Master Clock ($7495 US). Rounding out the system was a double-mono, 320Wpc solid state Audionet Humboldt Integrated Amplifier ($65,000 US) and a pair of REL Gibraltar subwoofers (about $7500 each US). Interconnect and speaker cabling was Inakustik Silver Referenz Air ($4995–$16,500 US), and power cords were the Half Helix ($4995 UZS) or HC Full Helix ($9995 US) by Ear to Ear Audio.

The sound from this setup was special: seductive, natural, filigreed, with well-defined, stable images. The sound could invigorate, with incursions that startled me out of my dream state with their sudden presence: a double bass string pluck, a drum snap, the rapturous applause of a lively crowd, the powerful resonance of a piano chord. Diana Krall's voice was so fleshy and intimate that when she whispered in my ear, "I could drink a case of you," I whispered back to her in my mind, "Okay, but what are we going to do with that Costello dude?"